Android Smartwatch SDK, Neil Young’s PonoPlayer, Noisy Marvel Comics [Tech News Digest]
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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

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 Galaxy S5, Nokia X, Google Smartwatch, Xbox One Price Cut [Tech News Digest] Galaxy S5, Nokia X, Google Smartwatch, Xbox One Price Cut [Tech News Digest] Samsung unveils Galaxy S5, Nokia X is revealed, WhatsApp announces free voice services, Google rumored to be working on a smartwatch, Xbox One gets first price cut, and selfies may spread head lice. Read More , 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 5 Alternatives to the Apple iWatch That Are Already Available 5 Alternatives to the Apple iWatch That Are Already Available Rumors that Apple is developing a smartwatch have caused a wave of new interest in this relatively small and obscure market. What is a smartwatch? Do they already exist? What can they do? These are... Read More ‘.

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 How To Cure Smartphone Addiction (A Smartphone Detox) How To Cure Smartphone Addiction (A Smartphone Detox) Smartphone addiction is real, and you could be affected. Read More .

In fact, it could be said that the PonoPlayer is about as relevant today as Neil Young.

Yahoo Loves/Hates Startups

Startups who want their product to stay the course should probably not agree to be acquired by Yahoo Is It Time To Give Yahoo A Second Chance? Is It Time To Give Yahoo A Second Chance? From email and search giant to the butt of many jokes, Yahoo has arguably had more downs than ups. Now that the company is experiencing something of a renaissance, is it time to Yahoo again? Read More . 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

Marvel Comics Discover Marvel Comics & Marvel Characters on the Web Discover Marvel Comics & Marvel Characters on the Web Marvel Comics was founded in 1939 as Timely Comics before becoming Atlas Comics in the 1950s and eventually the company we know and love in the 1960s. This was the era when Jack Kirby, Steve... Read More 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 Samsung Announces Milk Music: Ad-Free Internet Radio For Galaxy Devices Samsung Announces Milk Music: Ad-Free Internet Radio For Galaxy Devices Joining the crowded ranks of Internet radio services like iTunes Radio and Pandora, Samsung has just announced the oddly-named Milk Music service, available only on Galaxy devices. Read More .

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 Better Than Text Messages & Free - WhatsApp For Android Reviewed Better Than Text Messages & Free - WhatsApp For Android Reviewed A moment of introspection, please: What do you do more often - call people using your phone, or text them? I would bet it's the latter. For many people, texting is more convenient than calling.... Read More , allowing for messages and group conversations to be sent using your data rather than SMS. Learn more about Facebook Messenger for Windows Phone Windows Phone Users Can Now Install Facebook Messenger Windows Phone Users Can Now Install Facebook Messenger Windows Phone users are now being rewarded for their patience, with Facebook Messenger now available for the platform. It's very Windows Phone-ish - lots of white and blue. Read More .

iPhone Users Branded “Wall Huggers”

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

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  1. Justin P
    March 11, 2014 at 12:39 am

    I love you Dave, and am not sure that PonoPlayer will be relevant. But Neil Young is a Canadian treasure, and I'm offended at your implication that his music isn't timeless. Should we fight? I think we should probably fight...

    • Dave P
      March 11, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      It's on.

      I didn't even know he was Canadian. But then so are Justin Bieber, Celine Dion, and Nickelback. ;)

  2. Allan
    March 10, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    I think Neil Young is a credible and very relevant artist who over the years has shown his integrity and dedication to causes. Take, for instance, his "Honor the Treaties" tour this winter.

    • Dave P
      March 11, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      He probably is. It was just a little snark intended to be a fun throwaway comment :)

  3. likefunbutnot
    March 10, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    1. I'd LOVE to see proper distribution of hi-resolution audio data, particularly for large ensemble classical music. But reading between the lines, Pono sounds like a lot of audiophile nonsense that's going to wind up with 0.0% marketshare. I'm sure that its impending failure will be used as an excuse to continue with the same set of crappy decisions that record companies have been using for the last 15 years to screw artists and consumers both.

    2. Pirates have, unquestionably, the best digital distribution system and reading format for digital comic books. Making noise doesn't fix that. If anyone really wants to succeed with digital comics, they need to take as many lessons as they can from the people who scan and post .CBR files in newsgroups and torrent sites.

    3. A Samsung-specific mobile music service is every bit as much non-starter as an Apple one. I don't believe Android device owners particularly have brand loyalty, but even if they do, it's ridiculous to think that North Americans, who can already buy or stream music without vendor lock-in from any number of fantastic services (and also Apple, for the people who already like shitty service AND vendor lock-in) need another choice in this space. This service is going to be a giant waste of money on Samsung's part.

    • Dave P
      March 11, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      1. I suspect you're right. I must have terrible hearing though, as run of the mill mp3s sound fine to me.

      2. It's a strange decision to add a soundtrack. But then I would prefer to own the physical copies anyway.

      3. I agree, actually. I'm not sure quite why Samsung has gone down this route rather than just do a deal with an existing service.