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OK Oakley, “Start a Ride”

I doubt I’ll be changing my Oakley’s for these, but still … an interesting concept.  Instead of forcing something into your line of sight these are designed as a hearable … you speak and get feedback without having to change your view.  In theory this is a safer way to roll .. though interesting the focus of the demo was running vs cycling.  I realize it was a single event and inside on a treadmill, but the sports are quite different and have different needs to consider.

As you can see from the screenshots of the app it’s pretty basic stuff and not something you’d likely want to really be dealing with directly.  Instead I hope there’s more integration with the data and other sources.  In a more ideal method, the glasses would be an extension of data already being collected from your Garmin.  Given the BLE vs ANT+ challenge that’s perhaps unlikely via Garmin.  I suppose if this takes off we might see some additional variants but thinking that’s probably a bit slim.  The best use case I can really think of for hearing things like this would be for splits and in particular Strava Live segment progress.  Secondarily perhaps would be turn prompts if you were riding a mapped course…

As a final challenge … while you can apparently remove the ear pieces, I would be concerned that you might actually create a hearing challenge while riding.  When running you don’t generally need to take in as many details as you do on a bike – at least that’s always been my experience.  I never use earphones when riding and only listen to music when inside on the trainer … even running I tend to just enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. I didn’t catch any details on how these might augment the surroundings as some new earphones are doing so you can hear what’s happening as well as the prompts or music …

More to come I’m sure as these are released in a few weeks.

Via (including all images) Lance Ulanoff at Mashable.

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10.4 — Looking forward to the Google Event 

As a geek and huge Google brand fan I am really looking forward to the event on 10.4  While I won’t be there in person (non press / non employee) I will definitely be watching the livestream.  As I am sure many others have also read we are likely to see a few new products and perhaps a surprise or two.  On the new product side, it is very clear from the hint dropped that we’ll be seeing the new Nexus, Pixel phones, but we are also likely to see the Google Home smart assistant / speaker and as well as an updated Google Cast.  I think it’s also possible that a new Google OnHub router could make a showing and who knows what additional connective service layer may also be revealed.  

On the Phone side I am definitely excited about a new premier Google experience device.  Even though the S7 Edge has been my main personal device, the Nexus 6P has remained in close proximity and been my business line.  It was carrying my personal number for a while, but the main things the S7 offered which I now take as table stakes and need in this new Google device are a great, fast camera and some level of water resistance.  My phone gets to spend a good amount of time inside a cycling jerset pocket where it has the pleasure of being routinely exposed to the elements and being sweat upon.  Of course there’s likely to be some enhanced tech specs and presumably some better battery life beyond the doze features available within Android 7.   I’ve had the Pixel launcher loaded as a bridge to the new experience and think it works quite well.  There’s a bit of getting used to (currently no swipe left for the Now Feed view, but I expect that the contextual information and suggested content will come forward again as part of the official release.  Otherwise I’m ready to buy – it’s always good to have a new phone and I’m ready.

Inside our home, we have 4 Google Cast devices and a TV that is a Cast receiver.  I find we use it quite a bit and the remote from phone stuff works pretty seamlessly but the thing I’ve always hoped to have is more direct access on the devices themselves.  I know this starts to ladder up to the Android TV model but perhaps there’s something more inbetween to consider.  As I’d previously suggested the Google Home device is likely to be a stronger player for me / us given the deeper attachment to the Google system compared to the data and frankly ability of Google compared to Amazon and the more limited skills.  Even basic web search / answers will be super nice to have in a more open environment like our kitchen or family room.

I suppose it’s possible that a surprise or two might make a showing but who knows … should be great regardless!

 

Uber has been investing heavily into new transportation sectors in the past year, including food and commercial delivery. Long haul trucking might seem like a huge step for the private firm—valued at more than $60 billion—but it is just another move to make Uber the de-facto brand for all types of transport.

The acquisition announcement came a few hours after Uber and Volvo announced a $300 million investment into self-driving. Volvo will provide 100 SUVs to the Pittsburgh research center, which will be deployed on the roads by the end of the month.  via ReadWrite

Alexa leaves me wanting more … is Google Home going to be the answer?

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We’ve had an Alexa in our kitchen since close to when the device launched and it’s certainly been a fun and interesting product.  It’s limits however are quite clear even with as many additional skills as have been announced and delivered since it was first shipped.  Amazon doesn’t really have any of my personal or our household information loaded so it’s not a very helpful agent in managing things and the shopping list is a bit of a chore to use once loaded if you aren’t actually buying on Amazon.

The more I’ve thought about it the more excited I am for the potential of Google Home.  For starters, I’m a power Google Now user and believe that the suggested content and connection to my inbox will prove very powerful.  Additionally, we have 5 Google Cast devices in the house and see that as a really nice extension to play content from a single point of control.

The Alexa Flash Briefing is probably the thing that gets the most use after the kitchen timers which have certainly proved helpful.  That said, I can’t queue something as seemingly basic as NPR One and the Spotify integration is sorta good but not great.  I have a feeling that our Play Music and YouTube preferences will likely be a solid ingredient in the Google Home mix.

The smart home potential is interesting but currently very much a work in progress on alexa and frankly something I never even consider.  I have been looking at the Nest Outdoor camera as a possible home addition and have to believe that the Nest / Google integration will be tighter than a 3rd party.  Some additional hands free use cases could be to adjust (turn on or off) lights while cooking based on switch control … something I was sorta hoping I could have done while peeling potatoes tonight for dinner.  I’ve also got a Belkin WeMo control on a few things in the house and I could imagine having that flash the lights to get the kids attention vs shouting up the stairs like the typical suburban American family that we’ve become.

It seems that Amazon Alexa is looking at these types of integrations as well given their recent showing at CEDIA which is the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association and where all the main home control and system integrators meet to map out the year(s) ahead.  While this level of home control / integration is typically pretty high end compared to the more mass DIY level it will help create some standards for how all these things might connect.  Google and others will also need to get things lined up in order to compete.  There’s plenty to consider in DIY-land, but that is largely a pretty geeky place.  We need something semi-simple and “family-approved.”  Until then it will likely just continue to be fun but not entirely practical to have poop added to my shopping list.

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The importance of working your global team a bit before giving  launch clearance …

Here’s why they’re different: Hong Kongers speak Cantonese, while mainlanders and Taiwanese speak Mandarin. Speakers of the two biggest dialects of the Chinese language can find each other impossible to understand and even use different written characters.

And in Cantonese, “seven,” or 柒, is pronounced tsat, and is also slang for “penis.” The word isn’t particularly offensive. Instead, it is often used to describe a hilarious person or thing, or mock someone gently. Let’s say a friend slipped in public, or got a goofy haircut: you can say to him in Cantonese “You are so seven,” without hurting his feelings too much.

Or, you can take the literal meaning. That’s why “This is penis” or “Penis, is here” or “Exactly is penis” were not great choices for Apple’s Hong Kong marketing push.

via Quartz

Relive.cc is awesome!  Check out my ride from today … 

Source: Relive

Car Dreams

 

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I woke with to the Mercedes AMG GT Roadster in my feeds and damn it’s a beautiful car.  While not even remotely practical, it’s an absolute stunner and clearly a bit of a fantasy machine … at least for me.

Another more practical car has also captured my attention now that it’s been revealed as well … amazingly it’s a wagon!  The Volvo V90 Cross Country is also a beautiful ride of a very different kind.  I think it actually suits all the needs a suburban dad needs … holds my gear, dog and of course safely carries my family.

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Neither car is available, but the Volvo is at least priced within reality and perhaps even available this year … but likely 2017.

When you absolutely have to selfie with the best 

A $300 instant camera from Leica should do the trick. via TechCrunch

Not surprisingly digital is driving in-store action … and for all ages. 

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Being native to your audience is the most important part of any brand experience.  It’s not always easy but in order to be (or remain) relevant, you can’t swim upstream without a very clear brand purpose.  Retailers have to seriously play nicely in the sandbox because outside of a very select few (i.e. Amazon) you are not going to earn the right to space on a device.

Good catch (as always) from Retail Dive on the latest report out of Deloitte …

“Any retailer who thinks they can build their own personalized experience to interact with customers anywhere near the extent of major digital platforms and find success may be disappointed with their results,” Deloitte Consulting principal and study co-author Jeff Simpson said in the report. “Their limited interaction with customers — about six to eight transactions per year — limits their understanding of the ‘moments that matter’ in a personalized experience, such as purchase intent and preference. Instead, retailers should more aggressively embrace integration and the native capabilities of the major digital platforms where their customers have already chosen to interact and transact.”

The study also uncovered a fact also going under-appreciated by many retailers — that much digital behavior is no longer restricted mostly to millennials, but extends to older shoppers (who, by the way, still do most of the big spending out there). More than three-quarters (78%) of non-millennials are now using digital devices two or three times during each shopping trip. via Retail Dive

Deloitte Overview

Deloitte Report (pdf)

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