Android Wear, and smartwatches at large, were pitched to us with the promise of their becoming the indispensable "second screen" to our smartphones. Notifications, voice communication, smart home integration, highly contextual information and alerts - smartwatches were, in theory, the companion that could give us all the simple things that necessitated taking out our smartphone, but didn't actually require a large screen or access to a keyboard to accomplish.
Android Wear is coming up on its second birthday, and the decreasing number of compelling new Wear apps we see each month that aren't watch faces has actually led to us slowing the regular publication of our "new Wear apps and watch faces" series.
This rant isn't a long-coming, deep-think sort of article. It is, however, at least mildly timely. Soon, Apple will tell us how many people have bought an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus (or pre-ordered one) in the first weekend of sales. Or maybe they won't, if sales are down versus last year (because Apple). They'll also round it to the nearest million units, because something-something-sellthrough delay blah blah regional reporting issues, etcetera.
Surprisingly, for being the world's most notoriously secretive company, Apple is still among the most open about device sales - even though that's saying very, very little. Every fiscal quarter, we get to hear how many iPhones, iPads, and Macs Apple has shipped.
An Android version of Dungeon Keeper became available worldwide two days ago, and some of you took to the comments to express how you would never, ever, consider downloading another free-to-play game from EA. Imagine if all of your complaints were combined into a single YouTube video and bottled up into eight hilarious, rage-filled minutes. That's what Nerd3 has done for us. Be warned, the audio is pretty NSFW, even though the video is fine.
Certain actions in the game require players to wait a lengthy bit of time for them to complete, but there is the option to spend money to speed things up.
Yesterday, the CTIA (America's wireless carrier consortium / trade group) and the FCC announced that they'd come to an agreement on network unlocking of cell phones. Hooray! So, we're all getting unlocked phones from here on out, right? Obviously not - the CTIA has no interest in giving you that much freedom, so instead it's released a plodding, incremental evolution of most carriers' existing device unlock policies to satisfy people in Washington who apparently don't really understand the absurdity of network locking in the first place.
Under the new "rules," carriers subscribe to six basic obligations. Here they are, simplified and bulleted:
Somewhere on their respective websites, carriers have to post an unlocking policy.
This year, though, is a wasteland. The only new handsets launched were a couple of ruggedized Kyoceras with absolutely dismal specifications. And the show floor itself is insufferably dull - here's who doesn't have a booth at CTIA 2013.
It's 4 a.m., I just read the 6th mention of the same misleading story in the last 24 hours, and it's time for a rant.
Yesterday, several "independent" reports all claiming to arrive at the same conclusion at the same time (does anyone properly credit their sources anymore?) appeared on the web suggesting HTC had just (*gasp*) leaked two new Android 4.3 features: Bluetooth Low-Energy and OpenGL ES 3.0. And it's done so via a public meetup organized by the San Francisco Android User Group. HTC is so careless that they've just published not one but two unreleased features coming in the next version of Android and therefore protected by strict NDAs.
This has been brewing for a while, but I've had enough. As you may know, throughout the week, I keep an eye out for any new worthy Android apps to be rounded up and published for everyone to enjoy. An important part of this search is looking through the new apps list, for which I had chosen AppBrain - specifically, this RSS feed, which lists every app entering the Android Market.
As I've looked at these new apps day by day, I started noticing something peculiar. No, it wasn't the amount of fart apps and soundboards - those, while annoying, are still legitimate applications, which, thanks to Google's openness, deserve a place in the Market just like any other app.
After wiping the drool off our screens long enough to actually read Sprint’s press release for the EVO 4G, we found ourselves a bit put off by the 10$/month ‘Premium Data Charge’. Here’s the relevant excerpt from the release:
A $10 per month Premium Data add-on will apply allowing customers to take advantage of a richer data experience than ever before.
The way that the $10/month fee is presented in the press release seems to imply that it would only be applicable to those who can take advantage of Sprint’s 4G network, which is still in the process of rolling out in many parts of the country.