Google is re-designing its Android mobile operating system and delivering it to new platforms: your smart watch, car and TV. Last week's announcement of the Android expansion continues an industry-wide quest to lure customers into a single company's ecosystem and keep them there. The Computer Guys and Gal explore Android's new look and locales, along with other new technologies like digital displays that don't have to be rectangular and this month's release of the new Amazon Fire Phone.
Apps Of The Month
Trello (web, iOS, Android)
Trello is a free and simple to use project management application. It's web-based and also available for iOS and Android devices. I like it because I find it very easy to follow tasks through a project and assign people to them. It's simple project management for a simpleton like me. -Bill Harlow
Yo, The New Messaging App -John Gilroy
The Photo Cookbook-BBQ Grilling (for iPad and iPhone $3.99)
A private in-home-grilling-course that gives you 60 recipes ... and makes me hungry every time I look at it! The step-by-step photos are particularly awesome. -Allison Druin
Tech Talking Points
Android L, the new Android OS unified across devices: Unified design seems to be a big thing at Google now. They've developed user experience and style guidelines to hopefully bring more consistency to the Android experience. Android L will power tablets, phones, TVs and in-car tech, so this consistency is more important than ever. Google has also improved notifications, multitasking, and (my favorite feature) battery efficiency in Android L.
Android Auto in-car computing Apple has CarPlay and Google has Android Auto. Google has a history of success in bringing maps and navigation to the masses, and I think that good will could go far in making Android Auto a success. If you look at the members of the Open Automotive Alliance that are backing Android Auto, you can see it has plenty of support.
Android One, a reference platform for low-cost smartphones: Since I live in the US I take owning an iPhone for granted. But it's an expensive device! Android One's goal is to make sure certain minimum standards are met within a low maximum price; low-cost without being junk. And it's a reference platform for new devices. Google wants smartphone users in emerging markets to have current devices, not warmed-over products from last year. Some features stood out to me: Stock Android, dual SIM card slots and an FM radio receiver.
Sharp's Free-form Display:
Since there's lots of news developing in wearables and automotive computing, Sharp's advances in the shape of displays is pretty compelling. Typical LCD screens need to keep circuitry in the bezels. Sharp demonstrated displays with circuitry embedded throughout the screen, enabling arbitrary shapes and reducing the need for full bezels (as far as I can tell a bezel is only needed on one side).
Amazon Prime Air drones grounded: The FAA has reiterated its prohibition of the use of drones for commercial purposes except in exceedingly rare cases. Generally drones can only be flown legally by hobbyists and amateurs. Amazon continues to lobby heavily to expand the commercial use of drones, and it's clear they understand that Amazon Prime Air is years away from becoming a reality.
Maybe don't buy the new entry level iMac:Just had to toss this warning out there since it looks like the new "budget" iMac is a loser's bet. I know its $1099 cost is tempting (includes a nice 21.5" 1080p display), but it's in many ways a MacBook Air without an SSD. Which means it is slow. Macword's benchmark tests show just how slow.
Has Google gone too far? Identification as parents, mobile tracking
Apple Is On Fire
Amazon Is On Fire, Too
Friend-of-the-show Wayne Rash responds to Target incident
How “Zapping Rachel” can help WAMU listeners(I’d rather zap Allison!)
The most overlooked “wearable” part of computer electronics: earbuds
Looking for a job? How about venturing into cybersecurity?
Tablets Tap Out. What's Next?
Getting in the Game: Apple and Google Play With Fitness Apps
Google I/0 Conference They were lined up for miles to hear what the announcements would be yesterday. Among them: lots of new bells for Android and for your home, car and wrist (this sounds a lot like what Apple announced last month!). Android Wear is very interesting. And then there’s Android TV!There’s so much from this conference we talk forever about it, though I wonder if they’re going to flounder as Apple has.
Google I/0 Cardboard Demo
It is AWESOME!!! They gave to all the developers a version of the Oculous VR Headset made out of cardboard and you can fold it up with your cell phone and it’s home made VR. Watch the video. It was an awesome Oprah moment!
How The Supreme Court Ruling Affects Aereo, The Cloud And You A 6-3 Supreme Court decision last week found that Aereo, whose antenna-plus-cloud-storage technology streams over-the-air TV signals, is illegal if it continues to operate without paying broadcasters any fees. It handed a victory to the networks' owners, some of the biggest media companies in the world, in their fight to shut it down.
Test Drive T-Mobile on the IPhone 5s They’ll actually send you an iPhone in the mail so you can see if it runs any faster than your current phone. Then, just return it in good condition to a T-Mobile Store. It’s a bold move!
Keeping Cool-Good Reads Around The Web
Raising Responsible Digital Citizens
This is a very nice summary of what to do to help your kids stay safe. How to follow their digital footprints, teach simple tricks to stay safe.
Facebook is as white, male, and Asian as the rest of Silicon Valley Maxine Williams, Facebook’s Global Head of Diversity, discusses what Facebook is doing about the diversity issue.
Interview with Andrew Ng, Co-founder of Coursera, Director of Stanford’s AI Lab