Category Archives: mobile

Nintendo

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Everything You’re Thinking About Nintendo Is Totally Wrong | Game|Life | Wired.com.

Interesting read.

I agree … more, easily accessible content would only make my kids want more not less Nintendo.  They (all three) are very happy to play games on our Wii U and generally do together while they play games on mobile alone, but nearby.  They seem to get more fun naturally out of the shared experience and Nintendo needs to work a bit more to deliver this consistently — and at a price that parents like me would want to continuously pay.  $5 for Rayman Fiesta on Mobile and $60 for the Wii U DLC is a pretty massive disparity for starters … but importantly more easy to download games for their 3DS and easier cheaper, but strong historical (and even new) content on the Wii U could be killer.

Is Mobile Hurting Attention?

There’s some magic peace that comes over me when I’m not constantly looking at my iPhone. I really noticed it after two weeks of not doing it. After a few days of withdrawal, the calm appears. My brain is no longer jangly, the dopamine effect of “hey – another email, another tweet” goes away, and I actually am much faster at processing whatever I’ve got on a 27? screen than on a little tiny thing that my v47 eyes are struggling to read.  My Smart Phone Is No Longer Working For Me – Feld Thoughts.

Mobile is so good, yet also so far from fully delivering the right contextual relevance to avoid being a continuous distraction rather than assistant. Part of this is our own weakness with regard to notifications, but part of it is technology and that will hopefully be solved soon enough. I think this is beyond mobile as well but since that’s what stays in-hand all the time it’s the most important.

Unapologetically plastic.

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The past few days I’ve been using a blue iPhone 5C courtesy of work. It’s just a loaner and it’s been an interesting return to iOS after quite a few months of being entirely on Android. Some thoughts …

  • Solid. Plastic or not the 5C feels great in your hand.
  • Size matters. One one hand the iPhone is quite small in comparison to any recent top end android device. Typing feels a bit cramped by comparison though you get used to it. The iPhone is still largely focused on and delivers a single hand experience.
  • Responsiveness. More than general speed the iPhone has a responsive gestalt and it’s a pleasure to use in most circumstances. I found myself wanting to use it more often than my other devices. Time will tell as it’s far from perfect but really such a well considered and designed device. My last active iPhone was the 4S for reference … It’s sitting in my briefcase – updated to iOS 7 but essentially gathering dust.
  • Flow. I’m really acclimated to the android way and find the lack of app addressability beyond what apple dictates to suck. That I can’t share content to any number of apps beyond apple’s very short list hurts. Intents are an amazingly powerful function of android and it’s hard to operate without them.
  • Camera. Damn this is a nice little shooter. I can easily flick the camera open from behind the screen lock- something android makes impossible with exchange security on! One hand use really comes into play as it’s super simple to grab a shot on the go. I snapped a few pics while biking yesterday in a reasonably safe manner and would have not considered this on android without first removing my exchange account or working through a more complex root based hack. Pictures look great of course and the gallery is super fast and a visible from the usual photo apps. I do miss being able to send via a reviewed pic … Again intents are amazing with android.
  • typing. While the keyboard is a bit cramped at first the screen is so damned responsive and the auto correct generally friendly that you can sweep through longer email, note or post (like this) very easily. I read over the weekend that the scene response time on iPhone is substantially greater than the current crop of android devices and typing – something I do constantly receives a huge boost!
  • battery. The battery is terrible on this phone though sadly I have such low expectations at this point. I’m at 60% now at 9:10am. Going to be impossible for this to last a full day without some intervention.

I got a fresh start on iOS 7 with the 5C and have to say it works great. There are many improvements though largely it’s just iOS. I like it.

I’m not really in the market for a new phone but see the 5C selling a zillion. My pic would be the 5S without even seeing it as I would want the extra power, better camera and I’m very interested in the motion sensor.

When the cloud fails

As much as I enjoy open access to my data and content of interest there have actually been a few recent circumstances where the cloud could simply not deliver. For the average person living in a well connected market with limited travel needs, streaming your data works great. What I’ve encountered though has made me consider a more aggressive local plan as well.

I just got back from vacation on the Adirondacks where connectivity is poor at best. During the drive up we lost connectivity briefly and then on arrival to our rental home, found ourselves on edge… And slow edge as well. The rental home has satellite connectivity from a company called Wild Blue so there was WiFi in the house but the inbound speed was mainly slower than the edge connection as well. Having such a slow connection requires you to make decisions about what you might want to do online as everything takes time which we essentially take for granted living the land of high speed broadband and 4G.

Using AppleTV for streaming Netflix … Not an option. Spotify … Not so much. Even downloading or trying to steam podcasts was a tricky or delayed affair. For the most part the lack of connectivity wasn’t horrible … In fact forcing the change can be quite nice. There are definitely times though when the connection posed an issue… Driving in the car lately I’ve been enjoying Waze. The realtime map data is awesome and quite helpful. When your connection drops however the app can not only be unreliable but the lost connection can actually make navigation impossible. Google Maps allows for pre-loading the area you want but without any real speed in your connection that’s also quite a challenge.

If you follow me on any of the social services you know I share a lot. At this point sharing is habitual and just part of my information flow. When your connection barely works though you have to make pretty regular decisions rather than more seamlessly flow things back out. My pictures backup to Facebook and Google+ but on edge the process takes hours (yes hours) to happen and then you need to have a much more restrained view if you want to share a gallery vs one or two pics at a time.

Even in more connected environments… Like Westchester where I live the connection can also pose a challenge. Just this morning, I fired up Waze while driving my kids to school. Because the signal was poor my location never activated and instead of a helpful look around, I got a floating look at the area because the phone could not lock things in. Up in the Adirondacks if the signal dropped long enough Waze would actually crash and even though it would want to restart my navigation without a network lock, it was rendered pretty useless as the map never loaded. The car nav BTW worked without any fuss… As did Sirius radio.

Back at home and commuting back and forth to NYC, I’m regularly in range of LTE and stream content, update my apps on the go and basically use my devices as they were designed.

Future trips are going to require me advanced planning so I can cache things I might need or want …

A forced change to my information diet

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I just un-pinned and closed my Google Reader tab in Chrome.  From the day it started in 2005, Reader became my indisputable, reliable source for the rather intensive volume of information I consume daily.

Today there’s a void in my process.  I’ve yet to find a true replacement though I’ve tested what I believe is all of the contenders and really have yet to find anything that’s quite ready to be called the new champion.  For me Google Reader, was all about efficiency.  It was ridiculously quick, worked across all my screens without a sync process (thank you web) and provided an unending stream of information.  Over the years my process evolved from a structured view with folders into a more simple river of news approach.  While I started viewing things by topic I found that simply going to “view all” led to a much richer flow and tended to reveal some rather serendipitous finds.

Today, I’m still bouncing through Digg Reader, AOL, Reader, Feedly, Feedbin, Ridly, FeedRebel, NewsBlur, Feedspot, The Old Reader and while some have some redeeming qualities, I definitely miss Reader.  Over the years I’ve supplemented my Reader usage with some sharp daily email newsletters, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ … These sources remain just that, supplements.  Unfortunately, the main source is still a work in progress.

While Feedly retains perhaps the truest view of how my Reader was structured just feels heavy by comparison with a focus on making things pretty over the core usage.  They’ve made rapid progress since the Reader announcement and we’ll hopefully see some continued progress.  Digg and AOL have made remarkable strides in an even shorter timeframe and I’m hoping Digg develops the right solution.  Digg is clean and works quickly, but still needs some key things like viewing just unread items (seriously), a much quicker feed update, better sort and search.  I also really like the social end, integration with Pocket and am enjoying the Digg revival.  AOL is also pretty clean and quick and does support search … Apparently the API is ready to roll as well.

On mobile which is a primary use case for me given my commute I’m working through a few different things … I don’t like the Feedly mobile client at all so I’m using it’s sync backend with Reader HD on Android, but also dabbling with Age of Mobility’s Ridly app which is basically the same thing with a different backend.  Their web version needs some work, but they could potentially evolve as the fuller solution.

Until there’s a real replacement for my evolving habits I’ve got more work and testing ahead …

Our Ambient Glanceable Future is Arriving now

I’ve written about the Pebble Smartwatch a few times now so it should be no secret to existing visitors that I’m a big fan.  At SXSW, I attended the Google Glass presentation and it was there that  the dots really started to connect for me … The key takeaway I found from the Glass presentation was that it’s designed to be transient in nature.  The goal is not to design content units that require longer fixed attention to consume, in fact much of what we saw was designed for either a quick glance or a quick reply.  This is very similar to the Pebble and I believe this really is how things are evolving – and for the better.

This past week I attended the NY Quantified Self Meetup where I shared some thoughts and observations on the current landscape and I see a natural progression to a more lightweight sense of the world around us.  Quantified self technologies are becoming mainstream.  As was noted in a recent QS blog post there are roughly 22 different things you can buy today in an Apple store which fall into the quantified self arena:

apple_store_QS_tools

Even more recently, Samsung announced quite an array of accessories for the upcoming Galaxy S IV:

Samsung S-Health

 

As you can in that slide, Samsung has a wrist band, heart rate monitor and scale all designed to be paired with the phone and its accompanying applications and services.  Given the volume of S III Sales (between 30 and 40 MM units to date) I think it’s reasonable to assume the next generation will be met with continued success.  This isn’t about the phone though it’s about the potential for reaching a scaled market with these measurement tools … and importantly how things like this can be played back to the user.

I see a natural progression here.  As people get accustomed to more readily understanding themselves, they are likely to seek a broader understanding and even control of the world around them … and this leads to more connected products and services.  Whether you are tracking your suitcase once it’s been checked, remotely unlocking your front door or even just having a fun family vacation at Disney, connectivity and the value of the data can provide comfort in knowledge or provide access to a higher level of service.

With my Pebble usage as a proxy, I can see how regular bite-size updates, suggested measurement times and general awareness of my world have provided a benefit.  As I noted recently

  1. I love having my phone on permanent silent.
  2. I love being able to quickly glance down to see what’s happening when I get a buzz on my wrist and getting just enough info to know whether I should take action or not.
  3. I love giving more attention back to the people I’m with rather feeling compelled to the phone.

I’m more connected to the world around me.  Literally.  I feel more able to focus in the moment more often.  While I’m certainly still looking to my phone or other screens, it’s with less urgency and I generally know what to expect, what I need to respond to and find few surprises when I unlock the screen.

The next phase of this will be more contextual and we are seeing this evolution in apps already with things like Friday that collect your activities to build a semantic timeline, Tempo and Sunrise adding helpful details like contact info and directions to our calendars, app integration with Foursquare, and Highlight etc.  With a little 3rd party assistance I’m actually getting quite a bit of this (not the iOS apps) pushed onto my Pebble.  As soon as I saw the details of Glass in that SXSW presentation, I saw the connection and got very excited.  Glass represents a very clear opportunity for this to be taken to the next level.  While the Pebble is really a great little device, it’s 1.0 and Glass even in its early state could take the perspective to 2.0.  I’m in no way suggestion or looking for a constant heads up display, but the transient, glanceable datastream on something like Glass seems like it would be incredible empowering.

I just wish I’d submitted a #ifihadglass entry.