I made another appearance on this weeks episode of GeekWire Radio here in Seattle, Washington, keeping my streak alive as the person with the most guest appearances in GeekWire Radio history! In this episode, which also features Eyewitness News reporter Essex Porter (pictured with me above, and a huge Windows Phone advocate), we talk about a couple of recent Gear Live stories, including:
- iPhone 6 4.7-inch design preview
- iPhone 6 5.5-inch design preview
- Exclusive: I used the Microsoft Surface watch
I brought in the two iPhone 6 mockups in both 4.7- and 5.5-inch varieties, which made for some good conversation. We also chat about the news of the week, which included the release of the Amazon Fire Phone, and we also had a discussion about what Microsoft needs to do to make Windows Phone more accepted by the general consumer. You can listen to the show now by grabbing the MP3 below, or hitting play in the widget.
Read More | GeekWire Radio (MP3)
Yes, it’s true—Microsoft is about to get into the smartwatch game, and I got the opportunity to play with it. As we'd previously reported, Microsoft has filed a patent that details a smartwatch. However, often these patent filings aren’t exactly what we see companies end up releasing. So, let’s separate the cruft and get to the meat of the matter. A number of months ago I took a trip to New York where I came across someone who was testing the upcoming Microsoft wearable device. I saw it on their wrist and asked about it. They tried to explain that it was a random fitness wristband ordered from China at first, but eventually (with some prodding) gave me the scoop. Here is your exclusive first look at what Microsoft is planning for its first wearable smart device, what we are referring to as the Surface Watch:
- As far as looks, the image above is a parody, but not far off. It has an elongated form factor, but isn't as comically large as what's in the image. It is much more akin to something like the Fitbit One or Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit in shape rather than taking on the shape of a traditional watch, like Pebble did, or like what Google showed off with Android Wear. What we saw had a flat display, while the inner portion that would rest against your skin was curved.
- The icons are the flat style that Microsoft has been using on its other devices like Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Xbox One. That's what tipped me off in the first place.
- Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy is how it interacts with the rest of the world
- The flat glass display, and was definitely not high resolution. We hope that both of these change in the final product--a high-resolution curved display already exists on the Samsung Gear Fit, and the Microsoft device just didn't look as good.
- The watch is packed with sensors. It has a heart rate monitor, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS, and most interestingly, a galvanic skin response sensor all built-in. The galvanic skin response sensor is built into the watch band, while everything else is built into the unit itself.
Industry sources are aligning, and it appears that Apple is prepping to release its first wearable watch (which many are referring to as the iWatch) this October. According to Re/code and Nikkei, Apple is planning a special event to debut and show off all the features of the new device in October--by our own estimation, this would be a month after the iPhone 6 and iOS 8 launch, and could be within the same timeframe that Apple launches the new Touch ID-enabled iPads.
People familiar with Apple's plans tell Re/Code the company hopes to schedule a special event that month to show off the device, which is designed to make good use of the HealthKit health and fitness information-gathering app it recently showed off at WWDC. Could things change between now and fall? That's certainly possible. But right now October is the target date.
We've been hearing about the rumored fall release of the iWatch for months, while simultaneously also hearing that it might be pushed back to 2015. Now that more reliable sources are in on the reports, it looks like things are coming together. Nikkei is also reporting that the device will sport a curved OLED touchscreen display, and will heavily focused on integrating with the new Health app in iOS 8, tracking things like calories burned, sleep activity, blood oxygen levels, and other fitness-related data.
As rumored, Apple has announced its iOS 8 health initiative during the WWDC 2014 keynote. The new Health app will work with a developer API bundle called HealthKit. In iOS 8, apps will be able to report your health data to a centralized location, allowing you to see all the information and stats from different apps all in the same area. Further, you'll be able to choose if you'd like to share health data from one app to another.
Apple announced that Nike and the Mayo Clinic are two of the first to be working on HealthKit integration, while also picturing a Withings blood pressure monitor. Not much more has been announced about the new Health app for iOS 8 yet, but we're sure we will hear more about it closer to the release of iOS 8 release.
Hot on the heels of the announcement that Apple is buying Beats, the company has announced the brand new Beats Solo2 on-ear headphones, the latest in the Beats by Dr. Dre line. Touting a newly-refreshed physical design alongside improved sound quality, Beats Electronics says that the new Solo2 model will offer “a wider range of sound and enhanced clarity.” It's a good thing, too, as many have complained about the Beats by Dr. Dre line having bass-heavy sound that loses the highs and mids.
If wearing previous models of Beats headphones was something you found to be a chore, you should know that the Beats Solo2 has also been redesigned with a new look that's said to also be more comfortable thanks to better weight distribution and a memory foam-like material in the larger ear cups that should make them feel cooler and put less of a hard squeeze on your ear lobes.
You can pick up the new Beats Solo2 now. They're available in pink, grey, white, blue, and red for $199.
Read More | Beats Solo2 Heaadphones
Google wants you to get them while they are hot. Google Glass has made its public premiere, but the company warns that its inventory is limited. When it opened a preliminary sale last month Google burned through the overwhelming majority of its Glass inventory in a single day and were forced to close up shop.
Since then Google has been building up its supply of the long-anticipated gadget. And as of Wednesday morning, they have announced open season on the Google Glass Explorer edition. It's still in the beta, but Google wants this to be its open test, as they announced via company blog this morning.
The Explorer carries a pretty heavy price tag: $1,500 in its current form. It's certainly outside of my range, so it looks like I won't be getting one just yet. Google says it plans a more widespread release of the Glass later this year. If that's the case, we're curious if the price will stay the same, and if not, how the company will handle the unhappiness of those who may have paid much more.
Want your own pair right now? Hit the link below!
Read More | Google Glass
Remember the scene in Batman Begins where Christian Bale takes a taser directly to his bat armor and doesn't flinch? If you found that pretty cool then get excited, because this same borderline-superhuman ability can be yours. Hackaday user Shenzhen claims to have developed a way to make stun gun-proof clothing.
You won't look as intimidating as the Batman but you can get away with more style since just about any piece of clothing can be converted into high tech shock-armor. You just need a layer of carbon fiber, and that's widely available, given that it is commonly used in upholstery fabric at under $20 per yard.
With the smartphone being a huge success, companies like Samsung and Sony got the idea to make it smaller and wrist mounted, creating the Galaxy Gear and Sony Smartwatch lines respectively. Now Microsoft has decided to muscle into the game, registering its patents with the U.S. Government this week.
The application filed with the patent office describes the wearable as a music player, phone, message device, and fitness measuring device. The watchface would be detachable from the wristband so that it can be connected to a charging port.
The features described are still speculation, and no date has been stated for release. Microsoft is up against competition from Samsung, who released their product last year, Motorola, which plans to release the Moto 360 in July, and Pebble, which has already sold over 400,000 units.
Sunglasses are one of the items that are easy to leave behind and lose, and Tzukuri Eyewear is looking to make that problem a thing of the past by using iBeacon technology. Imagine, if you will, a pair of shades with an iBeacon embedded into its frame that your iPhone connects to and is aware of. Since the iPhone can tell the distance of the beacon signal, you get a notification letting you know that you left your sunglasses behind. You can see just how far away from you they are as long as you are still in range of the iBeacon signal. Pretty cool, right?
The Tzukuri Eyewear models of sunglasses are made using 3D analysis so that they look good on more faces than the average pair. They have six designs in three sizes, each of which is handcrafted in Japan and incorporate high-quality anti-scratch, polarized lenses with 100% UV protection.
The Fitbit Force is, in my opinion, the best FitBit to date. All the power of the Fitbit One, but strapped to your wrist with a nice OLED display (unlike the Fitbit Flex.) The Fitbit One is a great fitness tracker, but it's small enough to lose easily. Having the Fitbit Force on your wrist is just super convenient. The battery lasts over a week as well. We give you a look at the package and what's included with the Fitbit Force in this episode.
You can pick up the Fitbit Force now.
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