OPINION: Chris Smith chimes in on a potential game-changer in Microsoft’s perennial fight to be relevant in the smartphone space, Jay-Z’s Tidal rant, LG’s most impressive mobile launch yet and Apple’s narrow escape with Apple Watch component flaws.
Continuum can change everything for Microsoft's smartphone push
Microsoft’s Build conference wasn’t quite the blockbuster event we were hoping it’d be. It was more of a calm before the storm as we head closer and closer to Windows 10. That’s understandable, as so much exciting stuff has been revealed in the preview versions along the journey.
It was a little surprising there were no new mobile handsets running Windows 10. However, when they do arrive, we now know they’ll be carrying a killer feature no-one else can offer.
Previously only announced for tablets, Continuum will allow Windows 10 phone users to wirelessly connect to a monitor, keyboard and mouse in order to turn their handset into a bona fide PC.
Read more: Windows 10 vs Windows 8: Should you upgrade
Thanks to Universal apps, folks will be able to edit word documents, tweak presentations and even perform split screen functionality like managing email on the phone, while viewing other apps a second monitor without switching between the two apps on a single device.
Apple has tried to make it easy to switch phone tasks to OS X with Continuity, and it’s a great concept. Faffing around with a touchscreen damages productivity and it’s great to be able to start a task on one machine and complete it on another. However, being able to upscale universal apps to create a full PC experience directly from the phone itself takes this to the next level.
So far, there have been few reasons to jump on board with Windows Phone over the iOS and Android ecosystems; even for loyal PC users. This, along with universal apps, could be the calling the company has been waiting for since the Windows Mobile days.
Jay-Z brought on Tidal woes himself
So Jay-Z reckons Tidal has been victim of a smear campaign since the big re-launch last month? In a #TidalFacts outburst on Twitter, Mr. Carter claimed rival companies *cough* Apple *cough* have been spending millions on keeping the company down.
Well, if he wants someone to blame for the negativity surrounding the recently re-launched Tidal streaming service he might want to look a little bit closer to home. Could he have gotten the pitch any more wrong if he tried?
Wheeling out (almost literally, in Madonna’s case) more than a dozen monolithic musicians, some of whom the general public have a serious distaste for, didn’t exactly scream “we want to make streaming music fair for all artists” did it?
No, it reeked of the big players trying to cut out middlemen like Spotify in order to get richer. It sounded like millionaire crybabies acting like they’ve somehow got the shitty end of the stick. They were called out for being out of touch and insulated from the real world, and in my opinion, rightly so.
Read more: Tidal reviewed
If Tidal had brought out some struggling, up-and-coming, yet relatively well known artists on stage, who were able to wax lyrical about how Tidal is fighting the good fight for the future of the craft, it could have been a wake-up call for freemium Spotify users and the industry as a whole. But it didn’t. It had Madonna do it.
Now, Jay-Z and his fellow executives are hoping to get the message right, by emphasising 75 per cent of royalties go directly to all of the artists, while appealing to indie artists to keep 100 per cent of their music by working directly with Tidal.
However, now it faces a battle of changing the narrative. It would have been an unnecessary battle, if only egos and the desire to make such a big splash had been kept in check.
If it really wants to prove Tidal is for all, it could do worse than adopt a sliding scale, where emerging artists get a greater share of the streaming revenue than those pulling in millions, as proposed by a Forbes writer this week. But that won’t happen will it?
Oh, and it needs to work on its mobile apps too. They’re just not as good and reason alone for me not to make the switch without any of the streaming music politics.
Read more: Hands on with the LG G4
Fly like a G4
LG launched its most impressive mobile device ever this week, with the LG G4. With HTC’s One M9 seriously underwhelming, the launch of the leather-clad G4 presents a real opportunity for LG to leapfrog a rival in the Android stakes.
It may sound silly, but I feel like that leather cashing could be the key too! If LG had launched the phone as another all-black, high-spec beast like the G3, would anyone have really noticed?
That leather casing makes the G4 unique enough to stand out from the crowd, while rocking the power, battery life, top display quality and stand-out camera to satisfy those operating at the premium end of the market.
During its launch event on Monday, LG talked extensively and in great detail about the improvements made to the camera, but something as simple as giving its phone a leather jacket might be the most important innovation of all.
As my wife told me today, "It's perfect for business people and hipsters," which covers a few bases for a start.
Read more: Apple Watch hands-on review
Apple may have dodged a bullet with component fault
So that’s why a huge number of pre-order customers aren’t getting their Apple Watches yet. Reports suggest the company has been dealing with some faulty Taptic Engine components. The Taptic Engine gives users the sensation of a tap on the wrist when they receive an alert.
The reports say Apple caught the issue, which saw the component conk out over time, before faulty watches made their way to consumers. I can only assume there are some pretty relieved folks at Cupertino right now.
Imagine the kerfuffle if the component had worked just long enough to make it out into the wild? Somewhat sadly, the tech world was waiting with baited breathe for the first-generation Watch to have its Antennagate moment and this would have gift-wrapped it for the haters waiting to hate.
If people think the criticism Apple has received over shipping delays is noteworthy, imagine the carnage of a product recall? Bullet dodged or a victory for vigorous product testing? Maybe a little of both.