Android

Google Duo. A Better Facetime? Perhaps.

I’m kind of surprised it’s taken Google this long to get it’s Facetime for iOS challenger up and running. If you are interested you can get it here for iOS and Android. I’ve installed the iOS version but haven’t really tried it out yet. The real killer component of this, and something Apple should have done with Facetime quite a while ago, is the fact that this app is cross platform. It works with any Android or iOS phone across carriers. In other words, everyone can use it to call anyone. The app is extremely simple and easy to use, which I like. It’ll be interesting to see how fast this takes off in the next month, and if it will force Apple to open up the Facetime walled garden.

 

OLO, 3D printing From Your Phone for 99 bucks.

When the iPhone came out back in 2007, the idea of using it as part of a 3D printer would have probably been laughed at. Roll the clock forward 9 years and it’s pretty amazing just how far technology has come. I have had an email sitting in my in box for over a week for OLO, and had yet to open it. Today over lunch I decided to see what OLO was about and I have to admit, I’m pretty impressed. Apparently others are too, because these guys are way past their goal on Kickstarter. The video below shows how it works, so I’m not going to go into any deep details, but basically it uses the light from your phone and special polymers to print an object. The retail price is 99 bucks so it makes it a mass market item, and the fact that it works with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone makes it pretty universal. I could see myself using this on a regular basis, and I can see a huge market for prebuilt 3D models emerging specifically for this printer.

I’m Addicted to “Dots”.

iconDots is a nice little gaming app that was developed by New York based, Betaworks One. The game is very simple; try and connect as many same-colored dots as you can using only vertical and horizontal lines in 60 seconds, in 30 moves, or you can play it in endless mode.

Dots interface is extremely clean and simple and has a social media connection allowing you to connect to your friends via Twitter or Facebook to see your friends high scores. Weekly score boards reset every Sunday, giving you a chance to make it to the top of the list and enhance the competition across your network.

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Since it’s release Dots has jumped to the number one mobile game in twenty countries, with good reason. The simple clean interface and engaging user experience makes Dots highly addictive.

BMW i3 “Become Electric” Immersive 360° Interactive Film.

When BMW announced the i Series cars a couple of years back I was all ears. As a former BMW owner, I can attest to the quality and design of their automobiles, so the i3 had me intrigued. Just last week I was on the phone to the local dealer asking if they would have a preview model anytime soon, since the car will be available in California early next year. Sadly they said no.

To support the launch of the i3 BMW has developed a very cool interactive campaign in the form of a fully immersive interactive film available for iOS and Android.

“Become Electric,” is  an interactive experience shot in fully immersive 360 degrees that leads you through a unique story that reveals the car over time. As you head through the streets of a foreign city in a race against time the participant picks up a mysterious stranger and engages in a thrilling mission. The goal is to outrun the sinister “Shadows” that are pursuing you and deliver “The Key” as you help the world “Become Electric.” The game is true immersive entertainment, while advertising and promoting the new i3. The promotion for the car and it’s features are cleverly disguised in an immersive game.

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Since BMW is launching the “i” series as a sub-brand I bet we see more of this kind of work from them in the future for the i3, and the i8 as well.

So You Want to Stop People From Texting and Driving.

iphone4-1This morning while I was drinking my coffee and watching the news, there was a story on Good Morning America about New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo cracking down on texting and driving. I say you go governor. The thing is, I think there is a much easier and cheaper solution to the problem. One that doesn’t involve law enforcement, and can be easily implemented by hand set manufacturers, and software developers.

Smartphones are rapidly becoming the standard in the United States. Every smartphone on the market has one universal feature. They know where they are and how fast they are moving thanks to motion detection, GPS, and any number of other hardware and software specific features of the handset. So, why don’t we simply require smartphone manufacturers to disable texting if the phone is traveling in any direction faster than 10 miles per hour? Now before you can say what about when I’m riding on a plane, or high-speed train? If the phone is traveling faster than, lets say 120 miles per hour, texting services work.

I think this is a fairly straightforward, easy to implement solution. It could be achieved with a simple software update to iOS, Android, and Windows mobile operating system, and it could be adjusted with updates in the future. It wouldn’t get every phone in use, but it would probably get about 80 percent or more.

So I’m thinking it could work like this:

  • If my phone is moving faster than 10 miles per hour in any direction I can’t text
  • When I get to a stop light texting remains inactive for 30 seconds (the typical length of a stoplight)
  • If I travel faster than X mph my phone lets me text again.

It might piss people off at first, but so did seat belts and other devices that have made driving a hell of a lot safer in the last 100 years.

iOS vs Android, The App Arms Race.

Here is an interesting little infographic for Friday. Trademob has put together a coparison between iOS and Android  to see which platform really is the best for app marketers. The infographic compares the two competing operating systems looking at their user demographic, number of apps available, speed of revenue growth, smartphone market share and tablet market share, to see which OS comes out on top. Is it just me, or is this starting to feel like the “Mac vs Windows” wars of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s? Hmmm, either way, its interesting information.

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A Little Bird Told Me About Wren Sound.

I hate wires. Specifically I hate coaxial cable, HDMI cords, speaker cables, and power cords. So, every time I find a wireless speaker system that promises to deliver superior sound quality and looks good too, I get a bit excited.

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Wren Sound Systems Mike Giffin, (Former Harman International Senior VP) along with a team of other industry veterans worked with product design and brand innovation firm, Ashcraft Design out of LA to develop the Wren V5AP. The system works with iOS, and Android devices to deliver room filling audio via WiFi in a stylish refined package.

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The Wren system is designed to reduce or eliminate resonance and coloration through a unique body design. Rosewood or bamboo veneers cover a half-inch laminated MDF board which sits on top of a 4mm low durometer silicone pad that stabilizes the chassis and absorbs cabinet vibration.  The face is wrapped in a unique internal diamond-matrix grille designed to protect the drivers without distorting the sound.

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Internally the speaker system uses an Intersil D2 50-watt DSP-controlled digital amplifier to power the wo long throw drivers with 4-layer voice coils and two widely spaced 19mm edge-driven soft dome tweeters. This allows you to play your music louder with less distortion.

The system has a great look with simple understated controls. It’s the kind of speaker system you don’t mind having out in a room because it looks so nice. At $399.00 it isn’t cheap, but it is on par with other systems like those from Bowers and Wilkens, and it’s far cheaper than Bang & Olufsen.