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Before You Buy 129
Jason Howell: Coming up on this episode of before you buy we’ve got a Google IOS spectacular edition, we’ve got a couple of watches to show off from the conference, game controller that’s connected to something, we’ve got this cardboard thing. It’s time to watch Before You Buy.
Net casts you love, from people you trust. This is Twit! Bandwidth for Before You Buy is provided by CacheFly. At C-A-C-H-E-F-L-Y.COM. This episode is brought to you by Smart Things, the easiest and most affordable way to create a smart home. Protect and control your home from anywhere with no contracts or monthly fees. For 10% off any home security kit, visit smartthings.com/twit. Use the code twit10 at checkout.
Jason: Hey everyone, welcome to this episode of Before You Buy. My name is Jason Howell, I’m wearing an eye patch. Let’s just get that out of the way right off the top. I’ve got a bum eye, I improvise. I went ahead and slapped a little Android logo on there because this episode of Before You Buy is all about Google IO. Now Leo Laporte obviously normally does this show. He’s not here today, he’s gallivanting around the world enjoying the sun rays. And not stuck inside a studio talking about technology. That’s up to us. And I’m actually joined here on the set by Mike Elgan. The guy normally produces on Tech News Today.
Mike Elgan: I love this look. You should just stick with this. It’s just such a good look.
Jason: Thanks. I would say that this look is good in a pinch, but not very comfortable at all.
Mike: Have you considered replacing your hand with a hook? That would be awesome.
Jason: Considered it. But that would hurt probably, just as much as the eye.
Mike: It would also affect your performance on the tri caster as well.
Jason: That’s true. It would cut down my ability to do a lot of things on the tri caster. You can do a lot on the tri caster with one finger but… I don’t even know if I want to go there. So we were both at Google IO last week for a couple of days. What did you think of the conference?
Mike: Great show, it was really good. I mean, compared to previous Google IOs, maybe it didn’t have the energy, nobody jumped out of a blimp, but it was still really great. And I think for you and your show All About Android, I thought it was a great show because really, Android became the center of everything at this show. It was really astonishing.
Jason: Yeah, and previous conferences it was like Android shared the stage with Chrome or it shared the stage with all of these other kind of initiative that google had going on. And this year it was really so obviously, and todays show will kind of reflect that, all about Android being the center of Google’s efforts going forward. Fair enough, all about Android. Ropes it right into a nice package there. So we ended up, as usual, when you leave Google IO you end up with all of these gadgets and things that they give you, sometimes you get them if you know to go to the right session and as one of the gadgets have on the show today is all about. And then other ones they give to all of the attendees and it kind of allows developers to start developing against Google’s new efforts. So we’re going to talk about a few of these gadgets that we got. The first thing we’re going to talk about though isn’t necessarily something that you can buy. It’s a hardware unit that Google announced. In conjunction with its new effort called Android TV. This is the controller for it. The hardware unit is called the ADT1. It’s a developer kit, and it’s actually, I can’t really hold this up. You can go to the wide, you can kind of see this set top box here. It’s this little box right here. A tiny little black box with a little light underneath. This is a set top box. It’s a developer set top box, meant for developers who want to get their apps working with Android TV. Into a development environment. So you can basically, we’re plugged right into this TV. Via HDMI. Of course you’re seeing the Before You Buy logo right now, we’ll fix that here. And then it also comes with this gaming controller, because essentially they want Android TV to not only be a video streaming thing, but also heavy into gaming. We’ve seen a lot of things right, like the ooei, did you ever get a chance to play with the OOEI?
Mike: A little bit. But I think it’s a really smart move because I think the console gaming world is kind of skewed towards the high end, hardcore gamers. And I have a feeling that the Android TV games are going to be sort of, you know, more casual games. For the masses. And if that’s the case, it should sell really well and as you saw from your own playing with it and from the show, the performance for gaming looks really good.
Jason: Yeah it does. So let’s see here, right now what we’re looking at, I believe its set up for ChromeCast. So right off the top this unit has ChromeCast capability built into it and that’s actually admittedly how I’ve used it most. And if you use ChromeCast of course it’s pretty easy, both for IOS and for Android. You open up an app that supports ChromeCast, as long as they’re on the same WI-FI network you’ll see this little box in your app and I can just throw video content from YouTube for example, up onto the screen. So that works out basically the same. But if I hit, and I’ll go ahead and show right here on my over the shoulder shot, this is the Android TV app. There we go. It’s not a whole lot to look at, and it’s, and I asked them about this. I said okay is this really an app that people are supposed to by and large opt for verses their remote because there’s nothing that’s really pretty about this. They said really it’s just you know, as this box is meant for developers to get them started. But you can see up here this little search icon, right? So I’ll go ahead and do the Gary Busey test, I’ll hit that. Movies with Gary Busey. Movies with Gary Busey, and what do you get? There we go. We get the knowledge graph integrated in. so immediately it tells us all about this funny looking guy Gary Busey. And then I can go down with my app and I can select any of these. And if there’s a way to stream them online on one of the apps that I have installed in Android TV, I can do that. There’s also down here, a little bit more, Amazon TV commercial of Gary Busey searching Gary Busey on Amazon TV. There you go.
Mike: Eventually there will be this show showing him doing Amazon TV, about Android TV.
Jason: See, we need to make this happen. Come on, this is a meme in the making, I love it. So there you go. So that’s kind of the promise of Android TV essentially, that it kind of has this universal search up at the top that allows you to do things like academy award winning movies of 2000. Winning movies of 2000. It didn’t get academy award in there, but it figured it out anyways. So we’ve got all the academy award winning movies of the year 2000. Very powerful search there.
Mike: And that is the killer app right there. You actually covered the two killer apps of this product, which is great Google search. Search has always been a big problem on television and the other one is phone centrism.
Mike: So right out of the box, this isn’t a situation where the phone, as a remote control, is some obscure option. The phone is how you control this for the most part. I’m sure some companies will come out with a remote control, but as far as Google is concerned, an Android phone is really how they want you to control this TV. And those are the two things. Smartphone centrism, and great Google search. That’s what’s great about this I think.
Jason: That’s it. That’s exactly it. Now what you’re looking at right now is just the Netflix app and it actually looks similar to the PS4 Netflix app? I can’t remember exactly. I know that this is a version of the Netflix app that you can see on other devices and they’ve just kind of ported it over to Android TV. So I show this because A, it’s pretty and of course it works with Android TV, but if I go to home, this universal search up here should eventually surface content that’s in Netflix. But right now it doesn’t. So if I search for Breaking Bad, so what we’ll get is a card for Breaking Bad. All you see right now is available on Google Play Movies and TV. What I understand about this search, eventually this search is going to have the ability to reach into the apps that you have installed so you don’t have to go into the apps anymore right. You can just do a search, find the content, pull it out. Right now if I wanted to watch Breaking Bad, even though it’s on Netflix, if I trusted it I’d be paying for it on PeaceMail.
Mike: And of course reaching into apps was one of the themes unveiled at this particular Google IO. And this is going to be kind of a universal feature, not just for the TV, but just using the phone and so on. The ability to do it, essentially a search or a button or a menu item, that goes across the platform into another app and finds something inside that app, that’s pretty cool.
Jason: Yes. Exactly. Super powerful stuff. Now if I can turn the controller on, I’ll show you real quick here. I have installed, there is a google store, a beta, kind of a preview version of the google store for Android TV. And another big thing about this is the apps that are in here are not new apps. So if I already have riptide installed on my phone, it’s the same app surfacing in the store here. They’ve just enabled it for Android TV. Because what the developers of riptide have done, they’ve gone in and make the changes to it to allow it to run on Android TV. So you’re not going to get every single game in the play store on Android TV. You’re only going to get the ones that are tailored specifically by the developers to work in Android TV.
Mike: Do we have a sense of how difficult that is to do? To port a-
Jason: I don’t have an exact sense of how difficult that is to do quite yet, but I do know this is a big part of their effort right. Between Android TV, between Android auto, all these different initiative that they have. They’re really trying to unify it so that it’s easier for developers to take their apps and make them capable on all different screen sizes and configurations. And so riptide GP2 is an app, a game that I commonly used to test gaming performance on devices. And I have to say, it looks great, it’s really fun to play it on the console style environment. So it’s a great kind of a, getting a lot of water effects and everything. And I’m horrible right now because I’m wearing an eye patch. I blame the world on my eye patch right now. There you go. So this is just kind of a sense of what Google is trying to go with, with Android TV. Obviously this is not their first time to bat. Google TV was their initiative before and by all accounts failed miserably so. I suppose they’re hoping to kind of erase that memory and start over again. And I’d say it’s a great start. It really is early days though. This is not a consumer product quite yet. I think we should start to see things coming out that are capable, obviously once version L, whatever that happens to be, is released sometime in the fall I guess. And hopefully we start to see more of these set top boxes. It’s also going to be built into the UI of TVs and everything so.
Mike: Yeah. I mean, it would have been great if they would have had this out when they had Google TV because back then there was very little competition in that space. By the time this thing is ready for prime time, there are going to be so many competitors it’s going to be ridiculous. Including from Amazon of course. And Apple and so on.
Jason: Yeah it’s an uphill battle at this point. But I think the appeal here is search, right. Google search is always, I mean google is just known for search. People who don’t know Google for anything else, they definitely know them for search. And if that search extends into this platform and makes it as powerful as it promises, I think that’s a big win.
Mike: What I’d like to see is increased Google Now integration. Of course they demonstrated- we’re going to talk about the watches in a second, but controlling the TV with the watch. And I’d love to see more Google Now integration. Already they can listen for TV shows, they can pay attention to what you watch and sort of remind you when shows are on. That sort of thing. But I’d love to see a lot more back and forth between the TV and Google Now and that would be really cool.
Jason: I want to thank our sponsor of today’s episode, and it kind of ties into a lot of what we’re talking about here. SmartThings makes some incredible devices that allow you to protect and control your home with your smartphone. It’s all integrated into their products and into your smartphone for direct control. And I’ve got, some of the modules here, we’ve got all these different pieces that you can set up to kind of configure your home. So we have let’s see here, we have presence, for letting you know where things are. It all connects to this hub, this is a smart thing this hub right here. Which is something that you plug into your Ethernet. And it allows it to talk to all of these devices. You’ve got a motion detector right here. The smart sense multi. They just have all of these different devices that you get plugged into the hub so that you can automate your home essentially. You can adjust the lights, temperature, keep track of whether your kids come home from school on time. You can even check and see if you remembered to close the garage door. You can do it anywhere using your IOS or your Android device. You start with one of the three smart home security kits, each kit contains one smart things hub, and enough sensors and outlets to turn your home into a smart home. All it takes is 15 minutes to get started there. Just plug the smart things hub into your router and add the sensors in outlets by following instructions for the free and easy to use Smartthings app. And in addition to the Smart Thing’s own sensors you can add hundreds of home automation devices from a variety of manufactures. GE, Smag, Honeywell, Eon, as well as the latest connected devices like the Nest thermostat, wilps you, wemos, sonos, and more. Smart things also lets developers create new ways to use the product and then publishes these integrations and features in its app so all of its customers can use them. Thousands of developers are adding new integrations all the time. You can update your smarthome as often as you want to fit your preferences. So it’s super extensible in that way. So you have three home security kits. Each is called smart, smarter and smartest. The smart home security kit is $329 and includes one SmartThings hub, one Smart sense motion sensor, one smart sense presence sensor and three smart sense multi sensors which are multi-purpose sensors for doors, windows, drawers, that senses when things are open or closed and can measure things like temperature, acceleration, vibration. The smarter home security kit is $479 and it adds an additional motion sensor, a smart power outlet, and a siren strobe alarm. Think of all the crazy things-
Mike: You’ve got to have that one.
Jason: I know right?
Mike: What you do is you take the multi sensor and you put it inside the lid of the cookie jar. And then when kids go and get a cookie the strobe alarm goes off and a riot breaks out.
Jason: I love it. Perfect. I’ll tell you first hand our home needs that. Right about now. We have a four year old.
Mike: Whose doesn’t?
Jason: Yes, that’s true. The smartest home security kit is $599. It’s kind of the top of the line and it includes all of the above plus another presence sensor, power outlet and an outdoor power outlet and control power outlet. Each of these kits offer an affordable way to secure and automate your home without any of the contracts, monitoring fees or hidden charges associated with traditional home security companies. So to get started creating your smart home visit smartthings.com/twit and you can save 10% off the purchase of any home security kit by entering the code TWIT10 at checkout. You also get free shipping within the US. Visit smartthings.com/twit and remember to use the code TWIT10. At checkout. We thank smartthings for their support. Speaking of watches, while we were at IO one of their big incentives, and we already talked about it a little bit, is Android Wear. That’s Google’s wearable platform. Wearable kind of side of Android for tiny little screens. And to drive the point home, they sent everybody home with their choice of either the Samsung Gear Live, which is the watch that I have right here. There you can see it on my wrist. And then Mike, you ended up with the LG G Watch. Or the GWatch as I like to call it.
Mike: That’s right, the GWatch is this one. They’re very similar to each other of course because of Android Wear and because we talked about on Tech News Today this week, they don’t let you modify it. So Android Wear is Android Wear. You can modify it sort of, with apps. By what you install, and there are subtle differences between what each of the watch manufactures put on there. But for the most part Android Wear has the same interface on all devices.
Jason: I think it makes actually a lot of sense when you’re talking about wearables because really, a big part of wearing a watch, for example, is the style aspect right? I trust- well, you know, I guess I do a show about Android and about Google so maybe this is a little bit if it rubbing off on me. But I trust Google to give me a user experience that is going to work in this form factor. I trust the manufactures to give me a form factor that looks appealing. That’s something that I like. So I suppose let’s start there. Let’s start with the watch itself and them maybe we’ll circle around at the end and talk a little bit about where is the platform. What can you tell me about the Gwatch?
Mike: Okay, so right now the best way to think about these, both of these watches, is to compare them against each other. So this particular watch is, again, very similar to the Samsung watch. Although it’s smaller and ligher, a little bit. Its 1.8x1.5x1.39in. 1.3oz which is very light. It’s almost an ounce lighter than the Samsung watch. It has a 9 axis sensor. So you notice what happens, you see, if I put my hand over this, I put it to sleep. Right. So you see how it’s black and white. But if I put it down and then bring it back up it lights up and it can accept commands when I say “Okay Google.” What’s the weather outside? And so-
Jason: It’s tethered to your phone.
Mike: That’s right. Now every time I’ve demonstrated this to somebody, it has lost its connection.
Jason: You are in TWIT studio which is a land of 1000 wireless interferences.
Mike: That’s right. So there’s another interesting feature about this which people don’t really- see its writing down everything I’m saying. I put it to sleep and then go back to zero. But you can actually use this without voice by simply tapping it. You get that and then you can scroll down to the options. So I can basically choose one of these if I want to set a timer, start a stopwatch or whatever, alarms. I’ll start at stopwatch, just choose that. And then go. And so I didn’t use my voice at all even though it starts with the voice user interface. So again, covering it puts it to sleep. Now you see these other notifications that my timers still going and I can pause it with that. This is similar to the control for music and so on. So that’s, those are Android Wear things not really related to the watch. So let’s get back to the watch. Of course its Bluetooth tethered. It has a stronger battery. We talked about this on Tech News Today as well. Than the Samsung, but its less, probably has worse battery life than the Samsung because the screen is more of a power hog.
Jason: Yeah, it’s interesting actually, Ars Technica just did a side by side and it turns out that the LG G watch performs a little better than the Samsung. Which I would not have guessed, considering the screen.
Mike: That’s right. now this probably gets- this is an estimate on my part and is not based on testing, but I would guess about somewhere between 18 hours to 36 hours of use, depending on whether you’re a very heavy user or a very light user. And again, the screen is always on. So the time is always shown. Either in bright mode or dimmed mode. So you can always just look at the watch and get the time. Which is very nice.
Jason: That’s kind of important too. I even saw in the chat room “no one ever talks about the fact that you can tell time on these things.”
Jason: I think that these watches do that pretty effectively.
Mike: They do and you can also change the watch face. So you can choose from among, and they have some, like Peter Macks, 1972 kind of looking things. I don’t see why anybody would choose that. Its- to me it’s not very compelling. But yeah, it’s a great watch, it’s great for telling the time and so on. So back to the hardware here. This is a- I would say that the pros of this particular watch compared to the Samsung, again the only comparison we can make at this point. Is it’s very comfortable, it’s easy to charge, you simply put it on top of a little cradle type thing. It doesn’t actually plug in, it just sits on top of it. Which is nice. Its water resistant, it’s nearly an ounce lighter than the Gear Live. And it’s even lighter than the Pebble watch. Which probably does significantly less than an Android Wear watch does. Now the cons compared to the Samsung are that it has no biometric sensors. There’s no heart rate monitor, nothing. There is a pedometer in there but that’s not a biometric sensor. It has poor sunlight readability, I guess they both do. Its square rather than round. Some of the better ones are going to be round I would guess. So-so battery life. Lower screen resolution and its less vibrant. The screen is less vibrant than the Samsung. Doesn’t look quite as good. And it costs 30 dollars more. So this is $229. And so those are the pros and cons of this particular watch, the LG G Watch.
Mike: Okay, I’ll run through the Gear Live and then we can kind of get our tri-by-do-bi. So the Samsung Gear Live, it looks like, you know, it looks a lot like their recent kind of incarnation of Galaxy Gear watches for the most part. But this of course is running Android Wear. Its 1.2 gigahertz quad core snapdragon 400. 1.63in. 320x320 amalead display. So that actually means that when it’s in low power mode all its doing is lighting up these pixels. It’s not blocking out the dark pixels. So in essence that should be better for you battery life. This is what the Moto X does with active notifications. 4 gigs of storage onboard. Although right now it’s kind of hard to think about how you’d fill up 4 gigs. But I’m sure at some point that that will be a reality. And of course 300 milliamp battery which is a whole hundred milliamp hours less than the LG G Watch. You can kind of see the design, right. Like it has the chrome edges which I kind of like. Although the design is a little chunky. You have to be okay with that. It actually works on my wrist. I would say that it feels super comfortable and not too overly large on my wrist. I don’t feel like I’m wearing a weight when I’m wearing this. But I would imagine if you have smaller wrists, smaller hands it might stick out just a little bit more. The one difference that this has over the G Watch is that it does have a hardware button. It has this little power button. I never use it. But if you want to turn it on from an off state you can. You can also hold it down and it’ll pull up your settings menu eventually. There we go. Oh I just backed away from it but… there you have it. So underneath, there you go. You have the heart rate monitor. That’s the biometric sensor that you were talking about. These contacts of course clip into a charger. And I completely spaced bringing the charger with me and I wish I hadn’t because it’s one of my main points here. It’s really, like the G Watch has a magnetic snap to the charger, those are great, those are really nice. This you actually have to clip the plastic casing on into these little notches on the side around the back. And you know, it’s just one of those little things that is annoying over time. Every time you’re trying to do it its sliding all over the back and you can’t quite get it to latch. Screen/pixel wise, I think it’s totally fine. Sharp enough, rarely are you ever this close... wait a minute, which eye am I looking through? Rarely are you ever this close so it doesn’t matter if you can see the pixels as far as I’m concerned. Like you said, good saturation on this style of screen. Though again, common complaint, not bright in daylight. When you get out in daylight and you try and turn on the screen and really see what you’re looking at, it’s really hard to tell. Battery for me lasted around one and a half days. That’s good or bad depending on how you look at it right. That’s good if you’re comparing it to your smartphone which is just get me through a day of normal use. Or even heavy use. Get me to the end of the day. I’m always going to charge it late at night anyways. And that’s kind of me. That’s bad if you compare it to some of the competition. The Pebble. In some cases can go 3-4 days and that’s pretty impressive. So if you’re comparing it to those wearables you’re going to have a bad day. So that is the Gear Live. I’d say the pros definitely the heart rate monitor, the biometric sensor on the back. Android Wear of course I think is an interesting platform for, to be on here so that’s good. It does have a replaceable band, and in fact it snaps out with this interesting little lever system on this particular band. But it does replace with a normal strap, so that’s good. So does the G Watch. And then cons, you have to have kind of a larger wrist to wear it. Battery charging, of course. Battery performance. Depending on how you define it for a wearable. And hard to see in daylight. So if you- so that’s both of the watches. If you had to give the LG G watch a try, buy/don’t buy what would you give it?
Mike: I would give it a don’t buy. Simply because we have a lot of information about the upcoming Moto 360 watch and that just looks great.
Jason: Yeah it does.
Mike: It’s a round interface, the way the screen is presented it looks, it doesn’t look like there’s screen under glass. It’s right on the surface which is really beautiful. They’re doing all kinds of magic stuff that they’re not really talking about that much. But people who have tried it have said it’s just really beautiful to use. It’s even lighter than this watch somehow. Even though it looks pretty- it’s actually higher that the LG G. but it’s significantly lighter than this watch. And this watch is light. So that is kind of an interesting thing. So that’s coming out near the end of summer and that’s not very far away. So I recommend Android Wear very highly. I would give Android Wear a buy. And I actually think this is a controversial statement, but I actually think Pebble is in trouble here. We don’t know what Apple is going to come out with. But Android Wear is I think, a show in as a killer environment for one reason. And we’ve talked about this on Tech News Today. Which is that it has, its Google Now on your wrist. Google Now is a super compelling platform. By Google Now I mean not only Google Now but also voice search and voice command and also the preemptive notifications that come with Google Now. Add a bunch of really killer apps that app developers are going to create to that and it’s just a fantastic platform that is going to be very difficult to beat. The only company that I can think of that might get close to it is Apple, because they have Siri and they’ve been improving Siri recently. And so I think it’s going to be the Google Now watch vs. the Siri watch. I think that’s, a year from now that’s going to be the battle.
Jason: Yeah, that all makes perfect sense to me and I completely agree. Android Wear as a platform. I mean it’s super powerful with Google Now. Google Now as far as the “personal assistant”, that far of technology is concerned, Google Now seems to be winning it as far as effectiveness is concerned right now in giving you what you want to see before you realize you want to see it. I know that first hand that’s been the case for me. So I would absolutely agree with that. I also think that it’s very interesting that most apps are compatible with Wear and functional in certain ways without the developer having to go do anything. Because what it’s doing is it’s pulling in notifications right. From your device. So if a developer has already created an app with an actionable notification- so in other words they’ve created an app that through the notification you can skip forward or backwards on a track or archive mail or whatever the case may be- those are going to surface on Android Wear as actions that you can do in the Android Wear interface.
Mike: To a certain extent, it has to be said that if you create an app for Android Wear, you can do things directly from the notification. You can reply, do things like that.
Mike: A random notification that has no awareness or was built long before Android Wear existed will show up but you can’t do as much with that. But it’s still great to have it on your wrist and I think it also needs to be said- there is so much to be said about Android Wear, it’s just a fantastic interface, it’s a fantastic platform generally- but one of the craziest things about it is that I’ve found that the voice recognition and also the performance of voice recognition, is significantly better than any other place that I’ve seen it. It’s better than on, by Moto X. it’s just fast and it recognizes everything. It’s just really accurate in how it recognizes voice. I don’t know how they do that. It just seems instantaneous. And that is a big win for Google on this. Because you’d think you would have to wait and it’s a low powered device and it’s going back and forth via Bluetooth so it must be- no. no, it’s faster than directly on the phone. And you can do that because if you hold the phone and the watch side by side and say “okay Google Now” they both do it at the same time. I lost my connection couldn’t use the studio. But it’s faster and more accurate, I don’t know how they do it.
Jason: Yeah, it’s pretty impressive. One thing that I will say is a downside of Android Wear, because it’s so voice enabled or touch enabled, to wake it up. Like I have kids right, and if I’m holding my kids, so many phantom touches. Because I’m just wearing my watch but I can feel it vibrating on my wrist because either their clothes rubbed up against it and it registered as a touch, or their hands went down there. So I’ve found mail will be archived without me wanting to do it. So that can happen.
Mike: And here’s the other thing that can happen. If you hold up your watch, I’m going to launch both of them. Okay Google. Yeah. So it did. Mine is still asleep so whatever. But I launched yours so if there’s four people with an Android Wear watch, one person using their watch will set off a search on all of them or whatever the command is. So that’s going to be weird. That’s going to be funny actually, let’s be honest.
Jason: Sure, it’ll be hilarious. I would agree though, Android Wear definitely a platform that I’m really curious to see what comes out of it. As for the Samsung Gear Live, my recommendation was a little bit looser than that. I was saying try. Only because right now if you want to get in on Android Wear, there are two options. These are the two options and I wouldn’t necessarily say don’t buy this because I’ve actually really enjoyed using this hardware. But like you said, we know the Moto 360 is right around the corner. It’s got the round interface. The round watch face. And very excited about that. So I wouldn’t necessarily say rush out and buy this but if you want to get in on the Android Wear bandwagon right now, I could recommend that you get this. And check it out. Its only 200 bucks so it’s not the end of the world I suppose.
Mike: The truth is if I didn’t have this eval unit from Google, I would buy one of these, and then I would probably sell it when the Moto 360 came out. Because I’m such a gadget freak. And that’s always an option if you buy this for 229, you’ll probably be able to sell it for 150 bucks. Totally worth it for that 2 month interim or whatever. You really want Google Now on your wrist. It just improves your life. And it’s really fantastic to have all this on your wrist.
Jason: It saves you from taking your phone out of your pocket 150 times a day.
Mike: Which is hard. It’s so hard.
Jason: And that’s quite a promise actually, but I have noticed that to be true. That has saved me from pulling my phone out as much.
Mike: It’s true. It is true.
Jason: So finally we have something on this show just real quick, to show off. While we were at Google IO, where do I have this? At the presentation Sundar Pichai of Google made mention of on your away out pick up this thing of cardboard. Didn’t really talk about it at all. This is it, it’s totally- this is directly from their hands to mine. It’s called Cardboard. Big surprise. And I haven’t opened it. So I haven’t assembled it. But you have played around with it a lot. I actually have only one eye so playing around with this would do me no good.
Mike: Yeah. I have both the assembled kit here and binocular vision. So we can look at this. If you put the camera on this phone here. There it is. This is the app here called Cardboard. And by launching that you sort of get this sort of thing. Which is really cool. And then you open this up and you just slip your phone in like this.
Jason: Does it only take a certain size phone?
Mike: It’ll take most- it’ll take the Nexus and the Moto X. but it can stick out the edges as well. They really thought this through. And again this is a very fascinating project because it’s just cardboard with a rubber band, two lenses, these are off the shelf lenses. And this is a magnetic control. You can actually control the app using this. And so if you haven’t tried this, you can- basically it’s like as you move this around, inside what I see is I see the options. And when I find one that I want I simply do that. And now I’m looking at this sort of, it’s like a virtual reality.
Jason: Yeah, it really is. I mean, people are comparing it to Opulous. And it’s Opulous on the cheap I’ve read everywhere. But it’s exactly what it is. And it’s not nearly as cheap as it may seem. I mean, it’s kind of a hilarious statement right. We’re doing virtual reality in a super convincing way, with a sheet of cardboard.
Mike: Yeah, it’s cool. And just to clarify what’s going on here, Google is sort of open sourcing this project. Within hours after developing this, the people who make the DoDo cases came out with their own version which they’re now selling. You can order this right now. Its 15 bucks or so, and you can get an optional NFC chip in it. I don’t now what you do with that but I guess you could have more communication with the phone. And that’s a few bucks more. But this is open sourced. They want people to build these. They want people to make their own, which some people have. They want people to sell them, which other people have. But most of all, they want developers to create apps for this platform. The idea that you can do Oculous Rift type VR and also augment a reality. You’ll notice that the camera is visible through this opening here. So you could easily create an app that integrates and combines what you see through the camera with virtual objects that interact with the camera. And so the possibilities are endless, so that’s really what they’re trying to drive here. They’re trying to drive software development of Android apps that can be used like Ocoulous rift type virtual reality. And I showed this to a bunch of- we should go through some of the options. So one of them is sort of Google Maps fly through. So you can fly around through 3D Google Maps. Another one is you will actually go find your own photospheres and you can sort have look around the photospheres by just moving this. Like this. You can look at 3D YouTube videos and then remember that game on the Moto X with the red thing you chase around, that’s in here.
Jason: Oh, the little demo, the Pixar style- Buggy night is one of them.
Mike: Exactly. That is in here as well. Something like that yeah. And I showed this to bunch of high school kids who were touring the TWIT studios yesterday, and this was the highlight of their tour I think. Because they just couldn’t believe that you look into it and you’re transported to another world. Again, through the magic of cardboard.
Jason: How cool that it’s such a low rent one more thing ended up creating such a conversation, both at the conference and then outside. It’s really impressive that they were able to do it with a sheet of cardboard.
Mike: It really is. And just to take a look at the inside here. There’s really nothing to it. It’s just cardboard folded together with little instructions. Insert tab A into slot B, etc. and there it is.
Jason: Excellent. So for $15 through DodoCase, yeah.
Mike: Just go to the Dodo people. Search for Dodo online and you’ll get this.
Jason: Awesome. I think that probably qualifies as a buy.
Mike: And that’ll probably be one of the more expensive versions.
Jason: Yeah, absolutely. That about does it. Man, so last thoughts about IO? Sorry SmartThing!
Mike: One thought from a Google, the company perspective… don’t worry, those were free.
Jason: Alright, good! I thought I just broke SmartThings. They’re a lot tougher than that.
Mike: One thing is the ascendance of Sundar Pichai. Sundar Pichai is the vice president. He used to be just in charge of the Chrome world. And then when Andy Ruben left to go play with robots, he inherited Android and it seems like every new inactive that comes along goes under Sundar Pichai. Including, you talk about some of the experimental things that Google does for example, the modular phone and the electronic tattoos that they have that we’ve talked about. Those are all under Sundar Pichai. He’s got his own- not only does he have the whole Chrome, Chromebooks, Chromium, all of that stuff platform. But all of Android. So Android TV, Android everything. But he also has this, essentially it’s a research lab. The guy is a rock star at Google and you should see, you saw him at the end of the keynote, he kind of waited out in the audience and it was like he was Justin Bieber. But tall.
Jason: Mmhm. Well that is definitely his audience for sure. So yeah. I would completely agree. Rock star of Google is Sundar Pichai. And who would have thought about a year ago when he took the reins that Chrome and OS- or Chrome and Android would begin to merge as closely as they seem to be merging right now. We heard a little bit about that here and there. And it really does seem like we’re beginning to see that conversion in a crazy way. And like we said at the top of the show Android really kind of showing that this is Google’s effort, and this is what unifies everything that Google is doing right now and that’s a pretty major thing so. Mike Elgon thank you for being so pleasant on this, my first episode of Before You Buy, while Leo is out. A little intimidating with one eye but I appreciate you joining me and making it easy for me.
Mike: It was my pleasure. It was a lot of fun and I’ve always wanted to be a pirate too.
Jason: Alright, well I actually have like 11 eye patches back at my desk. The party store would only sell them in packs of 12. So everybody gets an eye patch, yay! Alright. I’m not sure that got anybody excited except me.
Mike: No, not really. I heard one voice.
Jason: Well thanks again Mike, I appreciate it. And thank you guys so much for watching this episode of Before You Buy. I believe, correct me if I’m wrong random voices in the room that Leo Laporte is back next week and will be on Before You Buy. No one is saying anything so I assume that will be true. But until then you can find full reviews by going to YouTube. Go to youtube.com/beforeyoubuy. You can find all the reviews that we do at Before You Buy there. You can also send us an email if you want to be part of the conversation to the show. Its firstname.lastname@example.org. And of course you can find and buy many of the products that we’ve shown on the show, both today and other shows, you can find those picks on our site. At twit picks. Just go to twit.tv/byb. And I think that’s about it. Until next time, I’m Jason Howell. And you gotta watch before you buy! See you later.