It’s fair to say that Google has been fairly fragmented in the messaging space before Google I/O 2013. Google+ Messenger, GTalk, GChat, Google Voice and Google Hangouts were just some of the company’s messaging/communications products and even Vic Gundotra, Google’s VP of Engineering admitted at the Google I/O keynote that it wasn’t ideal. Wasn’t ideal was an understatement. It was horrible. If you started a chat with someone in gmail chat, there’s no way to continue the same chat on my mobile.
So it was no surprise that Google had to rethink their messaging strategy from a scratch and the resulting product is Google Hangouts. It fixes most but not all of the issues. Instead of different versions of chat, video chat and calling across Google products, Hangouts gives me one consistent way to message people that has a…… you guessed it, a Google account.
Google is definitely moving towards the right direction with messaging but when Vic Gundotra was lamenting that messaging should be cross platform, ubiquitous and easy, everything goes out of the window if I didn’t have a Google account.
It’s not easy to try and convince my mother who has been using Yahoo mail for ages to switch to Gmail so I can message her with Hangouts. My family and friends are mostly iPhone users and Messages (iMessages is a protocol, not the app) is seamless, works with your phone number, integrates with SMS and if you have a Mac, you can message someone on their iPhones. But of course, the huge downside to Apple’s Messages is it’s locked down to Apple’s ecosystem.
In a sense, even Facebook Chat is a lot better than Hangouts when it comes to ubiquity. People that I (almost) care about are on Facebook and it’s easier to get them to respond to messages. I tried getting a few friends to respond to my Hangouts invites or groups chats and I get no responses. Friends that have used Android mobiles for years still prefer texting, Whatsapp and Facebook Chat.
These are the apps I have installed on my Macbook Pro for my texting, messaging and IM. Messages (default app from Mac OS X), Skype, Facetime, Adium (For MSN only), Tweetbot, Tweetdeck, Wedge (for App.net) and Viber.
And these are the chat services I use on my browser for other IM needs. Facebook chat and Google Talk.
These are the apps I have on my iPhone 5 that I use for texting, messaging and IM. Messages (default app on iOS), Skype, Facebook Messenger Chat, Whatsapp, Google+ Messenger, Tweetbot, Netbot (for App.net) and Viber
I would seriously pay someone a fortune for an app to consolidate all these services into a single app across iOS and Mac OS X.
Tickets got sold out in TWO MINUTES flat. Apple’s developer conference isn’t like Google’s I/O event where they give out free stuff and it’s still as popular. It’s also much more expensive at $1500 per ticket compared to Google’s at $900.
Reviews for Samsung’s new flagship phone, the Galaxy S4 are popping up on the internet and the feeling from tech enthusiasts are that this is a gradual upgrade to the S3 with a ton of new features to bait you in buying the phone, but useless during your day to day usage. I’m sure it’s a capable smartphone and it will sell in the millions but according to many, it’s a cheap looking device compared to the HTC One or iPhone 5.
David Pearce from The Verge sums it up:
The GS4 just flat out doesn’t feel like a premium device. It’s still made of slimy, slippery white plastic with silver edges and feels gross to hold. The device itself is relative ergonomic and relatively comfortable to hold. But I found myself constantly wiping my hands off thinking they were sweaty.
Samsung justifies the cheap material for a removable back cover which allows you the option to travel with an extra battery for a longer battery life experience. I don’t know if Samsung knows this but battery packs like these does exactly the same thing.
I’m not all sour grapes about the S4 though. I admit modes available on the S4′s camera app are pretty awesome and it wouldn’t hurt to have a little more options in the settings of the iOS camera app.
I wonder if Samsung fanboys will have the “Who would know I’m holding an S4 because it looks too similar to the S3″ attitude when it comes to purchasing the phone. Don’t worry, we’ll all know when you’re doing the air swipe on the trains like an idiot.
I like it. The UI is clean and it shows you photos your friends have posted right on the lockscreen of your Android mobile. And the fact that you can chat with your friends on Facebook Messages even when you’re in another app is awesome because the friends I chat with most are all on Facebook chat. Obviously Facebook Home is going to be available only for Android mobiles for now (and not even all Android mobiles can support it) and I doubt that Apple will allow Facebook Home to exist in the same form on the iOS.
The only thing that worries me is that the photos/status updates on the lock screen would only look good if you have friends that do exciting stuff and take photos like a pro photographer. My friends? They prefer to flood my news feed with articles of dead baby elephants.
I asked Jeremy when I was writing this post if he knew who Guy Kawasaki was and Jeremy mentioned something about motorcycles before changing the topic to why the Ministry of Education in Singapore deemed that the recorder was the only instrument required in music lessons. That shows how much fuck he gives about Kawasaki.
Alright back on track.
Guy Kawasaki is somewhat of a weird one. He used to work for Apple and old school Apple fanboys will remember him as the chief tech evangelist for Apple in the 80s.
He’s since gone on to create a few startups and made a name for himself after he left Apple and in recent times, have been vocal about his preference for Android over iOS.
The writer of the article I’ve linked to interviewed Guy and one of the questions she asked was what his current mobile device was.
This were his exact words:
Samsung Galaxy SIII. That’s right, I don’t use an iPhone. Real men use Android.
Firstly, did anyone even expect the guy (no pun intended) to use an iPhone. Yes he might have been the chief evangelist for the company 30 years ago but it’s been 20 years since he worked for Apple so why does everyone still associate whatever this douchebag do or say with Apple?
I certainly don’t.
Secondly, I am pretty sure most people who are fond of Apple products who are familiar with the company’s personnel like Steve Jobs and Tim Cook wouldn’t know who the fuck Guy Kawasaki is. He left Apple in 1987 so none of the success Apple is enjoying right now has got anything to do with this man so Lifehacker and every tech blog out there should stop placing Guy on a fucking pedestal like he’s some Apple guru
Thirdly, if Guy had any respect for the company he once worked for, even though he doesn’t necessarily think much of iOS, was it really necessary to trash talk and say that only real men use Android.
What the fuck does that even mean?
So you can customize your lock screen and you can use widgets. Wooooooh big fucking deal.
I’ve always maintain my stance that both Android and iOS are extremely polished mobile platforms and that even though Android is not for me, I truly believe that there’s nothing wrong with choosing Android over iOS. If you love tinkering and customizing your device to suit your needs, Android’s the platform for you.
No need to bash others just because they like something different from you do.
You would think that someone in the tech industry would speak with more sense and justify their choices for technology in a more logical manner but I guess when it comes to fanboyism, it truly shows a douchebag’s true colours.
Seems like iPad mini reviews embargo has been lifted. Most reviewers seem to really like the iPad mini and the benchmark for the small tablet market has been once again set by Apple. The common complains were the old generation chip used in the iPad mini and the fact that it lacks a retina display but many agreed these had to be sacrificed to keep the price down.
Even though the iPad mini is still the most expensive small tablet available, the build quality of the device and the vastly superior suite of apps makes it a worthy purchase over similar tablets in the market like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD.
The following is a collection of iPad mini reviews complied by Cult of Mac from reviewers all over the web.
The iPad mini is an excellent tablet — but it’s not a very cheap one. Whether that’s by design, or due to market forces beyond Apple’s control, I can’t say for sure. I can’t think of another company that cares as much about how its products are designed and built — or one that knows how to maximize a supply chain as skillfully — so something tells me it’s no accident that this tablet isn’t selling for $200. It doesn’t feel like Apple is racing to some lowest-price bottom — rather it seems to be trying to raise the floor.
And it does raise the floor here. There’s no tablet in this size range that’s as beautifully constructed, works as flawlessly, or has such an incredible software selection. Would I prefer a higher-res display? Certainly. Would I trade it for the app selection or hardware design? For the consistency and smoothness of its software, or reliability of its battery? Absolutely not. And as someone who’s been living with (and loving) Google’s Nexus 7 tablet for a few months, I don’t say that lightly.
The iPad mini hasn’t wrapped up the “cheapest tablet” market by any stretch of the imagination. But the “best small tablet” market? Consider it captured.
This isn’t just an Apple tablet made to a budget. This isn’t just a shrunken-down iPad. This is, in many ways, Apple’s best tablet yet, an incredibly thin, remarkably light, obviously well-constructed device that offers phenomenal battery life. No, the performance doesn’t match Apple’s latest and yes, that display is a little lacking in resolution, but nothing else here will leave you wanting. At $329, this has a lot to offer over even Apple’s more expensive tablets.
Both the 11-inch Air and full-size iPad 3/4 make more sense to me as devices for people who only want to carry one portable computer. But if I’m going to carry both, I think it makes more sense to get a bigger MacBook and the smaller iPad Mini.
If the Mini had a retina display, I’d switch from the iPad 3 in a heartbeat. As it stands, I’m going to switch anyway. Going non-retina is a particularly bitter pill for me, but I like the iPad Mini’s size and weight so much that I’m going to swallow it.
My guess is that this is going to play out much like the iPod and iPod Mini back in 2004: the full-size model will continue to sell strongly, but the Mini is going to become the bestselling model.
I was really surprised with how much I used the iPad mini in my daily routine — more than the 10-inch iPad. There are a couple of things you have to remember with the iPad mini. First, it isn’t just a smaller iPad, but rather it feels like its own device.
Anything that is simply shrunk down or scaled up feels amateurish. The iPad mini feels like an iPad, it’s something you can have fun with and accomplish tasks on.
I’ve been testing the iPad Mini for several days and found it does exactly what it promises: It brings the iPad experience to a smaller device. Every app that ran on my larger iPad ran perfectly on the Mini. I was able to use it one-handed and hold it for long periods of time without tiring. My only complaints were that it’s a tad too wide to fit in most of my pockets, and the screen resolution is a big step backwards from the Retina display on the current large iPad.
TechCrunch speculates about how the iPad mini’s price will affect consumer perception:
But how will a $329 tablet fare in a world of $199 tablets? It’s hard to know for sure, but my guess would be in the range of “quite well” to “spectacular”. Apple has done a good job of making the case that the iPad mini is not just another 7-inch tablet — in fact, it’s not a 7-inch tablet at all. It’s a 7.9-inch tablet — a subtle, but important difference. As a result, it can utilize every iOS app already in existence. And it can access the entire iTunes ecosystem. And it will be sold in Apple Stores.
Apple isn’t looking at this as $329 versus $199. They’re looking at this as an impossibly small iPad 2 sold at the most affordable price for an iPad yet. In other words, they’re not looking at the tablet competition. This isn’t a tablet. It’s an iPad. People love these things.
Despite the cheaper price, the iPad mini doesn’t feel cheap. Quite the opposite. When I picked it up, I was reminded of the first time I held a first-generation iPhone. It feels sturdy. Hand-crafted. Expertly made.
CNET believes that the smallness of the iPad mini makes it unique:
What’s unique about the Mini? Without a doubt, it’s the design. It’s cute, it’s discreet, and it’s very, very light. It feels like a whole new device for Apple. It’s light enough to hold in one hand, something the iPad was never really able to achieve for extended periods of time. It’s bedroom-cozy. Other full-fledged 7-inch tablets feel heavier and bulging by comparison. This is a new standard for little-tablet design. It makes the iPad feel fresh. After a week of using the iPad Mini, it seems to find a way to follow me everywhere. It’s extremely addicting, and fun to use.
TIME thinks Apple has taken over a new niche in the tablet market:
If your budget’s got more wiggle room, the iPad Mini is the best compact-sized tablet on the market. Apple didn’t build yet another bargain-basement special; it squeezed all of the big iPad’s industrial-design panache, software polish and third-party apps, and most of its technology, into a smaller thinner, lighter, lower-priced model. The result may be a product in a category of one — but I have a hunch it’s going to be an awfully popular category.
The Telegraph says the smaller, non-Retina screen is balanced out by the added portability:
The sacrifice in screen size from a 10-inch tablet is balanced out by the more convenient size. You can hold it in one hand, slip it into a jacket pocket or a handbag and still have all the power of an iPad at your fingertips. In practice the smaller screen size is not much of a problem and it is because of that 0.9-inches, which gives 35 per cent more screen area than the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD.
Apple is going to sell a lot of these – quite possibly more than the “large” iPad – in this quarter. The only way Apple could improve on this product would be (as some people are already agitating) to give it a retina screen and somehow make it lighter. That might happen at some point. You can wait if you like; other people, in the meantime, will be buying this one.
SlashGear concludes that the iPad mini is Apple’s “everyman” tablet:
In the end, it’s about an overall package, an experience which Apple is offering. Not the fastest tablet, nor the cheapest, nor the one that prioritizes the most pixel-dense display, but the one with the lion’s share of tablet applications, the integration with the iOS/iTunes ecosystem, the familiarity of usability and, yes, the brand cachet. That’s a compelling metric by which to judge a new product, and it’s a set of abilities that single the iPad mini out in the marketplace. If the iPad with Retina display is the flagship of Apple’s tablet range, then the iPad mini is the everyman model, and it’s one that will deservedly sell very well.
Did you remember what you were doing 13 years ago back in 1999?
Flashbacks of myself as a cool 17 year old hanging out at the arcades after school polishing my craft on games like Street Fighter, Virtual Striker and Crazy Taxi haunted me constantly as I reflected on what I have done with my life when I turned 30 recently.
Barring my sad one-thirdth life crisis, it was with great excitement that engulfed all old school arcade game nerds when Sega announced that they were going to release Crazy Taxi for iOS earlier this month.
I bought the game for the sake of this short review and as a birthday gift to myself and the good news is, the game felt like a polished port from the original arcade classic bringing back fond memories of the copious hours spent playing the game at the video games arcades.
The game play of Crazy Taxi is painfully simple. You choose from one of the four available characters and play as a taxi driver. Driving in an open world based loosely on San Fransisco, you pick up passengers and drive them to their destinations.
Each passenger has a dollar sign above their heads coloured differently to indicate the amount of cash that you will receive when you drop then off before the allocated time runs out. When you arrived at the designated location, the fare you collected gets added to your total cash earnings and more time gets added to your depleting clock.
You earn additional cash by ferrying your passengers to their locations as fast as possible using shortcuts littered around the game. Alternatively you can get them excited and shower you with extra dough by performing stunts or having close shaves with other vehicles on the road. But beware though, getting into a crash with an oncoming vehicle would make them yell at you like a wild monkey.
Not that you can hear them yell on top of the awesome soundtracks that accompanies this game. Sega has done a top notch job by including the soundtrack from the original game with classics from Bad Religion and Offspring.
The game offers the original arcade mode with 3, 5 and 10 minute variants to test your skills with. Players looking for something extra would be keen to try out the Crazy Box game option that requires players to complete objectives like popping balloons with your taxi or drifting around a figure eight track. The Crazy Box option definitely adds a little depth and longevity to the game and this could not be a bad thing for a game with fairly shallow game play.
I have never been a huge fan of driving games on my iOS devices but Crazy Taxi’s revised on screen controls for a touchscreen worked surprisingly well and were not too “sensitive” like other driving games I’ve experienced. You can turn on tilt controls for Crazy Taxi but I would highly recommend using the on screen controls for better steering controls and experience the game like it was meant to be.
Even though the graphics of Crazy Taxi looks dated compared to a modern original iOS game release, its wackiness and out of this world game physics means that the game is good enough to provide short bursts of fun so well suited for a mobile device game.
Players who have never experienced Crazy Taxi in it’s true form before this might find that the game is hugely inadequate for today’s standards and might not even understand the charm of this game. With the game priced at $5.49, it is also fairly costly compared to other top notch driving games that only cost $0.99.
If you’re more of a “Need for Speed” kinda person, it’s best you give Crazy Taxi a wide berth and go for Asphalt 7: Heat instead with its superior graphics and gameplay. If you’re a fan of the original Crazy Taxi and feeling nostalgic, it is definitely a no brainer to pick this one up.
Crazy Taxi is now available on the App Store for iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad.
I’m finally back from my holidays in Hong Kong and Singapore! Photos from the trip will come soon but as fate would determine it, my flight back to Melbourne would arrive on the morning on the 21st of September, the day the iPhone 5 is launched.
Initially, I wanted to sign with Telstra for it’s coverage but NONE of the stores I called up after I set foot in Melbourne had any in stock. Luckily, Optus at Epping Plaza had a black 64gb iPhone 5 in stock and it was a no brainer to stay with Optus if I wanted the phone today.
I’m loving the larger screen, thinner profile of the phone, upgraded camera and am totally amazed at how small the Lightning connector is. I might write an iPhone 5 review piece after I’ve used the phone for a period of time but for the time being, just enjoy the photos I took today.