Commentary: Will the new Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL phones stand to the new iPhones XS and XS Max?

Apple just had an event a few weeks ago where showed their new iPhones and the new Series 4 Watch, and now it’s the turn for Google which earlier this month, officially announced that its next hardware event is on October 9th in New York City. They are probably going to be presenting the new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones as well as perhaps, a new Google Pixelbook.

 

The invitation provided only a GIF with an animated “I ❤ NY” and since the heart contained a “3” is likely an indication of the Pixel 3.

We have all the details about the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max so utilizing the many Google Pixel 3 leaks; I’m going to attempt to compare them – we’ll find out how it compares with the iPhone on October, 9, the day of the Google event.

The Pixel 3 XL

Some of the leaked Pixel 3 XL images clearly show this phone with a pronounced notch as shown on the images below.

Google-Pixel-3-XL
WinFuture

The leaked images above also show a wallpaper with a number 3 and the same color scheme as the animated gif from Google’s event invitation. But let’s get to the specs, the new Pixel 3 XLwill feature an 8-core Qualcomm processor, assuming that’s what the Snapdragon 845 is — and an Adreno 630 GPU. The resolution appears to be 1440×2960 with a pixel density of 494; there’s evidence that the device will have just 4GB of RAM.

The Pixel 3 (non-XL)

The images leaked on the GooglePixel subreddit show a Pixel 3 with no notch, the photos also confirm stereo front-facing speakers, dual selfie cameras, and the same rear, all-glass design as the 3 XL (with a matte coating covering a good portion of it).

pixel3
GooglePixel subreddit

This Pixel 3 appears to have a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 2160×1080 and a 2:1 aspect ratio. The battery is said to be 2,915mAh. The two front-facing cameras appear to be each 8-megapixel sensors. One has an aperture of f/1.8, the other f/2.2; Google is probably following the two-camera approach to allow for wide-angle shots.

How does it compare with the iPhones XS and XS Max?

For starters, the iPhones XS and XS Max win the screen comparison; both phones have larger screens with higher resolution than the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. The iPhone XS has a 5.8-inch display with a resolution of 2436×1125 and pixel density of 458. The iPhone XS Max includes a 6.5-inch display with a resolution of 2688×1242 and same pixel density as the iPhone XS.

The camera’s aperture is similar on both the Pixel 3 and the new iPhones, with the iPhones featuring a f/1.8 and f/2.4 apertures while the Pixel 3 has an aperture of f/1.8, and f/2.2.

Since its initial release, the Google Pixel featured a great camera, I am sure the new Pixel 3 will have an amazing camera, the phone itself has been a favorite of many since its release and I’m sure the Pixel 3 won’t dissapoint.

One difference from the iPhone is that the new Pixel’s rear shooter is just a single-lens one, but that doesn’t mean it’s not capable, as there are rumors that this camera will be capable of amazing low light shots and it also has a new Visual Core.

The price is unknown, but if we use Google Pixel’s historic pricing, it will probably be cheaper than the new iPhone XS models and also the new Galaxy Note 9 – however, it’s very possible that Google might use this as an opportunity to increase the price of this vary capable phone.

The Google Pixel 3 launch date is confirmed for October 9. Stay tuned.

Alexa, Are we there yet?

Amazon hosted a hardware event in Seattle this week, and as expected, it introduced an array of new and updated Echo devices, including the Echo Auto. That’s right, an Echo that you can bring with you, in your car. Echo it’s Amazon’s line of smart speakers and screens, and with the addition of Echo Auto, there is now an Echo device for your car.
Amazon Alexa is the software, a virtual assistant developed by Amazon, first used in the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers developed by Amazon Lab126. It is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, sports, and other real-time information, such as news (Wikipedia).
Amazon’s new Echo Auto will be a hit, I just know that right now. The price point is low, starting at only $24.99 with the introductory offer (By invitation only ) that will save you 50% for a limited time. The regular price is set to be $49.99. This device will bring Alexa’s virtual assistant capabilities to your car, making it safer for you to get information, listen to music, etc. while you drive since all you have to do is talk to it and use voice commands instead of moving your eyes off the road or your hands off the steering wheel.
This is revolutionary, and I’m not talking about the tech of this device but the strategy behind it. The Echo Auto is a simple device, it’s small, it has the full power and versatility of the original Echo, and it will make Alexa accessible from any car, for just $24.99 with the starting price. The benefits of taking Alexa on the road thanks to this new device, the Echo Auto are many. Safety is the first thing that comes to mind, with the Echo Auto, we’ll be able to have amazing hands-free capabilities in our car by just using our voice. No more looking away from the road just to play a song, or make a call.
Just ask Alexa to play music, resume your Audible book, check your calendar, find nearby businesses, make calls, and more. With eight microphones, Echo Auto even hears you over road noise. Echo Auto starts up in seconds, works through your car speakers, and uses your existing smartphone plan. ~ Amazon
The Echo Auto also brings entertainment, you can ask Alexa to tell jokes, play a game, play music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, and more. In my case, having Alexa in my car will allow me to play my podcasts, audiobooks, or listen to the news briefing – all of it without having to use my hands or stop paying attention to the road.
There are already cars with the Alexa software built in, but this little device allows everyone to bring Alexa’s functionality into their car, any car. One concern I have with this (as I do with the rest of the Echo devices) is privacy, and as Amazon continues to conquer the kitchen, the bedroom, the living room, and now the car with its line of smart speakers, I just hope they also continue to maintain the interactions of users with Alexa private.
Alexa, Are we there yet?
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Commentary: Browser wars are here, again.

Remember the competition between Netscape Navigator and IE back in the 90’s? Netscape was the first browser I used, I was in college, and while the computers at the library had installed both Netscape and IE, I personally liked the Netscape Navigator better. By 1999, Microsoft’s IE had approximately 99% of the market, only four years after its release. By then the original browser wars were ending, Netscape was already in a declining trend, and not even the antitrust charges against Microsoft could stop that. Before the release of Mac OS X, Internet Explorer for Mac and Netscape were also the primary browsers in use on the Macintosh platform. Unable to continue commercially funding their product’s development, Netscape responded by open sourcing its product, creating Mozilla. Mozilla struggled to attract developers for a few years, but by 2002 was a relatively large and stable suite of internet software. It was then when Mozilla 1.0 was released as well as a spinoff version of it which later became Firefox. A few years later Microsoft’s Internet Explorer reached a peak market share of more than 94%, but it has been declining ever since. Google Chrome was released in 2008, and just a year later it was already gaining popularity, with an increasing but yet tiny market share.
Browser Market Share Worldwide from Jan – Dec 2009
Move forward ten years, and Google Chrome controls now over close to 60% of the browser market share while Microsoft’s browsers, IE and Edge have together, less than 10% of market share. Apple’s browser, Safari, which was released in 2007 is now the number two browser in the world, with 14.4% of the market share. Safari’s market share is probably the result of its iOS devices popularity like the iPhone and iPad.
Browser Market Share Worldwide from Aug 2017 – Aug 2018
Why do I think the browsers wars are here again? Well, Google’s Chrome has changed quite a bit and has since lost two of its main advantages, simplicity, and speed. Safari isn’t a popular browser, I find many MacOS users prefer Chrome or Firefox to browse the internet while using a MacBook, but the popularity of the iPhone and iPad has helped Apple’s Safari obtain and maintain a healthy market share for some years. The reason I’m calling it a browser war is because Mozilla’s Firefox has been gaining popularity faster than ever with its most recent releases. Apparently, Mozilla has been paying attention to what most people are complaining about regarding the browsers they use. For example, most people (me included) will complain about Chrome’s declining speed and increasing use of memory resources, IE has lost respect amongst pro users, and while Edge is a considerable improvement over IE, it is a fast browser, and it has cool features, it just hasn’t gained any significant market share since its release in 2015. Also worth noticing, Chrome continues to be the most popular browser thanks to the Android platform. I feel most people (perhaps non-technical people) don’t even know what browser they are using on their phones, they just use whatever their phone/tablet comes with. And this explains, at least in part, the larger market share for Chrome and also Safari as the chart below shows.
Browser Version Market Share Worldwide – August 2018

Bottom line

I personally have switched to Firefox recently, and I am pleased with the results. It is visibly faster, the user interface is cleaner, has some privacy features built in such as tracking protection, and it’s just a user-friendly open-source browser that receives regular updates – with the Mozilla Foundation boasting that it uses 30 percent less memory than Chrome –What’s not to like?

Should you buy the Apple Watch Series 4?

My first Apple Watch was a gift from my wife, she invited me to lunch for Valentine’s and surprised me with a stop at our local Apple store to get me one of these new Apple watches. I got one, the 42mm stainless steel watch with the silver Milanese loop band and I have been using it since then. I wasn’t convinced it was a useful device for a while until the software started to get better and also some handy apps came along.

Initially, the Apple Watch wasn’t received well, people were mocking it and making fun of Apple for producing such a device (see screenshot below). The truth is that the first edition or Series 0 wasn’t ready, they just weren’t good enough yet.

img_1286

Personally, I was impressed by it, I really liked the design and the functionality, yes the series 0 was the thickest, the slowest, and the software was full of bugs, but it was still impressive. For example, the activity and heart rate apps where pretty good since the beginning, and in my opinion, there wasn’t anything as good and accurate as the Apple Watch.

Early competition

At the time, a lot of people where buying Fitbits, including myself, but while these devices were convenient and inexpensive, the quality and durability was pretty bad. In contrast, the Apple Watch not only kept track of my steps but it also did a lot more, like checking my heart rate, and it had some useful apps.

A few years have passed since the first Apple Watch was released, its popularity has grown, sales of it have increased, and let’s be honest, the new Apple Watch is way better than the first version. The reality is that this watch is for people who love Apple products. The point is, Apple isn’t the only company who improved their Smartwatch line and its features, there are new competitors who in my eyes, have built much better products for exercise tracking, with much better battery life, and they also look great.

Garmin, for example, made a smart move by releasing GPS Watches of various price levels and needs. Gamin’s GPS Watches are well built and well designed, and in my opinion, they are still the best GPS Watch you can buy today. The battery life in all models of their GPS Watch surpasses that of the Apple Watch, and this is an essential factor for anyone serious about their fitness training.

The new Series 4

Apple-Watch-Series4_LiquidMetal_09122018

The new Series 4 is definitely a good watch and a big improvement over the Series 3. Below is a summary of what’s new and how it compares to previous versions.

The Series 4’s come in two new sizes, a 40mm case (977 sq mm display area) and a 44mm (759 sq mm display area).

It’s also thinner, almost as thin as the Series 0’s 10.5mm (if you can remember), the Series 4 is 10.7mm thin while the Series 3 is 11.4mm thin.

It has a faster processor, a 64-bit dual-core S4 processor which makes it up to 2x faster than S3 processor.

The best new feature – in my opinion, an Electrical heart sensor (ECG app), the ECG app is coming later this year.

Second-generation optical heart sensor, Fall detection, and a Digital Crown with haptic feedback.

The main disadvantage

The new Apple Watch series 4 didn’t have an improvement to its battery life when compared to the series 3. By looking at the technical details for the series 3 and 4, the battery hasn’t improved much, if any. Watches on both series 3 and 4 have a battery life of up to 18 hours and up to 5 hours with GPS, according to Apple’s website.

All-day battery life is based on 18 hours with the following use: 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 30-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over the course of 18 hours.

In contrast, one of the most popular GPS Watches, the Garmin Fénix 5 Plus has a battery that will last for up to 12 days in smartwatch mode and 8 hours in GPS mode, with music, according to Garmin’s website.

Battery performance: up to 12 days in smartwatch mode and 8 hours in GPS mode with music (depending on settings)

When it comes to watches and its use as fitness watches Garmin is winning, and this is why Garmin’s line of watches is still a better choice than an Apple watch if you are looking to keep track of your workouts such as running, cycling, and swimming.

The main advantage

Apple did a great improvement to the Apple Watch Series 4, this device seems to be focused not only on fitness but it is now a viable and potentially reliable medical device that can help save lives. The introduction of features like the ECG feature is getting a lot of attention, and I think with reason. Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said it himself

We know this feature is going to save lives.

I agree with that statement, having the ability to monitor not only your heart rate but also having an electrocardiograph right there on your wrist is definitely something amazing.

President of the American Heart Association Dr. Ivor J. Benjamin discusses the benefits of the new Apple Watch Series 4 heart health features.

The ECG feature wasn’t the only thing that Apple surprised us with, the new Series 4 will also bring advanced activity and communications features, along with revolutionary health capabilities, including a new accelerometer and gyroscope, which are able to detect hard falls. 

The fall detection feature could be useful for anyone, but this seems to be a great way for Apple to tap into a new user base that hasn’t paid attention to their Apple Watch in the past.

Should you buy the new Apple Watch Series 4?

If you have any of the previous versions, you will definitely see the benefits of the new version + the two main health-related features. If you are older or are at risk of a heart disease, buying this watch could save your life. With the ECG app (to be released later this year), users touch the Digital Crown and after 30 seconds, receive a heart rhythm classification. It can classify if the heart is beating in a normal pattern or whether there are signs of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), a heart condition that could lead to major health complications. All recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms are stored in the Health app in a PDF that can be shared with physicians.

How To Choose the Perfect Tablet

When it comes to tablets, there are specific things you need to look at before you buy. One big mistake is to buy a tablet just because it is popular. Instead, do some research and spend sometime figuring out what kind of features, operating system and price will make the perfect tablet for you.

Tablets are useful for consuming media and play casual games. But some newer models are also good for creating content.

What is your goal with the tablet?

This is the number one question you need to ask yourself. A tablet is common for casual gaming, watching movies, browsing the internet, checking email, and to read books.  Understanding which is the main reason you want a tablet will help when selecting one. Figure out what matters the most to you and write it down, this will help you select the perfect tablet.

For Gaming

Apple’s iPad is the best option for people looking to use the tablet for gaming. The reason for this is the large array of great game titles available in the App Store. However, the game selection in the Microsoft Store and Google Play Store is improving. If you are a die-hard gamer and want to be able to play with a tablet, the NVidia Shield Tablet is for you.

For Kids

A priority for most parents getting a tablet for their kids is safety. Tablets give you access to content that can be inappropriate for kids, so a tablet offering parental controls is important. The Microsoft Surface and Amazon Fire HD (kids version) tablets offer strong parental controls. For small kids, you may also consider kid-focused tablets from Nabi.

For Business and Productivity

If you need a tablet to stay connected when on the go, something like the Microsoft Surface is what you need. This tablet comes with MS Office preloaded and you can buy the Surface Cover which is also a keyboard. Another option is the iPad Pro, which has a large screen and you can also get a Smart Cover which is also a keyboard. If you are a MS Office user, this application is also available for the iPad Pro.

For Media Consumption

If your goal for a new tablet is to watch movies and read books, the Fire HDX is a great option. Also, if you are an Amazon Prime member, you’ll have access to a wide variety of TV shows, movies and music. With this tablet you also have access to exclusive content from Amazon.

The iPad Air and the Microsoft Surface also offer exclusive access to their content platforms. With the iPad, you’ll have access to the iTunes library, and with the Surface you’ll enjoy Xbox integration.

What operating system is best for you?

Choosing a tablet with an operating system you are comfortable with is essential. For example, if you are a PC user, a tablet running Windows or Android will fit you better. If you are a Mac user, then the iPad is a good idea. Why is this so important? you’ll save time and effort if you get a tablet running an operating system you are familiar with. The operating system in a tablet will also determine the apps you’ll be able to install and use.

Here is a look at some of the tablet operating systems available today:

Windows

This is the most powerful operating system available for tablets today. The reason being that it is a full version of Windows and you can run any application you currently run on your PC. There is also the benefit of having a wide variety of companies offering tablets with Windows.

Tablets running Windows are a good option for those who want to do heavy-duty computing on a tablet.

Android

Like Windows, this operating system is available in many different tablets out there. This gives you a wide array of devices to choose from, with screen sizes ranging from 6 inches to 13 inches.

Tablets running Android are a great option for those who already have Android Phones. The cost of tablets running Android also tends to be lower than those running Windows or iOS.

Tablets running Android are a great option for people who just want a tablet to browse the web and check email. Android also offers a huge variety of apps.

iOS

This is Apple’s mobile operating system and it is available for both the iPhone and the iPad. The iPad is the most popular tablet out there, the simplicity of the operating system and the large availability of apps and games is the reason for this.

What features are important to you?

Battery Life

Battery life is affected by battery size, brightness of the screen, and the time a tablet is left on. With this in mind,  if battery life is a priority for you then you should look at this article. At the moment, the Lenovo Yoga tablet is the one with the longest battery life at 14.2 hours. The Samsung Galaxy and the iPad Air come in second and third place at 13.4 and 13.2 hours.

Screen Size and Resolution

Tablets come in  sizes ranging from 5 inches to now over 12 inches with the iPad Pro at 12.9 inches. If you work with photo or video editing applications, a larger screen is a must. Also, watching a movie and playing certain games is more enjoyable in a big screen. Both the Surface Pro and the iPad offer the best screen resolution.

Memory

Tablets come with internal memory ranging from just 1 GB to 512 GB. The Surface Pro and a few other Windows tablets offering up to 512 GB of memory are a great choice if you have that need. Also, most tablets running Windows and Android have expandable storage.

Wireless Connectivity

There are different versions of Wi-Fi, at the moment we have 802.11b/g and 802.11n. The 802.11n specification is the best when you are planning on streaming video or downloading large files. Also, a tablet that supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radio bands provide the best Wi-Fi connectivity.

Camera

Most tablets come with one and sometimes two cameras. Tablets aren’t a great choice to use as cameras to take photos. But if you need to use your tablet for video conferencing, make sure the tablet you buy has a camera on the front.

Price

Tablet prices range from less than a $100 to more than $1000 dollars. The features and even the brand will dictate the price of a tablet. There is a wide range of tablet prices for any budget. The Amazon Fire HD at just $99 is the cheapest tablet and the Apple iPads have the higher cost.