Start up: Android Wear on iOS, will Slack kill Dropbox?, India v Google, after the adblockers, and more


One other piece of technology – besides the lifejackets and boat – probably kept them alive. Photo by Irish Defence Forces on Flickr.

A selection of 9 links for you. Blimey, it’s September (here at least). I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Android Wear now works with iPhones » Official Google Blog

David Singleton, director of engineering for Android Wear:

When you wear something every day, you want to be sure it really works for you. That’s why Android Wear offers countless design choices, so you can find the watch that fits your style. Want a round watch with a more classic look? Feel like a new watch band? How about changing things up every day with watch faces from artists and designers? With Android Wear you can do all of that. And now, Android Wear watches work with iPhones.

Android Wear for iOS is rolling out today. Just pair your iPhone (iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, or 6 Plus running iOS 8.2+) with an Android Wear watch to bring simple and helpful information right to your wrist.

Key problem – and I think it will be a problem – is that it won’t be able to show reply to iMessages on the Wear watch. And iMessage is a huge part of using an iPhone (demonstrated by the volume sent each day), and, in my experience, the Apple Watch. The picture in the blogpost shows Google Hangouts; if you’re that dedicated to Hangouts, you’ll be on Android. Also: no third-party (Android Wear, nor, obviously, iOS) apps. Harry McCracken has a useful rundown – mostly of what it doesn’t do on iOS – at Fast Company.

So this might goose Android Wear watch sales a little, but I don’t see it lasting.
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Dropbox: the first dead decacorn » Thoughts from Alex Danco

Slack (the workplace collaboration tool) is going to kill it, Danco reckons:

The problem for Dropbox is that our work habits are evolving to make better use of what’s available; specifically, the awesome power of the internet. And on the internet, the concept of a ‘file’ is a little weird if you stop and think about it. Files seem woefully old-fashioned when you consider organization tools like Evernote, task management tools like Trello, and communication channels like Slack. Files are discrete objects that exist in a physical place; the internet is … pretty much the opposite of that. And while it made sense that the birth and early growth of information and the internet would contain familiar, old-school ideas and organizing systems, and some point the other shoe was bound to drop. To me, Slack feels like the first truly internet and mobile-native productivity platform – especially as it expands beyond messaging and into workflow automation, helper bots, and who knows what else. Dropbox might be the pinnacle of file management, but Slack is the beginning of what comes next.
  
I don’t think files are going to completely disappear; not anytime soon, anyway. They’ll certainly still exist as data structures, deep inside our servers and our phones, for a very long time – and yet most people will be indifferent to their existence. I’m pretty sure Dropbox’s multi-billion dollar valuation isn’t an anticipation of this new reality – it’s simply a projection of our current world, played in fast-forward. This is gravely shortsighted. Dropbox may not be the first Unicorn to slide slowly and then quickly towards irrelevance and death – but it’ll happen.

Having used Slack, I can believe a lot of that. If you haven’t used Slack, you’ll be harrumphing at this. (People who still put music and video files onto SD cards to slot into their phones will be incredulous.) It’s just a matter of time.
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India’s competition authority charges Google with rigging search results; Flipkart, Facebook corroborate complaints » The Economic Times

Deepali Gupta:

Flipkart, Facebook, Nokia’s maps division, MakeMy-Trip.com and several other companies have corroborated complaints that US Internet giant Google abused its dominant market position, in their response to queries raised by the Competition Commission of India.

Based on the responses from 30 businesses spanning search, social networks, ecommerce, travel and content sites, the CCI director-general last week filed a report that accuses Google of abusing its dominant position to rig search outcomes, both the actual search result as well as sponsored links. This marks the first case globally where an antitrust body is formally raising such charges against Google.

Flipkart’s complaint – that its position in organic results varied on how much it spent on ads with Google – is an eye-opener; often whispered, never made part of a complaint.

The list is comprehensive; if anything, Google faces more fires here than in Europe. What’s not clear is how determined, and meticulous, the CCI is. Anyone know? Google has to respond by September 10.
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Adobe aims to bring Photoshop to mobile masses with upcoming app » CNET

Stephen Shankland:

“Project Rigel is designed and built in a way that serves the needs of professionals familiar with retouching tools on the desktop, but more so for people not familiar with Photoshop tools like content-aware fill or spot healing,” Manu Anand, Adobe’s senior product manager for digital imaging, said in an interview at Adobe’s offices here. “It democratizes them and makes them easier to use.”

The app itself has a touchscreen interface, with a menu of editing options across the bottom, pop-out tool adjustments on the left side and a strong zoom ability to offer precision when selecting areas of an image with fat fingertips. It’s even got face recognition technology that Photoshop for PC lacks, a feature that identifies facial features then lets people enlarge or tilt eyes or raise the corners of a subject’s mouth to emphasize a smile.

Bringing Photoshop to the mobile masses is crucial for Adobe as it tries to adapt its business to modern computing trends. The company has no desire to suffer Microsoft’s fate, being largely left behind by the meteoric rise of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, the software that powers nearly all smartphones and tablets.

Not sure Adobe gets a choice there. It has clung on to the desktop with Flash, and it’s hard to see how Photoshop is really that relevant for mobile; it feels like overkill. (Adobe has a large, unseen-by-consumers business in web measurement too.)
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A 21st-century migrant’s essentials: food, shelter, smartphone » The New York Times

Matthew Brunwasser:

The tens of thousands of migrants who have flooded into the Balkans in recent weeks need food, water and shelter, just like the millions displaced by war the world over. But there is also one other thing they swear they cannot live without: a smartphone charging station.

“Every time I go to a new country, I buy a SIM card and activate the Internet and download the map to locate myself,” Osama Aljasem, a 32-year-old music teacher from Deir al-Zour, Syria, explained as he sat on a broken park bench in Belgrade, staring at his smartphone and plotting his next move into northern Europe.

“I would never have been able to arrive at my destination without my smartphone,” he added. “I get stressed out when the battery even starts to get low.”

Not a thing one would have been likely to forecast even five years ago. GPS and WhatsApp are now essential.
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Apple iPhone 6 Plus vs. Samsung Galaxy Note 5 » Business Insider

Lisa Eadicicco:

After spending a week switching between the two, here’s what I came away with. 

• Both phones are gorgeous, but with the Note 5 you get a slightly larger screen packed into a phone that’s the same size as the iPhone 6 Plus.
• The Note 5’s screen displays colors more vibrantly than the iPhone, but it’s not any sharper than the iPhone’s screen even though it’s a higher spec.
• The iPhone is still much more simple to use than Samsung’s phone.
• The Note 5’s S Pen feels natural and the multiwindow feature is useful, but Samsung’s version of Android is still too cluttered for me.
• Both phones take excellent photos. It’s a win-win here, but, as is the case with the Note 5’s display, its camera also sometimes exaggerates color. 

She also liked the Note’s split screen, and found the pen useful too.
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The mobile video ad lie » Medium

Rob Leathern found a page apparently with no video ads on the NY Post was loading 10MB. But how?

The large JPG files I referenced earlier make up the majority of the payload of this page — and are coming from the images.fusevid.com domain. Here again are those example1 and example2 of the image files.

Remember, I didn’t see any video content nor any video ads at all. If there is not willful fraud here, loading ads in the background that are impossible to see, then at the very least it is ‘user-hating’ irresponsible behavior to have a 10+mb payload with hundreds of http calls in a mobile browser.

Many publishers simply must have a sense that something nasty is going on — when their users complain about slow page loads on mobile web — but they either don’t have the tech savvy and/or more likely, they won’t ask questions about how their site could possibly be monetizing as well as it is when simple math indicates that their users aren’t watching that many video streams. Many simply turn a blind eye.

Ad industry insiders talk about “improving viewability” — but make no mistake, these are likely not mistakes made by inexperienced workers — just as mobile ads that pop up iTunes Store pages for mobile app installs are not casual errors — this is an industry that persists by helping already-fraught businesses like newspapers and online publishers survive at the expense of the advertisers who supposedly help us users have free content.

Is it any wonder desktop ad blocking has been on the rise, and many iOS users are excited at the prospect of using content blocking in iOS9 to get rid of mobile ads? The industry has only itself to blame.

I find these stories – which are growing in volume – fascinating. This is a boil that the internet community is looking to lance with vigour.
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Life after content blocking » Monday Note

Jean-Louis Gassee:

What are the smaller publishers to do?

Displaying their outrage by posting “Access Denied” when reached by an “offending” browser won’t work.

Some very specialized sites, such as Ben Thompson’s Stratechery and Ben Bajarin’s TechPinions, are able to generate membership revenue because the quality of their content — sober analysis versus mere reporting — makes it worth the price of subscription.

But these are exceptions. Too many sites are just echo chambers, they rewrite news releases, add strong adjectives and adverbs, and a bit of spin. Competition for attention, pageviews, and advertising dollars drives them to shout from the rooftops. If they don’t want to disappear or be rolled up into a larger entity to “optimize expenses”, they’ll have to get us to pay for their content.

This is much easier said than done. It’s difficult to conjure up a picture in which we’ll have subscriptions to most of the sites we graze today in their ad-supported form.

An alternative to subscriptions for content we may or may not actually “consume” is pay-as-you-go. In principle, this isn’t very different from what we do when we buy an episode of Breaking Bad. We gladly pay $2.99 to watch what we want, when we want, and without ads.

This works well for TV shows, but it doesn’t easily translate to websites.

I do foresee a number of those middling sites selling up to others which reckon they can make a go of it.
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We have no interest in competing with Apple: John Sculley of Obi Worldphone » Business Today

Interviewed by Manu Kaushik:

[Inflexionpoint chief executive] Neeraj [Chauhan] and I sat down. I asked him why he thought there’s an opportunity for us to go into this industry. He said that we have skills of distribution and supply chains, we know how to negotiate with various vendors, and we can run on a different business model.

At the same time, we were looking at the opportunity of buying BlackBerry. We were approached by the Canadian government. We have big operations in Toronto with another one of our companies. They said that we would like to keep BlackBerry a Canadian company and would you consider acquiring it. We studied BlackBerry’s business practices. We realised that they had 7,000 people in their handsets division at that time. That was incredible number of people. There’s no way you can make money with that. Eventually, BlackBerry pulled the auction [down]. They brought a talented CEO to run the company John Chen. They should have brought him in three years earlier.

But it opened our eyes. I asked Neeraj how many people you would need to run BlackBerry’s handset business. He said that he could do it with hundreds of people.

Via Charles Knight, who adds: “You have to wonder who else in Canada they approached.” It’s probably a long list.
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One thought on “Start up: Android Wear on iOS, will Slack kill Dropbox?, India v Google, after the adblockers, and more

  1. Dropbox isn’t just about hosting files anymore. It’s making a lateral move into project management.

    I’m not sure how that affects the prediction that Slack will kill Dropbox, but I do know that the assumptions are wrong.

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