Posts tagged Time
With SDK 3.0, the company touts the ease with which developers will be able to create new apps for Pebble Time, or let older apps take advantage of the new color screen. The preview features documentation for the new Timeline APIs as well, an emulator to test apps and a migration guide, to help them in the process.
The kit also offers a few more details of what app makers and consumers can expect with the new software and hardware.
Time To Upgrade
The original Pebble and the new Time share many of the same fundamental specifications, which should help minimize complication. For instance, both devices feature a 144 x 168 display resolution, four buttons—with three on the right and one on the left—and the same sensors for the accelerometer and compass. So there’s no need for developers to remap the inputs in their apps or adapt to a different screen size.
As for differences, the new watch will come bearing several. Time’s processor boasts a higher CPU frequency, 100 MHz compared to the original’s 64 MHz, which could offer snappier performance. The main hardware attractions, of course, are Time’s 64-color e-paper display and microphone, which the black-and-white previous model didn’t have.
The new developer kit also raised the limit on app sizes, more than doubling the limit in the old version, from 24k to 64k. The maximum cap on related resources jumped too, going from 96k to 256k.
Pebble’s desire to reduce complexity and offer improvements seem evident in these changes. However, they also suggest that older hardware may not support the new and beefier Time apps so well.
Moving Forward, But Looking Back
Pebble offers a few resources to help orient app creators, including an emulator—which can be handy for testing, considering no one outside of the company actually has a Pebble Time device.
A company spokesperson explained that “the SDK now includes an entire emulator (in the cloud or on your local machine) so you can try out your apps before you get your Pebble Time.”
The kit also features a set of developer guides, including a “migration guide” (for updating old apps) and a backwards-compatibility guide. The latter covers tools in SDK 3.0 that let developers write or make changes once, and then compile two separate versions of the app tailored for each device: “By catering for both cases, you can ensure your app will run and look good on both platforms with minimal effort,” the guide reads. “This avoids the need to maintain two Pebble projects for one app.”
Apps relying on PebbleKit Android “will need to be re-compiled in Android Studio (or similar) with the PebbleKit 3.0 library,” but developers don’t have to make changes to their code. PebbleKit iOS apps won’t have to be re-compiled.
The other key component in the SDK is the Timeline guide, which explains how apps will work with Pebble’s new chronological structure for app data. The main idea involves putting data from multiple apps into one easily navigable place. In this context, developers will be able to “pin” certain types of data to this construct.
Pebble app developers may be wise to jump on these tools quickly, to make sure their apps are ready when Pebble Time ships. The device may become the company’s most popular yet—its new Kickstarter project has already exceeded its first record-breaking campaign, beating that $10.3 million figure. It’s now on track to become another record-breaker.
The current most-funded Kickstarter project set a benchmark of $13.3 million. As of this writing, Pebble Time has nabbed nearly 50,000 backers who have pledged more than $10.5 million in two days, with 29 more to go. After the campaign closes, the first units will ship near the end of May to those Kickstarter backers.
In other words, it’s time to get those apps ready.
Images courtesy of Pebble
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This month’s book club pick is one of my favorite books on business and productivity, which challenges today’s ideals of how we should work. Rework, written by 37Signals founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. 37Signals is the parent company of Basecamp, a popular project management platform, as well as Highrise and open-source Ruby on Rails, a programming language. Fried and Heinemeier Hansson definitely have a different approach to business, life, and workflow than many of society’s traditional ideals, which is why the book appealed to me. Here’s a few of my favorite ideas and topics from the book. Workaholism The book is broken up […]
The post Productivity, Time Management, and Finding Inspiration in ‘Rework’ #SEJBookClub by @wonderwall7 appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
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It took only 20 minutes for the Time, the latest smartwatch from Pebble unveiled Tuesday at 7 a.m. Pacific, to meet its Kickstarter crowdfunding goal of $500,000. In fact, only 34 minutes after launching, Pebble Time hit a million bucks in crowdfunding, and it’s set to cross $2 million less than an hour after launch.
It shows no sign of slowing down: If anything, Pebble Time backers are hitting the accelerator.
Pebble seems keenly aware of the ridiculously high demand for the Time, having doubled the number of early-bird backer levels available on Kickstarter from 5,000 to 10,000. At that tier, backers can buy the Pebble Time at $159, a $40 discount from its planned retail price of $199.
Its other tiers have also been increased to accommodate the ever-growing number of backers, which, as of this writing, is well on its way to hitting 10,000 within the first hour of the campaign’s existence.
Pebble was born on Kickstarter back in 2012, and has since become known as the company responsible for making the smartwatch product category viable. Despite some rocky moments with the original Pebble campaign—largely due to the incredible demand—backers look willing to bet big on the company’s ability to deliver with the new Pebble Time, which has an estimated delivery date of this May.
However, as with every Kickstarter campaign, increased success brings the possibility that a creator won’t be able to meet higher order demands. While Pebble is a seasoned smartwatch manufacturer at this point, it’s entirely possible that the overwhelming success of its campaign so far could be more than it can handle when it comes time to produce the Time in large quantities.
Let’s hope that Pebble knew what a hit it had up its sleeve this whole time, and that we’ll all be wearing our new Time smartwatches this summer. Meanwhile, there’s no telling how high its pledge total will go by the time its campaign ends in 30 days.
Photos courtesy of Pebble; GIF by Lauren Orsini for ReadWrite
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Don’t call Pebble’s new smartwatch platform a reboot. That implies scrapping the old and ushering in the new. Consider the new software and its new companion product, dubbed Pebble Time, a progression of the Pebbles that came before.
The old models aren’t going anywhere. They’re just going to be joined by something a bit flashier.
That flash comes from the color display, on-screen animations and a brand-new microphone—all stuffed into a device that’s 20% thinner, founder Eric Migicovsky told me. Even better, he says the device “still has a 7-day battery life,” like the previous Pebble watches.
There’s a lot to unpack with the announcements, both for consumers and the software developers that make up Pebble’s life blood. Its existing ecosystem is populated by thousands of watch faces and apps, and by the company’s count, it has sold a million watches so far. To evolve, Pebble has to move carefully—updating its technology and products without leaving its existing customers and developers in the lurch.
Here’s what Pebble has in store for its next phase.
Time For A New Smartwatch
First things first: The new Pebble Time isn’t available yet. In fact, Pebble will once again take orders via Kickstarter, with the first hardware shipping in May. (Details below.)
But expect some surprises when you do see it. “This is the largest change we’ve made to our product line since we launched on Kickstarter the first time,” Migicovsky said, referring to his 2012 campaign that raised more than $10 million.
The original Pebble featured a two-tone e-paper display, similar to those found on Kindle e-readers. Such screens are legible in daylight with minimal battery drain. Although basic, they were somewhat charmingly so.
Now those charms have worn thin—particularly as rivals emerge with beautiful high-definition displays. Pebble Time now comes armed with a palette too. There’s still no comparison with HD displays, of course, but the color e-paper screen still preserves the battery, allowing the display to stay on at all times. It also helps the smoother animations Pebble now offers, which look more appealing in color than in grayscale.
On the inside, the biggest change is a new microphone.
I previously wondered if Pebble would integrate speech features; practically all of the major smartwatches do, and the Apple Watch will, thanks to Siri. Now Pebble Time will be the company’s first model to support voice. The device will support five languages to start—including English, French and Spanish, with others, such as Chinese, planned in the future.
Making calls from the wrist, however, is not on the menu. “We’ve decided not to offer that functionality,” said Migicovsky. “There’s no speaker on the watch either. We did it mainly to emphasize what the best use-case is in the early days—being able to send quick voice responses or take voice notes.”
The team is working on the ability to send short audio clips, though, and creative app developers might be able to use speech in other ways. They’ll “get an open API in the future, so that anyone can build apps on top of that,” he said.
The new Pebble—like the old one—will still last about a week, Migicovsky claims. (In my own real-world experience, the original Pebble tends to go for roughly 5 days between charges.) Of course, your results may vary. If you run animation-intensive applications all the time, Migicovsky admits you’ll probably zap that battery.
Pebble Time will also remain fully water-resistant—no small feat, considering it has a microphone—and comes with a sensor array that includes an accelerometer (for movement) and a magnetometer (for a compass).
On the outside, the watch features a curved body to fit the wrist, rounded corners, a Gorilla Glass display, a stainless steel bezel, a new hardware port that allows sensor and fitness accessory makers to connect directly with the device, and a silicon watchband sized at a standard 22mm, so people can change it out easily using the quick release pin in the strap.
OK, Pebble: Notify Me
One of the Pebble’s longstanding annoyances has been the number of button presses necessary just to get to certain apps and other functions. The new software aims to improve on that—in part by shifting away from a focus on apps to one that highlights chronological notifications.
“[The smartwatch] has notifications, apps and watch faces,” Migicovsky. “It’s good and simple, but when you add more apps, features and notifications, it gets overwhelming.” This is the vexing problem of growing an open platform that could bring forth hundreds, even thousands, of functions. But without an efficient way of navigating that, things can quickly become a frustrating mess, especially on a teeny tiny screen sitting on your wrist.
Ultimately, Pebble decided on a structure befitting a watch: a timeline. “Instead of having individual apps, we’ve extracted the information from those apps that are relevant to you in your normal day,” Migicovsky said. The new Pebble software now pulls in data based on chronology for contextually aware features. Users can call up activities that just happened, future events and data relevant at the present time by pressing respective up, down and middle buttons on the watch.
The information can include yesterday’s step count, tomorrow’s appointments and the current weather, as well as travel plans, reminders, news, reservations and other data.
“You see the past view, and you can scroll up to see what just happened,” said Migicovsky. “The really cool animations is what we’re calling the present feed, which is the new app menu.” Once within a particular area, users can scroll through different types of data. “Thanks to a new widget view, each app can actually display a little bit of information in the menu screen, so users don’t have to actually have to go over to the app itself, he said.”
The new software will come with a new software developers kit, though Pebble hasn’t announced a specific date yet. But it will be available soon, he said—a matter of “days or weeks, not months.” When it arrives, developers will be able to support the new Timeline, the new color screen, animations and voice features.
According to Migicovsky, Pebble’s new Android Wear support will extend to the new operating system, and even Web developers will get access to Timeline. “They no longer have to write apps that run on Pebble, and they no longer have to run Android or iOS apps,” he said. “They can write it entirely in Web languages, and interact with an OAuth-based, http end client.”
The software will also be backward compatible, running the 6,500 apps and watch faces currently in Pebble’s app store. As for current Pebble smartwatches—including the original plastic versions and the premium steel model—the company is working to bring the new OS to those older devices.
Pebble returns to Kickstarter to launch the new Pebble Time beginning Tuesday with pledges starting at $159. (After the campaign, the full retail price will be $199.) The device—available in red, white or black—supports iPhones, including the 4s and newer models running current versions of iOS 8, plus Android smartphones running version 4.0 and later, including devices by Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG, Google, Motorola, Xiaomi and others. The campaign will end at the end of March and begins shipping at the end of May.
With the Apple Watch’s debut in April, smartwatch customers will soon have a bevy of choices. But that suits Migicovsky just fine. “I think it’s going to be extraordinarily exciting,” he said. “There’s going to be a ton of attention in this space.”
Images courtesy of Pebble.
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BlackBerry’s newest smartphones will return to a major carrier’s stores at the end of this week. Starting February 20, AT&T will begin offering the company’s Passport and Classic on contract, as well as through installment plans.
Despite efforts by carriers to wean consumers off phone subsidies, in the American market, cheap phones sold under contracts—or, more recently, on installment plans—are the bulk of the market. Faced with lackluster sales of its Q10 and Z10, BlackBerry basically sat out the most recent sales cycle, with no carrier offering subsidized sales.
Getting back into AT&T’s good graces means it’s “go time” for BlackBerry’s latest phones. They’ve only been available at unsubsidized retail prices directly from BlackBerry and on Amazon.com.
The stakes could be high for BlackBerry. Because if neither phone succeeds at this point, it’s not clear they ever will.
A Duo Of BlackBerries
The Passport is the closest thing BlackBerry has to a phablet, with a squared-off 4.5-inch display and a relatively long-lasting battery. The AT&T version trims a bit off the corners, making them rounder, though the rather funky QWERTY keyboard remains the same.
I found the Passport to be a strange device. It’s slightly larger than a terra-cotta tile, but thicker. The screen presents an odd viewing scenario, as most online videos do not naturally fit that square-ish shape. It also comes with an unconventionally laid-out keyboard that seems almost intentionally designed for typos.
I had higher hopes for the Classic, which more closely resembles a traditional BlackBerry. The company sent me a unit to check out, and after using it for a few weeks, I found some highs and lows with the device. I was surprised at how much I missed the feeling of a physical keyboard. BlackBerry’s traditional QWERTY is a standout—even now, when it has few competitors left. Banging out messages felt oddly satisfying, since I could mash those keys without having to look at my fingers.
The downside: The space dedicated to the keyboard dictates a smaller touch display of 3.5 inches. Overall, the device itself feels slightly thicker and heavier than the old, lightweight BlackBerry phones of yore, like the Torch or Bold.
Both devices support BlackBerry messaging and offer Hub, the company’s take on a unified message center. It makes sense conceptually, but in practical application, the swirl of messages—from Facebook and Twitter to work email and personal texts—can feel a bit messy lumped in together. It doesn’t help that BlackBerry doesn’t always accurately track whether or not you’ve read them.
The Passport and Classic manage to sidestep the matter of BlackBerry’s meager app selection. They do this by running Android apps in addition to BlackBerry apps, which greatly expands what they can do.
But it’s not a perfect solution. The Android apps come courtesy of Amazon’s app store, not Google Play, which means some major apps—including several Google services—just aren’t available.
Are They A Dynamic Duo?
The Passport will only be available on AT&T as an exclusive. The phone will sell for $0 down at a range of installment options—from $21 to $32 depending on the AT&T Next plan. The two-year contract price will be $200, with off-contract pricing at $650.
The Classic will cost less, going for $0 down and monthly payments of $14 to $21 on AT&T Next, or a contract price of just $50. Customers can also purchase the device from the carrier outright for $420. The Classic won’t be an AT&T-only gadget. Other carriers, including Verizon, have stated their intention to carry the device, though details have yet to emerge.
BlackBerry’s best shot at success may lie with the Classic, whose attractive price point and terrific keyboard naturally sets it apart. But even if you can get over the tinier screen, the app selection and message handling still feels like a work in progress.
Perhaps that’s what it was intended to be. Mobile World Congress, a big, annual industry event, will kick off in two weeks. BlackBerry is expected to reveal its next steps then. These could involve an evolution of sorts for whichever device has captured the public’s fancy (and dollars) more. Or, if it should face lagging sales, the company may decide to push its work-oriented initiatives—like that still-fresh partnership with Samsung over Android security.
Either way, this may be a make-or-break moment for the company, and what happens in the next few weeks could determine its path for the foreseeable future.
Photos courtesy of BlackBerry
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Adobe Flash, the standard that animated the early Web, is going the way of the dinosaurs—even YouTube has now transitioned to HTML 5. And its already battered reputation has taken further hits this year thanks to three serious security vulnerabilities that have emerged in just the past two weeks.
Enough is enough. It’s time for Web users to wean themselves of their lingering attachment to this buggy, outdated software … and uninstall Flash.
See also: ReadWriteWeb DeathWatch: Flash
True, not everyone’s going to be able to make the jump right away. Some internal corporate applications still require Flash; some websites still cling to it. But for your own safety, and for the good of the Web, you should make the effort.
Time To Say Goodbye
Flash Player is dead. Its time has passed. It’s buggy. It crashes a lot. It requires constant security updates. It doesn’t work on most mobile devices. It’s a fossil, left over from the era of closed standards and unilateral corporate control of Web technology. Websites that rely on Flash present a completely inconsistent (and often unusable) experience for fast-growing percentage of the users who don’t use a desktop browser. It introduces some scary security and privacy issues by way of Flash cookies.
They’re not kidding about Flash’s security vulnerabilities. The recent discoveries all involve so-called zero-day exploits, in which malicious hackers use or distribute tools that take advantage of previously undiscovered security flaws.
The first two exploits were somewhat less serious, as they required users to click on malicious links in spammy emails or texts. Most people are smarter than that these days—we hope.
The third one, though—discovered by TrendMicro—uses a malicious advertising vector, and thus affected far more users. Basically, anyone visiting a high traffic website infected with malicious advertisements could find their system hacked.
The security firm Malwarebytes found the ads on dozens of mainstream sites, including dailymotion.com, theblaze.com,nydailynews.com, tagged.com, webmail.earthlink.net, mail.twc.com and myj.uno.com. These ads would then redirect users to a landing page for the exploit kit Hanjuan that would do the real dirty work.
Take The Flashless Challenge
If the idea of having your laptop infected just because you visited an otherwise innocuous website doesn’t appeal to you, it’s time to get rid of Flash if you can. (Yes, Adobe has patched that particular vulnerability—but have you installed the patch? Will you install the next one, and the next one after that?)
To Uninstall Flash
To Tame Flash If You Can’t Get Rid Of It
If you need Flash for work, or are addicted to DailyMotion, or can’t deal with Facebook and Amazon refreshing pages too slowly, another option is to use an extension like FlashBlock. This allows you to limit your Flash usage to the sites you select. While you’ll still be somewhat vulnerable if a popular site is infected with malicious advertising, it’ll lower your risk.
- Firefox: Go to Tools->Add-ons->Plugins, where you can set Shockwave Flash to “ask to activate” (or “never activate”).
- Chrome: Go to Preferences->Settings->Advanced Settings->Privacy->Content Settings->Plugins->Click to play (or block by demand)
Lead image by ReadWrite
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There are days when I spend loads of enjoyable time writing new blog posts, creating images to share, and checking analytics, and then when I’m just nearly ready to close the laptop and sign off, I remember: I need to schedule social media posts for the next day. Or, I need to follow-up with mentions. Or, I need to curate some content. Or, I need to do one of the myriad tasks of a social media manager, and wouldn’t you know it I’m just about out of time. Saving time on social media is a big goal of ours at Buffer. […]
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Think you don’t have time for content? Think again.
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For Brands With a gTLD, It's Time to Rethink Your SEO Strategy
Search engine optimization (SEO) is always evolving in response to changes in user behavior and the algorithms that users rely upon to find their way around the Internet. Apps and social media have also become dominant players into SEO strategy as we …
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See how ads will display with bid increases before committing to new keyword bids.
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