iTunes for Android?

Putting iTunes on Samsung and other Android-based smartphones is not about selling music, it's about selling wearables. Apple put iTunes on Windows to sell iPods to PC users. It created a halo effect with PC users switching to Macs, then the iPhone and iPad.

With their foray into multiple new product categories, as CEO Tim Cook puts it, Apple will need software for Android with which an iWatch, or iBand, or wrist-worn iPod Nano can communicate. In 2004, everyday consumers, not technology nerds or gadget heads, synced their iPods with their Dell laptops. Then they bought Macs after learning how much they liked Apple's products.

The same can happen in 2014: everyday people will buy an iPod Nano for their wrist and sync it with their Samsung smartphones. This is why iTunes needs a subscription-based catalog similar to Spotify, most Android users have never used iTunes, let alone ripped a CD.

Game over, Samsung? We'll have to wait and see. I'm getting my popcorn ready.

Google & Apple's Ecosystem Gravity

This is reply I posted to a thread on the Google Glass Explorers message board. Specifically, it outlines my experience using Google Glass with my iPhone. More broadly however, it describes the sometimes subpar experience of relying on an iPhone for Google services like Maps, Gmail, and Calendar.

I'm in the same boat: MacBook Pro at the office, Air at home, iPhone 5s, and iPad Air. I too tried an Android phone (Moto X) for a few weeks to see if my Glass experience would be any better. There were certainly some benefits (more later), but nothing so remarkable that I'd pick an Android phone over my iPhone 5s. For one thing, I think apps on iOS are far better than their Android counterparts. For another, the 5s is years ahead of the Moto X, which felt more like an iPhone 3GS in daily use, especially the camera.

Rant: Stop staying you don't need an iPhone

“I got a Samsung because I don’t need an iPhone.”

—Every single one of my friends, family, and acquaintances who own a Samsung Galaxy smartphone

With the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S5 expected at this week’s Mobile World Congress, I'd like to take a moment to unpack(1) this all-too-common argument. First however, I need to confess something: I’m an iPhone user and I love the Android operating system underpinning Samsung’s smartphones. I’ve happily used various Android devices for months at a time, including the Nexus 4 and 5, and the Moto X. There’s a lot I enjoy about Android as a platform: widgets on the home and lock screens, apps that configure settings and run actions based on my location, and sharing content easily between apps.

That feeling when something new half-works

I'm a power user and I know it. When I find a new product or service useful enough to spend time digging into, I won't stop digging until I've submitted several bug reports and feature requests to its creator. Even then, I usually don't stop there.

I've had Google Glass since the beginning of January, so about 5 or 6 weeks as of this writing. I'm currently taking an intentional break from it while my new frames are off at the lab to have my prescription put in, so I'm using this time to think back on my digging. For how polished it is and how much buzz the wearables category is generating lately, much has been written of how Glass is still a very novel, raw concept. My use corroborates this, and I keep a running list of *almost* every idea, bug, and "nice-to-have" I come across. That simple task--keeping a list--is so common to all peoples and technologies, yet it's one of the most complicated challenges we encounter in this connected, multi-device world.

"Apple, take note."

Tech giants Google and Apple have been in a bit of a spat lately as the two companies’ smartphone platforms (Android and iPhone respectively) vie for their peice of the martket. With their unofficial motto “Do No Evil,” Google is known for taking an open, transparent approach, exemplified by their recent decision to no longer cooperate with the Chinese government. While also a supporter of open source software, Apple is more so known for locking in customers by making exceptional products that use proprietary technologies.

For all its market-disrupting success with its iPhone App Store, Apple still encounters bad blood from time to time by banning content from the iPhone. As Wired.com points out, rather than banning a controversial music video by artist M.I.A., YouTube (which is owned and operated by Google) took another route.

From Wired:

Contrary to news reports that YouTube removed the violent video, the site simply put it behind an age-restricted click-through. That renders the video impossible to find unless you already know the URL.

Indeed, Google’s policy represents a more open and nuanced approach than what Apple is doing with its App Store. There, presumably overworked employees decide whether to censor content before it even shows up in the store.

This approach is a better way to handle problems than arbitrarily banning the content before it is ever available, as Apple does with the iPhone. As the article’s headline says, “Apple, take note.”

Google Health: Succeeding Where Traditional HCIT Systems Have Not

Google will present its healthcare platform, Google Health, to the public during a webinar to be held this coming Wednesday, December 10. The webinar will begin at 10am PST and is open to the public (register here).

Google Health offers a fully-featured web-based solution for organizing your healthcare information. Having spent some time using Microsoft's competing HealthVault service a few months ago, I can say without blinking that Google, to be frank, has nailed it.