Wearing it on your sleeve

Android Watches

Google have recently a new version of Android for “wearables” specifically watches, Android Wear.

“That’s why we’re so excited about wearables—they understand the context of the world around you, and you can interact with them simply and efficiently, with just a glance or a spoken word.”

Wearables have been on the horizon for a while now. Rumours have abounded for a while about Apple’s iWatch and we have seen devices such as the Pebble which interact with your phone. Google have been “playing” with Google Glass in the US.

It’s interesting that Google see the next step is a watch.

Back in the 1980s the digital watch was incredibly popular, everyone I knew had or wanted a Casio watch, a watch that did so much more than just tell the time.

Today the watch hasn’t evolved, most people I know either don’t wear a watch or have retrograded to a “traditional” watch. In most respects, people see a digital watch as cheap and tacky!

If you though take a moment, though we are anticipating Android watches and Apple’s iWatch, there have been a few wearable technologies over the years already. The iPod nano was for many people a wearable, either attached to the arm when jogging or as a watch. Nike have their Fuelband and then there is the Fitbit.

The main difference with those devices compared to the anticipated smart watches, was they had limited functionality. The iPod nano was in the main, a music player, whilst the Nike Fuelband is about recording physical activity. You also have devices like the Pebble that aren’t isolated devices, but work in conjunction with your smartphone.

The newer anticipated devices, look like to be powerful multi-functional devices. You can see some of the concepts in devices such as Google Glass.

Mobile phones in the 1990s were in the main for making phone calls and sending SMS, some had a calculator, but generally they were limited single function devices. When you look at the Android phones and iPhones that we have today, these are cameras, gaming consoles, internet communication devices, video devices, as well as a device for making phone calls and sending SMS.

Generally when a device becomes more functional and flexible, the more useful it is for a wider range of uses and contexts.

So are you going to get a “wearable”?

Instagram for Android

I’ve been a fan of Instagram (for iOS) for a long time. So I am pleased to see (finally) a version of Instagram for Android.

A beautiful way to share your world. It’s fast, free and fun!
Pick from one of several gorgeous filtered effects to breathe a new life into your mobile photos. Transform everyday moments into works of art you’ll want to share with friends and family.

Share your photos in a simple photo stream with friends to see – and follow your friends’ photos with the click of a single button. Every day you open up Instagram, you’ll see new photos from your closest friends, and creative people from around the world.

The app is not that easy to find in the Google Market Place so use this link which will take you direct to the app on your Android device.

The app as you might expect works in a similar vein to the iOS device. There are some subtle differences, but you’ll only notice them if you use both versions on a regular basis.

Instagram for Android #366photos

There are the same effects you find in the iOS app, and as my Google Nexus One has a pretty decent camera you get some good quality images.

If you have an Android device, well worth a look.

So it’s not a Jelly Donut…

Well my prediction that the next version of Android, after Ice Cream Sandwich was to be called Jelly Donut was a little wide of the mark. It’s going to be called Jelly Bean.

Unlike earlier names, that were puddings, this name is a type of candy!

Makes it more difficult to guess the next name, the obvious choice is Key Lime Pie. However if Google are using candy names, then it could be anything…

Won’t be Krispy Kreme to Kit Kat though, as they are trademarks.

Jelly Donut

sufganiyot (jelly donuts)

In May I wrote a blog post on the names Google gives the major releases of Android.

The latest release is Ice Cream Sandwich which means that the next release will begin with J.

Looking back over the list so far…

Ice Cream Sandwich

My prediction is that the next version of Android will be called Jelly Donut.

Android Screengrabbing Failure

Reading a tweet recently from an Android user that a recent update to their phone now allowed them to make screengrabs. Alas that is still not the case with the Google Nexus One.

I was pleased to hear that Skitch, the screen grabbing app that I use on my Mac was coming to Android, disappointed to find out that it doesn’t actually take screenshots.

At the moment I am using the Android SDK to take screenshots, which is workable, but not when you are in the field. I recently for example needed to take some screenshots of a photo app, the only way I could do it was by pointing the camera at photos on the screen of my Mac! Not very authentic and didn’t really demonstrate the power of the camera app.

I am hoping that Google will realise the value of screenshots and how easy it is on the iPhone and make it part of Android in the future.