Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2

What’s the best wearable device you can get?

Microsoft Band 2

Microsoft has taken the wraps off of its latest and greatest wearable device, an updated version of the Microsoft Band. The fitness tracker/smartwatch combo looks to be even better than the hit that was the original Microsoft Band, featuring improved fitness tracking capabilities and a number of new smart wearable features.

Microsoft, however, isn’t the only company that’s been working hard in the wearable market.Samsung recently announced the Samsung Gear S2 and, but if we’re going to talk about wearables, it would be hard not to include the Apple Watch, a device with fitness features Apple doesn’t shy away from promoting (there’s even the rubbery strap for the Apple Watch Sport edition that’s suited exercise).

Of course, it’s important to mention that the Microsoft Band is positioned as a fitness tracker, while the Samsung Gear S2 and the Apple Watch are both smartwatches that have some fitness features. However, each are flagship wearables with top-notch hardware and software, which evens the playing field. If you’re having trouble deciding which device best suits your needs, read on as we compare the most important features of each against the others.

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2: Design

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2

The new Microsoft Band has an improved design with a curved display. Generally speaking, the Band offers a simple, sporty design, including a flat black strap that hooks together with a subtle clip.

The Samsung Gear S2, by comparison, looks like a real watch. It has a round face and offers a sporty design with the band itself made of plastic, a design element that helps it flow well into the main body of the device. Some would argue the Gear S2 is one of the best designed smartwatches on the market. It’s also fairly thin, coming in at 11.4mm (0.45 inches) thick.

The Apple Watch really is one of those devices that looks better in person than it does in pictures. It offers a square display, which seems to be out of fashion for wearable devices of late, however the multitude of color and band options is certainly a plus. The Apple Watch is a little thinner than the Gear S2: it measure 10.5mm (0.41 inches) thick.

It’s difficult to compare design of a device that’s clearly a fitness band with the design of a smartwatch. It’s even difficult to compare a round smartwatch with a square one. While it really comes down to personal preference here, for a subtle fitness tracker then the Band is the best option in terms of design.

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2: Display

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2

The new Microsoft Band display is 32mm x 12.8mm (1.26 x 0.5 inches), a rectangular display indeed but one that seems to work great considering the device is a fitness tracker. The display’s resolution is 320 x 128 pixels.

By comparison, the Samsung Gear S2 offers a display that’s 1.2-inches across, has a resolution of 360 x 360 pixels and a pixel density of 302 pixels-per-inch.

Finally, the Apple Watch is actually available with two display options. The first is 38mm (1.5 inches) diagonal, with a resolution of 340 x 272 pixels. The second display is 42mm (1.65inches), and has a resolution of 390 x 312 pixels.

When all’s said and done, the Samsung Gear S2 has the densest and therefore crispest display.

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2: Processor, storage and RAM

Microsoft hasn’t listed the processor, storage capacity or RAM on the Microsoft Band, so it’s impossible to judge it on those front.

Exynos processor, and the Apple Watch features an Apple S1 chip. It’s a little hard to compare the two at this point because of the fact that Apple doesn’t generally offer much information about its processors. As far as storage goes, the Samsung Gear S2 has 4GB, while the Apple Watch packs 8GB. Both devices offer 512MB of RAM.

The Samsung Gear S2, meanwhile, offers a 1GHz Exynos processor, and the Apple Watch features an Apple S1 chip. It’s a little hard to compare the two at this point because of the fact that Apple doesn’t generally offer much information about its processors. As far as storage goes, the Samsung Gear S2 has 4GB, while the Apple Watch packs 8GB. Both devices offer 512MB of RAM.

Fitness tracking

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2

This one is a no brainer. The Microsoft Band was built as a fitness tracking device, offering GPS connectivity, a heart rate monitor, calorie tracker and sleep tracker. These features are complemented by things like an accelerometer to measure altitude and a gyrometer. Not only that, it can also track VO2 Max, which is basically how much oxygen passes through the body in the span of one minute.

Microsoft also offers a pretty great dashboard, called Health, for health tracking metrics, which will help users watch and monitor of all the data the Band is collecting and storing.

That doesn’t mean the the Samsung Gear S2 and the Apple Watch don’t have fitness tracking features, though. The Gear S2 also offers an accelerometer, gyroscope and heart rate monitor. Not only that, the Samsung S Health applications is a big part of how the Gear S2 performs fitness tracking tasks. It works in much the same way as Microsoft Health to keep tabs on users’ activity and fitness goals.

The Apple Watch is similar to the Samsung Gear S2 as to what it offers when it comes to fitness tracking, including a heart rate monitor. Both the Gear S2 and the Apple Watch are good options for anyone who want a watch with some fitness tracking as part of the overall package. However, the Microsoft Band is the device for people looking specifically for a wearable that’s first and foremost a fitness tracker.

Battery life

The battery size of the Microsoft Band isn’t official, however Microsoft claims the Band lasts 48 hours, putting it square in the middle of the pack compared to other two devices’ batteries.

The Samsung Gear S2 has a battery size of 250 mAh, with the company claiming that the device will last two to three days.

The Apple Watch has a battery size of 205 mAh, however the device seems to be more battery-intense and only really lasts almost a full day (18 hours by Apple’s measurement) on a single charge.

Compatibility

Microsoft Band 2 vs Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S2

All of this comparison doesn’t really matter if you don’t have a smartphone that one of these a devices works with. The Apple Watch only works with the iPhone, and isn’t really meant to be a standalone device. The Android Wear-running Gear S2, by comparison, is compatible with most Android smartphones, and is available as a 3G option, which would make it a full standalone device.

Last but not least, is the Microsoft Band, which is compatible with Android phones, iOS phones, and, of course, Windows phones. As a device that works with any phone, regardless of OS, the Band has the other two beat in terms compatibility.

Price

Of course, price also plays into the decision, with the Apple Watch starting at $349 (£299, AU$499). The Microsoft Band starts at $249 (£199, about AU$347), and the Samsung Gear S2 starts at $299 (about £195, AU$410).

Conclusions

For someone looking for a dedicated fitness tracker, the Microsoft Band is the best device among the three. For someone who is looking for a good all-around device, the Apple Watch or the Samsung Gear S2 are better options. Both the Apple Watch and the Samsung Gear S2 are great smartwatches, however the Gear S2 looks a lot more like a watch than the Apple Watch.

Telkom Indonesia and Sony to form Strategic Partnership on Smart Card Systems

BANDUNG, Indonesia and TOKYO, Japan – October 15, 2015 – PT Telkomunikasi Indonesia, Tbk (“Telkom Indonesia”) – a leading telecommunications, information, media, edutainment, and services company in the Republic of Indonesia – and Sony Corporation (“Sony”) – a leading manufacturer of electronics, information technology products and component devices – today announced that they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and will partner to develop an “NFC common platform” based on Sony’s FeliCa technology, targeted at the Indonesian market. The two companies will also collaborate in order to promote the platform and encourage its adoption across a variety of industries in Indonesia.

Telkom Indonesia and Sony share a vision for smartcard systems, whose introduction they see as making people’s daily lives considerably easier and smarter. With smartcards, customers will be able to use their cards, mobile phones and devices of other shapes and sizes at various locales, such as public transport stations, retail locations, and schools.

The two companies have thus agreed to collaborate on the development of the NFC common platform, which will serve as a secure all-in-one solution platform for service providers. It will realize greater convenience across various applications, including electronic prepaid transactions, security access, and loyalty rewards services.

“Telkom’s cooperation with Sony -a leading manufacturer of electronics information technology products and key devices Including FeliCa- is expected to increase the use of NFC technologies base in Indonesia,” said Indra Utoyo, Innovation and Strategic Portfolio Director of Telkom Indonesia.
Indra Utoyo added, “Telkom has experienced and understands the market conditions in Indonesia, therefore I am optimistic through this MoU both companies can further enhance the cooperation developing FeliCa service both for the consumer and professional segments.”

“We are very pleased to have come to this agreement with Telkom Indonesia – a powerful and influential solutions company in Indonesia,” said Mr. Kazuyuki Sakamoto, Senior General Manager at Sony Corporation’s FeliCa Business Division. “We will work hard to make a positive contribution to and enhance the solutions that Telkom Indonesia provides, using Sony’s FeliCa technology. We will also leverage the wealth of experience that we have accumulated in Japan and Hong Kong, where many services – from transportation to e-payment to NFC-enabled mobile services – have utilized our FeliCa technology.”

As the first initiative under this MoU, Telkom Indonesia and Sony will work together with Trans Metro Bandung to implement a trial run for this NFC common platform, for the purposes of automated fare collection.

About Telkom Indonesia

PT Telkom Indonesia Tbk (Persero) (“Telkom”) is a State Owned Enterprise which is engaged in the field of telecommunications and network services in Indonesia. Telkom’s shares are listed in the Indonesian Stock Exchange (IDX: TLKM) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: TLK). Serving millions of customers nationwide, Telkom with business portfolio TIMES – Telecommunications, Information, Media, Edutainment and Services, provide a broad range of network and telecommunication services, including domestic and international basic telecommunication services, mobile communications, fixed wireless as well as interconnection services used among other license operators (“OLO”). Telkom Group also provides various services in the field of information, media and edutainment, including cloud-based and server-based managed services, e-Payment services and IT enabler, e-Commerce and other portal services.

About Sony

Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, game, communications, key device and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and online businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be the leading electronics and entertainment company in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of approximately $68 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2015.

Apple’s ad-blocking move causes big problems for retailers like Walmart

Did you download an ad-blocking app? Good luck buying stuff online.

When Apple  AAPL 1.81%  last week released a new operating system that permits ad-blocking extensions, all sorts of media publishers protested. But a much larger outcry may soon some from retailers and those who use their iPhones to make online purchases.

A Fortune investigation shows that an iPhone enabled with Crystal — the top paid iOS app right now – is unable to fully render the e-commerce sites of many major retailers, including Walmart, Sears and Lululemon.

The issue was first brought to our attention by Chris Mason, CEO of Branding Brand, a Pittsburgh-based company whose platform powers mobile commerce sites and apps.

“This upcoming holiday season… content-blockers are going to cause a lot of problems,” Mason says. “First, the experience for customers will be lessened. Lots of sites will be missing content, have broken links or customers won’t be able to add certain items to their shopping carts. They’ll probably just think the site is broken, but it’s really their content blocker. Second, retailers will be data-blind, or at least data-dark. It will really impact their ability to make quick judgments.”

Mason sent us a list of retailers with Crystal-related glitches, and we replicated them on our own iPhones. For example, check out this page for a pair of hunting boots on the Bass Pro Shops mobile website (as rendered on an iPhone 6 using iOS 9):

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Now when the same page is loaded on the same device — but this time with Crystal enabled — the image of the boot disappears:

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But that’s only the tip of a giant iceberg that the USS Retail is hurtling toward.

For example, here is what happens when we went to Sears.com on mobile Safari without Crystal:

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Now here is what happens when we went to Sears.com  SHLD 0.45%  with Crystal:

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Notice anything missing? How about everything!

Walgreens.com  WBA 0.28%  had a similar problem to Sears, when using Crystal. The homepage worked, but the Safari browser went blank after clicking the “Shop Products” link.

And, as Mason said, this issue goes far beyond just image rendering. For example, everything (mostly) loaded just fine on the mobile sites for Lululemon  LULU -0.71%  and Walmart  WMT -0.04%  with Crystal enabled. But it was impossible to add any products to the shopping cart. So if you just went to browse the pretty pictures, then there’s no problem. If you want to actually buy something, however…

Even for mobile websites that are working properly from a customer perspective, such ad-blocking technology also can strip out back-end code like Google Analytics or Adobe’s Omniture, which provide retailers with real-time insights into customer behavior. And then there is the whole matter of how retailers generate around 60% of their mobile web traffic inorganically, via online ads that Crystal and other ad-blockers are designed to eliminate.

“Retailers can work around it on the consumer side by doing a lot of recoding, but a lot of them freeze their codes on November 1, ahead of the holiday shopping season,” Branding Brand’s Mason says. “So that gives them just over a month or so to get it done. On the back-end they could use different sources of information for sales — kind of like checking the cash register instead of receipts — but it is a different process and also depends, in part, on if the sites are hosted on servers in-house or not.”

For retailers, this all presents a real and present danger. Even if only a small number of people so far have downloaded ad-blockers, there are two trends worth remembering: (1) The percentage of e-commerce being done on mobile is increasing; and (2) A disproportionate percentage of mobile purchases are made via iPhones rather than Android devices (which have allowed for ad-blocking apps for quite some time).

As for Crystal specifically, creator Dean Murphy said last night that he can remove select e-commerce sites from his app’s “blacklist,” and that he’d look into some of the examples we provided (four or five retailers already had contacted Murphy on their own, as of last night). In fact, several hours after we spoke, the Sears.com homepage was rendering properly with Crystal enabled, although we were unable to click through to many items. We also told Murphy about the Walmart shopping cart issue, and are now experiencing a similar problem as with Sears (i.e., product pages not loading at all). In short, these fixes seem to be tricky and ad hoc.

As for the back-end analytics, Murphy said that he was considering whether or not to create some sort of “tracking opt-out” functionality for users, but that he hadn’t yet made a final decision. He declined to say how many downloads Crystal has had, except that it topped 100,000 during a 12 hour promotional run in the App Store.

The trouble for retailers, of course, is that Crystal is just one ad-blocker. Another, Purify Blocker, currently sits at #5 in the App Store, and all of this is just one week after Apple unveiled its new operating system. Even if retailers reach out directly to one, they may be playing whack-a-mole. Moreover, they are entirely at the mercy of the ap

When media folks complained about ad blockers, we were called dinosaurs that had to change our business models. Does this mean, therefore, that retailers must abandon the mobile web? Or at least expect artificially deflated sales figures this holiday season? Perhaps. Or perhaps Apple will realize what it has wrought, and change its mind.

10 Film Industry Predictions for 2014

As is customary at the beginning of every new year, we ask ourselves, “How will this year be different? What will change? What will stay the same?” As filmmakers, I’m sure most of us are asking these questions about the film industry, perhaps even making assertions and predictions about what we’ll be seeing in cinema in 2014, and founder of Sub-Genre Media, Brian Newman does the same. Here are his 10 predictions about the 2014 film industry. This is a guest post by Brian Newman.

Tricky business, these predictions, but I’ll try once more to get something right here.

1. This will be a deciding year in the film tech space. We’ve got a lot of platforms in this space: Vimeo, VHX, ReelHouse, Fandor, IndieFlix, Snag, Mubi, Distrify…the list of platforms is long, and I didn’t even mention the gorillas in that room. We’ve also got lots of competition in the discovery arena: MoviePilot, Letterboxed, SeenThat and Flicklist (which I’m still struggling to launch). Then we’ve got the tools like Assemble, MoviePass, TopSpin, Tugg, Slated, Seed & Spark, and more, all helping with various aspects of the film business. I won’t even begin to list the numerous online news and review sites. I don’t see many of these companies existing in 2015. I think 2014 will be the year where we figure out who is going to grow up and own this space (or, these spaces, these companies represent a lot of different business models). My money is on ReelHouse at the moment. They’ve just launched a partnership with Warner Brothers that is pretty interesting. If they can navigate the waters and merge indie, arthouse and studio discovery, viewing and engagement right, they could own this space. But there’s an equally good chance that someone new will launch and eclipse all of these guys, or that Facebook just launches better versions of their services by close of the year.

2. Branded Content Explodes. I hate every word I just typed, but it’s a better short hand than: Smart companies with a powerful relationship with their consumers/fans will realize that they can and should make smart films and other video content to better engage with them, and it will expand dramatically this year. I am biased, as one of my clients is in this space, but two non-clients are doing it best now: Red Bull and ESPN. I think we’ll see many more doing it soon, and indie filmmakers should watch and learn…and debate what indie means, because many of these companies will want to work with you soon.

3. Data finally taken seriously in this space. I remember roughly five years ago when Lance Weiler told the crowd at Sundance that data was the new oil. Everyone ignored him. I too have been preaching this for quite some time, and now everyone has woken up and is exploring data in the film world. I am consulting on one project in this space, and I know of many others. I expect we’ll see several amazing data projects in the film world this year, and we’ll learn what more we could know as a result, meaning 2015 will see some longitudinal studies and more people opening up their data as they see the value in sharing it.

data oil

4. Changing of the guard. We’ve just seen three or four major institutions in the film world lose their leadership, for various reasons. There will be some new leaders announced, but I think we’ll also see more shake-ups at a few more. I don’t have any feelings good or bad about the changes, but I am excited to see who takes the reins at these institutions, and what next steps they will (or won’t) make.

5. Direct Distribution Backlash. I’m already sensing this on the festival circuit and think it will become a more open topic of conversation. 2014 will be the year where everyone starts to dis direct distribution. Many will think I’m crazy for saying this – in a world of unlimited new tools to reach your fans and distribute your film right to them, how can I make this prediction? Because it’s hard work, and it doesn’t often pay off any better than going with a distributor. It’s a tough business whether you do it yourself or go at it with partners. Not everyone has the stomach for it, and everyone is starting to realize it works well for certain types of films, but not every film. I am not saying direct distribution will die, or that certain filmmakers shouldn’t try it. I am also sure we’ll see at least one project a month that nails it – does it right and makes bank. But many people are starting to realize that we’ve not gotten rid of the middle-men here, we’ve just made more of them (aggregators, bookers, marketers, etc) and that sometimes you just want to make the next movie instead of becoming a carny for 18 months.

6. That said, direct distribution will make someone a millionaire this year. Who will it be? Probably a film to be discovered at Sundance in January. We’ll see.

self distribution direct options

7. Distributor Shake Out. There’s too many players in the space. In the documentary world especially, it’s leading to unsustainable prices being paid to acquire content (good for filmmakers in the short term), and when that money isn’t made back, heads start to roll. I predict we’ll see some consolidation here, and several burn-outs.

8. Episodic Content Will Rule. It already does. It will explode even more this year, and my hope is that more indies will learn from those leading in this space. Six million subscribers is more valuable than a film fest laurel, or even an Oscar.

9. Online Episodic Creators will roll out more feature projects. As Freddie Wong has already done twice, more creators will launch feature projects, and many of them will do it through crowd-funding direct from their fans, turning those millions of followers into real gold, and making the most exciting, truly independent work out there.

10. More investors will lose money in film than ever before. Thanks to the JOBS Act and the upcoming expansion of crowd-funding and crowd-investing initiatives, more people will get the chance to lose their investment on crappy film ideas with no business plan, and no chance of success. It will make it harder for the rest of us with good ideas to get funding, because we’ll find more burned investors in the pool.

Ex-Nokia Engineers launch new Smart Phone

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Engineers who used to work for Nokia are hoping to grab a share of the lucrative and highly competitive smartphone market with a new handset, which is based on the former world No. 1 cellphone maker’s old software and is faintly reminiscent of its recent models.

The Jolla handset’s Sailfish platform has been developed from the MeeGo operating software, Nokia’s last open-source platform which it abandoned in 2011 when it switched over to using Microsoft Corp.’s Windows system.

The sleek 4.5-inch phone, which almost looks like it could be part of Nokia’s Lumia range, features an eight megapixel camera, supports fast 4G Internet connections and includes the well-received Nokia’s HERE mapping services that cover more than 190 countries.

But, unlike Nokia’s phones, Jolla is also compatible with more than 85,000 apps provided by Google Inc.’s Android, the popular and dominant operating system that has helped Samsung overtake the former Finnish bellwether to be the world’s largest cellphone maker.

Marc Dillon, head of Jolla software and one of four founders of the company in 2011, spent 11 years working for Nokia after moving from the United States. He says Jolla’s open operating system gives it an edge over rivals.

“We are providing a world-class choice … that is an alternative for consumers (and) that can be very agile and powerful,” Dillon said in an interview in a Helsinki office block previously occupied by Nokia employees before it laid off thousands. “For our operating system business we have a huge opportunity because there is currently one choice really available to every global mobile manufacturer and that’s Android.”

Other systems, such as Apple’s iOS or Microsoft’s Windows, can be carried only on handsets manufactured by those companies.

In a consumer test, the Jolla, which has a price tag of 399 euros ($540), didn’t seem to have much to make it stand out among other smartphones. Its camera is standard; it uses a MicroSD card; has 16GB of memory storage, with a talk time and battery time of some 9-10 hours. But it has nice touches, including multiple swipe features and a useful user-replaceable battery, unlike many other models.

Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics near London says the Jolla is not “an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy killer” although it but could find a niche in the relentless smartphone race.

“At some point people will start looking for an alternative to Android and Apple so there might be an opportunity in this very cyclical market for Jolla to grab market share,” Mawston said. “But I think it will be two or three versions down the line before we really know whether Jolla or Sailfish is worthy of challenging Apple or Android or Microsoft.”

Finnish telecoms company DNA, which started selling the Jolla handset on Wednesday evening as hundreds lined up outside the Jolla-DNA marquee in the city center, said it had “thousands of preorders” in 136 countries, led by Finland, Germany and Britain.

The company Jolla, which now has more than 100 employees in Finland and Hong Kong, has found backers among Finnish and foreign investors, including Hong-Kong based China Fortune Holdings Ltd., but Dillon declined to give more information.

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Lawsuit paid in full: Samsung pays Apple $1Billion sending 30 trucks full of 5 cent coins

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This morning more than 30 trucks filled with 5-cent coins arrived at Apple’s headquarters in California. Initially, the security company that protects the facility said the trucks were in the wrong place, but minutes later, Tim Cook (Apple CEO) received a call from Samsung CEO explaining that they will pay $1 billion dollars for the fine recently ruled against the South Korean company in this way.

The funny part is that the signed document does not specify a single payment method, so Samsung is entitled to send the creators of the iPhone their billion dollars in the way they deem best.

This dirty but genius geek troll play is a new headache to Apple executives as they will need to put in long hours counting all that money, to check if it is all there and to try to deposit it crossing fingers to hope a bank will accept all the coins.

Lee Kun-hee, Chairman of Samsung Electronics, told the media that his company is not going to be intimidated by a group of “geeks with style” and that if they want to play dirty, they also know how to do it.

You can use your coins to buy refreshments at the little machine for life or melt the coins to make computers, that’s not my problem, I already paid them and fulfilled the law.

A total of 20 billion coins, delivery hope to finish this week.

Breaking Bad Creator Signs Multi-Year Deal with Sony TV

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan signed an eight-figure, multi-year deal at Sony Pictures Television, the same studio that produced the highly acclaimed AMC drama.

Gilligan told the Hollywood Reporter that his relationship with programming presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack VanAmburg, who bought Breaking Bad after the first pitch, is what really sold him on the deal.

“I’m pleased to continue my professional affiliation with these people who have become my friends,” Gilligan said. “I’m happy to dance with the gal that brung me, as we say in the (grammar-impaired) South.”

Gilligan is currently working on a spin-off of Breaking Bad starring Bob Odenkirk called You Better Call Saul and a CBS cop-drama called Battle Creek.

The deal with Sony is for TV only, though Gilligan has expressed interest in writing and directing feature films.