Thurrott Daily: October 26

Posted on October 26, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, Microsoft Surface, Mobile, Skype, Windows Phones, Xbox with 13 Comments

Thurrott Daily: October 26

Tech tidbits from around the web.

10/26/2016 8:31:05 AM

Petition: Bring back Skype to the Windows Phone 8.1 store

If you’re upset that Skype no longer works on the vast majority of Windows phones, you have an online petition that can help your voice be heard.

Bring back Skype to the Windows Phone 8.1 store for those users whose phones are not eligible to receive the Windows 10 Mobile Update. Not everyone can afford to go and buy a new phone and many users rely on Skype to keep in contact with important family members. Almost 80% of Windows Phone market share is Windows Phone 8.1. Do the right thing and put Skype back in the Windows Phone 8.1 store for those users whose phone are not eligible to receive the Windows 10 Mobile update.

That said, I don’t see Microsoft changing things given the importance of its transition to a new Skype infrastructure.

Google announces something that is totally not a Surface Hub clone

It’s 55-inches big, will cost about $6000 and is designed for teams that wish to collaborate in person. No, I’m not talking about Microsoft’s Surface Hub. I’m talking about Google’s Jamboard. Obviously. 🙂

At Google, we’ve set out to redefine meetings.

It’s just that we set out to do this a year after seeing what Microsoft did and then decided to do the same thing.

Today, we’re introducing Jamboard — a collaborative, digital whiteboard that makes it easy for your team to share ideas in real-time and create without boundaries. We’re moving the whiteboard to the cloud.

It’s a whiteboard. Because the cloud is white!

Jamboard raises the bar on collaborative creativity, bringing the same real-time collaboration found in G Suite, combined with the best of the web, to your team’s brainstorms and meetings. You can work with teammates from across the world on other Jamboards or remotely use the smartphone or tablet companion app.

In other words, it hits the G Spot.

Sorry, I’ll stop.

Enjoy the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare live-action trailer

“Screw this. Let’s go to space.” Love it.

That said, I always watch these commercials—sorry, “trailers”—and wonder if I’m supposed to recognize all of the people in them, because some are famous, and most are … heh?

Smartwatch sales are tanking

The analyst geniuses at IDC have weighed in on smart watch sales. And let’s just say that Apple’s next big product will not be Apple Watch.

The worldwide smartwatch market experienced a round of growing pains in the third quarter of 2016 (3Q16), resulting in a year-over-year decline in shipment volumes … total smartwatch volumes reached 2.7 million units shipped in 3Q16, a decrease of 51.6% from the 5.6 million units shipped in 3Q15.

So let’s go into spin mode.

Although the decline is significant, it is worth noting that 3Q15 was the first time Apple’s Watch had widespread retail availablity after a limited online launch. Meanwhile, the second generation Apple Watch was only available in the last two weeks of 3Q16.

In other words, the smart watch market is Apple Watch, and it waxes and wanes according to Apple’s release schedule. Got it.

Looking at the list of other smart watch makers, I couldn’t name one of those products. Which I think is the real problem. Moving on.

What to expect from the next version of Chrome OS

Yes, there are blogs devoted to Chrome OS. This is one of them.

It has been an exciting week here at Chrome Unboxed.

OK. Let’s get to the story, shall we?

Chrome OS 54 is right around the corner [and] is laying the foundation for a number of new features to be released in version 55 in early December.

New features will include:

Web Bluetooth.

For consumers, this technology will most likely be geared more towards mobile devices; giving users access to nearby devices that will interact with Chrome browsers to deliver advertising and content from surrounding businesses.

WebVR

The Chromium project has been working to bring web-based VR to the Chrome browser. The result to be an enveloping experience brought to you directly from your web browser.

Performance enhancements

Chrome OS continues to make better and better use of system resources and the enhancements to Chrome browser should inherently transfer over to the Chrome OS ecosystem.

Android apps

Recent commits have shown us that the long awaited addition is most definitely moving out of the testing phases. We expect the Play Store to begin rolling out with version 54 or no later than 55.

Other features

Native image resizing in the Chrome OS image viewer [and] voice input, handwriting input and quick emojis.

So this is what passes for an exciting week in the Chrome OS world.

Google slows down its Fiber initiative

And speaking of Google and slow-moving, it looks like the search giant is giving up on Google Fiber. The New York Times reports:

Google is signaling a strategy shift for one of its most ambitious and costly efforts: bringing blazing-fast web connections to homes across America.

The company said on Tuesday that it was curbing the expansion of its high-speed fiber optic internet network and reducing staff in the unit responsible for the work.

Craig Barratt, chief executive of Access, the Alphabet division containing Google Fiber, also said he planned to step down because the company was shifting to new technologies and methods of deploying high-speed internet.

After years of costly investments to dig up roads and lay fiber optic cable, Google started considering alternatives, including wireless and fiber partnerships, that did not necessarily require the company to build a full network.

It’s dead, Jim.

Blackberry ships a new Android flagship for businesses

Two things. Yes, Crackberry is inexplicably still a thing. And I can’t help put think that this is the sort of thing HP should have done with the Elite x3.

BlackBerry has now officially announced the latest in its series of secure Android smartphones, DTEK60. Offering a larger high-resolution display, fingerprint sensor, long lasting battery, 21-megapixel camera, DTEK60 comes loaded with all the security features that BlackBerry’s Android OS devices have. DTEK60 is the second device in the DTEK series of Android smartphones and is a part of BlackBerry’s transition towards a device software licensing strategy – which allows it to focus on putting “the smart in the phone” – the DTEK60’s hardware is manufactured by TCL.

You can find this device on the Shop Blackberry web site for $500.

 

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12 Comments
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  1. 1 | Reply
    bassoprofundo Alpha Member #408 - 1 month ago

    !@#$ on the Google Fiber announcement.  I didn't really have much in the way of hope that it was coming to my hood, but still...  Who else is going to push the incumbent ISPs to up their investments and/or keep their prices honest?  It was definitely never going to be a short-term money maker, and it takes someone with the deep pockets of a company like Alphabet to be able to stay the course.  Wait, I just said "Google" and "stay the course" in the same sentence...  Cue the apocalypse.

  2. 1 | Reply
    Patrick3D Alpha Member #994 - 1 month ago

    Here's an article from 1998 about 3D websites (amazing how easily history is forgotten): https://www.nngroup.com/articles/2d-is-better-than-3d/

    An excerpt: "Avoid virtual reality gimmicks (say, a virtual shopping mall) that emulate the physical world. The goal of Web design is to be better than reality."

    Does anyone really want a new Second Life? I'm pretty sure the original is still around and as horrible as ever. Even Sony got out of the virtual world business when they shut down PlayStation Home.

  3. 1 | Reply
    AnOldAmigaUser Alpha Member #2478 - 1 month ago

    This tells you everything you need to know about who Googles customers are, and what its product is.

    "For consumers, this technology will most likely be geared more towards mobile devices; giving users access to nearby devices that will interact with Chrome browsers to deliver advertising and content from surrounding businesses."

  4. 1 | Reply
    Bart Alpha Member #117 - 1 month ago

    CoD video: The old man holding the newspaper (9 secs in) , headline: Europe leaves E.U.

    Awesome! :D

  5. 0 | Reply
    FreeJAC Alpha Member #1723 - 1 month ago

    HP considered Android first for the X3, it couldn't do what they wanted, from a business handset perspective, that is why they went with Windows. If what Blackberry is doing is such a good idea, there are plenty of other Android handset makers that could be playing copycat, yet none are.

  6. 0 | Reply
    wolters Alpha Member #390 - 1 month ago

    "Smartwatch sales are tanking." 

    I could agree with that. My wife "downgraded" from a Moto 360 to a Fitbit Blaze because she wants more health oriented features. She would have gone back to Band if the writing wasn't on the wall. 

    I myself have a LG Watch Urbane with Android Wear and I actually find it useful BUT could live without it. I do believe Android Wear is underrated and overlooked. 

  7. 0 | Reply
    glenn8878 Alpha Member #2387 - 1 month ago

    Apple will have a viable business with iPods, Apple Watch, and iPads despite them being in decline. We can add iPhone and Mac to the list too. Apple just lost $4.00 per share.

  8. 0 | Reply
    StagyarZilDoggo Alpha Member #1793 - 1 month ago

    About Skype on Windows Phone 8.1 - MS really should update the old app to support the new infrastructure. After all, WP 8.1 is still supported according to their own lifecycle policy. This even promises updates until July 2017. When did we get the last WP 8.1 update? Well over a year ago? Keeping their own apps alive until the end of support should be the minimum.

    1. 3 | Reply
      mike2k Alpha Member #1349 - 1 month ago
      In reply to StagyarZilDoggo:

      They probably didn't expect anyone to still be running those devices after the greatness of win 10. 😅 Aaaaand that was a joke

  9. 0 | Reply
    Narg Alpha Member #420 - 1 month ago

    CoD video: that was effective.  Nicely done.

    Google Fiber:  Figures.  They'll probably sell out to another ISP, and up go the prices...

    Chrome OS:  Is that thing growing slow, or at all?  Not impressed yet.

    Gotta wonder if the Surface Phone, if it ever appears, may be Android?  Just saying...

  10. 0 | Reply
    Jeff_S Alpha Member #2441 - 1 month ago

    At least someone besides me figured out how to hit the "G" Spot!

    (rimshot).

  11. -1 | Reply
    Waethorn Alpha Member #2235 - 1 month ago

    Michael Phelps is doing videogames now?  Infinity Ward should be worried, considering his previous sponsorships:

    http://www.fool.com/investing/2016/10/25/under-armour-inc-shares-drop-after-earnings-heres.aspx

     

    "So this is what passes for an exciting week in the Chrome OS world."

    Compared to another Fast Ring beta with yet another patch of "security and performance improvements" and pen features that seemingly nobody is using, all while reliability problems continue to plague the "stable" version?  Well, yes, actually.

     

    "After years of costly investments to dig up roads and lay fiber optic cable, Google started considering alternatives, including wireless and fiber partnerships, that did not necessarily require the company to build a full network."

    Fiber-optic digs are expensive.  WiGig is just around the corner, and cheap.  How is this bad news?