Apple and Google Announcements Point To The Same Horizon


It’s striking how closely Apple’s and Google’s recent slate of announcements parallel each other. Their respective developer conferences both focused on platform integration. Both iOS and Android are moving outside of the phone. The nature of that integration will have lasting effects on the way people interact with the world around them.

“…If you look at the strategy that each company is pursuing regarding their mobile operating systems, you can see mobile devices sitting at the center of a connected web of devices and services – from cars to televisions to wearables.”

In the late nineties, Apple was pushing the idea that your computer was the digital hub of your life. All your other gadgets (e.g. digital camera, iPod, video camera, etc.) were to be managed and coordinated by your computer. Today, if you look at the strategy that each company is pursuing regarding their mobile operating systems, you can see mobile devices sitting at the center of a connected web of devices and services – from cars to televisions to wearables.

If these other initiatives develop traction, expect to see their impact on each platform’s growth and consumers’ buying decisions in the years to come.

Cars: Car Play and Android Auto

Many cars ship with onboard navigation or entertainment systems; Apple and Google both seem to believe they can provide a better experience for users than the current manufacturers do. They’ve adopted similar strategies.

“Apple and Google have both shown themselves to be better at designing user-facing software than most of the car manufacturers. So, you should expect an all-around more polished experience…”

In contrast to electronics manufacturers who create hardware installed in cars, Apple and Google have each created a protocol for allowing a person’s phone to become the brains behind the in-car screen. By separating the device and software running the screen, from the device installed in the car, several significant economies can be realized.

First, people generally upgrade their phones more frequently than their cars or in-car entertainment systems – so the computing power driving the experience will increase significantly faster.

Second, Apple and Google have both shown themselves to be better at designing user-facing software than most of the car manufacturers. So, you should expect an all-around more polished experience and – based on the available demonstrations, both companies appear to have succeeded in that regard.

Third, Apple and Google have significant existing developer communities and the infrastructure to support those communities. Users are diverse and it is very difficult for a single company to fill every niche in a market. By opening the door to third-party developers, Apple and Google create the opportunity for companies like Pandora, Spotify, or MLB to create their own high-quality offering based on existing codebases and assets. Both companies expose a limited sub-set of the power of the operating system to third-party developers.

Most of the constraints in the programming interface are designed to prevent developers from creating apps that will lead to distracted drivers. There are some differences between the two offerings, but they are minor. Many major car manufacturers have announced support for both platforms. In this space, Google’s vision and Apple’s vision seem particularly aligned.

Television: Apple TV and Android TV

Apple debuted the hockey-puck attached to your TV in 2007. The first version looked a lot more like a Mac mini than the current hockey puck which wasn’t introduced until 2010; however, the core offering over that time has remained stable and grown. Today Apple, Roku, and Amazon are shipping products in the space.

“Feature-for-feature, it can be difficult to tell the platforms apart. Some provide voice controls. Some don’t, but core features are very similar.”

As of Google I/O 2014, Google is moving into that space as well with it’s Android TV product. The core of the offering is the ability to purchase or rent movies or television shows from the vendor’s online store. On top of that is layered apps that provide integration with streaming video services, streaming audio services and photo libraries. Control of the ecosystem can be managed from the user’s phone.

Alternately, a phone, tablet, or computer can wirelessly send a signal to directly take over the television as a second screen. Feature-for-feature, it can be difficult to tell the platforms apart. Some provide voice controls. Some don’t, but core features are very similar.

Google has announced support for playing video games stored and powered by Android devices and controlled with traditional-style video game controllers. Apple has all of the pieces in place to make a similar announcement (i.e. controller support and operating system support) – however, Apple has not made an official announcement. Both Google and Apple announced updates to their 3D graphics-programming APIs that appear to be directly targeted significantly at improving the gaming experience on their devices.

Computer: Mac OS and ChromeBooks

Apple has an approximate 7% market share for their OS X operating system. Google’s Chrome books have a minisicule market adoption, however, Google’s apps (e.g. mail, drive, and maps) have significant adoption rates. Both companies spent a portion of their dev-conference keynotes focusing on ways to make platform integration tighter.

From answering phone calls on the computer to automatically authenticating a user based on proximity or automatically synchronizing scroll-position when sharing the same document between two devices, the companies are experimenting with how to make the tranisitions between computer and mobile device seamless.

Health: HealthKit and Google Fit

Both Apple and Google have also announced support for centralized health-tracking applications. The initial feature-set is relatively limited. However, it is clear that both companies see a market here – likely driven by the success of Nike+ and Fitbit.

Not all of these initiatives will bear fruit, and not all of the initiatives will be equally effective for each company. However, given the close parallels between each company’s approach and announcements, it certainly appears that Apple and Google share a very similar vision for the technology that will shape our lives for the next few years.

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How Google’s I/O Announcements Will Impact Future Product Development


Google’s message is clear: Android isn’t just for phones and tablets anymore

We learned a lot about what will excite developers and product managers at our Google IO Extended event – and what it all means for your app development plans. We had a room full of developers, product managers, and user experience designers in the audience. Their collective claps, murmurs of delight, and excited chatter helped to highlight some of the most exciting announcements.

“Let’s look at all of the places we are putting the Android brand and where you can work with it… On your walk, in your work, in your car, and on your TV, or in your living room. It’s a push for Android to become the focus of what Google is talking about.” – Ben Dolmar

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Security BSides MSP 2014 Conference


BSides MSP Conference Logo


In preface, I’m a Nerdery QA Engineer, an unabashed security nerd, and – for the purpose of this post – an evangelist for a security-focused un-conference we’re hosting in August called Security BSidesMSP.

What is BSides MSP?

Each BSides is a free community-driven framework for building events for and by information security community members. Security BSides is the mothership organization, as a reference to the “B” Side of a Cassette Tape. BSides is a worldwide series of “unconferences” typically attached to other conferences, with no cost to attendees. As an example, 612Sides was an alternate down the street from Secure360Security BSides MSP, LLC is the local not-for-profit chapter of Security BSides.

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Features Most Likely to Break When Upgrading to iOS8 and What to Plan For

An experienced quality assurance (QA) engineer will have their spidey-senses tingling with every announcement of a new OS version, hardware refresh, or browser update. These are all good things for innovation, it just means we all need to be ready for launch day by starting to plan today. Read more

What Swift Means for iOS Development in 2014


With nary a whisper of new hardware, this was still easily one of the most exciting WWDC Keynotes in memory.

On Monday Apple announced Mac OS X Yosemite, iOS 8, a raft of new developer APIs and a new programming language. Some of the initial reaction to the new language has included a bit of “Sturm und Drang.” It’s worth taking a deep breath, slowing down, and looking at what Apple actually did and did not say during the keynote.

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Apple to Developers at WWDC: Your Chance to Learn a New Language – Swift

If you are a software developer for Apple’s iOS platform you are still recovering from the latest announcements about the future of iOS. There is a lot to digest in regards to the big news for developers and we discuss a few notable highlights.  Read more

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Rubik’s re-imagined on Google’s Chrome Cube Lab

To commemorate 40 years of Rubik’s Cube and support Google’s timely Doodle earlier this week celebrating Ernő Rubik’s iconic brainteaser, our Nerds worked with Google to help build Chrome Cube Lab  with the intent of letting other devs use Google’s API to re-imagine Rubik’s Cube, and play with it in all new ways. Read more

Chrome Cube Lab marks Rubik’s@40 – and today’s Google doodle

RubiksIn an awesome act of creative collaboration (and a lot of sweat), The Nerdery helped Google this morning to launch Chrome Cube Lab to honor the 40th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube (see today’s timely Google doodle). Originally created by Ernő Rubik, the Rubik’s Cube is a logic puzzle that has been a favorite of engineers and mathematical types since its debut.

Written in Google Go, Chrome Cube Lab provides a showcase for a fantastic rebuild of this puzzle inside of the web browser.  It leverages JavaScript, CSS3 and a whole host of awesome technologies to provide a real-time interactive spinning cube. Even cooler? It’s open to spin-offs and new interpretations of the cube. Read more

In an ocean of browsers and gadgets, support standards for web & mobile platforms are ephemeral

Programming, interactive media, and the web have come a long, long way. It’s humbling to realize nine years have passed since the Arduino introduced an affordable microcontroller to the public, or seven years since the original iPhone redefined our expectations of what a cell phone can be.

2014…another year of the internet, social media, home automation, video games, wearable tech, smart TVs, and multiple ecosystems of mobile applications running on a growing variety of phones and tablets. Maybe you’re developing an app or website or you know you need one…In an ocean of computers, browsers, and gadgets, how do you choose what to support? Support means testing and there’s simply too many options to test on every single phone, tablet, and browser.

Whether it be a website, native mobile application or web app, the environment you support defines the reach and intent of your presence online. Choosing the right platforms to support demonstrates a strong product vision, general technological awareness and long-term plan for the work. So, what is the right direction to aim? Read more

F8 dev conference news: We have a year to comply to Facebook changes

Facebook F8 2014

Facebook recently held their developer conference, F8, where they outlined a number of changes for how developers can build apps on their platform. This included changes to how developers ask for users’ data, a whole new login screen, and a few new features. Let’s examine the changes a bit more in depth and discuss how this could impact your site. Read more

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