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Today in Tech News Digest, Google teases an Android SDK for smartwatches, Neil Young reveals his PonoPlayer, Yahoo’s track record with startups is revealed, Marvel adds sound to comics, Samsung releases Milk Music, Facebook Messenger finally comes to Windows Phone, and the CEO of BlackBerry calls iPhone users “wall huggers.”
Google Pitches Android Smartwatches
— Meredith Frost (@MeredithFrost) March 8, 2014
Google plans to release an Android SDK for smartwatches in a matter of weeks, according to Sundar Pichai, the man in charge of Android, Chrome, and Google Apps. The SDK is part of Google’s goal of laying out a “vision” for wearable devices.
The SDK plan was revealed at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas. It suggests a similar approach to smartwatches as Google employed with smartphones, with the SDK providing “plenty of feedback” from the people who will eventually make the devices.
Google is rumored to be working on its own smartwatch, with LG tasked with manufacturing. There’s still no guarantee that smartwatches are going to be the next big thing, but Google clearly thinks so. As does Apple does, as it’s continually rumored to be working on the ‘iWatch‘.
As always, consumers will ultimately decide the fate of this form factor.
Neil Young’s PonoPlayer Edges Closer
Neil Young is crowdfunding the PonoPlayer, the mp3 player he has been banging on about since 2012. It will be available to pre-order on Kickstarter from March 12, with $399 the asking price for this wedge-shaped audiophile’s wet dream.
The design and pricing have been heavily criticized on social media, but the bigger problem may be timing. The PonoPlayer is surely a little too late to market, with the days of dedicated personal media players having been succeeded by the all-encompassing smartphone.
In fact, it could be said that the PonoPlayer is about as relevant today as Neil Young.
Yahoo Loves/Hates Startups
i wont use yahoo anymore. sucks.
— Andreas Gilbert (@aan_3192) March 10, 2014
Startups who want their product to stay the course should probably not agree to be acquired by Yahoo. So says ReadWrite, which figured out that of the 38 startups Yahoo has bought under the regime of Marissa Meyer, 31 have been shuttered.
The latest casualty of this strategy is Vizify, a data visualization startup recently subsumed into Yahoo. The tech dinosaur is buying these startups for the talent rather than the products that talent has already created. And leaving a lot of annoyed users in its wake.
Marvel Gets Noisy With Digital Comics
It could take decades, but Marvel’s addition of sound effects to comics could finally open the door to motion picture adaptations.
— Brian Heater (@bheater) March 9, 2014
Marvel Comics is adding sound to its digital wares for the first time. The “adaptive audio” feature has been added to five issues of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, as available through the subscription-based Marvel Unlimited.
This follows on from Marvel’s attempts at adding motion to its digital comics. Which suggests the company just should bite the bullet and start making motion pictures instead. Oh wait, such things already exist.
Samsung Unveils Free-For-Now Milk Music
Samsung has launched its own Pandora-style streaming radio app bizarrely named ‘Milk Music’. The app, which features oodles of customization options controlled by an oversized scroll wheel, is available for free (for the time being) to U.S.-based owners of Galaxy devices. Learn more about Samsung Milk Music.
Facebook Messenger On Windows Phone
Facebook Messenger has finally arrived on Windows Phone, two years after the app was released on Android and iOS. Facebook Messenger works similarly to WhatsApp, allowing for messages and group conversations to be sent using your data rather than SMS. Learn more about Facebook Messenger for Windows Phone.
iPhone Users Branded “Wall Huggers”
— not Jony Fucking Ive (@JonyIveParody) March 7, 2014
And finally, if you use an iPhone then you’re a wall hugger. So says BlackBerry CEO John Chen. According to TUAW, Chen made the jibe while speaking at the OASIS: Montgomery Summit in California.
His description of iPhone users as “wall huggers” isn’t some lame reference to the facehuggers of the ‘Aliens’ movies, or to the tree huggers of the environmental movement. Instead, it’s an even lamer reference to how iPhone users have to constantly search for power outlets thanks to their phone of choice not being able to go a full day without being charged.
So, a barb that’s neither particularly amusing or hurtful.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.
Image Credit: Lucas Zallio via Flickr