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Pebble throwing

I won’t go in to the details twice, but I had one requirement in a smartwatch – it had to interact with Tasker.

It turns out that Pebble themselves have decided on our behalf to stop supporting certain apps.  My needs in a smartwatch are few but supporting Tasker is essential and Google apps are next on the list.

Pebble drop Tasker

 

Pebble want to control what information you’re allowed to see on your watch, and they want to control it all through their app.  Had I wanted such strict control I’d have bought an iPhone!  My phone is Android.  Android is open source.  Not restricted.  The app doesn’t even have a tick/untick box, warning “Tasker / Google Now may result in repeated notifications”.

The thing is, Tasker brings functionality to the watch that Pebble themselves haven’t been able to do.  With its plugins and 3rd party apps integrating with Tasker it means you can do so much more than the already comprehensive app is capable of.  As Pebble want to restrict which apps they’ll allow you to use they’re putting nails in their own coffin.  If they’re not careful these sorts of decisions will do to their watch what Blackberry and Nokia did to their phones.

A year ago, Pebble were already facing criticism for blatant favouring of the iPhone over Android.  Even at the bottom of the box showed where Pebble’s alliance lay:

Pebble Box (under) highlighted

Pebble have faced criticism for not using colour screens or implementing touch screen functionality, especially in their Pebble Steel.  By denying access to certain apps and restricting functionality, even their supporters in the Android community will start to jump ship.

What annoys me is that there weren’t any “This app will no longer be supported as of 31/12/14” notifications.  Not even “This app is no longer supported”.  If a company behind smartwatches can’t send a notification to their own product then perhaps they should consider removing the prefix ‘smart’.

However, all may not be lost.  Recently Pebble announced their app can interact with Android Wear.  The Android Wear app doesn’t even need to be connected to the app or signed in to any account.  The only requirement is that it be installed.  Time will no doubt tell whether this restores what Pebble saw fit to block.  With a little good fortune I won’t be Pebble throwing any time soon.

2014

2014 has been an odd year.

  • Google made contact lenses with Google Glass tech.
  • Samsung and Cisco agreed to share patents (or at least not sue over them).
  • We learned a quarter of Americans think the Sun orbits the Earth.
  • The world’s first Braille mobile phone became available.
  • One of my Billy Connolly audio tapes got snapped, shredded and spat out.
  • Iain Duncan Smith was called to account for using misleading ‘statistics’ to justify his actions.
  • We visited Cragside, and I had the chance to tick “ride in Lord Armstrong’s lift” off my bucket list.
  • Vegan friendly cheese was grown in a lab.
  • Gaza disgusted the world with its unrelenting attack on Palestine.
  • The 3Doodler (3D printing pen) went on sale.
  • Vapes are exempt from the indoor smoking ban.
  • Workfare schemes were deemed illegal.
  • George Takei got slammed for his bullying of the disabled.
  • Skellow and Greggs made the headlines following their publicity on Google.
  • The iPhone 6 followed LG and Samsung’s curved screen approach.
  • Scotland’s referendum voted to remain part of the UK.
  • Apple’s proved their patents are more secure than your data when their iCloud got hacked.
  • Australia proved solar power could replace fossil fuels.
  • @CassetteBoy’s David Cameron video went viral just as David Cameron was criticised for holding a £25,000 champagne party immediately before announcing benefit cuts.
  • Sainsbury’s launched the best Christmas advert I’ve ever seen, while Famous Grouse went mainstream.
  • Ghostbusters reached 30.
  • Three years to the day after we met, we got engaged.
  • And after nearly 20 years, I’m giving up smoking.

Let’s hope that 2015 will be just as interesting. Hopefully in a good way. Personally, I can’t wait to get my hoverboard.

Happy New Year!

In App Purchases

In app purchases

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of in app purchases (IAPs).  People have had issues with them not transferring to new phones, upgrades, replacements, and secondary (usually work) phones.  I much prefer to buy a separate unlock key/app.  This way you know it’s tied in to your Google account and not something like your IMEI (the handsets serial number) which will almost certainly change over time.

I saw something last night which both shocked and appalled me.  A game by Disney with a medium rating showed IAPs ranging from £3.08 to £61.63!  That’s around US$98!  This is something that my seven year old son would positively love to play but if I told him it would cost him over £60 to buy part of the game, and unless he paid it he wouldn’t be able to play that part or buy something he’d need, even he would say it didn’t matter.

Only recently, Amazon was sued by the USA’s regulators over child IAPs.  The European Commission and the EU regulatory body asked Google to stop calling apps containing IAPs free by the end of September.  Apple say they promise to tackle it, but offered no date by which they must do this.

After looking at Google Play and Apple itunes it’s interesting that while the Play store charges £61, Apple’s iTunes charges nearly £70! (US$111.10)

We all know that Disney has faced hard times.  Their reputation diminished hugely, which possibly influenced them to buy Pixar.  They simply haven’t kept up with modern times.  Their merchandising may have no shame, but this is disgraceful.  It’s disgusting and looks thoroughly extortionate.

At £60 to £70 this is the most expensive IAP I’ve ever seen.  Considering Disney is associated with young children I can’t see how they could possibly think their demographic could afford to pay it.