Posts tagged move

Samsung’s Smart Move: No More Smartwatches

Samsung executive vice president Young-hee Lee has revealed the company’s smartwatch strategy moving forward: Don’t release any. Speaking with the Wall Street Journal at Mobile World Congress, Lee explained Samsung’s new strategy regarding watches simply:

We’ve been introducing more devices than anybody else. It’s time for us to pause. We want a more perfect product.

King Of The Molehill

Lee isn’t exaggerating about how many smartwatches have come out of Samsung over the last couple of years. After diving into the wearable space with the first Galaxy Gear in September 2013, Samsung went wearable crazy. The next year saw the release of the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, Gear Fit, Gear Live, and Gear S. But while Samsung blanketed the market with products, not one of the six devices have managed to catch on in a big way.

The Gear Fit, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear 2 – only half of Samsung’s smartwatch offerings since 2013.

Strategy Analytics reported last May that Samsung owned 71 percent of the smartwatch market at that time—but that translated into sales of only 500,000 watches out of 700,000. That’s sort of like being declared Emperor of Rhode Island, a grand title for a teeny kingdom. And during the same period, rival analysts Canalys declared Pebble the smartwatch leader with 35 percent of the market, with Samsung trailing behind with a 23 percent stake.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s mobile division posted shrinking profits and disappointing Galaxy S5 sales. With the Galaxy S6, Samsung has scaled back its attempts to cram every conceivable (and half-baked) feature into its smartphones. Based on Lee’s wish for Samsung to make “a more perfect product,” it looks like the company is taking a similar tack with its wearables.

Waiting For Apple To Make Its Move

Even though Samsung has decided to pull back on releasing any and every smartwatch it can think of, that doesn’t mean that it’s out of the game for good. Far from it, in fact. Patents for a Samsung-designed, round-faced smartwatch have turned up over the last few months, with recent rumors suggesting that a device supposedly codenamed “Orbis” would make an appearance at MWC this week.

An image culled from Samsung’s patent filing.

That obviously didn’t happen, but clearly Samsung’s working on something. With the debut of Apple’s first wearable looming, Samsung may be hitting the brakes to ensure a more strategic release. After all, excitement and interest in smartwatches will be at their highest once consumers have a chance to buy the Apple Watch.

Samsung will undoubtedly want to ride that wave, not unlike their strategy with their previous Galaxy smartphone offerings. There’s no better way to show you’re competing on the same level as the hottest new product than to constantly compare yourself to it. Don’t be surprised to see commercials this spring showing Samsung smartwatch wearers smugly comparing their devices’ superiority to all those silly Apple Watches.

Images courtesy of Samsung; patent image retrieved from WIPO

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Move Over Mobile, 2015 Is the Year of the Consumer

Spend your time going back to the roots of the consumer you’re targeting and let’s make 2015 the year we put people first.

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Move Over Google Knowledge Graph, Here Comes Knowledge Vault

Google has been talking about the Knowledge Vault, an upgraded Knowledge Graph that touts “automatic knowledge base construction” and doesn’t rely on community-curated databases.

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Squidoo To Move Content Over To HubPages After Being Acquired by @mattsouthern

Seth Godin, prolific marketer and founder of Squidoo, announced late last week that his content platform is getting acquired by HubPages. Popular content on Squidoo will move over to HubPages following the acquisition. Squidoo and HubPages are both content publishing platforms that have been dubbed “Web 2.0″ sites. As you’re most likely aware, those types of sites are prone to abuse, so both Squidoo and HubPages have had their run ins with Panda in the past. That makes this acquisition and content migration especially intriguing. Godin says combining the platforms will lead to “a stronger, more efficient, more generous way […]

The post Squidoo To Move Content Over To HubPages After Being Acquired by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Does Paid SEO Content Move the Marketing Needle? – The Content Standard by Skyword

Does Paid SEO Content Move the Marketing Needle?
The Content Standard by Skyword
Search marketers are beginning to see top-of-mind awareness upticks from their paid SEO content campaigns, according to data from Google and Ipsos MediaCT. Throughout 2013, the pair conducted 61 simulated search experiments to determine the impact …

and more »

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Nest Makes Its Move In The Smart Home

Developers, you have a new smart-home platform to play with. Google’s Nest unit has formally unveiled an API (see our API explainer) that will let independent programmers create new applications for the company’s smart thermostats and smoke alarms. Nest’s press release is embedded below.

The main idea behind the program is to let a variety of other devices—everything from smartwatches to smart lighting to smart cars—connect with Nest’s products to share data and act together more intelligently. They’ll do so by way of their apps, which developers can modify to use Nest API functions that, say, read data from one of its smart smoke detectors or change the thermostat temperature.

Nest actually announced the developer program last September; today just marks its formal launch. Here’s a list of the functions provided by the Nest API.

Some Ideas To Get You Started

That opens the door to a variety of new applications, some of which Nest is showcasing as part of today’s announcement. For instance:

  • Logitech’s Harmony Ultimate remote will let you set the temperature on a Nest thermostat without getting up from the couch;
  • The popular online service IFTTT—a way of programming new behaviors into your existing online services by combining them using the formulation “if this then that”—will now work with Nest, allowing new “recipes” such as “if my detector senses smoke, text my neighbors”;
  • Google’s voice-activated smartphone search will let you set the temperature by saying “OK Google” and issuing a voice command, while its Google Now personal assistant can tell Nest when you’re nearing home and have it start warming or cooling your home before you get there (Updated: see below);
  • Smart LED bulbs from the Australian company Lifx will flash red if a linked Nest Protect detects smoke, helping you see through the haze and even alerting hearing-impaired people who might not hear the alarm.

Not all of those applications may strike you as equally exciting at first glance. And while almost all of them are available immediately (a few, such as the Google services, won’t debut until the fall), it’s also worth noting that the products involved may not be in widespread use yet. It’s not clear, for instance, how many people currently own Whirlpool washers they can control with an app—which, by the way, will now coordinate with the Nest thermostat to schedule cycles around peak energy-usage periods.

But these applications should give you a good sense of how Nest sees its future in the smart home—as a kind of traffic cop for other gadgets, one that leverages the data it’s collecting about residents to inform and work with other connected devices.

It’s worth noting that Nest officials don’t embrace the idea that their products are becoming “hubs” that connect and coordinate other devices, except in specific and user-friendly ways. “We’re building this symbiotic experience” between Nest’s gadgets and third-party devices, Greg Hu, director of Nest’s developer program, told me in an interview. “It’s not about a single side becoming the hub and controlling the other.”

Instead, Hu said, Nest wants to promote new applications that make life easier for people in straightforward and easy-to-understand ways that don’t ask too much of them. That emphasis on user friendliness and simplicity hews both to Nest’s roots in Apple (co-founders Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers both hail from Infinite Loop) and the spare design characteristic of its new parent Google.

Update, 8:30am, June 24: Hu emphasized to me that Google’s apps for the Nest use the same API as any other developer, and didn’t get any special access to data. Nest has also been clear that customers will need to authorize data sharing for apps that connect to its thermostat or smoke detectors.

This is contrary to the impression you’d get reading, say, this shoddy Wall Street Journal article, which hypes the notion that Nest will “share some user information with corporate parent Google for the first time since its February acquisition.” It’s technically true, but misleading in effect because Nest will share “some customer data” with any app developer whose users opt into the sharing.

Data, Data Everywhere

The data Nest gizmos collect on their households is central to making these new applications work. Its thermostat “learns” from the behavior of residents as they turn it up and down, eventually figuring out how to program itself. It will even turn down the heat or air conditioning when residents are away, a conclusion it will reach after a certain period in which no one adjusts the temperature and the thermostat’s built-in infrared sensors detect no motion. Nest’s Protect smoke detectors likewise carry eight different sensors, including four that detect movement.

And despite a recent setback for its Protect smoke detectors (including a product recall), Nest’s ambitions are clearly growing in this respect. On Friday, for instance, it acquired the home surveillance-camera maker Dropcam for a reported $555 million, providing it yet another platform for collecting data that can be mined and used in new ways.

Nest is careful to note that its privacy policy prohibits the sharing of that information without customers’ permission, including with its parent Google. Hu declined to comment on Dropcam, saying the company doesn’t yet have anything to add beyond its Friday blog post announcing the acquisition.

Battle Beyond The Hub

Nest, of course, is far from alone in its desire to infuse the smart home with some actual intelligence. Rival SmartThings recently launched a similar developer effort aimed at creating new applications that link together a variety of digital appliances, even launching a sort of app store you can browse for new features (albeit in a sort of convoluted way).

Crowdsourced product-maker Quirky is launching a new company called Wink to distribute its own software for connecting automated home gadgets; 15 companies reportedly have plans to launch 60 Wink-compatible products in July. And, of course, Apple is also testing the smart-home waters, having just announced HomeKit, another new software protocol also aimed at making a variety of smart devices controllable by “third party apps”—on the iPhone, natch.

Nest’s Hu said the company is playing a different game than its competitors. “Technology in the home is something we take seriously,” he said. “It’s about keeping things simple and easy to understand, not just connecting loads and loads of devices.”

Here’s the full Nest release:

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Google Updates Site Move Guidelines

Google has updated their guidelinesto help webmasters deal with moving sites, including issues that might come up due to moving a site to responsive design, moving a site with no URL change, and moving a site with completely new URLs, and more.

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

Apple’s Swift Move: How Its New Coding Language Could Shake Up iOS Development

Guest author Alex Salkever is head of product marketing and business development at Silk.co. This piece first appeared on his Tumblr.

At the 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple released an entirely new programming language called Swift. It is a higher level coding language that aims to provide the power of Objective-C with the flexibility of higher level scripting languages such as Node.js or Python.

In theory, Swift should make it far easier to write iOS apps that run as fast or faster than those scripted painstakingly within the more cumbersome, time-consuming and risky confines of Objective-C. If Swift delivers even partly on its promise, it could be huge boon for companies that want to build iPhone apps. iPhone developers have been the hottest ticket on the global software market for a number of years.

The good ones command nose-bleed level hourly rates of $250 to $300 per hour. Starting salaries for entry level iOS coders that have passed rigorous coding challenge tests run from $120,000 per year north. Senior iOS devs have commanded $200,000 from larger enterprises seeking their experience.

Why the high prices for iOS talent? Supply and demand. It’s very hard to learn Objective-C well enough to write compelling, high-performance apps. Learning how to manage memory in iOS and how to best take advantage of the capabilities of the hardware takes time, effort and a deep understanding of Objective-C.

A Swiftly Tilting Labor Market

Enter Swift, which—again, if it works as Apple clearly hopes—will with one stroke dramatically lower the bar for writing an iPhone app. The language is designed to make it much easier for coders to write iPhone apps both quickly and well. That should rapidly expand the market for coders with iPhone skills; in turn, the cost of building iPhone apps, which is primarily a function of wages for developers, will fall.

That’s bad for existing iPhone developers, but good for everyone else. Apple will enjoy a rush of new iPhone apps entering the market.

Startups and enterprises building iPhone apps will be able to pick from a wider talent pool, and in the not-too-distant future, they’ll build those apps with developers paid mere mortal salaries in the low six figures. The only folks who don’t win here, in addition to the iOS developers who have been making huge bucks, are the iOS education programs that charge devs top dollar to upgrade their iOS chops and move up the coding salary ladder.

For consumers, too, this is a big win. Better apps. More apps. Cheaper apps. Apple, too, may hope that the switch to Swift, which might turn out to be an easier development environment than Java for Android, could help Cupertino reclaim lost handset market share. Check back in on Swift in six months for a more complete verdict.

Lead image by Flickr user Sean MacEntee, CC 2.0

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Apple Makes Its Move In The Smart Home With HomeKit

After weeks of anticipation, Apple finally offered details on its smart home offering: HomeKit, a strategy designed to “bring some rationality to this space,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president for software engineering said at company’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

HomeKit is designed to unify the various, piecemeal experience in the connected home, with a variety of providers, systems and connectivity options under “a common network protocol,” Federighi said.

Specifics were scarce. Federighi said HomeKit will somehow allow iOS users to control their homes with their iPhones—and only their iPhones—to manage “locks, lights, cameras, doors, thermostats, plugs, switches.” The mobile device will offer secure pairing, and can control separate gadgets or set automations for groups of devices.

And it will be controlled via voice, thanks to integration with Apple’s Siri personal assistant. So you can change modes by saying “time for bed,” and your house will respond by bringing down the lights and locking the front door.

Federighi’s presentation focused mostly on features, not specifics, but we look forward to unpacking this protocol in the days ahead.

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Foursquare To Move Check-ins Into “Swarm” App, To Focus Better On Local Discovery

Foursquare is doing something surprising, even radical. It’s removing some of the legacy features (i.e., check-ins) from its app and moving them over to a new app called Swarm (available soon). Check-ins, sharing and friend finding will now reside in Swarm, and Foursquare will evolve in a bid…



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