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Google working on “X Phone” to directly compete with Samsung, Apple

The writing has been on the wall for some time, and now, it has been uncovered that Google is working on “X Phone,” a “stand apart” device which would feature next-generation technology.

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Google to use Motorola acquisition to launch next-generation “X Phone”

After acquiring Motorola for $12.5 billion, Google is said to be working on what is known internally as the “X Phone,” their “stand apart” phone to compete directly with the iPhone, according to the Wall Street Journal. Google has declined to comment. The sophisticated device could be released in 2013, and while reports note that the device should compete directly with the iPhone, and less with Samsung’s Galaxy line or Motorola’s current offering, some question the impact of the “X Phone” release.

The “X phone” project could feature flexible screens that have been grabbing headlines this year, and possibly image and gesture-recognition software. Led by former Google product manager, Lior Ron, the Journal reports that the company is already experiencing development issues, particularly with their supply chain and worries over battery life with all of the next-generation features. The irony here is that with the passing of Steve Jobs, Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook has expertise in the supply chain, so the timing of the change of leadership couldn’t be better for Apple and worse for Google.

Google is famous for being able to complete projects in record speeds, but that is all based on web projects – hardware and manufacturing are a totally different story, and there are reports that the original plans for the “X Phone” are being reconsidered. Some would take that to mean that the plans are being scrapped, we would speculate that the supply chain is being reexamined as they are likely extremely ambitious with how cutting edge the device is, given that they obviously want to take the iPhone market share.

“Meanwhile, Google must manage complex relationships with smartphone makers that use its Android mobile-device software—particularly with Samsung Electronics Co., a Motorola rival that has become the No. 1 smartphone maker with Google’s help,” the Journal reports.

Future of the “X Phone,” and why develop it anyway?

After the “X Phone” launch, Google will likely develop a tablet based on the same platform, and Motorola will continue to create devices for carrier partner, Verizon.

So why even develop a device? Is it a hatred of their rival, Apple? No, it is more likely just as MacRumors opines, “Google’s acquisition of Motorola was controversial as it puts Google in direct competition with their Android licensees. Apple and Samsung, however, have captured the lion’s share of smartphone profits, and Google is reportedly concerned that Samsung could “fork” Android and preventing Google’s applications from being installed by default. This could have a large impact on Google’s mobile reach if it doesn’t develop its own handset.”

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. MattWilkins

    December 23, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    And here we all thought that the Nexus line was Google going after Apple. As a Nexus 4 owner I can say that it is very much going after the iPhone with its materials and specs but at almost half the price.

  2. Roland Estrada

    December 24, 2012 at 11:44 am

    It’s only a big deal if they make a truly stunning device. Otherwise it’s a snooze. Google has always made some kind of reference. Their main reason for the Motorola purchase was for patents.

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Tech Gadgets

Google Glass didn’t succeed, but Apple’s AR glasses might

(TECH GADGETS) Apple Glass: Are AR glasses gimmicky, or can Apple improve where Google failed? The potential is enormous, but can Apple meet the expectations?

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Apple may announce a new addition to the iFamily this year: Apple Glass, a set of AR glasses to complement existing Apple products. Even though we’ve seen this story before, here’s why Apple’s rumored eyewear might deserve your attention–if not your money.

This certainly isn’t the first time a technology company has taken their brand name and slotted the word “Glass” after it to create hype. In 2015, Google Glass was discontinued–quite publicly, in fact–due to a variety of issues, chief among which were privacy concerns, and an untenable price tag of around $1500. Lacking a clear market and suitable demand, the shades were put to rest, though it should be noted that a rebranded version is available now (for $999).

Apple is a company that has, in the past, showed a propensity for iteration rather than innovation; the Apple Watch, while a stylish and functional improvement on existing wearable technology, wasn’t even close to the first of its kin, and early versions of the iPad were scrutinized against similarly sized, lower-priced counterparts. This isn’t to say that Apple doesn’t do tech better–just that they are, often enough, pretty late to the party.

In the case of AR glasses, this is a habit that may suit Apple well.

Put bluntly, there isn’t a clearly established need for smart glasses, and while critics of the Apple Watch were quick to say the same thing about that implement, anyone who has worn one for a few hours can recognize (if not fully appreciate) the handiness–no pun intended. It seems fair to afford Apple some grace with this in mind, but the fact remains that the demand for a set of AR glasses simply isn’t there for now.

On the other hand (again, no pun intended), Apple is the master of creating demand and hype where previously there was naught but slumber. For this reason, it behooves us to keep an eye on Apple’s unveiled tech this year–if for no other reason than to know for sure how the company plans to address the sticky issue of AR wearables.

After all, there are numerous medical, exploratory, and generally functional applications for which one could feasibly use AR in a beneficial (not gimmicky) manner, and if Apple is able to expedite that process, far be it from us to criticize. Yet.

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Tech Gadgets

The Apple Watch isn’t just a way to ignore calls, it could save your life

(TECH GADGETS) A lot of people balked at the idea of an Apple Watch, and even though many of its features seem superfluous, it has actually saved lives.

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Apple products are known for invasive yet convenient features–Face ID, Keychain, and AirDrop being some of the more notable ones–but the Apple Watch emergency dial feature might be the most useful one of them all.

If you’ve had the pleasure of setting up an Apple Watch from scratch, you know that the Healthcare app asks some invasive questions. This app, among other things, is responsible for curating a list of emergency contacts (something you can also populate via the Contacts app on your iPhone)–and this list might save your life if you take an unexpected tumble, at least if you have a Series 4 or 5 watch.

The way the feature works is relatively simple: If the watch senses that a user has rapidly or heavily fallen, it will initiate a haptic pulse along with a message asking the user to confirm that they are okay. Should the user fail to address this notification, the watch will call emergency services–and the user’s emergency contact list–with details including the user’s GPS coordinates.

The fall detection feature has reportedly worked for a few Apple Watch owners, one of whom passed out and didn’t wake up until emergency services arrived.

It is worth noting that the Apple Watch has another potentially life-saving feature: an ECG attached to the Heart Rate app. In theory, the Heart Rate app can detect abnormalities in one’s heartbeat and warn the user of an impending issue such as a stroke or a heart attack. Anyone who owns an Apple Watch knows that the Heart Rate app can be finicky, but Apple seems likely to continue tweaking this app as the watch ages.

While several owners have publicly attested to the effectiveness of these features, this shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement of the Apple Watch’s ability to save a life. An Apple Watch is still, first and foremost, a novelty–one that won’t always perform the way it’s meant to.

Future iterations of the watch–starting with the Series 6–are expected to expand on these medical features by adding monitoring for blood oxygen levels as well as improvements on existing features.

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Tech Gadgets

Samsung shines a new light on indoor health with artificial sunlight

(TECH GADGETS) Samsung’s C-Lab venture creates windows that simulate natural sunlight, so now you can stay healthy while being stuck inside!

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The light therapy market just leveled up. C-Lab Inside, an in-house idea incubation program to develop innovative ideas from Samsung employees, unveiled a window-shaped artificial sunlight device called the SunnyFive window. According the Samsung Newsroom, it enables the user to enjoy sunlight that changes by the hour by copying the full spectrum of the actual sunlight.

Light therapy lamps have been around for decades as a way for sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and some skin issues to get the benefits of sunlight all year long, without the risk of sunburn. In a time when many people are spending more time indoors than before as they shelter in place during the CoVID-19 pandemic, the audience for more accessible in-home sunlight may be greater than ever.

A device like the SunnyFive window promises a full spectrum of natural light that can simulate a real window through a changing light angle which adjusts throughout the day, including sunrises and sunsets. For SAD sufferers and others who can benefit from exposure to light, it can helps users synthesize vitamin D while indoors or in low-light places as they would in natural sunlight, according to the Samsung Newsroom.

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And because it is 2020, of course there is an app with that. It is set for easy integration with Samsung’s SmartThings smart home system, so users can personalize their light by adjusting brightness and color temperature from their phone, and set a schedule to wake up with a simulated sunrise. It can be mounted on the wall like a picture frame, and is designed to look like a window with diffused light, instead of the light box design used by many current light therapy lamps on the market.

This seems like an interesting product with a lot of upsides, but there are still a number of question marks around the technology and safety of this device. If UVB lighting is what is being emitted, what type of health consequences might users be exposed to? Did SunnyFive integrate any health safeguards or mitigating elements to address UVB exposure? Though Samsung showcased the SunnyFive window at the 2020 CES, the product, pricing, and details have yet to be released.

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