Google held a session today hosted by Timothy Jordan, developer advocate on Project Glass on how to develop for the gadget, and while most of it focused on what developers can do right now with the available documentation and Mirror API which makes use of a tethered phone’s capabilities, Jordan also spoke briefly about Google’s upcoming GDK or Glass Developer Kit, which will be a native development framework for Glass hardware itself.
The GDK will be available at a later date, Jordan said, and didn’t get more specific, but it will allow developers to access a “handful of things” that they can’t currently do with the Mirror API. While the mirror handles 80 to 90 percent of what Google has found users want in a good Glass experience, there are things like offline tasks and access to hardware features like location that require a native API. Hence the GDK.
This will enable “immediate access to hardware” and Glass’s built-in capabilities, so that Glass developers will be able to build things like navigation apps on Glass itself, so you can find your way even if you’re not necessarily connected to the web.
The GDK is in development, and we’ll likely see it before Glass gets its big consumer debut, since it seems like this is a piece of the puzzle that could contribute significantly to the final user experience.
Here is the original post: Google Announces Native Glass Developer Kit, Will Be Able To Do More Than The Mirror API
Today during a session at Google I/O, Google Senior Developer Advocate for Glass Timothy Jordan announced that Google was currently working on a native development environment for developers looking to work with its head mounted computer. The Glass Development Kit is in process now and there’s no current ETA for its arrival.
Jordan notes that running the Explorer program, which ships Glass out to pre-orderers and some high-profile users, and developing the kit at the same time has presented challenges.
The kit will allow for many things that are not currently possible using the already existing Glass Mirror API. Some of those things include offline access, which will download things like navigation instructions for later viewing and giving more direct access to the Glass hardware.
Jordan says that the GDK will essentially be ‘like developing for Android, with a new library’, so developers familiar with working on Android shouldn’t have a problem. This isn’t too surprising as Glass does run on Android.
The current Google Mirror API uses a combination of technologies like HTML and Json to allow developers to quickly build ‘apps’ with a variety of functions. The New York Times, for instance, sends cards to the unit that feature headlines that Glass can read out loud. A native environment, however, would allow for much more flexibility and possibility for developers, as the structure of the Mirror API limits heavily what kinds of things can be shared and how they’re presented to the user.
Jordan went on to solicit developers for suggestions on features that they’d like to see appear in the new GDK. The session also outlined a variety of ‘best practices’ for developers including how much data they use and how much share of user attention they grab.
Aereo users, listen up.
The company that has been bringing you access to 30 over-the-air broadcast channels on the cheap is switching up its pricing structure a bit to make things less complicated. Unfortunately, this switch also makes things slightly more expensive, but still highly competitive in today’s content streaming landscape.
Starting on May 15, the original five-tier structure will be boiled down into two options: The base $8/month fee will offer 20 hours of DVR storage, and a $12/month fee will get you 60 hours of DVR storage. Neither service requires a long-term commitment.
However, it’s worth noting that the $8/month plan changes the way you can record on Aereo’s DVR service, only letting users record from one channel at a time. At the same time, the $12 plan actually offers more than it used to, bumping up storage from 40 hours to 60 hours.
When Aereo first launched, it offered more levels of service, including a $1/day deal. This was a unique option for the service, as it let users tune into huge, national events without forcing them to buy into the service on a monthly basis. Events like the Superbowl, presidential election, or the Academy Awards instantly became accessible to people without cable, and also offered an easy, painless way to taste the Aereo service without making a commitment.
While dropping that plan may remove that taste-test-ability, in the end Aereo believes that simplifying the options will be a better experience for customers.
Here’s what founder Chet Kanojia had to say in a prepared statement:
We looked at our data and it was clear, consumers want a more simple approach to pricing. With our new pricing structure, consumers begin with one base plan and then have the ability to upgrade their membership to triple their DVR storage capacity. We want to make it simple and easy for consumers to access our technology and we believe this updated pricing plan accomplishes just that.
For current users of Aereo, your plan will remain the same until the end of your current membership period. For those on the $12/month payment plan, you will be automatically upgraded to 60 hours of storage.
Right now the service is only available in New York, but Aereo has plans to expand into new territories very soon.
Happy TV viewing, everyone!
View original post here: Aereo Switches Up Pricing: $8/Month For 20 Hours Of DVR, $12/Month For 60 Hours Starting May 15
It seems like every other day an upstart wireless service provider inks a wholesale deal with someone like Sprint or T-Mobile and effectively sells access to those big carrier networks under a different banner. And every other day, I ignore most of them, because they’re just so damned boring.
Zact isn’t boring. In fact, Zact — an upstart service provider created by Andreessen Horowitz-backed ItsOn that uses Sprint’s network — has the best approach to wireless plans I’ve seen in a long time.
Consider this scenario: you’ve signed up with Zact (no contracts here) and chosen a plan, say, 500 minutes, 1,000 text messages, and 1GB of data. That plan’ll cost you just shy of $40, and once you’ve signed up, you use the plan just as you would any other.
At the end of the month though, it becomes apparent Zact’s approach flies in the face of how more traditional carriers handle billing. While carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and the like are happy to keep quiet and accept your money for minutes, messages, and data you haven’t even touched, Zact goes back and credits you the difference between what you’ve paid for and what you’ve used. Yes, these people are actually trying to build a business by giving your money back to you.
Now as neat as that is, that sort of no overage approach isn’t exactly new — MVNOs like Ting have been running with that model for over a year a now. Zact manages to take things a bit farther than Ting thanks to some interesting feature-centric plans for people who don’t need gobs and gobs of data each month because they only need to do a few things. Take Facebook for instance: Zact offers a $5/mo feature that offers unlimited access to the social network that bars users from using the data connection for anything else. After all, some people may never use their smartphone for anything else anyway, so why charge them for all the extra cruft? Mixing and matching features is certainly more work than what most carriers have us doing now, but I’d much rather have the option at least.
Users can also tweak those plans by way of some deeply-integrated Zact software with a surprising level of granularity at any point during the month, and those changes go into effect immediately — no chatting with customer service drones required. Those plans are intrinsically shareable too so if you and four friends can scrape by on 200 minutes a month, well, feel free. Getting close to your minute or message limits? You’ll be notified while you’re gabbing on the phone or when firing up the messaging app respectively.
Throw in some savvy, instant-on parental controls (you can remotely disable apps on other devices on the account if you’re an admin) and you’ve the makings of a very promising service. The folks Andreessen Horowitz and seem to agree, as they collectively pumped some $15 million into Zact parent company ItsOn last October.
Curiously, ItsOn’s ambitions extend beyond just running its own MVNO (except they really don’t like it when you call Zact the “m” word). CEO Greg Raleigh told TechCrunch that the cloud services that make those on-the-fly plan changes and suggestions possible has garnered ItsOn attention from carriers around the globe, a few of which can be found right here in the States. According to Raleigh, the vision isn’t so much about giving all those carriers a run for their money, it’s about getting them to adopt the same sort of granular approach to plans.
Ah, but there’s a catch (isn’t there always?). As a Sprint wholesaler, Zact only has access to two Android smartphones (well, three if you count a color variant) right now, and either of them are terribly eyecatching. Ting is a slightly more attractive option right now if only because of the wider array of hardware available, but I’ll be keeping my eyes on ItsOn and Zact — they’re definitely on to something here.
See the rest here: ItsOn’s New Zact Service Is Rewriting The Book On Wireless Plans
ASMALLWORLD launched its invite-only social network for the rich and famous in 2004. Today it’s becoming even more exclusive and pivoting away from its advertising model, as its relaunching as a subscription travel club where the elite meet to enjoy perks around the globe. With $100 a year and an invite, ASMALLWORLD (ASW) helps you make friends with its trusted 250,000-member community wherever you go.
Though it was supposed to be ready this morning, ASW tells me its site should go live this afternoon. Until then the site is password-protected, but you can get a sneak-peek below.
Have you ever been on sites designed for “meeting new people”? They’re often pretty seedy, filled with spammers, fakes, and swarms of sketchy dudes. They’re by no means premium, and not where you’d want to find a stranger to hang out with far from home. But there’s a real market for meeting not just new people, but great people. Whether for some laughs, networking or romance, paid access to a curated subset of humans and activities to share with them could work. Every concert, conference and travel method already has a VIP option for this reason. ASW could be a VIP club for the world if it keeps its standards high.
CEO Sabine Heller explains that with ASW, “You can turn up in a city where you don’t know anyone and you can have a social travel experience, a sense of belonging. You can go to Capetown and through ASMALLWORLD you’re entitled to five hotels that will do something nice for you, five tours where you get a perk, and groups of locals and travelers you can tap into. It’s not about logging onto the website, it’s that you might meet your husband through ASMALLWORLD, or get a job, or meet a whole new group of friends.”
To create a trusted community that people aspire to join, though, ASW had to give some bad actors the boot. “We did a round of thousands of membership terminations,” says Heller about expelling people from the old ASMALLWORLD club. Lindsay Lohan and Tiger Woods were among the people kicked to the curb as the startup seeks a more reliable image. If you’re meeting strangers off of ASW in the middle of the night in Beirut, you might not want them to have Lohan’s nasty habits.
The business model needed an overhaul, too. ASW was profitable for a while, which helped convince film producer Harvey Weinstein to buy a majority stake in the 45-person company before selling to Swiss investor Patrick Liotard-Vogt. But with membership previously capped around 1 million users, selling tiny ad campaigns to luxury brands around the world was a drag. No matter how influential the audience, advertising is still a quantity game. The startup’s new subscription model trades on the quality of its community. Travel destinations give ASW perks and free services to pass on to its members in hopes that they become regular customers.
Considering most social networks are free, what does $100 a year get you? First there’s the website with authenticated profiles to help you meet other ASMALLWORLDers. The ASW app helps you plan trips and read custom ASW travel guides. But what’s special is the membership card that gives you access to a wide array of perks including:
Those perks add up to well over the $100 subscription fee. Hell, a desk in Manhattan alone is worth much more. The idea is that by getting high-powered ASW clientele to try their services, these hotels, airlines, clubs, and what have you will develop loyal customers. It sounds good on paper, but ASW will need to show its sponsors return on investment if it hopes to make the model sustainable. Luckily between Liotard-Vogt and a small, secret funding round it recently raised, ASW doesn’t have to break even right away.
Today, ASW will begin emailing existing members of its old site ASMALLWORLD.net about the transition towards travel, and Heller tells me it will invite its “more valued members” to subscribe to the new service. A percentage of members will have the ability to invite others to join.
And that is what will decide whether ASW thrives or fails. Managing membership of any exclusive community is a dark art, requiring a careful balance of beauty, wealth, success, excitement, and interconnection. Too little of any and the whole thing breaks down. Nobody wants to be in a club of creepy old tycoons, gold-digging young moochers, or boring people willing to pay a price for friends. Creating a vibrant, coveted community will be ASMALLWORLD’s real challenge. With the right buzz and people, it could have everyone clamoring for an invite. Otherwise, it might end up a glitzy ghost town.