Will Google be making its own phone? Does it need to given its control of the Android platform. Check out the video above for a discussion. In many ways, going in this direction makes little sense for Google. Let’s see how eager they are to enter into the hardware wars. while Microsoft has had some success with hardware, they’ve had their share of failures as well. Google should probably be cautious here.
If I were to tell you that a creative and reasonably priced item with a unique, yet practical, solution to a common modern day need was coming out, you wouldn’t be blamed for looking for the obligatory Kickstarter link, and start wondering how much the minimum contribution is.
That’s because while that site is heavily flawed (for instance, some developers exceed their requested amount by almost a $100,000 and still blow all the money, not release the product, and fail to have any reasonable plans for a refund in sight), it’s a consistently entertaining source of devices that make you go “Hmmm, interesting” possibly while smoking a pipe.
But this particular device actually comes not from Kickstarter, but from our friends at Google.
Called the Chromecast, it’s capable of broadcasting content from popular devices (be it iOS, Android, or computer) straight to your TV. Admittedly that’s a feature only impressive if you’ve never heard of HDMI, DVI, or VGA cables, but the Chromecast gains a leg up in that it’s not a cable at all, but rather an HDMI plug-in that can transmit the feed wirelessly from your selected device. All you have to do is find a compatible program, select a cast button, and you can view the feed from that program on your TV.
Of those programs, only the presence of Netflix seems to be superfluous, considering that anyone with an HDMI port on their TV likely has Netflix compatibility for it in one way or another. The other compatible programs like Youtube, Google Play, and Google Chrome are much more encouraging, with that last one really driving home the point that the Chromecast is aiming to turn almost any TV into something more resembling a “smart” TV for the mere cost of $35.
Even though I think the adding of the word smart before a device and calling it a day is a trend that needs to die a thousand deaths, the Chromecast is far and away the most exciting device of its kind I’ve ever seen, and with more program support (fingers crossed for Steam) can become an essential home device, though its base loadout justifies its meager $35 asking price already.
Plus, unlike Kickstarter campaigns, this one is actually supported by a legitimate company (rather than “some guys”) and is not only likely to properly function as advertised, but will also probably include a definitive release date, which are things that are becoming significantly more foreign in the world of intriguing and affordable devices than I tend to like.
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Tags: best gadgets of 2013, best new gadgets, budget gadgets, Chromecast, essential gadgets, gadgets for dudes, gadgets for guys, gadgets for men, gear for dudes, gear for guys, gear for men, gizmos for guys, gizmos for men, google, google chrome, hottest new gadgets, must have gadgets, PC to TV cables, smart TV alternatives, Smart TV converters, watch your computer on your TV, Watch YouTube on your TV, wireless PC cables
I’m sure by now we’ve all seen the mock ups, diagrams, videos shot from, parodies, specs, put downs, hype ups, and general impressions of Google Glass that have been floating around the internet for quite some time.
However, through it all there are still very few people who know exactly what Glass looks like to the user which, when it comes to understanding a product without any real historical equivalent, is kind of a big deal.
While it’s unlikely anyone will get a truly great idea of what it’s like to wear Glass until they are able to do so, there is one blog called phandroid, that’s posted a video showing a pretty good demonstration of the device in action, from the perspective of the user.
The actual quality of the HUD image is…not so great, though that is likely a result of the awkward task of trying to record the device, combined with the impossible hype surrounding it.
However functionality wise, this is a pretty impressive demo. The commands exhibited are extremely responsive, the phone and video chat features are particular highlights, and in general everything looks to work more or less as advertised, at least in the current “out of the box” capacity.
Google Glass has a long way to go before the final chapter on it is written, but from this demo it looks like underneath the high asking price, and still somewhat stupid looks, there might just be an actually useful device.
In their constant bid to do what they do every night and try to take over the world, Google is reportedly planning to open their own chain of brand specific retail stores.
Usually reliable Google centric blog 9to5 Google broke the news, saying their sources claim the web giant will be expanding past their occasional Best Buy and special event pop up Chrome stores, and will be looking at a nationwide retail store model similar to that of competitor Apple. The stores would also be used in much of the same fashion as Apple stores, as Google would use them to show off their latest and greatest gadgets, and also offer technical support.
While a reasonable, even sane, argument can be made that Google looking to get into a dying industry late is a costly business failure waiting to happen, the truth is that Apple still does very well at their retail locations, and Google is consistently cited as being at least as popular, if not more so, than Apple is. The real reason this could work though is Project Glass, as Google is set to launch what could potentially be the next great invention, and a physical retail store that lets people practically try it, could be a big draw.
We’ll know more as the rumored holiday 2013 US openings of these stores draws closer, but the one thing we know for sure is that if Google has as much fun designing the stores as they did their offices, we’re all in for a treat.
Umm…the Eric Cartman theory?
Yeah, well remember that episode of “South Park” where Cartman buys a failing amusement park with his inheritance so he can have it all to himself? Eventually the operating costs force him to re-open it, and as a result, the time spent telling people they couldn’t come in made them want it even more, and the place became a huge success.
It’s a well reasoned theory that is now being enjoyed by Google, as they recently released the long awaited Google Maps app that has now shot to the top of the free apps download list, after less than 24 hours on the market. Of course the reason that people were so anxious to jump on the app is because it wasn’t available to them when the iPhone 5 first came out, as Apple tried to gain a leg up on the competition resulting in the hilarious failure known as Apple Maps.
That’s not to say that the app isn’t impressive. It is. But it’s also the exact same Google Maps we’ve known and loved for some time now, with a few little niceties thrown in for Apple users. But, oh my does it feel special this time. It’s like how you can take breathing for granted even if it is vital, but when it’s that first breath after being submerged underwater, it’s an incomparable joy.
It’s also pretty embarrassing for Apple. The question is, what do they do now? Had Apple Maps been a success right out of the gate, they could have really converted their users to the native feature and stole some serious momentum from a big rival. Instead, they now just have to watch as a stunning amount of users immediately abandon it, while Apple must continue to work hard to not only catch up with Google Maps, but somehow surpass it, lest they end up with a monumentally embarrassing failure on their resume.
The early success of Google Maps on iOS isn’t an immediate monumental victory for Google, or a resounding defeat for Apple. It is, however, for Apple, the first touchdown surrendered in a football game. While it doesn’t necessarily determine the outcome, they must still watch as another team celebrates in their territory.
And that’s got to hurt.