Amazon can't be too pleased with the first batch of Fire Phone reviews. The smartphone's more outlandish technology works, certainly - Dynamic Perspective tracks your face; Firefly snaps and searches for your products - but the takeaway nonetheless has been "so what?" Amazon can't complain too loudly, however: it only has itself to blame.
Apple was once the king of innovation. Ask anyone. When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone in 2007, his company was on top of the world. He had just announced the most forward-thinking device ever, his iPod was easily the most innovative music player on the market, and his computers were top-notch. Then the iPad launched and proved again that Apple was an innovation leader after topping competitors in the form factor.
Getting wearable critics cooing is difficult, but Motorola seems to have struck a nerve with the MOTO 360. The circular smartwatch may, at its heart, be simply another Android Wear device, yet its enthusiastic embracing of a new form-factor and the technologies to enable it have already cast a shadow over models from LG and Samsung. For once, buyers are planning to hold out and wait for the Motorola option, something increasingly rare in a market dominated by Apple and Samsung. In fact, you have to go a long way back in Motorola’s history to find anything similar: back to 2004, and the RAZR V3.
Amazon’s Fire Phone is a pretty cool piece of tech. It’s the right size, has a very respectable spec sheet, and the price is fair (not great). All that adds up to enough reason most people would want to snatch one up when it becomes available. In theory, I’d love to as well; here’s why I wont.
The digital world is hungry for your eyeballs, and the tools we have to manage and mitigate those potential distractions and filter through the most valuable information are looking increasingly inadequate. How many times has your smartphone buzzed or beeped in your pocket in the last five minutes? The demands on our attention are only going to get more frequent, and it’s time for a new breed of notification to address that.
WWDC 2014 is over, and while it may not have brought us new hardware, it did give iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite their official reveal, key software launches in Apple’s master plan. As is so often the case, though, the devil is in the details, and in among the developer sessions a picture of context, device ubiquity, and cross-platform identity gradually made itself clear; one which could have huge implications for Apple’s upcoming push into wearables.
Has Glass gone off the boil? Google's wearable launched in Explorer beta form to great fanfare, but privacy concerns, criticisms of "Glasshole" arrogance, and legitimate doubts about the value of what it actually offers have left the headset on questionable ground. I love the idea of wearables but I don't often put Glass on any more, which got me thinking: what could Glass do to make it a must-wear?
Third time looks to have been the charm for Microsoft, with the Surface Pro 3 proving to be a surprise hit among most reviewers - even those who are usually ardent Apple fans. As Vincent’s glowing judgement of the adaptable tablet suggests, there’s a lot of value to be found in a flexible form-factor. The glaring omission, though, is in not taking that flexibility to its logical conclusion: it wouldn’t take much for Microsoft to really tip Surface into must-have territory.