02Apr

What's hot in technology

Bob Pritchard – master salesman and strategist – talks about “what’s hot”

Wearables…Google Glass

My big issue with wearables like Google glass and smart watches is that they are so bloody unattractive. Well maybe help is on the way, Google has just partnered with Ray-Ban and Oakley to make glass more stylish.

 

Google is really trying to make the Glass headset something worth wearing. They have just announced that they will be working with the Luxottica Group to bring designs from Ray-Ban, Oakley, Vogue Eyewear and other designers to its wearable display.

 

Google says that it envisions Glass as a natural evolution of everyday eyeglasses, since they are a reflection of both function and fashion. They believe Glass represents the next chapter.

 

I went to a presentation last week by Michio Kaku who is a theoretical physicist and television host and is an extraordinary speaker. Among a wide variety of amazing topics, he spoke about almost unbelievable development in contact lenses where the contact lenses will act as a computer and provide you all the information you need without those cumbersome glasses. 

 

Google still hasn’t revealed when Glass will launch, and hasn’t specified when we will see designs from the Luxottica Group. The company did say however that the technology will not appear “on your favorite Oakley’s or Ray-Bans tomorrow.”

 

The news comes just a few weeks after Google announced that it will offer prescription options for Glass. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google’s partnership with Luxottica could bring Glass to more than 5,000 retail stores across the U.S., since the Italian luxury brand controls LensCrafters and SunGlass Hut.

 

We’re hoping that we will learn more about Glass and how much it will cost for consumers later this year.   One thing is for certain, it is highly unlikely to hit the market at $1500 a pair because I think that sounds like a dealbreaker for most of the market.

 

Wearables…Smart Watches

We are finally getting close to understanding what we will be able to do with Google’s new Smart watches.

Google plans to bring Android to smartwatches as part of its  Android Wear platform.  Android Wear will primarily focus on bringing snippets of information to your wrist that can be viewed at a glance. These include Google Maps, current weather in your area, you’ll be able to conduct Google searches just by speaking to your watch, your text messages and social media updates will appear on your wrist but what is cool is that you can reply by speaking out loud to the watch.

 

Your smart watch can also display updates from sports teams, it can help you find out the name and artist of any song currently playing and  it will display updates on your flight’s status and your boarding pass barcode directly on your wrist.

Your watch will also display fitness notifications, find nearby areas of interest based on your location and show you nearby transportation info.

Now, that is all fantastic and I am almost convinced. Now, all they need to do get me over the line is to produce a decent looking watch and not one that looks like a small clunky television set.

Apple iPhone..is the end near?

Apple needs to pull a rabbit out of the when they release their new  iPhone.  I was reflecting on the last few years and I am amazed how fickle we are.  We wanted a smart phone that would fit in our pocket  and when  iPads came out  they were an annoying size, they wouldn’t fit in your pocket and they seemed cumbersome to carry.

 

Then came the phablet” — a phone / tablet hybrid, which is a huge,  almost 6″ x 3” screen. Also cumbersome but nearly a quarter of all smartphones shipped world-wide in the third quarter of 2013 had displays of 5 inches or more.

 

The Rumor is that  Apple is planning an upgrade for iPhone 6, from its four-inch display to something bigger. If this big-screen iPhone happens, it will be because the Samsing’s Galaxy phones proved that consumers want big screens.

 

On the big screen YouTube videos look amazing, you can read long articles without straining your eyes and photos look a million percent  better. You can frame each photo much better, and even something as simple as scrolling through Twitter was a more enjoyable experience with the big screen.

 

Big screens are here to stay, they provide an amazing overall experience. Everything a little phone can do, a big phone can do better, except they won’t fit in your pocket.

 

If Apple doesn’t release a big phone this year, it’s going to be left in the dust as more people decided switch to Samsung and others to get their big-phone fix.   Maybe this is good news.  Suppliers of LCD panels for Apple’s new iPhone will ramp up production soon, in line with a timetable for a worldwide launch as early as September.

 Rumor has it that the new phone, expected to be called the iPhone 6, will likely be offered in 4.7- and 5.5-inch versions, both of which are larger than the current generation’s 4-inch screen.

Manufacturers have apparently begun making such components as fingerprint sensors and chips for liquid-crystal drivers.

The new handset’s display resolution is expected to be significantly higher than that of current models

Drones.

I have absolutely no doubt that drones are going to be the next big thing but they also could be the next big threat to your privacy as it hovers over head while you walk down the street.

 

Hackers have developed a drone that can steal the contents of your smartphone — from your location data to your passwords — and they’ve been testing it out in the skies of London. The technology equipped on the drone, known as Snoopy, looks for mobile devices with Wi-Fi settings turned on.

 

Snoopy takes advantage of a feature built into all smartphones and tablets: When mobile devices try to connect to the Internet, they look for networks they’ve accessed in the past. Your phone will be shouting out the name of every network it has ever connected to,

 

That’s when Snoopy swoops into action sending back a signal pretending to be networks you’ve connected to in the past. Devices two feet apart could both make connections with the quadcopter, each thinking it is a different, trusted Wi-Fi network. When the phones connect to the drone, Snoopy will intercept everything they send and receive.

 

That includes the sites you visit, credit card information entered or saved on different sites, location data, usernames and passwords. Each phone has a unique identification number, or MAC address, which the drone uses to tie the traffic to the device.

 

CNNMoney took Snoopy out for a spin in London and in less than an hour of flying, obtained network names and GPS coordinates for about 150 mobile devices.

 

It was also able to obtain usernames and passwords for Amazon, PayPal and Yahoo accounts. Collecting metadata, or the device IDs and network names, is probably not illegal, however intercepting usernames, passwords and credit card information with the intent of using them would likely violate wiretapping and identity theft laws.

 

Installing the technology on drones creates a powerful threat because drones are mobile and often out of sight for pedestrians, enabling them to follow people undetected.

 

Of course, as well as being used for bad stuff, it could also be used for law enforcement and public safety. During a riot, a drone could fly overhead and identify looters, for example.

 

Oh, the joys of modern technology.

 

3D Printers

Apart from drones, I believe the next big disruptive change will be 3-D printers. My local Office Depot now has a 3-D printer although very limited in scope, but Local Motors is planning to 3D print a car in 5 days.

The concept is nothing new, and later this year Local motors will 3D print an electric vehicle in just five days, at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago.

 

A couple of years ago the company built an entire Rally Fighter off-roader at the show over the event’s six days. But 3D printing a car presents entirely different challenges.

 

The demonstration is designed to show how advanced manufacturing techniques can deliver a stronger, safer, faster and more efficient vehicle. Other than being electric, details of the powertrain have not yet been revealed.

 

The vehicle aims to deliver a sustainable, green product, one that reduces production cost but also creates job opportunities. Hopefully,  it will be stunning  to look at and fun to drive, but ultimately, it needs to be a car people want to buy.

 

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