Have you felt your desktop’s been a little bland lately? I know I have. I have a black desk, and a black keyboard, with a black monitor, and a black mouse. Everything is black and plain…or it’s bright and gaudy, with shiny metal, bright LEDs, and logos so large opposite ends are in different post codes.
This fantastic new keyboard from Logitech, designed by the Red Dot Design Award winning Feiz Design studio, is such a breath of fresh air. Its composite wedge shape consists of a marbled white rubber base and a simple black keyboard with round chuckles keys, keeping things delightfully simple but pleasing to the eye. The two work together for one of the tricks up the K780’s sleeve: the ridge between the keyboard and the rubber base is designed to hold phones and tablets up to 12.9” in size.
Three Easy-Switch toggles embedded in the number row let you switch instantly between three different devices, regardless of type or OS. I could be writing this article on my Windows laptop right now, switch to my Android phone to answer Whatsapp messages, then fire off some iMessages on my iPad.
I’ll be personally purchasing one of these in the coming days for sure, so expect a review soon! And in the meantime you can check out the links below to buy one for yourself, or click through the gallery for more photos of the Logitech K780.
You can buy the Logitech K780 keyboard now from Amazon UK (£) or Logitech’s store.
With Windows 10 Microsoft Is Turning Its Operating System Into A Service, Not A Product
Microsoft’s Windows is possibly the last commonly used piece of software (albeit a crucial one at that) still sold as a product. A single major version is released every few years, maintained, then superceded by another version that you buy again as an upgrade. This, however, seems to be coming to an end with Windows 10.
Microsoft is now planning on turning Windows 10 into a service, not a product. There will be no Windows 11, or 12, but Windows 10 will receive updates that are both major and minor as the company releases them, putting everyone on the same platform.
When it came to developing Windows 10 from Windows 8 Microsoft took a different tack, breaking the operating system up into a series of smaller, independent modules. The Start Menu, for instance, is a separate module of its own so it can be easily updated independently of the rest of the operating system. Windows 10 is definitely far more complex than previous versions, but then again it’s also meant to be used for much more. Microsoft envisions Xbox Ones and its Holo Lens, as well as phones, tablets, laptops, and PCs.
This method works. Google’s massive fragmentation problem (yes, it’s a massive problem) has caused major headaches in the past, and Google did the same thing Microsoft is doing with the Windows 10. A lot of functionality was moved to Google Play Services, as were all stock apps. You might not have Android 5.1, but you still have a lot of Android 5.1’s security updates and all apps are updated with extra functionality.
What about the money?
This, for me, is the real question. How does Microsoft plan on making money? With no major product launches they can no longer sell Windows to users looking to upgrade, and the only time a user actually registers a version of Windows is when they purchase a Windows device – never again after that. Microsoft will still sell licenses to OEMs of course. But how do you charge for a service?
I envision a more interesting business model based on this service model. Microsoft already sells Office subscriptions – why not expand that to Windows? Without payment you’ve got basic Windows features and updates limited solely to important updates, but a yearly fee for Windows 10, Office 365, and OneDrive storage unlock all features and enables tight integration of the services across all devices.
The Porsche Cayenne proved that performance SUVs were a thing, and now everyone’s making one, Maserati too. But they aren’t so keep on a baby performance SUV, do don’t expect a Macan rival from the Italian firm any time soon. Zach Galea reports here.
Things are finally getting interesting in the sports car world! Mercedes is axing the 3 door A Class and replacing it with a small coupe to rival the Audi TT. Between these two and the upcoming Mazda MX5 it’s going to be a hell of a year for sports care enthusiasts. Read more at Autocar.
Good news! James May’s favourite car is getting hot version! More at Autocar.
LG’s flagship for 2015 is here and it might just be the best Android phone you can buy, period. Handsome design, a gorgeous screen, and a camera that’s potentially brilliant should be more than enough to take the Galaxy S6’s crown. Read more at The Verge.
Remember the Ouya, that Android games console? Notice how nobody seems to actually have one? So have investors. Read more at Android Police.
Now you can both be sad but try to act popular with the selfie-arm! I’M SO POPULAR PEOPLE TAKE PHOTOS OF ME WHILE HOLDING MY HAND. More at The Next Web.
One of the risks of having a digital cockpit, or one of the risks of adopting consumer technology for industrial use. iPads on American Airlines 737s crashed, and without access to WiFi became unusable. More than one plane was grounded. More at The Verge.
Microsoft’s mobile vision is growing, and yet more tools have been made available to developers to bring their apps to Windows. Now Android and iOS apps can be converted to Windows 10 with minimal effort while maintaining quality but not having to rewrite the entire application. Won’t bring any new users over to Windows but those that use Windows with other devices may not need to ditch the platform to keep working. More at The Verge.
Privacy is a hot topic today, and for good reason. There’s police work, then there’s an invasion of privacy. One of the few Congressmen with a degree in IT tells law enforcement what’s what. More at Ars Technica.
And just because:
It’s Malta! We’re in a cameraphone shootout! Also, pretty interesting experiment. Be sure to vote and check out our beautiful island at Android Authority!
Tesla does it again with the Powerwall, a battery for your home. This kind of technology makes solar and wind power for personal use actually sensible – charge up during the day and use up the power in the evening. Or when rates are at their highest. Read more about it at Ars Technica.
The logo for Microsoft’s next browser looks suspiciously like the logo for their last browser. That nobody liked. A browser whose dislike was so great the company had to build a new browser from the ground up just to get away form it. Why? Justin digs a little deeper (and rips way more into Microsoft than I can fit in this summary) here.
Last Week Today: Miatas Saving Marriages & Exploding Rockets
Welcome back to Last Week Today, a weekly Techno Speak summary of the goings on in the blogosphere…last week. Now with further reading, just like at school! Only fun. 13/04/15 – 19/04-15.
Monday 13th April
LinkedIn launched Elevate, an app to help business turn their employees in unpaid marketers. Real smooth, LinkedIn, real smooth. Story at Android Police.
Tuesday 14th April
Space X tried, yet again, to land a rocket on a barge. It failed, again. But it came so, so close! And, let’s remember, this is a company trying to land a ROCKET on a BARGE. I’m lucky if I can throw a paper ball into the trash can from 10 meters, let alone land a ROCKET onto a tiny barge in the middle of the ocean. Read about it at The Verge and at Wired.
Wednesday 15th April
Jaguar’s upcoming SUV, the F-Pace, was spotted (in camo) ahead of its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Autocar has the scoop here.
In other news, a European Commission anti-trust investigation has led to said Commission officially starting anti-trust proceedings against Google. The investigation shall look into Google’s practices with distribution of the Android OS, amongst other things, to determine whether this follows fair market practices. Recode has more on the subject here.
Peter Lau, OnePlus CEO, has stated that he expects the OnePlus Two to arrive in Q3 this year. Rumour has it we’ll be seeing a more affordable model to be released alongside it, which probably means the OnePlus Two will ditch the One’s affordable pricing and adopt flagship prices. Pity, I guess. More on that at GSMArena.
Finally Microsoft is officially taking aim at Android…by becoming a key part of it. The firm has announced a partnership with Cyanogenmod as the latter cuts more ties with Google. More on that at The Verge.
Jawbone announces a partnership with American Express to incorporate mobile payments into its UP4 fitness tracker, a move that further blurs the line between smartwatch and fitness tracker. It doesn’t tell the time, but you can still pay for your fancy coffee and track how long it took to burn off those calories. More about that at Android Police again.
Friday 17th April
Ben & Jerry’s announces the Brrrito, an ice cream burrito, with a fantastic parody of Apple’s classic 1984 commercial. It is seriously insane, watch it in the embedded video above.
Zach Bowman at Road & Track writes about how driving a 2006 Miata (MX-5 to us Europeans) saved his rocky marriage as it brought him and his wife together, alone. In his words:
Forget counseling. Sometimes, all you need is an excuse to spend more time with your spouse. For us, that excuse is a 2006 Mazda Miata.
The Moto 360, simply put (and in my honest opinion), is the best looking smartwatch out there. It’s got this timeless look to it, it’s bezel is minimal and the watchface is so gorgeously round. It looks like a thicker Xetum watch and it works with just about anything. It looks good on your wrist if you’re wearing a tshirt and flip flops at the beach, and it looks good if you’re dressed in your finest suit giving a presentation to shareholders on why the company’s profits are so high (or low).
The Moto 360’s design isn’t perfect, but it’s really close. Motorola only got those slim bezels because it had to fit display drivers in that black bar at the bottom, giving the watch a ‘flat tyre’ look. Regardless, it’s still gorgeous.
Reason to get it #2: That price
$165 is an insanely good deal, but if you can get it for $79.99 at Best Buy it’s nearly a no brainer. You’re getting a gorgeous (refer to Reason #1), well made smartwatch running the latest and greatest version of Android Wear straight from Google. The only comparable smartwatch at that price range is the original Pebble, and while I think Pebble’s watches are the best on the market they aren’t for everyone.
Reason not to get it #1: Ancient Specs
The Moto 360, as much as it pains me to say this, is gorgeous on the outside but rotten on the inside, and that’s what you shouldn’t get one. The chipset that keeps ticking things along? It’s a Texas Instruments chip – which is notable for 2 reasons:
Texas Instruments doesn’t make mobile chips any more, in fact they pulled out of the market soon after the Galaxy Nexus was released. I’m surprised Motorola’s been able to support it (or even develop for it in the first place), and I won’t bet on Motorola supporting it a couple of generations down the line.
The result is that the Moto 360 is both slow and has bad battery life. LG’s G Watch R doesn’t look as good, but is both faster and lasts twice as long.
Reason not to get it #2: The next one is just round the corner
They say never look a gift horse in the mouth, but why? The Moto 360 is a gorgeous watch and at any of this prices it’s nearly a no-brainer – nearly.
On the one hand such discounts puts Motorola back on the front page of every tech blog out there, so that’s a good marketing boost. On the other hand though, what better way to burn through stock quickly? It’s not really an HP TouchPad firesale, but it’s close.
Nothings been confirmed so far, but the leaks are coming out slowly but surely. With Google IO just around the corner, and it’s been more than a year since the first Moto 360 was announced.
UPDATE: Best Buy apparently no longer offers the $100 off with a new phone promotion. Bugger.
[NSFL] Figure 1, An Instagram For Doctors, Is Disgusting & Fascinating
I love photography, and hence I love Instagram. It’s probably the most used app on my phone after Chrome and Facebook Messenger, and I love flicking through photos of breakfast, awesome cars, or street photography. It’s a dash of creativity in a busy university student’s life. What it isn’t, however, is edgy. That’s where Figure 1 comes in.
It’s an Instagram for doctors, but not one to share awesome photos of sad looking hospital wards or joyous moments between patients and their families. It’s an app that doctors upload photos of weird or ongoing cases to so they or others can compare what they’re looking at with what the consensus might be elsewhere. If you aren’t a doctor though it’s a very good source of WTF for the day.
Feeling brave? Check it out here and I seriously recommend checking out this write up on The Verge. I, personally, shall uninstall the app and never think about it again. There are a couple of screenshots available after the break, but only check them out if you haven’t eaten recently. …
How do you know something you buy is essential? You wake up one morning, perhaps after a rough night. At some point between getting out of bed and leaving your home you reach for it absent-mindedly and it’s not there. Your morning is utterly ruined.
The problem is that it’s something so ubiquitous you don’t think about it all that much, and unless you specifically take note of it needing to be replenished you’re going to run out and have to do without till you can pop to the store. It’s not life or death (unless it’s medication, in which case you absolutely must make explicit alarms and reminders) but it ruins your day.
Amazon wants to make that a thing of the past with the Dash Button. The original Dash service was a barcode-reading stick that users would wave over an object and automatically order it, to have it arrive two days later in the mail. During that trial Amazon noted that users tended to order the same few things over and over again, and that they wouldn’t always have the Dash stick on them, so they would forget to order stuff they need. The Dash Button changes it that because you don’t need to carry it around the house.
The Dash Button’s a tiny oval device you stick to your fridge or to the wall. It has a single button and an LED, and every Button is linked to a single brand, such as Tide or Gatorade. Each button’s can be configured to order an item through your phone, and when the button’s pressed it will flash its LED to signal that it’s ordered that item automatically. It’ll also only order each item once, so repeated pressings by accident (or pranky malice) won’t result in additional orders, and whenever an order’s made you will get a notification on your phone. That way you can review the order and cancel it at any time if you wish, or you can let it do its thing.
It all sounds kind of stupid at first, but it makes a ton of sense when I think about it. Putting aside Amazon’s capitalistic motives for making you dependent on their service, you can order a button for the things you need most importantly and often, and place it where you use those. So a Tide button next to your washing machine, so when you realise you’re low on washing powder you hit the button. You can stick a button in your medicine cabinet in your bathroom, so when you’re shaving every morning and realise you’re running low on blade catridges you hit the button there an then. Same goes for coffee, or deodorant, or Gatorade. It’s lazy as hell but so, so convenient.
Amazon’s Dash Button is immediately available, but Amazon Prime users can request an invitation. Invitations are only open to registered Amazon Prime users and citizens of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia. Read more about the Dash Button here.
My first experience with a smartphone was my uncle’s Sony Ericsson. It was a handsome device with a pretty large resistive touchscreen, a flip-down numeric keypad, and a stylus. The interface was tiny and complicated, requiring precise presses with a stylus. It was thick and bulky and capable, if slightly impractical.
Then the iPhone came along. I, as a schoolboy, mocked it. But now its influence is hard to ignore – it completely revolutionised the mobile landscape. Capacitive touchscreens were now a thing. The industry slowly started to move away from focusing on specifications and started to care about user experience – those that didn’t are either dead or dying (think Nokia or Blackberry).
Apple did the same for tablet with the iPad, and had done the same before the iPhone with the iPod. So as smartwatches finally became a thing people waited with bated breath for Apple’s version. This is it. But is it the revelation the smartwatch market was waiting for? …
If I were to sum up Instagram in four terms it would be selfies, food porn, hashtags, and collages. So, so many collages. Both the Play Store and App Store are chock full of apps that will put your photos together in a fancy collage, but now Instagram’s launching their own.
Layout by Instagram is a completely free application that lets the user put together a fun collection of cropped photos. The app opens to show a preview of the layouts available, but every layout can be customised to the user’s delight. You can resize, crop, rotate, and resize sections of any layout to get the perfect collage.
Layout by Instagram helps you sort through your photos easily enough too. Firstly you can choose photos right off the ‘photo reel’, so you can insert your last taken photos into Layout easily enough. But Layout by Instagram also has an interesting Faces feature that will only show photos with people in them. It sounds silly, but considering all the other stuff we take photos of these days it will probably save quite a bit of time.
Layout is, of course, free, and is out now for iOS and coming soon on Android. You can get it for the iPhone and iPad here.
Vector Luna and Meridian have an LCD Screen, 30 Day Battery Life