Fitbit Tracker Becoming More Like a Smartwatch

Josh Ong reporting for The Next Web:

Fitbit CEO James Park said the company is “inching closer and closer to being a smartwatch.”

Park also emphasized that Fitbit is vertically focused on the health and fitness space, so it’s not worried about smartwatches that are rumored to be coming from Apple and Google.

That’s very smart of Fitbit, because they have no chance in competing with Google or Apple, if these rumors are true. For some, a “smartwatch”1 will be overkill for tracking their health and fitness. However, if their products serve the niche market well, they have the opportunity to continue being very successful in the space.

  1. Is that really the term we’ve settled on? 

Laura Kalbag on Being Open

The most conscious decision I made about openness was to not put up a front and not always try to make myself look better. We all do things that make us look stupid from time to time (I do it a lot!). But what’s really wrong with looking stupid? Why would I want to pretend to be superhuman? That would just set unrealistic expectations for my clients and everybody else around me.

Laura is one of my favorite people. She’s real, she’s humble, and crazy talented. That combination of qualities have made her the success she is. In her column today, on A List Apart, she does a great job explaining why being open and transparent is a very good thing.

Square Cash Makes Sending Money Easy

To use Square Cash, all you do is compose an email to a friend, type the amount you way to pay in the subject title, and cc cash@square.com. If it’s your first time using the service, you’re directed to Square’s website where you type in your debit card number — and you’re done. There are no accounts to create, apps to download, friends to add, surcharges to pay, or bank account numbers to look up.

This is amazing. My only question is: why has this taken so long? It seems that this could’ve existed years ago. Good on Square for continuing to do great things.

Chris Coyier on Media Temple Acquisition

If anyone thinks MediaTemple is just going to be exactly the same or better forever, I’ll bet you a nickel you’re wrong. I bet they are losing employees as we speak who aren’t happy about this. Things will change. I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt though. I’m going to keep on liking both services until there is a real reason to not.

Agreed.

Sonos Announces the Play:1

Dan Seifert from The Verge:

Compared to the similarly priced Jambox, the Play:1 is considerably louder, crisper, and more present. The more expensive Big Jambox offers a wider range and better separation than a single Play:1 thanks to its larger speakers and configuration. But the Play:1 is still louder and sounds bigger, if slightly more muddled because of the lack of speaker separation.

Really excited about this news. Since receiving my new iPhone, I now need to replace by bathroom speaker because it uses the old 30-pin connector. I started thinking that it would be better to buy things that are connector-independent, this way, it’ll last me longer.

I’d looked at several speakers, and had heard very good things of all the Sonos speakers and Big Jambox, but was worried to go Sonos because of the high price point. This new speaker is more wallet friendly, and could be the start of a great relationship with the Sonos ecosystem. I’ll write some thoughts on the speaker once I receive and use it for a while.

‘Minor’ Upgrade to Instagram No Longer Lets Users Disable Video Autoplay

Jon Russell reporting for The Next Web:

Instagram announced earlier this month that it will begin serving in-feed advertising before the end of the year, and the Facebook-owned photo and video app has made a subtle, but important, change after it removed the option to switch off autoplay for videos on iOS.

I don’t know what to say. Do I like that Instagram is about to be Facebook-ized? No. But, the fact of the matter is, that they weren’t profitable, and now they have to be. Is there a better way? Maybe. But what is it? I have no idea.

Here’s what I do know: I hate quotes like this, where Instagram says they want “these ads to be enjoyable and creative in much the same way you see engaging, high-quality ads when you flip through your favorite magazine.” Guess what? Everyone, everyone, flips right past them.

But, what are they supposed to do? If they offered some type of subscription, it wouldn’t make enough to sustain the business. If they only allowed paying customers, they’d loose their core user base of adolescents and young adults. They could offer filters as an in-app purchase, like Favd does, but I have no idea whether that would make enough.

So, as much as it bothers me that they’ve gone the advertising route, I can’t help but empathize. I myself put ads on this site, and on my podcast. It’s easy, it often pays the bills, and sometimes more.

Further Reading

What If Social Networks Just Aren’t Profitable? — A really great read, on the cycle that social networks go through.

HP and Microsoft Become ‘Competitors’

Hewlett Packard and Microsoft are changing “from partners to outright competitors,” says HP CEO Meg Whitman…

Microsoft has made a number of recent decisions contrary to HP’s own interests, including bailing out competitor Dell in an attempt to push Windows 8 to the business sector. Also central to her reclassification is Microsoft’s commitment to Surface, despite previous claims from HP that Surface wasn’t a threat to its own Windows 8 tablet.

We all could see this coming. As Microsoft moves to create their own hardware, the companies that have built business around that not being the case, are now in trouble. HP didn’t help itself either, by making horrible tablets.

The article goes on to say:

Craig Mundie — senior advisor to Microsoft’s CEO — said although Microsoft had planned to leave device design to its partners, “it became hard to guarantee a uniform quality of experience that the end user had.”

Now you’re gettin’ it, Microsoft.