Samsung Galaxy S4 Revealed TODAY! Will Eye-Tracking Rumors Meet Reality?

If we’ve hung out in the last few days, you know I’m pretty excited about the Galaxy S4. My internet scouring efforts have revealed some leaked hi-res images and some potential specs.

Photo: www.it168.com

IF this is it, and it’s still an IF, we’re not seeing much of a design change from the S3. But honestly, smartphone design can only go so far and basically requires a rectangular shape, at least until flexible screens become a realistic possibility. Photo: http://www.it168.com

These days, it’s software features that differentiates the weak from the strong and I’m excited to see what Samsung has done with this fact. Eye tracking seems to be one of the most prominent rumors out there. If this is true, Samsung might be encouraging us to use our eyes to control the device rather than using our filthy, oily, unworthy fingers on the purported 4.99 inch 1080p screen. Sounds cool, really cool, but it could reduce battery life from a whole day to about 7 minutes. If this rumor meets reality, however, Samsung could be revolutionizing how we use our devices in the future with eye tracking technology. Possibilities are endless for text input, scrolling, opening and using apps, I could go on and on. We’ll have to wait till tonight at 7pm EST during the Samsung event to get the real details. You’ll be able to watch the event streaming live from Samsung’s YouTube channel.

More iOS 7 Leaks and Rumors Wanted!

Most of the iRumor Mill concerns itself with what components and new looks the next iPhone will don. These days, however, I am more concerned with what the new iOS has in store. The reason for this is that Apple has already figured ou the iPhone’s form. Whether it be conscious or subconscious, it’s really iOS that most people love about the iPhone. Even though it still works beautifully, the current iOS 6 is becoming a little stale and old by tech standards. The app badges and alerts are dated and I could never get used to using the pull-down notification center.

I would actually prefer real life details rather than rumors. Yet, for iOS7, barely any rumors even exist; we are mostly restricted to wishlists and concepts that don’t mean squat. Indeed, rumors don’t really mean squat either, but they are more closely related to what the company will release rather than what people want. To be fair, there’s no telling what a new iOS could look like and do. It’s probably much harder to get leaks for a new iOS than an iPhone design.

It can be suggested that a new iOS could present us with new ways of interacting with apps. But that’s as far as I’ll go with rumors for now, otherwise this starts looking like a wishlist. Apple does respond to what the competition releases. For example, they responded to popular demand of bigger screen size with the iPhone 5. Apple must also realize that UIs are becoming far more interactive; such as Android’s customizable UI and Windows Phone 8’s live tiles.

Apple really doesn’t need to change the over-arching design of the iPhone. Quite rightly, they’ve been tinkering with materials, screen size and components which present incremental yet powerful upgrades on an already loved design (loved by millions and millions in fact). I wouldn’t be surprised if the next generation of iPhones simply take from the iPad Mini’s design; super slim, perhaps a wider border to border screen and lightweight. This is hardly innovative, but you KNOW it would look good…I’d have it.

Leap Motion Controller – Designed for Windows 8 Without Even Knowing It

These days, at least for technology, the term “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” doesn’t really seem to apply. Sure, the mouse is pretty old, but by no means is it broken, nor is it inefficient. But hey, it’s the future! Let’s do something we’ve always done but in a different, cooler and more futuristic way!

I can’t wait to get my hands on this little guy. Actually, my hands will be waving around it rather than being “on” it. Leap’s Motion Controller looks seriously cool. Just take a look at this demo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d6KuiuteIA

It hasn’t been released yet, but this has massive implications for computer input and could be an alternative to the mouse. It could be the solution that makes sense of Windows 8’s touch and gesture orientation depending on how (and how well) this little box of 3D input magic works. I suppose we would need some sort of cursor to indicate exactly where our fingers are wagging and tapping and we’ll need to train it/get used to how it works. As an added bonus, touch screens on computers running Windows 8 won’t need to be constantly wiped down which is a concern for many.

Although, I don’t see how it could be used for typing yet and I don’t think the keyboard is going anywhere any time soon. Try googling “keyboard alternatives” and you’ll find that these “alternatives” do not stray from the basic concept of text input; pushing buttons, whether physical or virtual. I think voice-to-text input, offered by companies such as Dragon, is the only alternative way to get words on the screen. BUT, imagine if this was integrated into future keyboards!

For more specific uses, such as art, design, architecture and even surgery, the Motion Controller’s 3D modelling abilities could be extremely useful. Also, using it as a game controller really caught my eye. Thinking way back to Duck Hunt, I’ve longed to play Battlefield 3 with a gun controller to look, aim and shoot.Using my hand the way the video shows us is almost exactly what I’ve been looking for. Such devices exist today, albeit mostly for consoles (PS3’s Move and XBox’s Kinect controller variations to name a few). But I shan’t ever use consoles to play FPS games. No one will ever successfully convince me that game pads are better than the keyboard/mouse combo for playing an FPS. Ever.

Anyway, I digress. I have no idea how well it works yet. Going against my recently imposed “no early adoption” rule, I have pre-ordered the Leap Motion Controller. It’s too exciting to pass up and looks like it will be a worthwhile exception to my rule. Plus, it’s only $70?!?! If it was $200, then I probably would have waited to read reviews. And have you seen how small it is?? You could hide it somewhere and feign the ability to control your computer with your hands, possibly ensuring tech demigod status.

Windows RT – Stands For “Rather Terrible”

I wanted to love it. I was a strong advocate for it. Yet, the Microsoft Surface is losing favor with me. To be more specific, I am referring to the Surface’s OS, Windows RT. Many say this is surprising because software is what Microsoft’s does. But have we already forgotten the Vista fiasco? I can safely say, and many will agree, that the design and hardware quality far exceeds the software.

I like the gestures and ways to navigate my way around the RT. And having MS Office is pretty cool. Other than that, it’s awful. Enough is enough and it’s time for me to pull back the self-imposed veil and see clearly what is in front of me. What Microsoft has released is a rushed and unfinished product, much like Vista (some may argue that Windows 7 is simply a finished version of Vista). What is Windows RT? What does RT even stand for? Most say it means RunTime, but what does that even mean? There’s already a WinRT out there, and Microsoft already had a “Surface” which was basically huge tablet with four legs…you know what, I’m not even going to bother, it’s too confusing.

I am annoyed that Microsoft sold me me this beautiful tablet with an OS that is incompatible with regular Windows apps and software. Incompatibility within Windows’ own products is simply unforgivable. Imagine needing to switch shoes between the sidewalk and crossing a street because the sidewalk shoes weren’t “compatible” with the street. Total compatibility with Microsoft products would really set it apart against the competition. It’s going to take more than a fancy keyboard cover to set it apart because keyboard covers for iPad are popping up like whack-a-moles. I am also annoyed with myself. I knew about this before buying, but I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal. How wrong I was.

Windows RT is dressed almost identically like Windows 8, therefore you’d think it would function like Windows 8. But no. For example, we’re told RT supports flash *for Microsoft approved sites* which feels like 3 sites. On about 99.9% of flash sites I visit, I am told I have an outdated version of flash and the site graciously offers me to update to the latest version. But I can’t install the latest version. So what’s the point of directing me to the regular websites? That should be RT’s tag line – “RT. What’s The Point?” I’d rather be directed to the mobile version of the site. So, realistically, it doesn’t really have flash. I might as well just use my laptop to roam the internet. And can someone explain to me why Outlook or Media Player is not supported?

You feel so restricted with RT, so so restricted. RT is so barren and app-less. Again, what’s the point? The Surface is my first tablet (yes, I know, late to the tablet game) and I wanted a tablet to do the stuff I do on my iPhone like casual web browsing, reading news, games, calendar management, emails etc, just on a bigger screen without having to carry around a fragile laptop. But RT just feels like I’m doing all those things on a ten year old computer. Apps are slow to open and slow to refresh (news and mail to name a couple).

Microsoft should have used its resources to encourage app developers to make apps for RT. It actually looks like RT has many of the  most-used iPad apps found on a few “official lists.” But once I’m done with Skype and the various news apps at home, I’m pretty much done and I have no further reason to keep the Surface in my hands. It hardly has any games at all and therefore lacks entertainment value. For example, let’s take travel. Sure, I can watch movies or listen to music, but what if I want to speed up time by playing games on the subway or on a flight? With interest in films and music exhausted, I have no games to play as I jealously watch iPad owners play “The Walking Dead” or “Need for Speed.” Instead, I’m stuck with Solitaire, Pong or Pinball (to be fair, these are free games offered in the Windows store, but these are the only ones that remotely entice me). Yes, I know, boo hoo, read a book says you. But I didn’t pay $600 to watch iPad owners have all the fun! Of course, games aren’t what everyone use their iPads for. This is merely one example of Windows RT and Surface’s lack of, well, use.

I’d say wait  while for more apps to become available, but Windows/RT is in  a cacth 22. App developers don’t want to waste resources on building apps for tiny number of RT users. At the same time, users don’t want to buy a machine with an OS where the app store looks like Utah’s Great Salt Lake.

Went to the Apple store today and played around with the iPad mini. Replacement in progress.