LG G Watch


LG UK tweeted a closer look of the upcoming LG G Watch. The display looks like a square, but the thicker upper and lower bezels make the body of the G Watch rectangular. I prefer square to rectangle, and prefer the Motorola Moto 360 to the LG G Watch. That’s just me.

I think the Moto 360 will end up being too expensive because every component had to be custom because of the circular industrial design. The rectangular smartwatches like the LG G Watch look like they will be cheaper and cater to a larger market. Where I think the sweet spot will be is a smartwatch with a circular face, much like the analog watches that are higher end, but with a rectangular body.

With this combination the display can still be square or rectangular but with software make the face of the watch circular. Of course nearly all components for an entirely new genre of gadgets like smartwatches will require some level of customization, but a square-ish body will make customizations less expensive. I’m fairly sure a square display is a lot cheaper to manufacture and integrate than a circular one.

Oh, and material selection will become even more important with smartwatches than it has been with smartphones. I don’t think plastic will work very well in convincing the high end of the market, and neither will bigger displays. But who knows, it’s a brand new market; maybe we’ll see Samsung come out with huge smartwatches you can write on with a stylus, and millions might love them: the Samsung Galaxy Gear Note!





Moto 360


Beautiful.

Update 2014.03.19

Wall Street Journal: Joanna Stern had a chat with Lior Ron, VP of Product Management and Wearables Lead at Motorola about whether or not Moto 360 is real. Here’s Ron’s response:

It is a very real product. I am wearing it on my hand as we speak and have been using it for the last few weeks. It’s very, very real, I promise. I am touching it right now.

I guess it’s real. And about that circular display:

It was a challenge to design. All the components have to be put in a round form factor so we used very unique materials and internals.

We aren’t sharing yet the screen size or resolution, but we thought through the size very carefully. We ended up with a size that is very comfortable. We took a hard look at materials that will convey the sense of quality. We have used metals and we are going to have metal and leather straps available.

Here’s a bit more about how Motorola came to decide Moto 360 should be circular. From The Verge‘s David Pierce and Motorola’s design chief Jim Wicks chat:

After two rounds of designs, prototypes, and tepid internal reactions, Motorola went back to the basics. Rather than reinvent wristwear or build a blocky rectangle like the Galaxy Gear or the Pebble Steel, Motorola decided to mimic what it hoped to replace: the elegant watches we’ve had on our wrists for decades. “We came to the realization that if we’re going to do this, we need to really embrace what this space is all about,” he says. So Motorola turned the Moto 360 into a beautiful, circular stainless-steel wearable that looks more like a Timex than a Moto X. Wicks says it got the same reaction from all the industry experts he showed it to: “Yep, that’s a watch.”

The round face is definitely a classic design, though that doesn’t preclude the body from being a square. One of my favorite watch design is the Bell & Ross BR 01-92.





LG 2014 TV Lineup


LG:

LG Electronics (LG) today introduced its 2014 TV lineup in Korea, unveiling a total of 68 new models including ULTRA HD TVs in sizes ranging from 49 to 105 inches, its largest collection to date. Among its new models is LG’s ground breaking 105-inch Curved ULTRA HD TV in addition to its smaller 65-, 55- and 49-inch curved 4K units.

On March 11, 2014 LG unveiled a total of 68 new TV models in South Korea. Perhaps there needs to be a bit more focus?

Curved 4K TVs if used as a TV in the living room aren’t going to be that useful, but curved 4K TVs if used as a monitor in the home office will. Think of it this way: Wouldn’t you love to work at a workstation with a 2×2 multi-screen setup? Of course you do. Four 24-inch 1920×1080 monitors in a 2×2 format is equivalent to one 48-inch 3840×2160 monitor. Now imagine it curved. Beautiful isn’t it?





4.5-inch 1280×720 iPhone


My hand hasn’t grown since the iPhone 4. The dimensions of the iPhone 4 and 4S were perfect for my hands. These iPhones had a 3.5-inch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio. I would have preferred if Apple had kept the same display on the iPhone 5 and made the chassis thinner and lighter and longer lasting. That would have been perfect, but of course that didn’t happen.

The display in the iPhone 5 grew larger to 4.0 inches and the aspect ratio went from 3:2 to 16:9, or to make an apples to apples easier to understand comparison 1.5:1 to 1.78:1. The iPhone 5s and 5c is the same. The dimensions of the iPhone 5 are no longer perfect for my same sized hands. I have to reposition my iPhone when I want to tap the icon on the far corners. As you might have guessed the satisfaction of using an iPhone has gone down, because the display size grew larger to the point where one-handed operation required more work than before. I’ve gotten used to it, but if I had the choice I’d be using a 3.5-inch 3:2 iPhone 5.

But the world doesn’t mind big, at all. The world doesn’t mind bulging pants, having to carry a purse or a murse, or using a phone with two hands. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 sports a gigantic, by my standards, 5.7-inch 16:9 display and lots of people like it, because it’s big. Samsung has had much success with its big screen strategy: the 4.8-inch Galaxy S3, the 5.0-inch Galaxy S4, the 5.1-inch Galaxy S5, and the 5.5-inch Galaxy Note 2. The Galaxy Note 4 is rumored to feature an even larger display.

I don’t know why Apple decided to make the display bigger and change the aspect ratio, but it happened. That to me means Apple doesn’t consider there to be one perfect size for the iPhone for all time. Up until the iPhone 4S the perfect size was 3.5 inches with a 3:2 aspect ratio. Starting from the iPhone 5 series Apple considers a 4-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio to be the perfect size. Would Apple make the iPhone bigger?

I don’t know, but if it were to happen I think Apple would choose a 4.5-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio and specifically a 1280×720 pixel format. Why?

The one thing that remained the same between the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 5 is the resolution: 326 ppi. Could Apple change that up? Sure, but for the sake of argument let’s assume Apple’s going to keep resolution the same. There’s plenty of good reasons, but one of most important is with the same resolution the visual experience is consistent.

Just for the heck of it I made a Numbers spreadsheet that automatically calculates resolution, as in PPI, when I input the diagonal size and pixel format, as in 1280×720. When I put in 4.5 and 1280×720 guess what the spreadsheet spat out for PPI? 326. And 1280×720 is way neater than, what is it now? I can’t remember.





Google Nexus Smartwatch by LG


@evleaks:

More Google (LG) smartwatch specs: 1.65″ IPS LCD @ 280×280, 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage, processor TBD.

A 280×280 pixel format would make the Google Nexus Smartwatch a square, which is a good thing in my opinion. These hardware specs are interesting — for instance, I’m glad the display is IPS — but what I’m most curious about is the experience of using it: Will it be like using a small, square, Android smartphone? Or will it be something completely different, more intuitive, more watch-like?





iOS 7.1


Shara Tibken, c|net:

iOS 7.1 also includes a camera update that’s specific to iPhone 5S users. That’s because the newer phone uses Apple’s advanced A7 processor while older devices have less-powerful chips. HDR, or “high dynamic range,” will automatically turn on when it’s needed. That takes many photos at once in different exposures to create a sharp image that looks closer to what the human eye sees, as the varying highlights and shadows are all accounted for.

I was wondering what that was all about. I was taking some photos earlier this afternoon and experienced a strange thing: while taking a photo HDR automatically turned on. That has never happened before, and now I know why. The photo turned out slightly better with HDR, but I hope Apple sees fit to include a manual override to turn off auto HDR in a future update.

One other thing I noticed: the keyboard font is slightly bolder than the original. I’m glad Apple is correcting its overcorrection of skeuomorphism.

Update 2014.03.11

I wrote too hastily without checking. There is is a way to turn off HDR Auto: Touch it while in the Camera app and two other options glide out. One is HDR On and the other is HDR Off.





Sony Xperia Z2 is Without Quantum Dots


Raymond Soneira:

The widespread press reports that the Sony Xperia Z2 Triluminous LCD displays have Quantum Dots is incorrect. They don’t.

I thought Triluminos equaled quantum dots. I guess not; then what does Triluminos stand for?

I’m scratching my head as to how the Xperia Z2 without quantum dots is superior to the Xperia Z with quantum dots. Perhaps Sony is in the process of perfecting the use of quantum dots and hasn’t gotten there yet. Similar to Nokia’s PureView, Sony’s sub-branding is confusing, to say the least.

Update 2014.03.11

Well, this is a bit of a surprise. According to Raymond Soneira, the Xperia Z2 doesn’t use quantum dots and neither does the Xperia Z. I’ve scoured Sony sites for any mention of Triluminos or quantum dots in relation to the Xperia Z or Z2 and interestingly enough there are none. Where did this false idea originate? I’d be curious to find out.

Soneira tested the light spectra of the Sony Xperia Z, HTC One, and Huawei Ascend D2. All three exhibited very similar results. According to Soneira the Sony Xperia Z is using standard backlight units (BLUs) with blue LEDs coated with yellow phosphors. There is nothing special about the BLU in the Xperia Z or Z2.

The Kindle Fire HDX 7 uses quantum dots and the light spectral graph is quite different: wavelengths surrounding each primary color is much more pointy (narrow) compared to BLUs without quantum dots.





Microsoft Surface As A Productivity Tool


Lukas Mathis:

In the end, I really, really like Metro, but don’t love Windows as a whole. It’s flawed. But even so, I like my Surface a lot more than I ever liked any of my iPads.

When Apple introduced the iPad, they made a point of showing productivity apps. I feel like the Surface finally makes good on Apple’s promise: Metro is a UI that actually works well for productivity. It’s not perfect, but it’s more than acceptable.

It’s not surprising to me that a full blown Windows 8 tablet is a more capable productivity tool than the iPad. What I’m interested to see is when Microsoft Surface becomes a better productivity tool than a notebook.

As CPUs and GPUs become more powerful and energy efficient, and as battery technology becomes more efficient, there will come a point where a desktop operating system on a tablet will work just fine and for many hours. We’re not quite there yet and so a mobile device (iPad) with a mobile operating system (iOS) and a mobile CPU (A7) is faster, more efficient, and lasts longer. But I think in a year or two Microsoft Surface might be able to fulfill the company’s original goal of being a single mobile device that is powerful enough to replace a notebook and thin, light, and lasts long enough to be used as a tablet.





Android Tablets Outsell iPad in 2013


Gartner:

Worldwide sales of tablets to end users reached 195.4 million units in 2013, a 68 percent increase on 2012, according to Gartner, Inc. While sales of iOS tablets grew in the fourth quarter of 2013, iOS’s share declined to 36 percent in 2013. The tablet growth in 2013 was fueled by the low-end smaller screen tablet market, and first time buyers; this led Android to become the No. 1 tablet operating system (OS), with 62 percent of the market [...]

A single company, Apple, captured 36% of the world’s tablet market in 2013. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but there’s another company posting incredible numbers. Gartner breaks down tablet sales market share in 2012 and 2013 by vendor:

  1. Apple: 52.8% → 36.0%
  2. Samsung: 7.4% → 19.1%
  3. ASUS: 5.4% → 5.6%
  4. Amazon: 6.6% → 4.8%
  5. Lenovo: 1.9% → 3.3%

And Others make up 31.0% (up from 25.8% in 2012). Although Apple’s 36.0% market share despite it being a Y/Y decline is still impressive, Samsung was the only company that experienced explosive growth: an amazing 336% Y/Y.





Reflectance: LG OLED TV is Best


Raymond Soneira:

The screens on all displays are mirrors that reflect light from everything that is illuminated anywhere in front of the screen (especially anything behind the viewers), including lamps, ceiling lights, windows, direct and indirect indoor and outdoor sunlight, which washes out the on-screen colors, degrades image contrast, and interferes with seeing the on-screen images. This is especially important for OLED displays because they produce excellent dark image content and perfect blacks – you don’t want that spoiled by ambient light being reflected off the screen. The LG OLED TV has the lowest screen Reflectance of any display that we have ever measured, just 2.2 percent, which is half of the previous 4.4 percent record – an impressive achievement. LG accomplished this by using both an anti-reflection screen treatment together with circular polarizers that suppress light reflections [...]

Impressive.





   



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