Monday, November 2, 2015

Year in review (according to just another technology guy)

And just like that another of writing this blog has gone by. When I started this blog I had it in mind to write one longer'ish post a week 52 weeks a year, instead of smaller more frequent posts. I like the cadence and it's worked out pretty well, at least from my perspective.

My daily/weekly readership has grown quite a bit but I'm not convinced that you're all real living breathing humans. My guess is that there are feed bots and link bait bots out there trolling around and my readership increase is at least slightly due to that. The three most popular posts in the last 12 months have been on Agile Development: Sprint Retrospective, Android WebView: HTML5 Video and Rotation, and When Not To Refactor.


We've seen a lot happening in the technology industry with regards to watches/wearables. Apple released the Apple Watch (which I still call the iWatch), Pebble released it's new Time watches (Time, Time Steel, and Time Round), and there have been a whole slew of wearables released on the Android Wear platform. I have a Pebble Time and really love it.

What I'd like to see in the next year is for wearables to not try to replicate phone interactions, but instead try to solve problems they're form factor is better at. For instance, put a gps in a wearable and provide location based services via geo-fencing. I'd also like to see a Swype like keyboard for Pebble (though it would need a touch screen).

Streaming Video

While I'm still unhappy about the state of streaming video, there have been some pretty notable events in the past 12 months. Transparent, an Amazon Instant Video series, became the first streaming service series series to win a Golden Globe (it won two; Disclaimer, I work for Amazon). Apple announced a new Apple TV, Amazon updated the Fire TV and released the Fire TV Stick, and Google updated it's Chromecast device line.

HBO started providing À la carte access but I'd like to see the same from ESPN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX (outside of Hulu).


Phones in the past year have been lackluster in my opinion. On the Android side I haven't seen anything that makes me excited. Google's Nexus 6P and 5X were annouced with support for Marshmellow but they're pretty boring. Apple has decided to actually listen to the market and released a phablet in their iPhone 6+. Windows phone continues to be irrelevant and Blackberry continues to amaze me that they still exist given they don't appear to have any solid direction or plans to recapture the market.

Tablets have also been lackluster in my opinion. It was nice to see Amazon release a sub $100 tablet ($50!!!) as I really think that the market for tablets is going to be in that price point. The tablet isn't going to replace the laptop (the Microsoft Surface has proven that) and so the use case for tablets seems to be streaming media, playing games, and reading books. I think there will be a market for the iPad Pro amongst designers and architects, but I don't see it being anything that rejuvenates the tablet industry.


Amazon released the Echo which, IMO, has been some of the best innovation in the at home arena. They've made it even better by providing both an Alexa SDK and a Skills Kit. One thing that's kept me from using Google Now on my Android phone has been the lock-in and the fact that it's only really useful when tied in with other Google owned services like GMail and Google Calendar. Having an SDK and Skills Kit allows ANY 3rd party to integrate with Alexa, and that's really awesome.

What would I like to see in the next year?

I'd like to see someone build something really interesting in the Phone market. I'd like to see it built on something other than Android or iOS. I'd also like to see it work out of the box with all the major DAV standards. Firefox OS or Ubuntu could achieve this with a good hardware partnership. Microsoft could do it to if they really wanted.

I'd like to see better cross device awareness for things like email, calendar, text messaging, and other notifications. Being able to act on a notification shouldn't be dependent on platform. Likewise, dismissing a notification on one device should be reflected on all devices, regardless of platform.

From the smartwatch category I'd like to see video chat, native SMS, longer battery life, better location awareness, and touch (specific to Pebble).

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