Thurrott Daily: October 17

Posted on October 17, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, iOS, Mobile, Windows 10 with 42 Comments

Thurrott Daily: October 17

Tech tidbits from around the web.

10/17/2016 4:50:57 PM

Amazon is removing its Kindle app from the Windows Store

Another day, another loss of a Windows Store app that was never being updated anyway. Windows Central reports:

Amazon will eliminate their Windows 8-era Kindle app from the Windows Store … to focus efforts on their existing Kindle for PC app.

LOL. I think it’s fair to say that UWP hasn’t taken off in any meaningful way, but Win32 is even worse. Worse still, that Kindle app is terrible too. Anyway, here’s a bit from the email to an Amazon customer that touched off this bad news.

For the past few years Amazon has supported two separate Kindle apps for Windows PCs. In order to provide our Windows customers with the best Kindle reading experience, we are simplifying our approach and focusing our efforts on the Kindle for PC app.

If you are currently using our other Windows app (Kindle for Windows 8) on one or more of your PCs, we recommend that you upgrade to the Kindle for PC app to get the best reading experience and latest Kindle features. We are regularly updating the Kindle for PC app, including recent features like multi-color highlighting, improved search performance, and support for textbooks.

We will remove the Kindle for Windows 8 app from the Windows Store on October 27, 2016.

Report: Apple has given up on making its own car

Bloomberg has a blockbuster report: It says that Apple has abandoned efforts to build its own car.

Apple has drastically scaled back its automotive ambitions, leading to hundreds of job cuts and a new direction that, for now, no longer includes building its own car, according to people familiar with the project.

Hundreds of members of the car team, which comprises about 1,000 people, have been reassigned, let go, or have left of their own volition in recent months.

New leadership of the initiative, known internally as Project Titan, has re-focused on developing an autonomous driving system that gives Apple flexibility to either partner with existing carmakers, or return to designing its own vehicle in the future, the people also said. Apple has kept staff numbers in the team steady by hiring people to help with the new focus, according to another person.

So. The new plan is … CarPlay 2.0? Exciting.

8 products Google killed in 2016

PC World has compiled an interesting list of 8 products that Google has killed this year (so far). They are:

  • Google Hangouts on Air
  • Google Nexus line
  • Google Picasa
  • Project Ara
  • Chrome apps on Mac, Windows, Linux
  • My Tracks
  • Google Compare
  • Panoramio

About the iPhone 7’s hidden home button

I’ve seen a number of reports about this, so here, randomly, is Fortune, explaining how Apple will handle things if your iPhone 7 home button breaks.

Apple’s iPhone 7 Home Button has a virtual alternative that turns on automatically if something goes wrong with the physical button.

A poster on the forums at Apple-tracking site MacRumors published an image of a virtual Home Button sitting at the bottom of the the iPhone 7’s screen. Above it, iOS displays a warning reading the “Home Button may need service,” adding that the “onscreen Home Button” could be used in the meantime.

Nice. Here it is.

iphone

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28 Comments
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  1. 5 | Reply
    Demileto Alpha Member #2054 - 1 month ago

    "I think it’s fair to say that UWP hasn’t taken off in any meaningful way"

    Eh, it's been only a little more than a year since UWP became a thing, it's still very much a work in progress, you can't expect it to reach feature parity with Android, iOS or, worse, Win32 in such a short timeframe. Heck, up until two months ago it didn't even completely reach the entire Windows 10 ecosystem, missing Xbox support! I believe the future is promising, though: Win32 will get no further development from Microsoft, aside the occasional bug fix to patch potential exploits, once Windows 7 loses its substantial market share there'll be little to no reason to continue with Win32 development instead of UWP, which by then it'll be a far more robust solution feature-wise. Adobe certainly feels that way, otherwise they wouldn't be developing XD from the get go with UWP.

    1. 1 | Reply
      glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 1 month ago
      In reply to Demileto:

      Why are you making excuses for UWP?  Of course we should expect feature parity. Otherwise we will go elsewhere. Until it gets its act together, UWP will be NOT a thing. By the time it catches up, it will be further behind. That's why its very important to be at feature parity at release. It gets better with each iteration. Unfortunately, it won't ever catch up.

    2. 1 | Reply
      WP7Mango Alpha Member #2513 - 1 month ago
      In reply to glenn8878:

      Feature parity at release? Since when has that ever happened on any new platform?

      The fact is, UWP is a new platform. It's targeting different hardware. It's continually improving. Part of the reason why it doesn't do everything Win32 does is to ensure it can't create the same mess that Win32 did.

    3. 0 | Reply
      glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 1 month ago
      In reply to WP7Mango:

      The previous post refers to feature parity with Android and iOS and at worse Win32. At minimum, the former. I don't expect parity with Win32, but Continuum suggests this is the expectation when using an app on a desktop. UWP is a sad platform. 

    4. 0 | Reply
      WP7Mango Alpha Member #2513 - 1 month ago
      In reply to glenn8878:

      UWP does have feature parity with iOS - in fact, it's more advanced than iOS. UWP is a great platform.

    5. 0 | Reply
      glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 1 month ago
      WP7Mango Posted
      In reply to glenn8878:

      UWP does have feature parity with iOS - in fact, it's more advanced than iOS. UWP is a great platform.

      I'll forget you wrote "Since when has that ever happened on any new platform?"

    6. 0 | Reply
      WP7Mango Alpha Member #2513 - 1 month ago
      In reply to glenn8878:

      it didn't have feature parity before the anniversary update.

    7. 0 | Reply
      Demileto Alpha Member #2054 - 1 month ago
      In reply to glenn8878:

      UWP is a very young development platform, built from scratch - it's little more than a year old - while Win32 has 20 years worth of development by Microsoft, you have no real concept of how software development works if you think they could've crammed those 20 years of features into UWP in the timespan of a year or two.

    8. 0 | Reply
      glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 1 month ago
      In reply to Demileto:

      I'm totally familiar with Microsoft promising more than they can deliver. Nonetheless, despite the newness of UWP, apps were around for a long time on Windows Mobile. These apps should be portable to UWP. If not, then it's a shame. 

    9. 0 | Reply
      Demileto Alpha Member #2054 - 1 month ago
      In reply to glenn8878:

      1) Yeah, let's measure 2016 Microsoft by the same metric we did the 2011 one, completely ignoring the restructing the company underwent that changed a) its CEO, b) its enterprise culture and c) its workflow! ◔_◔ 

      Nadella has proven himself to have a better grasp of what works and what doesn't than Ballmer, and it shows: Windows 10 is a praised product versus Windows 8's almost unanimous scorn, Surfaces are now a billion dollar business versus the 900 million write off of its first generation of devices and Xbox has finally been riding a positive wave with S, Scorpio, Arena, Looking for Group and Clubs, three years since its release in 2013. Sure, it's not perfect yet - Windows Mobile still doesn't bring enough to the table to outweight the app gap it has when compared to iOS and Android - but I believe it'll get there, I have faith in Nadella. And no, Band is not an example that Microsoft still promises more than they can deliver, they never intended this device to be THE product ( source: http://www.windowscentral.com/why-microsoft-band-short-supply ), Microsoft Health was and it clearly failed to achieve their goals since two years later Fitbit and others still ignore it in their products.

      2) Unfortunately no, they aren't; 8.1 apps may have the easier path to achieve that goal since the app model then was half-way through moving towards UWP, but it still isn't as clear cut as that. That's the problem with rushed, not well thought products, I'm afraid: they leave you with little room for organical growth, forcing you to do major rewrites in order to evolve. That's what happened with Windows Phone 7: their choice of using Windows CE's kernel to power the new OS was bad, bad, BAD, they should've gone with Windows NT's from the get go, alas they didn't and changing it midway through the game was major ecosystem reset. What's done is done, though. At least now they've finally reached the point they've wanted to go for years with Windows 10's unified core and app model, so now they can just improve Mobile incrementally and organically without rewriting it from scratch. 

    10. 0 | Reply
      WP7Mango Alpha Member #2513 - 1 month ago
      In reply to Demileto:

      One of the reasons why Win32 won't develop further is because it's already fully mature. It already allows devs to do too much! Plugging those holes doesn't make any sense, given that Win32 is not designed for the future, whereas UWP is very much designed for the future and new upcoming hardware.

    11. 0 | Reply
      Demileto Alpha Member #2054 - 1 month ago
      In reply to WP7Mango:

      It would be bad for Microsoft's reputation towards their enterprise customers not to patch exploits, whether their source may be.

    12. 0 | Reply
      WP7Mango Alpha Member #2513 - 1 month ago
      In reply to Demileto:

      Patching exploits is one thing. Developing new features is another.

  2. 2 | Reply
    WP7Mango Alpha Member #2513 - 1 month ago

    Who in their right mind would want to buy an Apple car anyway?

  3. 1 | Reply
    Polycrastinator Alpha Member #163 - 1 month ago

    Kindle is one of the few places UWP seems like it ought to really work. Sad to see them leave the store, especially with an Audible offering still there.

    1. 1 | Reply
      Cain69 Alpha Member #1034 - 1 month ago
      In reply to Polycrastinator:

      I completely agree with you.  A good UWP kindle would have been great - program it once and use on multiple device designs.  

      I am not sure what the problem is/was but they needed to keep the 32 applicaiton alive for DRM.  Some books - i.e. text books, I think - will only work on the 32 application.  They never ported that capability or were not able to port that capability to UWP.  SO, instead of designing a good UWP app - they took the lazy way out.  

    2. 0 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 1 month ago

      In reply to Cain69:

      Would the DRM necessary for textbooks be the responsibility of the app maker (Amazon) or the API maker (MSFT)?

    3. 0 | Reply
      Cain69 Alpha Member #1034 - 1 month ago
      In reply to hrlngrv:

      What is for certain, is that part of Amazon's library is NOT compatible with Windows Store app.  And for whatever reason they did not or could not port the dividing functionality from the 32 application to the Windows Store application.  I am not sure if Amazon or MS is responsible – I am not a programmer…may be some of our CompSi / MS friends could help with that question.  

  4. 1 | Reply
    MarkH Alpha Member #913 - 1 month ago

    Is it really fair of PC World to say that Google "killed off" the Nexus line when all they've effectively done is rename it?  Sure it's "made by" Google now whereas Nexus wasn't as much, and yes it commands a more premium price tag...but for all practical purposes, it's still "the Android phone you get directly from Google."

    1. 0 | Reply
      kenosando Alpha Member #1382 - 1 month ago
      In reply to MarkH:

      It does feel like Pixel is just a rebrand, especially when you consider HTC makes it, but I think the complete Google-fication of the design and software differentiates it enough to say Nexus is R.I.P.

  5. 1 | Reply
    RonH Alpha Member #149 - 1 month ago

    Kindle has always been bad on windows. That is why i went the Kobo route...PC, mobile holographic and Hub...

  6. 0 | Reply
    glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 1 month ago

    Microsoft should offer Windows to Amazon to build its Echo and Kindle devices instead of trying to compete with them. Amazon won't ever develop its own platform from scratch. It uses the Open Source Android. The Kindle app is a casualty of Amazon's own success. I'm sure more use the Kindle device than the Kindle app on Windows. And now Microsoft wants to try Artificial Intelligence in the near future. On what basis does it have the ability to sell its AI effort? It lacks a presence in the consumer space so it obviously won't happen.

  7. 0 | Reply
    Cain69 Alpha Member #1034 - 1 month ago

    Of course, Apple gave up.  There is nothing there they can copy and call it their invention!  It takes hard work and countless failures to “invent” something new.  Apple does not have the ethos or temperament for such hard work. 

  8. 0 | Reply
    captobie Alpha Member #2479 - 1 month ago

    CarPlay 2.0 may be boring, but it makes a lot more sense than Apple building their own car. It would make as much sense for Apple to build a car as it would for Ford to build a phone... actually I think a Ford phone is a far more realistic product than an Apple car.

  9. 0 | Reply
    phil Alpha Member #1546 - 1 month ago

    I hope they are not removing the Phone version as that it the only Kidle reading device I have at the moment...

  10. 0 | Reply
    jwpear Alpha Member #2194 - 1 month ago

    It boggles my mind that Amazon would drop the Windows 8-era Kindle app for the piece of crap Win32 desktop app.  Both sucked, but I think the Win32 app sucked much more.  I remember trying it long ago and deciding that it was just some project for one of the interns.  I want an emmersive app for reading, not a desktop app.  Can't use the Win32 app on my Surface 2 and can't use it on W10M. 

    I can certainly understand Amazon not feeling there is a future with Windows 8 and W10M, but if you have to start from scratch, why not go with an app platform that gives you the ability to build modern apps that'll run on any of the W10 platforms?  Are there really that many folks reading on Windows 7? 

  11. 0 | Reply
    burog25c Alpha Member #2145 - 1 month ago

    I've never understood the Kindle love. Between the PC apps, the Android version on my tablet, and the WP version on my phone, the only one that works fairly well is the old WP one. When it comes to my reading the last couple of years, I either go Nook or Kobo. Kindle has been dead to me for a long time.

  12. 0 | Reply
    gsmith-plm Alpha Member #1599 - 1 month ago

    I'm not sure what Amazon has in mind in removing the UWP Kindle app but there are two different Kindle apps for iPad.  One is the standard app that downloads a book for reading offline and the other is a cloud app that only works when you are connected to the internet.  At least that's what I think the difference is.

    I have the standard app on my iPad but I discovered last month my wife has both and they are connected to different accounts.  One is connected to her account and the other to an account she shares with her sister (the read the same books at the same time and then discuss them).  She was having trouble (which usually then invoves me) and couldn't find a book she bought and that's when I discovered the two apps.

    That has me wondering, I looked at the UWP Kindle app last year and didn't like it.  I can't recall the details but I'm wondering if that version is similar to the cloud version and that Amazon is replacing it with a more robust download and read version that will eventually replace the larger PC version.