With the launch of the Pixel, the Apple-Android war is getting a bit fierce. To Apple's credit, they have forever shaped the way we think about technology. It's been said hundred-thousand time before, but it's worth repeating - the smartphone is the king of technology and we wouldn't without with out Apple.
That's why Google's flagship Pixel is ready to disrupt and their same ecosystem play is, if nothing else, intriguing. Glossing over the Daydream View, a VR headset refresh that is ground-breaking despite a lack of content, Google also released the Pixel Buds - a wireless pair of earbuds complimented by the removal of the headphone jack on the Pixel 2.
On paper, the Pixel Buds are strong. They Blu-tooth capable neck buds are sporty, have a decent battery life, rock quick charge, and have an exclusive use-case in translating languages on the fly. The price is an expected $160, nothing unusual for flagship buds, but it doesn't quite live up to its 2017 counterparts.
The Pixel buds are simply put, underwhelming.
Starting with the design, the fabric cord offers a unique - read not better - experience. To fit the ear canal, the cord needs to be pulled out for a snug fit. It usually stays but offers a strange experience that is only the tip of the iceberg. The large, circular casing is touch-sensitive and looks totally foreign in the ear. Not that Apple's AirPods make you look any better, but it's high time companies figure out how to build a pair of touch-sensitive ear-buds that don't make you look like a complete dope. Adding insult to injury, the flimsy clamshell case comes with hyper-specific instructions that can really take away from the glam of "this is the future."
The Pixel Buds are anchored around the Google Assistant, which is the leading A.I. tech in the game. Siri and Amazon don't hold a candle to the Google Assistant, and the Pixel Buds offer quick access. It also offers exclusive real time translations that take spoken word and push it straight to your ears. It works okay, but is still pretty rudimentary in execution.
So at the end of the day what makes the Pixel Buds so mediocre? Somewhere between focusing too much on function over form, a really great idea got lost. However, to its credit, if you follow any of Google's software, this isn't that unusual.
L.A. Auto Show Showcases the Future of Auto Technology
Aimed at showing off the latest and greatest cars, the L.A. Auto Show is in one word awesome - even for casual car enthusiasts. The nine-day show starts December 1 in Los Angeles and is the oldest motoring show still running today.
On the surface, it really is just about badass cars. The floor is filled with brand new vehicles hat dangle between purely a concept and tangible trailblazing. Yes, we are all drooling over Chevy's ZR1, a $120,000 Corvette that packs a mind-blowing 755 horsepower behind its "200+ top speed" rated, zero to 60 under 3.0 seconds, supercharged engine, but there is more to the show than just aesthetics.
There is future mobility!
As is the tradition for any show, the press day gave a look into some of the future techs that will help people get around. The big winner was the same as CES - artificial intelligence. From smart-car antivirus software to autonomous vehicles with over 4 million self-drive hours, A.I. is once again the reigning champ of tech shows.
Subaru showed off their newest Starlink infotainment service, a touch-friendly head unit that offers automatic collision notifications, teen driver settings for curfews, speed, and geofencing, as well as remote capabilities like engine start, headlights, and door locking. The 6.5-inch screen display rivals current aftermarket head units, as well as offering 4G LTE Wi-Fi services to the 14-speaker sound system.
Lincoln showed off the new MKC that actually heats seats, can be turned on and off, or remotely start the AC all from an app. It also rocks Nautilus, a new tech that improves cruise control, lane-keeping, active parking assists, and an automatic brake for stop-and-go traffic.
For the moment, it seems that autonomous driving is coming piece-meal to cars, but the future of car technology will certainly be anchored by it.
In Other News...
- Snapchat has revealed a novel redesign that separates social, from the media. The new look is an attempt to slow down the ballooning $2.2 billion it lost earlier this year, as competition in Facebook and Instagram grows fiercer.
- Poster-child for the cryptocurrency revolution Bitcoin has hit $10,000 per bitcoin, after nailing $9,000 just two days ago and $8,000 a week before that. Surely a 1,258% yearly increase is totally sustainable, right?
- Apple's latest MacOS upgrade, High Sierra, is vulnerable to being 'hacked' by literally any user. The vulnerability allows a user to log in by changing the username to 'root' and gaining instant access. Apple is aware of the problem and working to correct it.