Wear OS now in striking distance of Apple

Apple is still in first place with the Apple Watch, but Counterpoint says Apple’s smartwatch market share is down 10 percent year over year in Q3, to 21.8 percent thanks to the delay of the Series 7 watch into Q4. It’s a good bet that Apple’s market share will go back up with the release of new hardware, but currently, Wear OS is within striking distance of the No. 1 spot, a position that was unthinkable just a year ago… More here.

No Apple bias in my thoughts, I promise, but something doesn’t add up here. I just can’t see how such a change can happen so quickly when the new products are not revolutionary or amazing in any way.

Cosmo Communicator review

I do love a keyboard on a smartphone, and love to try out any smartphone that has one. However, touchscreen typing keeps getting better, and even Blackberry’s attempts to re-enter the market have been thwarted. This phone cum laptop does it differently. The keyboard offers big chunky keys with more travel than you’d experience on a laptop these days. However, as expected, it is all tightly packed in… More here.

This looks like one of those devices that appears to be fantastic in the marketing images, but which maybe does not fit into how we live in 2021. There are also some inherent disappointments built in which is a shame.

Sony launches the Xperia PRO-I

The new smartphone, which can of course be used by ordinary consumers as well, is aimed at a very specific market that may well find this an essential part of their kit for outdoor photography and video recording.

With its amazing camera setup, optional productive accessories, and Sony’s advanced image processing – as well as 4K 120fps video recording – this announcement is sure to throw the cat amongst the pigeons just as Google and Apple were stepping up with their new high-end offerings going after a similar market… More here.

The line between phone camera and pro camera is getting thinner all of the time. The latter is the only one that will lose out in this battle.

iPad mini + iPhone 13 Pro > Galaxy Fold

The above is an excellent overview of the new iPad mini and it covered what the benefits are in the real world.

When Michael talked about the Galaxy Fold and the potential of 2 Apple devices fulfilling what it does this made a lot of sense to me. iPhone 13 Pro (£1,049) + iPad mini (£479) = less than the £1,599 Galaxy Z Fold3 5G.

I have never seen a use case that would suggest that a folding phone makes it worth the extra cost and when I compare it to those 2 devices it seems like a no-brainer to me.

HUAWEI GT 2 Pro review (part 1)

This is a very quick first part of my GT 2 Pro review. I simply want to cover the very first impressions a buyer can expect to experience when they open the box. And my first impressions were much more positive than I expected.

I still struggle to understand how £179 can get a watch (any type of watch) with sapphire glass, a titanium case, a good quality leather strap, an excellent buckle and a ceramic case back. This is practically unheard of in the traditional watch industry, but it does make me question how Huawei can do it when the likes of Seiko, Tissot cannot at anywhere near this price point. Take a look higher at Tudor, Oris and even Omega, and you will not see all of these materials together without laying out some serious money.

Even more surprising is the way the case has been made, the quality of the buttons, the design considerations and the consistency throughout. It really does not feel like a smartwatch on the wrist, apart from the lack of weight.

In the box you get a USB C charging cable which attaches to a circular wireless charger, a couple of booklets and that’s your lot. It is minimal and if you pay an extra £20 you get a black rubber strap as well which can be changed using the quick release mechanism. I should add that the quick release used here is the best quality I have seen to date on any watch. The surprises continue.

My very first impressions are extremely positive and I am somewhat bewildered by what you get for the price. I mean, this is Huawei after all. A company we are taught to be wary of, but the hardware is ultra impressive and arguably above the Apple Watch. In part 2 I will cover the display, performance and battery.

Samsung ditches iOS support for the Galaxy Watch

Most smartwatches compatible with Android smartphones usually offer support for Apple’s iOS platform too, but that tune might be changing. With its Galaxy Watch 4 series, Samsung has quietly dropped support for iOS.

If you dive into the specs of Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 on the company’s website, you’ll see the compatibility list has been altered since last year’s release. The glaring omission? Galaxy Watch 4 lacks iOS support entirely, a detail that Samsung confirmed to ArsTechnica while saying that the change has no impact on older Galaxy smartwatches. In other words, Samsung won’t be removing that ability on its Tizen products… More here.

That’s a big move when you think about it because it effectively precludes iPhone users from buying the watch. I realise that Apple already does this with the Apple Watch, but I wonder if it is a sign that trying to compete for iPhone owners against the Apple Watch is pointless. I suspect there are numbers behind this move to back that up.

The Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Today we’re getting our first look at the fruits of Samsung’s smartwatch collaboration with Google: the new Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. It’s a big deal in wearables, because after years of trying to go it alone with its own Tizen platform on smartwatches, Samsung is finally biting the bullet and collaborating with Google on its operating system.

I expected more from this release, I really did. The battery performance is disappointing and some of the proposed health sensing feels like a reach, but I am prepared to be corrected over time on that. It just doesn’t feel like a big jump forward to me.

Surprisingly I was much more intrigued by the new folding phones from Samsung. They are shaping up better much quicker than I expected.

Is it time for Apple to ditch the lightning cable?

The PolyCharge is an interesting product and one that appears to offer many advantages. It is on Indiegogo so you will have to gauge the risks, but this kind of product is starting to make more sense every day.

Marques published this video recently and got me thinking about the lightning cable that is becoming a royal pain for me these days. My MacBook uses USB-C, my iPad Air uses USB-C, almost every other device I own uses USB-C and my iPhone uses lightning or wireless charging which is sadly currently lacking in terms of speed.

Marques believes that Apple is aiming for only wireless and I guess this is the future, but something tells me we will need to lose the lightning cable before wireless charging is up to snuff to be comparable in terms of practicality.

The Commodore PET smartphone

It will only mark the attempt of a small company to buy an off-the-shelf smartphone from China and ship it with a white casing and a slightly weird looking take on the Commodore logo. To justify selling under the Commodore name, it will come with a pre-loaded emulator. One that could be installed on any Android phone. (Edit: It seems it will also include an Amiga emulator too, but everything I’ve said here about the C64 equally applies there too)… More here.

I tend to agree with Jonathan on this one and mainly because the PET name has been used with no real logic apart from the fact it is a well known name. However, this kind of branding of low level technology, and indeed other products such as jewellery and watches, is far from uncommon and happens a lot more than you may expect.

Freedom Phone: what a bunch of ***’s

The Freedom Phone is a free speech and privacy first focused phone. With features like tracking blockers and an uncensorable app store.

What a bunch of sh*t’s they are for promoting this to people who know no better. $499.99 for what is effectively a phone that costs less than $200 elsewhere.

Now that you know the general idea behind the phone, let’s dissect the device itself. The official website for the Freedom Phone is scarce on details, but it mentions that the phone works with all US domestic and international carriers, comes with pre-loaded conservative sites and apps, and runs a “free-speech first operating system” called FreedomOS (not to be confused with the custom ROM with the same name) that features a privacy tool called “Trust.” The phone is priced at $499, and thanks to the company’s generous affiliate program, many right-wing personalities and influencers in the US are hyping it up… More here.

I can guess some of the people making money out of this garbage, and one of them in particular. Big phone, small hands, big profits.