Home kit is finally launching but what problem is being solved?

 

I’m an early adopter. I’ve had connected home products for almost 10 years some that have required professional installation and some more recently that I’ve installed and updated myself. 

As MacRumors notes … 

HomeKit provides a standardized framework for manufacturers that develop home automation products, letting them interface with the Apple ecosystem and with each other. Through HomeKit, connected devices like lights, thermostats, speakers, smart plugs, and more can be controlled by Siri. For example, HomeKit enables commands like “Siri, turn off my lights,” or “Siri, turn the temperature up before I get home.” 

Though HomeKit was announced in 2014, it has taken nearly a year for companies to complete Apple’s certification process and get products ready for store shelves. Several companies like iDevices, Schlage, and Elgato have previously announced plans for HomeKit-compatible products, but until today, no products were ready to launch. 

The first three companies to announce completed HomeKit-compatible products that will be available for purchase shortly are Lutron, iHome, and Elgato. Lutron is debuting its Caséta Wireless Lighting Starter Kit with Smart Bridge, while iHome is announcing its iSP5 SmartPlug, and Elgato is launching its “Eve” connected home sensors. Ecobee and Insteon also announced new HomeKit-compatible products today. 

Sounds pretty cool on the surface, right? Wait until you get this stuff into your house. Have a partner or some kids?  Many activities aside from lighting timers are generally more complex and slower than simply taking a simple physical action. Recipes and macros are certainly interesting but tend to be a bit too complex for the average bear. 

And the kicker is that things fail and get out of sync pretty easily. A binary switch that’s been flipped because someone in your house has already intuitively known how to turn lights on and off immediately kills your smartphone superpower. And get ready to re-sync devices on the network as things misfire. 

Don’t get me wrong I love this stuff. I’m actually quite excited for a more open standard and believe that Google’s Brillo and Weave will assist here. Presumably Homekit devices will also work across protocol as many smart home products do today but again this stuff is far from bulletproof. I haven’t  seen anything from Apple that shows they’ve got the software and services chops to fix an array of devices hanging on the network. I’m certainly ready to be impressed …

Google’s sense of design for the future

materialdesign_introduction

It seems almost crazy to see a massive piece on Google design given the history but if you’ve been using Android recently you’ve probably noticed some great things. I’ve discussed the differences between iOS and Android quite a few times and the more you use things on both platforms the more things that might seem like small details start to add up …

Examples like these happen everywhere in iOS, and they’re painfully obvious when compared to Lollipop, the latest version of Android. There, your notifications appear in a drawer, again from the top of the phone. But every one takes you directly to an action inside an app, making it foolproof to get into maps or Uber or Facebook. There’s intelligence behind what you see: A algorithm that invisibly figures out what notifications are most important to you, and serves those up first. There are hardly any chances to swipe wrong. You won’t end up in a place you hadn’t expected. In so many places, Android is so much more logical, the details so much more alive. Tapping any button sends a wash of color across the screen, like a ripple across a pond—a smart way of underscoring your taps, while hiding the teensy bit of lag that occurs as you wait for app to response.

Such attention to detail used to be Apple’s thing. Today, that distinction falls to Google. Unveiled last year, Material Design—Google’s evolving design language for phones, tablets, and desktop—offers relentless consistency in interactions; invisible rules that govern everything, so that every app feels familiar; and beauty in the service of function. It’s why so many designers will tell you, as they’ve told me, “I just like Android better.” Whereas iOS is still inching along without improving much, Google is creating a coherent, unified language that easily scales across phones, with enough flexibility to jump to watches and cars. “It’s not even about composing a UI in one place,” says Nicholas Jitkoff, who helped lead the creation of Material Design. “It’s about composing interactions from one device to the next.”

FastCo Design

When I woke up this morning there were over 100 notifications on my iPhone lockscreen from Google Photos which is processing the 90,000+ photos uploading from our home computer.  There were quite a few additional bits from other apps like email and news I use but a single action of opening / unlocking the device and they are all gone … Forever. On android things are nicely packaged together and importantly are not destroyed if I swipe in or act upon a single piece.

IMG_1670

The considerations that have evolved in Material Design and that consider to evolve are very clearly focused on the ever changing waybin which we use our devices. It’s easy to say there is copying going on between the two key platforms but that misses the important nuances that really highlight the focus Android has on enhancing the real user experience.

Nokia. If you can’t beat ’em …

Clone them.

The Nokia N1 is a pretty gorgeous looking Android version of the iPad mini and something Nokia should have done a while back – both as a tablet and as a phone. Android is something that could have easily enabled Nokia to extend themselves well into Apple led smartphone universe of today. But that friends, is water under the bridge.

Of note here are the new USB type-C connector which works in both directions (like lightning) and that manufacturing resides with Foxconn. Could this be a new more nimble Nokia?

Should be interesting to see what happens when this launches in China in February. I’d probably choose this over the Nexus 9 if I was looking at Android tablets …

via The Verge

Google Fit vs Apple Health

Google_fit1Apple_Health

Google Fit was only released today and so far there aren’t any additional services to connect for data, but it’s considerably easier to understand when you look at the initial dashboard.  I can see clearly what I’ve been up to and know where I stand in context of my goal (1hr default).  I’d love to get my data from Jawbone, Strava and others going in here as well …

In the next screenshot I’ve tapped for graph details and really like how my activities are aligned so I can get a sense of how the day has progressed.  I find the Apple Health graphics to be pretty weak and the data to be less than helpful without a lot of taps.

Google_fit

LG G watch R looks nice but …

LG_G_Watch_R___Official_Product_Video_-_YouTube

… Someone might want to help LG understand the difference between hiking and biking.  I snapped that screenshot from their product video which just released.  Looks like a handsome watch for sure and has a full circle screen unlike the almost circle Moto 360.  Pricing will be higher than other Android Wear devices at close to $300 when it’s released, but still less than starting price for the Apple Watch (which seems to do more but obviously isn’t out yet).

Full video is here: