Google Pixel Taking a Run at iPhone Users?

phone_hero-module_hero-image_1440_2xGoogle announced Google Pixel phones this week, focusing on how they incorporate Google Assistant seamlessly into the software and harping a lot on the quality of the camera, Google Duo (for Facetime/Skype-style calls) and the DayDream View VR headset.

So what’s the pitch on the Google Pixel? Is this interesting for Mac/iOS folks?

At first glance (and second and third) it’s amazing the similarities to the iPhone, including not just the look of the device, but the features Google is touting and even how it’s marketing the Pixel.

It seems to me that Google is taking control of the hardware and software experience with Android in a way that it never has, and the “feel” of that branding experience is very Apple-like. The rollout even focuses on how easy it is to switch to Pixel—something Apple has focused on for years.

(I noticed that, scrolling the Pixel’s page, there isn’t a cute little Android icon anywhere. The word “Android” shows up twice in the text and twice in footnotes. In other words, they’re burying “Android” in place of “Google.”)

The more I look at this, the more it looks like a play directly for Apple users—especially those of us who use a lot of Google products and could imagine being comfortable in that eco-system.

For those of us who are Gmail/Google Map/Google Calendar/Google Apps users… the thought becomes: ‘Maybe I’d be better off with a Google phone.’

(Check out this podcast discussion I had with Brian about the Pixel, another iPhone user.)

For some Apple users, it’s the chaos of the Android ecosystem that keeps us away from the lower-priced and sometimes better-equipped phones.

If Google can overcome that, they may have some switchers on their hands.

My Thoughts on Apple Watch

s1-42-alu-space-sport-black-gridA little after Christmas I started to see deals from Best Buy proclaiming $100 off the Apple Watch; in its earliest moments I’d written the watch off as too expensive for what I figured it would do for me.

Plus, I’d gotten to where I wasn’t wearing watches anymore, particularly since I spend so much time typing on a MacBook Air… with most watches end up taking off my watch for most of the day to keep from scratching the wrist rest.

But, given the discount, my obsessive-compulsive shopping sickness kicked in and a started watching the Best Buy site. Did I want all-black (er, “Space Gray”) or the white band with the silver face? I was determined to stick with the cheapest options—$249 for the basic watch with the aluminum case. (Stainless steel was attractive, but I shunned it.) I decided I’d go with the 38mm face because, I told myself, it’s not like the point is to show it off. I just want to see how it works for me.

When I finally pulled the trigger, I went for a refurbished space gray that dropped the price even further to around $225. I ordered it online and drove about 10 miles to Best Buy to collect it.

A comedy of errors ensued.

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My TiVo Roamio Experience with Comcast, Macs and iOS

courtesy TiVo
photo courtesy TiVo
  • Category: Hardware
  • URL: http://www.tivo.com/
  • Company: TiVo
  • Price: $199 TiVo Roamio + $19.99 month ($14.99 with 1-year commitment)

I keep thinking I’m a cord-cutter… and then comes football season.

Sometimes I feel like the Colin Firth/Jimmy Fallon’s character in Fever Pitch, because all throughout the winter and spring months I’m free to do anything I want on the weekends — work out, take long drives with Ms. D., visit the Farmer’s Market… and cut my cable back to those 13 super-basic channels (like no-tell motel cable) and then happily scrimp by with my Roku, Apple TV and some reasonably high-speed broadband. (I don’t know that I actually need both the Roku and Apple TV anymore, but I’ve maintained the habit of switching to the other when one “misbehaves.”)

But then here comes August — and the College Football headlines… and NFL preseason — and I tell myself I can handle it.

Nothing to worry about; I’m not even paying THAT much attention to the games. Look… I’m talking to people amicable during a pre-season Saints game.

And then, about a week before the season starts, I’m suddenly sitting on the phone and online chats for the better part of a day trying like hell to get the SEC Channel to turn on by 7:00 p.m. that evening.

By the next weekend, I’m installing a CableCard in a new (to me) TiVo Roamio so it could substitute for my cable box and spending another full Saturday afternoon calling hotline after hotline trying to get all my channels to show up on the damn thing…

And then on Sunday… I’m jumping up and down, poking my television, cussing like a drunk sailor and wonder WHAT IN THE $%&@ IS THAT REF THINKING?!…

But I digress. First things first… why did I go TiVo?

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Varsavsky: iPhone 6 vs any Android

iPhone 6 vs any Android

Interesting piece on LinkedIn: iPhone 6 vs any Android.

In it, the CEO of Fon (a global network of WiFi hotspots) talks about how he’s used Androids and iPhones side-by-side for a number of years, with the Androids generally winning out. Now, after his first experience with the iPhone 6, he says he believes he’ll be using the iPhone more than ever before.

Well I am here to report that my new iPhone 6 is the first phone since Android became competitive that beats any Android I now have. And currently I have anHTC M8, an S5, a Moto G, and a OnePlus One which is a very special yet buggy high end Android phone. Yes I am still hesitant about the non replaceable battery in the iPhone 6, I will have to test it will, see if I can last all day. But the iPhone 6 at 4.7in is the perfect size, it is incredibly beautiful, thin and light, it abandoned the “we are better keyboard dogma” and got SwiftKey, it allowed WiFi profiles that are almost as good as WiFi apps for Fon, it came with 128GB of memory so I can get a large supply of Spotify extreme quality songs and all the games for the kids they want.

Lefties Are Not Happy About The Apple Watch

Lefties Are Not Happy About The Apple Watch (h/t Buzzfeed).

This was the first thought I had when I saw the thing about using the crown to control it. (Silly me thought a “crown” was more of a bezel that went all the way around the watch. Like a diver’s watch or something.)

Now I’m thinking — that just won’t work! I’m left-handed, and I wear my watch on my right hand. If I ever have to use a “crown” I have to first take the watch off and hold it in order to change the date or wind it whatever.

Bezel would have been cooler.