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Windows Mobile Is Not Dead It’s Just Sleeping?

News and bloggers are gleefully reporting the death of Windows Mobile .. again.

Windows Mobile - Bullshit

In fact, Microsoft just announced end of support for Windows Phone 8.1, the version supplanted by Windows 10 Mobile.

The lazy, trollish and misrepresentative reporting has haunted Microsoft’s mobile platform throughout each of its evolutions.

This is not to say that Microsoft has not repeatedly managed to do a remarkably poor job of marketing the platform and their own flagship devices. Nor were Microsoft able to evangelize to the developer community to entice the same adoption as IOS or Android.

Microsoft has addressed the issue of app parity in the Windows Mobile ecosystem with the combination of the IOS Bridge to UWP, UWP apps themselves and Project Centennial to convert old-style Windows apps to UWP, there is still life in the brand. Redmond still needs to forcefully encourage as many apps as possible to build UWP versions.

As it stands, many Windows Mobile owners feel the benign neglect stemming from Redmond is a way of parting from the past of the OS while developing the rumored Surface Mobile Device;

Surface Phone?

The Surface “Phone” has been rumored to be designed for running full-blown 64 bit Windows apps; a phab form factor or the implementation of a patent for a foldable screen device that opens from phone to tablet seamlessly. One thing we know for certain, this device will maximize the full potential of Microsoft’s CShell for Windows 10.

Many believe the device is being held-back by a waiting game for the right ARM-64 processor and GPU combined with the latest alleged leak that the Surface Mobile Device will be an AR / VR/ MR supporting device… a Hololens Phone. This rumor is propped up by the allegation that brain-behind the Hololens, Alex Kipman is leading the charge to deliver this device, even though the head of Microsoft Devices is still Panos Panay.

HoloLens - Alex Kipman

One thing is for sure, Microsoft needs to get this right in terms of design, materials, feature set, spec, delivery and especially marketing.

Marketing this atop of the history of Microsoft’s mobile strategy requires radical strategy. Before all you ace tech reporters and bloggers dig Windows Mobile’s grave, check the facts and save us your hot air.

The mobile markets are ripe for a change. Go big or go home Satya.

RED Hydrogen Smartphone Was Just Announced. Be Excited…

Holy Holophones Batfans, say hello to the RED Hydrogen Smartphone. As predicted here on Warptest, back in 2008 and 2012, someone has gone and shaken the foundations of the smartphone market with a Holophone.

That someone is none other than super high-end, digital cinema tech creator RED with what appears to be a stunningly designed, Android phone that can support 2D, 3D, mixed reality, AR, VR apps and display via a holographic display.

We are one step away from peak “Help me Obi-wan” with the RED Hydrogen Smartphone.

The RED Hydrogen Smartphone

The design ethos is pure RED in-keeping with the stylized 99% black with red emblem we have come to expect.

Red Hydrogen Smartphone

The phone appears to have a USB-C port, is intrepid enough to keep an earphone socket. The phone appears to have inset hex bolts and a ribbed grip and back that would inspire the love of everyone who ever held anything with a Picantinny mount aboard.

The pre-order price for the basic model is $1200 but this is a radical break away from the glasses dependent world of AR/VR/MR or Holographics we know. Also, RED are not known for their low price-tags.

The Warptest POV

For the RED Hydrogen Smartphone to succeed the design and feature set cannot compromise two things: –

Battery life

Cooling (one hopes those aren’t GPU cooling fins on the back of the phone)

If RED can deliver a Holographic phone that has decent battery life and doesn’t heat up like tarmac on summer day in Death Valley then this phone will shake up a number of markets.

All you have to do is read the spec for this device to see how RED are incorporating it into their existing ecosystem. Meanwhile, one assumes the mystery port with multiple gold contacts is the high-speed data bus referred to in the spec.

Data transfer is a big problem. Shoot a series of RAW photos or high-res videos and transfer them off your device? Good luck with that. Make yourself a coffee and read the news. If RED solves this, that is a huge win for them.

Not for nothing did I mention the Picantinny mount earlier. The spec mentions that the RED Hydrogen Smartphone is the basis for a modular system. No existing smartphone maker has managed to deliver a modular phone system that isn’t kludgy or compromising design against features.

RED have shown us a glimpse of the future. If you are serious about photography, videography or AR/VR/MR then you should be considering this phone for your arsenal.

One wonders if RED are developing a drone too, just to disrupt one extra market.

Meetings Suck

Come on, admit most meetings suck. They aren’t particularly productive; most people amble to and from work meetings in a semi-stupor and we tend to spend way too much time in them.

When was the last meeting you got to amped up?
When was the last meeting you left feeling inspired or driven?
When was the last meeting you ran that was on subject and you nailed it?

ABC - Officing

Why Do Meetings Suck and Why Do We Suck At Meetings?

Most of us know how to schedule a meeting from Google Calendar or Outlook but usually that’s where we start to cock things up:

Stop using vague titles.
Where is the agenda?
Do all those people really need to come to this meeting? All the wrong people in all the wrong places.
Do you fear attachments? Don’t worry, link to the relevant documents in your company cloud.
Timing is everything. Not just when in the day but how long. Most meetings can get to done in 30 minutes. Some need an hour. Very few need more than this and those need a break in the middle.

The fact is we suck at meetings because running a productive meeting is a skill. A skill that requires continuous improvement. We dump people in the workplace and expect them to know how to run a meeting and deliver results.

Most people don’t really understand the point of a meeting or how to run one.

What’s the Point of It All?

Understanding this one thing about meetings.

Screengrab from the 1991 Castle Rock Entertainment movie, City Slickers via YouTube.

meetings suck - one thing

MEETINGS ARE TO TACKLE A PROBLEM WITH WHOEVER IS NEEDED TO GET TO THE SOLUTION.

Solution means decisions. Decisions mean action items. A meeting with no decisions is a waste of time. What did you solve?

The Warptest POV

You attacked the problem and engaged people in the meeting. You made sure everyone got to speak and was heard. Now write down every decision and treat it as an action item.

After the meeting, you share a summary where these action items are assigned to specific people with deadlines. Without this, meetings suck and will continue to suck.

All your calendar and appointment apps are great at setting meetings, but then the reminder just disappears without asking you to follow up. Certainly, none of them integrate an action driven follow-up.

Cortana - Windows 8

In an age of Siri, Cortana, Google Now why aren’t these Digital Assistants integrated with your meetings to record meetings? Why aren’t they asking you to follow up? Why isn’t text-to-speech built in, so you can run the meeting without the distraction of taking notes?

Microsoft has already enabled Cortana integration with Office 365. This is the start. At Build 2017 they announced the preview of Cortana Skills to solve this kind of problem. Alternatively, you can add their new Dictate service to your Office 365 to allow Word to convert what’s said in the meeting to text.

WHAT WE ALL REALLY WANT ARE READY-BAKED APPS THAT TAKE THE MEETING FROM INCEPTION, THRU SCHEDULING ALL THE WAY TO ACTION ITEMS.

Game on Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook.

Apple WWDC 2017 Kicked Off Today…

Today Apple launched their annual conference and here are a few major announcements that should excite anyone. I’m usually the first person to be unimpressed by Apple but heck the sheer volume of news is overwhelming.

WWDC 2017 Hot News

ARkit: a series of APIs for Augmented Reality on IOS. Apple demonstrated marker-less spatial awareness on stage. The APIs will have Unity support.

Revamped App Store : this is touted as the biggest revamp of the Store in 9 years.

IOS 11: this is being launched in beta for Devs who sign up for it. The OS has a slew of new and improved features including a mode to detect when you are driving for safety.

WWDC 2017 - IOS 11 feature list

New iMacs built for VR: Apple returns to the glory days of iMacs with powerhouse machines that are designed with spec to support VR. These iMacs are not the candy colored, plastic bubble desktops from the late 90’s. The design is not a lot different from last Apple desktops but it’s what’s inside that counts.

Mac OS High Sierra with Metal for VR built-in: hardware is important but the OS has to provide for the performance demands of VR.

XCode 9 announces over-your-LAN run / install / test /debug to your IOS devices wirelessly.

WWDC 2017 - Xcode wireless development

The Warptest POV

  • ARKit – does their markerless demo spell the end for AR trackers? If so, are Apple going to let it die a natural death or will they decide to restrict IOS AR apps to their APIs?
  • App Store revampbesides the App Store currently being a colossal pain for app discovery, how will these changes impact App Ranking. If there is something new to learn here, then the quickest studies will get a leg up on app rankings.
  • IOS 11 – the list of features is extensive but can I yell “finally” over driving mode and screen recording? Even though this is unquestionably a Beta release, expect the usual fear, angst and loathing as fanboi’s fight overtaxed servers, download and then cry foul at Beta meaning buggy.
  • iMacs with VR support & Metal for VR on Mac OS High SierraThis apparently needs a high-end Graphics card connected to the iMac / MacBook by cable to Thunderbolt port. Conclusion: Kludgy design for Apple but this might be the only way they could have delivered in time for WWDC.

 

In a nutshell, these are just some of the highlights. If you are a Mac or iPhone owner or developer then you should be reading up on what’s coming. I’m not going to grant Apple that they have finally innovated under Tim Cook but WWDC 2017 is going to shake things up and that’s good for Apple and good stimulus for competition.

Update: with the announcement that Apple have added screen splitting, drag and drop and “welcome to the 21st century” a File Explorer app, IOS 11 gets one step closer to Windows.

That’s fine, homage is the greatest admission that your competition got it right.

Game On.

MicrosoftEdu 2017 Is On May 2nd

MicrosoftEdu will kick-off tomorrow in New York and whilst the hashtag and event name indicate an education-centric theme many are predicting a big hardware announcement.

MicrosoftEdu - Event

For those who want to follow the Livestream, the begins at May 2nd, 6:30 a.m. Pacific Time / 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

The technology announced will focus on the education market which is a highly competitive market. Microsoft and Google (and to some extent Apple) are fighting over school districts, teachers and students. Until now, the focus was on learning platforms and productivity suites / apps with Google holding the upper hand in the device market.

Google Chromebooks make a great hardware solution for schools who buy into the Google ecosystem. Until now, Microsoft could only counter this with OEM budget laptops but these came with full Windows 10. An Intel Atom device with an SSD certainly gave more bang for buck but was it the economical choice?

What Can We Expect Then?

Microsoft are expected to announce new hardware and going out on a limb, I predict the following at MicrosoftEdu:

  • Microsoft Surface Cloudbook:
    • A Chromebook killer / competitor.
    • Highly portable but probably classic clamshell laptop style.
  • Windows 10 Cloud:

Windows 10 Paint 3D - MicrosoftEdu

The Warptest POV

If MicrosoftEdu delivers a hardware – software ecosystem designed for educators and students in Surface design then this will light a fire under the existing fight for this market.

A Surface Cloudbook for education must be aggressively priced to compete and win over schools on old-style LMS looking to upgrade. Things Microsoft should be delivering at MicrosoftEdu to seal the deal:

  • Cortana for kids and or integrated into Microsoft Classroom. Especially with app integrations like homework reminders from Cortana & child filtered research for projects.
  • A strategic partnership with a multimedia content platform that can compete with YouTube.
  • Early adopters deal bundling Surface Dial with the Surface Cloudbook and added cloud storage.
  • Mixed Reality for education: if you jump to the HoloLens page, directly below the intro video is a link to the MicrosoftEdu event. Why? What could be more natural than to leverage HoloLens and the OEM Windows 10 headsets for the education market?

MicrosoftEdu - Hololens

I’m ready to be wowed, how about you?

Foursquare Pilgrim SDK Launched…

Dennis Crowley and the team at Foursquare launched Foursquare Pilgrim SDK a few weeks ago. The SDK grants app developers the ability to integrate the location powerhouse’s technology directly into their app.

What more do you need to know than that? In a week where Mobile World Congress failed to wow us, Foursquare did what they have done several times in the past. They went into stealth mode and demonstrated why they own the location app & data markets.

Who Is Foursquare?

The company started out competing for social location and recommendations, gamifying their app with check-ins garnering badges, leaderboards and mayorships of venues.

When the location market seemed tapped out, they split their app in two: Swarm for the check-ins and Foursquare for venue recommendations.

As Foursquare iterated into the commercial market, it became apparent that they had leveraged the big data behind their apps into the biggest consumer behavior database on the planet. Companies like Microsoft were interested in investing which sent Yahoo looking for competitive locational search and recommendation with Yelp.

Foursquare launched their API and now Pilgrim SDK enables apps to create personalized user experiences based on actionable location intelligence from within the app.

  • Personalized experiences
  • Tailored recommendations to their tastes
  • On their arrival to your physical location they can receive a curate list of recommendations thru your app
  • Drive foot traffic to brick and mortar locations

Thanks to Foursquare for making this video sharable
I wrote all this the day after Pilgrim SDK was announced but had trouble finishing the post: a combination of busy work schedule and I just felt the post was lacking punch.

A couple of weeks after I participated in a thread on Facebook where journalist Mike Butcher questioned the future of Foursquare. Foursquare CEO, Dennis Crowley owned the conversation with some winning stats. Then several days ago Entrepreneur magazine posted, After Years of Challenges, Foursquare Has Found its Purpose — and Profits. Proof of the pudding methinks.

Foursquare Pilgrim SDK - FB Mike Butcher

The Warptest POV

Foursquare have repeatedly lulled the tech bloggers and journalists into thinking they were done and then dropped the hammer on something new. Foursquare Pilgrim SDK brings everything that is great about their technology into your apps.

Prediction: we are going to see more big apps providing this kind of embedded / integrated solution.

Where are location apps going next? In the past I’ve posted about Foursquare and where I expected them to go. Here is my latest brainstorm on the subject:

Foursquare Pilgrim SDK - whats next

Anyway, congratulations to Dennis Crowley and the whole Foursquare team. It might be time to start using Swarm and Foursquare apps again.

If you are a developer then you definitely want to have a look at the Foursquare Pilgrim SDK.

Where do you think location apps are going next?

Chromebook will run Android Apps. That’s right.

Chromebook will be able to connect to the Google Play Store and install Android Apps. This was big news on the Google Chromebooks blog on May 16th 2016 and then we didn’t really hear about it again until CES 2017 last month.

The news at CES was about specific Chromebooks supporting this feature: the Samsung Chromebook Plus / Pro & the Asus Chromebook Flip to name two.

Chromebook getting Android Apps - First News

Not All Chromebooks are created Equally

CES showed us that if you are thinking of buying a Chromebook, and you have an Android phone, then you are going to want to examine carefully which of the new Chromebooks are going to support this feature. (I find it hard to imagine an iPhone owner with a Chromebook but stranger things have happened).

Furthermore, this might not be an out-of-the-box feature; according to the official pages of the Chromium project only 3 Chromebooks currently support this (although there is a list of those which will support it in the future, sort of an Ikea “coming soon” ticket).

To get the feature, your Chromebook may need to work in Developer mode. After testing this on a brand-new Lenovo (intel inside) Chromebook, I could enable this thru Developer Mode and access the Google Play Store once but since reboot I have not been able to replicate the scenario. Since then, I discovered this how-to from Google which means retesting this.

Chromebook - Android App Play Store

The Warptest POV

This is a bold and sensible move by Google. Running Android apps on Chromebook is going to make for an interesting and more competitive market. Android phone owners are finally going to have one more reason to make their main productivity device a Chromebook.

Will Android apps run in virtual machine or emulator like Google’s Arc Welder? If not, then Android apps are going need to look and act different from a floating phone / tablet app on a laptop screen. This implies that the next major release of Android Studio will allow Developers to build one app for both platforms with responsive UI. For now, the instructions on optimizing your Android apps are here.

Sound familiar? It should because this is the foundation of Microsoft’s UWP. The Universal Windows Platform has allowed Microsoft Developers to build once and deploy across device types. Admittedly the Microsoft suite of devices is more diverse but this has been a pivotal part of their success.

Chromebook - Android Apps sounds like UWP

Is this another knock Google for copying Microsoft post? No. A recurring theme in this blog is that competition stimulates innovation and emulating ideas is at worst a homage. Why reinvent the wheel?

Can Google emulate this success? Will this push greater Chromebook adoption amongst Android phone owners?

Will Android developers see the value of investing in building “Universal” Android Apps or not? What do you think?

Atlassian Bought Trello For $425 million…

With Atlassian announcing the big Trello news today, should you be backing up your tickets and looking for another Agile style task management app?

Originally the brainchild of Fog Creek Software and their owner, Joel Spolsky forged their own path and became an independent company.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Arguably the most popular of the ticket / post-it style web apps for managing tasks, Trello delivered an intuitive, lightweight solution for those tired of kludgy, unwieldy tools.

Atlassian, the company behind Jira and a slew of other products can be considered the market leader in ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) software both on local servers and the cloud.

So, If Atlassian already has Jira, a powerhouse application for managing projects why would they buy it?

Trello was the go-to option for small companies with a lean perspective and strong Agile methodologies.

Is Trello a “buy it to kill it” acquisition?

There Are No Magic Bullets In The Land of ALM

Trello is by no means a perfect standalone solution for managing your product lifecycle. It does task management well, has some really strong integrations like Slack but compare it to solutions like Github or Gitlab and it falls short.

Github and Gitlab have been in competition to deliver a lightweight, easy to implement, comprehensive ALM solution and they started from the other end of the lifecycle. Both Git (source code) repository management tools. Github has evolved with a wide range of integrations and both now include:

  • Web application for user access and management
  • Issue Tracking
  • Agile Ticket Board
  • Wiki / web pages for individual projects

Trello - githubTrello - gitlab

In a nutshell both companies are fighting hard to be the one-stop ALM cloud solution. Trello meanwhile, created a strong product that integrates with others and offered strong competition to Atlassian’s toolset. Especially Jira but, both have a major shortcoming: companies grow out of them too fast. Gitlab needs to play catch up with their feature set.

If Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS) with its Test Manager and full Visual Studio integration is a high-end boom-box stereo; then Jira and the associated Atlassian products are akin to a stackable, component stereo.

The Warptest POV

At the end of the day, the ALM solution you select must match your requirements, budget and technical ability. If you are a bootstrapped startup, used to doing things fast then your needs are very different from an established company with several products / projects.

To answer the original question, will Atlassian kill off Trello? Absolutely not.

Atlassian need a lightweight, lean alternative to compete with the Github / Gitlab ALM marketshare. Expect Trello to receive some tight integration with Bitbucket and Confluence. How will Atlassian address the problem that Trello doesn’t handle Issue Tracking well?

If Atlassian changes one thing in Trello it will to add Issues as subtasks of Tickets or create some form of permalink between the two. Trello tickets = stories and Issues or bugs will have an indexable, searchable relationship.

Atlassian will be able to box in both the heavyweight and lightweight arena. Or do you think it’s time to backup your Trello projects?

Android Infuriation & The Google Play Store

I got Android Infuriation recently after testing a new app. After uploading it to the Google Play Store and getting approval I let our Support know they could prepare tablets for a group of end users to try. They called me back telling me about a third of the tablets, all the same model & Android version, were displaying this error, “Device is not suitable for the application”.

Android Infuriation - Nougat

ISSUE: When installing to Android from the Google Play Store there is a bug with devices that may be the same model and OS version as another device you just installed on.

Android Infuriation - Play Store

WORKAROUND:


1 Change the device language from settings.
If this does not resolve the issue then:
2 Settings > applications > all applications: clean cache for Google Play Services & Google Play Store
3 Open the browser on the device and try downloading the app from https://play.google.com/apps (My Apps)
3 If this reports that the application will be installed soon then go back to the Play Store application and check there under My Apps
If not then in the browser go to https://www.google.com/android/devicemanager and allow it to locate the device then retry step 3 from the beginning
4 Go back to settings > language and return it to your original UI language.

You should be smiling right about now.

The Warptest POV

This is the sort of infuriating bug that can lead to an overfull swear-jar or worse still, packing it all in for an iPhone.


About the only thing worse than this, is when you can’t get your PC to recognize the phone / tablet connected via USB. That’s an Android Infuriation fix for another time. Here’s a link to an earlier one that was a tough nut to crack too.

Feel free to drop me a line in the comments with any other tech problems you need help with.

Microsoft Clip Layer Is The Latest Garage App…

Clip Layer is a great Android app from the Microsoft Garage, Redmond’s worldwide experimental projects lab that delivers a slew of interesting apps and resources.

Microsoft Garage - Clip Layer

The Garage is all part of Microsoft’s cross-platform leadership strategy, delivery apps to all mobile platforms. Clip Layer is one of these apps.

Why would Microsoft do this other than the reasons laid out in the link above?

Consider that Microsoft allegedly $5 to $15 on every Android device sold and

approximately $2 billion a year on patent royalties.

Nuff said?

What Problem Does Clip Layer Solve?

Android allows app developers a highly granular approach to in-app permissions. In this case the developer can disable select-copy-paste even at web view level. Along comes the app user and sees a vital piece of information and bang! No way to easily copy from the app and paste elsewhere. At best the user can take a screenshot but a graphic is not text.

Clip Layer allows the user to grab, clip and copy any text from any app, even when blocked. If the app is running, then just hit the home button to ignore those app permissions and copy that much-needed information.

A simple and elegant solution.

The Warptest POV

I hear those screams of outrage:

  • How dare Microsoft run roughshod over the app permissions set by other developers?
  • Worse, how is Google allowing Microsoft to get away with this kind of crap?

On the one hand, you’re right. At least until you are that user who wants to copy something and is blocked. On the other, Android allows developers a lot of freedom including geo-blocking apps which doesn’t stop users from changing their location to access the app (Microsoft has been known to geo-block their apps too).

I searched for specific criteria in Play Store Acceptance criteria officially making Microsoft the bad guy for circumventing copy blocking but, didn’t find it. Most people using this app won’t have nefarious intent, just a desire to share information. Why would you block that and why would you want to annoy your app users that way?

So, Android users take Clip Layer for a spin and see how it helps you. A modest award for the most creative use shared in the comments. Game on!

Microsoft Surface Has Meant One Thing Until Now.

When you heard Microsoft Surface, you thought of the killer Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book hybrid laptops, right?

Ever sat in a meeting with someone using one, walked past a store selling them? Likely they caught your eye because of the materials and design. The sleek lines, kickstand, detachable tablet – keyboard combo, spun magnesium body and the pen. It’s hard not to lust after the Surface laptops.

Whilst the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book were turning the world of laptop design on its head, Windows Phone and the Microsoft Band were making less of an impact.

Much has been written on the failure to seize market share by both these devices. Some written on this blog.

Windows Phone has evolved into Windows 10 Mobile and the Band 2 is no longer for sale by Microsoft. Both have been surrounded by rumors of successive devices: the Microsoft Surface (Panay) Phone and the Band 3. What is going on?

Microsoft Event 26th October

Wednesday in New York (tomorrow), Microsoft have invited us to see what’s next for Windows 10.

Microsoft Surface Event

Throw in the latest tweet from Microsoft’s VP of Devices, Panos Panay:

… and you can reasonably assume that in addition to what’s next for Windows 10 the Operating (eco)System, we are going to see new devices. Several weeks ago Winbuzzer reported that the FCC had approved a new Surface keyboard (and more) and most of the big tech blogs have been reporting that they expect to see an All-in-one desktop revealed tomorrow; probably called the Surface Studio.

The expectation is the Surface Studio will be built along the Surface design ethos in terms of materials, form and features. Full pen support, an adjustable desktop kickstand, the (previously mentioned) keyboard and almost certainly a matching mouse. Microsoft historically announces partnerships with software vendors to support new hardware so one can expect Adobe, AutoDesk or perhaps Unity3D to have something special for the Surface Studio. Microsoft themselves are expected to launch an improved Paint app.

It doesn’t take much research to find patents describing a modular, hinged computing device or a newer version of Continuum technology.

Microsoft Surface - All in one

Courtesy of US Patent & Trademark Office: Microsoft filings.

The Surface Studio aside, everyone has high hopes of hearing that Windows 10 Redstone 2 and 3 will incorporate features for connected IOT technology. The hot rumor is a Microsoft homehub feature in Windows 10 means a Cortana enabled home control device akin to Amazon’s Alexa.

Since no tech event would be complete without AR or VR, Hololens will be center stage with more apps and stronger Hologram integration with Windows 10.

Microsoft Surface - Hololens

The big question though is will the event address the future of wearable & mobile devices?

The Warptest POV

Most if not everyone believes that when Microsoft pulled the Band 2 from their stores that there will be no Band 3, even with rumors prior to this of a streamlined, waterproof sport wearable incorporating RFID and an EKG. The Band 2 was noted for its ability to measure VO2 without any unwieldy mask, but a sports wearable with an electrocardiogram seems something not to be given up on easily. I am not so easily convinced.

As for mobile, whilst Windows 10 Mobile continues to release improved Insider updates and several new OEMs have launched Windows Phones, there will be no new Lumia phones. That said, no-one is under the illusion that the Panay / Surface Phone will arrive. The rumors surrounding the Surface Phone are many, including the expected 32 / 64 bit app support. Doing so means desktop apps will run on this phone.

Microsoft are the only company to have a Universal App Platform, a bridge to port IOS apps and Project Centennial for turning desktop apps into Universal Apps. This means that a Surface Phone (assuming the necessary spec and size) is a serious laptop alternative.

If Microsoft has managed to minimize the Continuum Dock and incorporate it into this phone, then connecting it to any screen will make it full blown Windows 10.

Are Microsoft prepared to cede the mobile and wearable markets to the competition without a fight? No but they need a killer strategy, winning devices and hardware to support this. Why won’t we hear about a Microsoft Surface Phone or Band 3 tomorrow? Simply because the chipsets necessary for these devices are not ready now but also because ultimately Microsoft are somewhat loyal to their dedicated Band 2 & Lumia consumers. There is a transition period which will allow for a better launch for these new devices, both running Windows 10.

The most important announcement that should be made tomorrow is that Microsoft Surface is the brand name for all Windows 10 hardware made by Microsoft.

It should all be designed and made to the same standards, with the same materials and with similar ethos and feature sets. So yes, a Microsoft Surface Phone should have a kickstand and a magnetized keyboard like the Surface Pro. A Band replacement should be spun magnesium cased too.

The creation of a Universal Hardware Platform to match the UWP will make for a stronger, more marketable brand. A brand that is part and parcel of the Windows 10 Operating (eco)System that consumers and enterprise can get behind. A brand that will allow Microsoft to deliver a mature, competitive product in the mobile arena.

Want my annual bit of advice Satya? This is what I want to see from the Microsoft Event tomorrow. How about you?

 

Snapholes: this is the phrase that came to mind…

..On reading Snapchat’s announcement about their new Spectacles. Yep, Snapholes. In addition, Snaphole-in-chief, Evan Spiegel has rebranded the company as Snap. The company is now defined as, “a camera company”.

Snap rebrand - Snapholes

We all remember Google Glass, right?

Google Glass were the pioneers of wearable glasses with photographic (and AR) capability but it was invasive, obtrusive and left one with the uncomfortable sensation that you were interacting with the Borg v1.0.

Glass became a kind of exclusive club to the point that they earned the tag Glassholes. No explanation necessary. Ultimately Google decided that Glass was not ready for mainstream consumer purchase and decided to pull the AR / photographic wearable. Rumors abound of a replacement product that integrates all the lessons learned.

GoogleGlass - Snapholes

Meanwhile Snapchat, who have steadfastly done their own thing launch sunglasses that take video and upload it to Snapchat wirelessly (wifi or Bluetooth depending on OS).

Snapchat who have never implemented usability / UX features that would have killed lesser apps, have pivoted into an advertising platform with some kind of limited API.

Snapchat who have blocked all 3rd party development after some unfortunate security breaches. Locking down their platform to 3rd party development instead of creating actual, robust security.

Somehow Evan Spiegel and Snapchat can do no wrong.

The Warptest POV

Are Snapchat marching down the same path to failure as Glass? Will Snapholes become the tag du jour for all those wearing Snap Spectacles? Most important, how will you feel the first time someone is wearing these in your proximity? How invasive can Snapchat get without workplaces, public and private venues banning these? Will some bright spark come up with a way of obfuscating faces video’s by Snap?

Snapchat has been pretty bulletproof until now and to be fair, the funky looking Spectacles are less intrusive looking than Google Glass ever was. The Spectacles video in a 115-degree view at the tap of a finger with a light indicating to those around the wearer they are being filmed.

At the end of the day these glasses do one thing and camouflage that very well, disguised as sunglasses. This maybe the one thing Google never really grasped with Glass. Whilst AR / photo-enabled glasses are cool and cutting edge you don’t need to create an environment where the very tool you are promoting creates unease and becomes a barrier between the user and those around them.

Versus this…

Spectacles by Snap - Snapholes

So, what do you think? Snapholes or not? Is one of you tinkering away at their keyboard with some kind of malware injection activated by video capture in the works or are you just stopping at the toy store for a fake mustache to wear when you see the Snapholes coming?