So the question of the next big thing seems to be, why would you need to have a watch and a phone? I have noticed that most of the younger generation, the ones with a smartphone, don't have a watch because the time is prominently displayed on the phone. One simple answer might be that a watch is still useful for when your hands are full, or swimming underwater, or when you are doing something that doesn't include pockets.
All of that being true, there seems to be a lot of companies trying to come out with a smart watch. These include Apple, Google and more recently an announcement from Microsoft that they are dusting off the idea from 2003. The concept is that the watch will talk to your phone and do some of what your phone does. I'm guessing that none of these will solve the waterproof-in-the-pool issue.
Here is the problem Dick Tracy faced. Never heard of him? He was a detective from the 1930s who had a watch that was essentially a communications device. So the concept is not a new one and various ideas have been tried already.
The next problem is screen size. We have just gone through a long series of screen size upgrades on our phones but this cannot happen on your wrist, so the information displayed on such devices will need to be simple. I have no doubt that the iWatch will be sleek and sexy but I just don't see it taking over the marketplace and replacing the generic watch in all its forms. It will be a gadget that some will purchase, especially the faithful, but not one that I see having universal appeal.
That said, I have been wrong before so we will just have to wait and see what the different versions might provide.
The news out of China is not looking good for Apple. Recent research there has about half of current Apple users considering a switch to the Galaxy S4 when it finally arrives. That is from a sample size of 3,000 iPhone users.
A bit under 40% of non-Samsung and non-Apple users were also considering making the change _ all of which must be music to the ears of the Korean manufacturer.
Apple may also be thinking of releasing a budget version of the iPhone 5 in China which I believe will signal the end of that product line for Apple since they will have difficulty competing in the low to middle market, especially in China.
At the other end of phone prices, there is the iPhone Black Diamond created by Stuart Hughes in the UK for a Hong Kong businessman. This iPhone 5 costs a bit over 450 million baht (yes! million!) and comes with a gold jewel-encrusted case and a flawless black diamond as the home button. The buyer might not have the best smartphone out there but he will have the most expensive.
The Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group is planning to expand efforts on its mobile operating system AMOS since their fallout with Google and their competing Android OS. Critics point out that AMOS is not open and while based on the Android runtime is not compatible. The other issue is that the OS is cloud based, as you might expect from an e-commerce company. The natural suspicion of any foreign product dominating in China will help but I don't see this plan going anywhere in large numbers and it will not displace Android in the foreseeable future.
A recent UK survey puts Samsung ahead of Apple as far as user satisfaction and sales are concerned, but Apple still comes second against HTC, Nokia and BlackBerry. The slide continues even in traditional Apple strongholds.
Facebook wants Apple to come to the party and allow their new Home interface on the iPhone. The problem is that Apple loves to have complete control over the look and feel of their interface and Home is all about personal freedom. You can access Facebook on your iPhone _ if you couldn't I'd expect an immediate drop in sales. I predict that Apple will demand their usual interface while Android users will continue to benefit from a more immersive experience and any amount of discussion will not change this.
Finally this week, quantum computing, something that very few understand. Boffins at the Max Planck Institute have managed to teleport matter over 50cm. Before you get too excited this was two atoms quantum entangled. If you want to know how this works, read or watch Brian Greene.
They essentially sent a qubit (quantum bit) of information from one atom to another, destroying the sending atom in the process, aka teleportation.
Imagine doing this successfully for every atom in your body and reassembling them properly and that is Star Trek teleportation. We don't have the computer technology and a lot of other bits and pieces to make this work but someday perhaps we will.
James Hein is an IT professional of over 30 years' standing. You can contact him at email@example.com.
About the author
- Writer: James Hein
Position: Database Writer