New Google Media Streamer Coming

ImageLatest news hitting the Tech sites is that a new streamer from Google is coming.  Sites are saying this could be the replacement for the Nexus Q that never made it to release.  Sites are saying this is the hardware to go along with the new ‘All Access’ Spotify-esque product that was released at Google IO last week.

My take on this is a little different, we have an updated Play Books with file upload functionality and a restyled interface, a new Play Music with extra features and a restyled interface, amendments to Google+ to match a new interface.  What we dont have is a new restyled Play Movies…..

So is there more changes afoot on Play for Movies.  I think so.  Play Movies hasn’t exactly broken new ground and the TV shows portion has only released in the US.  I think Google are ready to do something new with Movies to expand its reach.

What do I have to back this up?  A few small things that kind of add up

  1. From documents at the FCC we can tell the device was tested on a Dell monitor, odd if this is only a music device?
  2. The device is listed as a media device, not just music.
  3. Play Movies wasn’t updated with a matching interface to its sister apps, why not?
  4. Finally, no news at IO on Play Movies or Google TV.

Just guessing here but it all makes sense.

iPhone 5, hardware not looking very impressive so far….

Leaks are appearing on almost a daily basis now building up a good bit of steam for an announcement of a new iPhone device later in the year, the betting amongst you are probably pegging a September or October announcement.

From the noise of leaks what are probably and what is a best guess?

Based on cases (both build parts and covers) the unit is taller.  Leaks are pointing at a 4″ device which boosts what is probably the iPhone’s weakest area, the screen acreage.

Battery images have leaked recently showing a 1440mAh battery in a slim form factor as you would expect. More at Pocket-Lint.

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Credit to nowhereelse.fr

New port, yes you will have to stick some converters into your existing docks as the connector has gone from the huge 30 pin dust collector to a smaller connector, though still not micro-USB that would just be common sense …though admittedly would destroy a nice accessories business so that’s business I guess.

Its thin, I don’t mean world record thin, but thin enough that it will probably be pushed as a big buying point.  Not very existing in this day but something to add to the spec sheet.

They moved the audio jack port, why is still under discussion but its gone to the bottom now so well.  Nothing to get too excited about.

So what does this all mean, well if someone put them specs down in front of you as a S3 or One X owner you would think it was some also ran but as its the iPhone I am sure there will be great fanfare and excitement and some sad people with no friends will queue in the street.  In the end though this looks like a catch-up list.  4″ screens are almost a de facto standard now though the iPhone will have its Retina tech in their to make it more sparkly its certainly no 4.8 incher like the S3 or even near its older brother the S2 at 4.3″.

The battery seems lacking for an LTE device, its only a small step above its older brethren and not even in the same world as equivalent LTE devices running Android.  Either this battery is for a non-LTE device or Apple has something special on the software front to stop the battery drain.

The casing is not really anything of a design leap.  You still have your rounded corners, your home button and the odd looking volume buttons that seem a little retro in my eyes.  The port change is more cosmetic as the 30 pin port was a monster and as I have said before it is a lint magnet!  The new port looks better but at the price of upsetting existing dock users.

Overall nothing revolutionary, some tweaks to modernise it a little, and I do mean a little.  The screen is a mere 1 up on the old 3.5″ and the battery seems under-powered without knowing anything about the software.  The dimensions and casing are all OK but again nothing really ground breaking.

If this was a school report I think we would be seeing a ‘must try harder’ particularly as costs are being bandied about of a £600 handset!  OUCH!  Still people who can afford to buy Apple have plenty of money.

‘Suprising’ Samsung numbers…..explained?!?

Some interesting news from the witch drowning court case between Samsung and Apple.  It would appear from the sales figures that the best selling phone from Sammie is the…..drumroll please……Samsung Galaxy Prevail!  OK I know you are probably thinking the same as Gizmodo, whats that piece of crap.  Let me try to explain something that the bloggers and news sources seem to be missing.

Once upon a time there were a lot of devices which we now call feature phones, these are basically ‘crap’ compared to anything made within the last 5 years.  Now think about your folks, your grandparents, old Mrs Smith from number 45, most of them probably have a feature phone and like all good ol folk they want to keep it because ‘There is nothing wrong with it, it makes calls and I can text’.  These people aren’t changing for anybody, the cash in their pocket is more important than some shiny Apple logo or marketing lights.

Roll on a couple of years and the feature phones are a disappearing race.  Now the lower end of the market features cheapy Android devices, and lo and behold the Galaxy Prevail shows its face.  All those millions of feature phones that have sat in dusty desk drawers for years are now being replaced due to failure, bad batteries, whiny kids telling there Mums to ‘get with it’.  The first thing old Mrs Smith from number 45 does is the old ‘sort by price’ and buys the cheapy phone whilst thinking I am getting all this new touch screen stuff and a colour screen, its all win win.

Now this is just my theory, carriers are pushing Smartphones for the obvious cash cow of data and feature phones are dropping out of the bottom slot as they target third world markets to keep the money rolling in for the likes of Nokia.  This leaves an obvious market to be sell to and Samsung are no Apple, they will sell to anyone who will buy and make devices for all sections of the market.

Mrs Smith has her smartphones, carriers have more smartphones out there using data (hopefully) and Samsung are selling a boatload of devices at the bottom end of the smartphone segment, hats off to them they know their target audiences.

Nexuses or Nexii?

The goalposts are moving fast at the moment, the latest rumours now indicate that ASUS are still in the game but so are many others!  We are now expecting five Nexus devices to appear and it looks as though Google will be doing the selling via its Play Store.  Now this is all very interesting on several fronts:

  1. Google is going to start selling devices again, now Motorola is a member of house Google they might feel that its time to bring control of devices, specs, Android rolloouts, UI overlays etc in-house and allow Android to run as it was meant to.
  2. Is this the beginning of the end of cheap smartphones.  On the cards for a while now with some carriers voicing the way the system works and customers expecting the latest and greatest every 24 months for next to nothing.  What with Apple now also taking a bite out of the carriers on pricing its maybe time to rethink this madness and buy an off-the-shelf device from Google and then go tariff shopping after the event.
  3. We are all still friends!  The Google Motorola purchase hasn’t alienated any of the brotherhood of Android and the likes of ASUS and also rumoured Nexus champion Samsung are still welcome to the Nexus party.

The next question is what devices will we see?  The blogs are all talking smartphones but I think we will see the fabled ASUS/Google tablet appear as well under the Nexus name and maybe something in the tablet form from Samsung as well……roll on Google IO.

Sunday Rant: There can be only one!

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It would seem that the smartphone blogs and tech sites are now talking about the Asus Google tie-up but there is a twist on the story.  The initial thoughts on a $199 Nexus slate has been ditched in favour of a $149 product, the reasoning is simple, goodbye Tegra 3……poor nVidia,  If this news is true then the line-up has changed again:

1) Apple: We have the ‘new iPad’ (its a 3 damnit!) which people can’t tell the difference from the old one, priced out of the stratosphere as you would expect from Apple.

2) Amazon: $199 buys you and Kindle Fire Android tablet without the Google bit.  Over 4.7 million sold and surely putting a wee dent in iPad sales judging from the fact there is plenty of stock about for the new iPad.

3) Google: A $149 Nexus tablet might be what the people are looking for, sure the Fire is nice but people want their Google bits, I know I do!

4) The rest:  That’s all them OEMs that have struggled from Day 1 to get some sales, Samsung leads the pack but there are plenty of other players wanting a piece of the action including Toshiba, Lenovo and many small players on the budget end.

So what does this mean for the market as a whole, well tablets are selling well as PC sales stagnate.  Expect to see more tablets appearing in peoples hands over this year as the price points come down.  The iPad will always be a player but at the moment they are conceding the budget end of the market to the other players.  Google just needs to get its foot in the door and a $149 is a sure fire way of making it happen.  Apple’s share of the market is dwindling away to an array of devices but we will wait and see if a small form-factor device such as the rumoured 7″ iPad arrives to fend them off.

ASUS to join the Nexus?

Asus LogoThe latest news on the blogosphere is that Asus are to be the new darling of Google in the launch of the first Nexus branded tablet.  Asus already had a tablet kicking about in a 7″ form factor and at a nice price point for the buying public at $249, although it has not yet hit the shelves.  It would appear that Google might want to go one better, shaving $50 off the price and rebranding it into a Nexus.  This then puts 3 tablets head-to-head, The Kindle Fire (and if rumour would have it Kindle Fire 2), the iPad ‘Mini’ or whatever they want to call it and Google’s latest offspring from a union with Asus.  There is still all to play for in this market with Apple having the lions share but the Fire from Amazon showing that there are buyers out there if the price is right.  If Google could launch internationally with a Nexus tablet at $199 anything could happen!  Amazon has so far sat on its hands regarding international availability of the Fire…….we in the UK are still waiting on what happens next.

Android Market = Google Play

Google PlayGoogle have made another step in the world of digital delivery.  The Android Market has now become Google Play, you get to ‘play music’, ‘play movies’, ‘play apps’…..and…..er….’play books’.  OK so its not great but it does remove the Android which means it won’t all be about Android going forward?  From the video Google posted up it would seem like that’s their thinking.  Consuming movies and books across platforms as you go about your day-to-day tasks.  Now sort out Google TV and get it launched across the pond!  As for the logo, well its a play icon and not too shabby if I do say so myself.  Watch this space I am sure Google has more up its sleeve.