Google’s modular Ara phones to go on public sale in Jan 2015 via configurator tool

ara

If you’re keen to get your hands on one of Google’s modular Ara phones, the bad news is you’re going to be waiting a while: the company has said at its first developer’s conference they won’t go on public sale until January of next year. You will, though, be able to configure your own phone using a Moto Maker style tool that will allow you to not only select your components but add customized colors and designs to them as you do …  Read more

HTC tries to woo U.S. customers with free screen damage cover in HTC Advantage program

Image: ggpht.com

Image: ggpht.com

For those who may be waiting to choose between the Samsung S5 and the new HTC flagship handset code-named the M8, HTC has a little sweetener for you: a free, one-time replacement of the screen if you break it within the first six months of ownership. The company is also promising to offer Android updates for two years.

Now when customers buy any HTC One they can rest assured their device will be future proofed, with major Android updates for 2 years from launch. And it’s nearly accident proof too, because we will replace a broken screen for free once within the first 6 months you own it—let’s face it accidents do happen and we want to keep your device in great condition …  Read more

Editorial: 2013 – A year (mostly) with(out) Google Glass

Seth-sergey-google-glass

I’m not always in full agreement with Wired’s Mat Honan, but his I, Glasshole piece definitely struck a chord with me and my mostly similar experiences with Google Glass.  I can agree with almost everything he’s said on the experience of owning and operating them, at least to an extent.

The biggest point to bring home is the outward awkwardness, but I wouldn’t characterize it as 100% negative across the board like Honan’s experience. He said that even in a room full of Wired writers he’s still ostracized for wearing them. That may be true, but at certain events like his Google event image, they felt pretty normal. I wasn’t at the one pictured, but at Google I/O every 4-5 people at the show were wearing them, even if Google’s own presenters weren’t.  No one was uncomfortable in that environment. I imagine it isn’t uncomfortable at Google or any number of the places that are beta testing the Glass in large numbers relative to the population.

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At home or in the general public, I agree – it is definitely jarring wearing them around. You get the same kind of attention that you’d get if you had a massive headwound at the grocery store or if you were waving a light saber around on the way to the coffee shop.  The attention isn’t entirely negative, but it is certainly one of discomfort and curiosity.  Some people ask about them and want to find out what the experience is like. I’ve let tons of people wear mine, and those who’ve tried have usually thought they were ‘cool’.

I’ve found a good way to mitigate the attention is to wear a low lying baseball cap coupled with the Oakley Blades wrap around shades attachment. With this setup, about 90% of the people don’t notice the Glass and just think you are some dork wearing Oakley Blades from 1987. Clearly, Google could innovate here – getting them on normal glasses hides the appearance. They’ve already promised a prescription lens attachement and even shown off some demos.

Screenshot 2013-12-31 08.49.48

The 2014 model Glass, as I am now calling them, won’t do much for the appearance.  The inclusion of a mono or stereo headset is just going to complicate the setup rather than simplify it.  Note the left stereo earpiece  comes out of the same right side hole as the right side ear piece.

I feel a little claustrophobic looking at them, and I imagine the final consumer version will have the earpiece coming out of either the back or the other side of the glasses.

Appearances aside, how does it work? Read more

Google releases Zeitgeist year-in-review showing top trends of 2013

Google does a lot well during the year, but perhaps one of the things Google does best is its year-end Zeitgeist. For the unfamiliar, Google’s Zeitgeist wraps up all the top searches for various categories during the 2013 calendar year in combination with a video, dedicated set of web pages and enough information to keep you interested for hours.

Read more

Google Glass can now officially play music – app available in MyGlass

music

Google has now added the Play Music app to the MyGlass page, allowing Glass users to use voice controls to play music through the device. The announcement was made by Google engineer Stephen Lau on Google+.

The Play Music APK was first spotted in the Glass XE11 update last month, and users were able to side load the app, but it was not officially listed by Google at the time. Now it is. As we explained then:

Once the app is loaded, simply say “OK Glass, listen to,” then the name of a song, artist, album, or playlist. A card will then pop up with results and allow you to specify what to play. A new card also stays pinned for further music control, including Play, Stop, Skip, Rewind, and volume control …  Read more