Google may launch smartwatch soon, will you buy one?

Image credit: ExtremeTech

Today in Open Source: Google may launch a smartwatch soon. Plus: A review of GIMP 2.8, and Samsung seeks app developers for user lock-in

Will You Buy A Google Smartwatch?

Rumors are swirling that Google is getting ready to launch a smartwatch, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Google Inc. smartwatch is in late-stage development and the company is in talks with Asian suppliers to begin mass production of the device, people familiar with the matter said.

The new device, which will run on Android, will be integrated with Google Now, the company's intelligent personal assistant that can answer questions, make recommendations and predict what information users need based on what they are doing, a person familiar with the situation said. Google has also been working to reduce power consumption on the smartwatch so it won't require frequent battery charges, the person said.

The smartwatch will be able to communicate with other devices such as a smartphone, and draw information such as travel schedules from a user's email through Google Now, the person said. The device could be ready for mass production within months, the person said.

More at Wall Street Journal

At this point I'm a complete luddite when it comes to smartwatches. It doesn't matter to me if it's Google, Apple or Samsung, I just don't see the point in wearing a watch when I'm already carrying a smartphone.

Would you buy a smartwatch from Google? What sort of features would appeal to you? Tell me in the comments.

GIMP 2.8 Review

ExtremeTech has a review of GIMP 2.8.

Whether you are actively considering a move away from Photoshop, or simply hoping there is a non-proprietary tool for reading your Photoshop images if you ever decide to stop subscribing to Adobe’s cloud, you’ve probably wondered about GIMP.

A free, open-source, image editor, the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) has been a go-to tool for Linux users for years, but has a reputation for being hard to use and lacking many of Photoshop’s features. The reality has changed dramatically over the last couple years.

GIMP now has a very competent user interface, as well as an extensive and powerful set of features. Its openly extensible nature means that in some areas, like running well-known image processing algorithms on your photos, it actually outshines Adobe Photoshop.

We took a deep dive into the current version, GIMP 2.8, to help you figure out whether GIMP might be the right photo editor for you.

More at ExtremeTech

While I'm glad to see a review of GIMP, I totally disagree with the headline of the review. GIMP has never been a "crippled alternative to Photoshop." I'm not sure where the writer got that from, but it irritated me when I first saw it.

Samsung Wants App Moat for Devices

It looks like Samsung is trying to build an app moat around its devices, similar to what Apple has with iOS devices, according to the Wall Street Journal.

This week, Samsung Electronics Co. plans to hold its first global developers conference at a hotel in San Francisco, a big step in the South Korean smartphone maker's effort to cultivate a host of software and services for its devices that can compete with those offered by Apple Inc.

It won't be an easy task, as even Samsung executives admit privately. Samsung built its reputation by streamlining the business of manufacturing electronic devices, and now leads the world in sales of mobile phones. On Friday the company said its net profit jumped 26% in the most recent quarter to a record 8.24 trillion won ($7.8 billion).

But as Samsung looks to solidify its market position, it recognizes the need to give its customers a reason to be loyal to its brand—a strategy that involves building an Apple-like suite of software and services that work well together, and can't easily be found elsewhere.

"Great consumer experiences require not just great devices but a seamless integration of both hardware and software," Samsung said.

More at Wall Street Journal

Good luck to Samsung, I think it's going to be a tough slog for them. Developers tend to go where the money is, and that seems to be iOS not Android right now. Plus, I doubt Google is going to just stand by and let Samsung pursue this strategy without firing a shot in return.

Samsung really has only themselves to blame. When you use somebody else's operating system it becomes very difficult to build a moat around it to lock in users. If they really want what Apple has then they'll need to release their own mobile operating system, just like Apple did.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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