Apple’s recent announcement about supporting Rich Communication Services (RCS) on iPhones has caused quite a stir in the tech community. This move, which integrates a standard long-resisted by Apple, signals a significant shift in the company’s approach to messaging services. We delve into the implications of this development, guided by insights from Dario Betti, CEO of the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF).
A Politically Balanced Approach
Dario Betti comments, “Apple had resisted integrating the standard until now: its CEO, Tim Cook, said it did not see customer demand for RCS in 2022. The announcement is a politically balanced approach: it introduces the new technology without celebrating it.” This reflects Apple’s strategy to incorporate new technology while maintaining its stronghold with iMessage and its business messaging ventures. Betti adds, “It is an RCS announcement, and not an ‘RBM’ (RCS Business Messaging), but the news is big – even if expected to an extent.”
Impact on the Messaging Ecosystem
While this announcement marks a notable change, Betti believes it’s too late to unsettle established players like WhatsApp. He states, “The announcement is too late to provide a real worry for a player such as WhatsApp. The change will not affect its usage base immediately.” However, he doesn’t rule out the potential challenges for Meta and other messaging companies if Google and Apple push for deeper integration of RCS in the future.
Why Now? The Driving Factors Behind Apple’s Move
The reasons behind Apple’s decision to support RCS are multifaceted. Betti suggests, “User Experience: SMS/MMS interconnection for advanced messaging was becoming unsustainable for Apple. Messaging is now much more advanced.” He also points out the growing RCS uptake, noting, “MEF announced in October that there are an estimated 1.2 billion devices supporting RCS globally, surpassing the number of iPhones.” Additionally, regulatory pressure from the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, which aims for messaging interconnection, likely played a role in this decision.
Apple’s integration of RCS is more than a mere technical update; it’s a strategic move that balances its existing services with the evolving demands of the market and regulatory pressures. While it might not immediately disrupt the messaging landscape, it lays the groundwork for potential shifts in the future. Apple’s step towards RCS reflects a broader trend in the tech world – the continual evolution and adaptation to changing user needs and regulatory environments.
For more detailed insights on Apple’s RCS announcement, visit 9to5Mac. Stay tuned for more tech updates and analyses at The Gadget Man.
Welcome to Gadget Man Episode 170, here I talk to James Hazell at BBC Radio Suffolk about the CAT S62 Pro mobile phone with FLIR thermal imaging camera, the Humax Aura Android TV 4K Freeview Play Recorder, and the issues that some owners of Ring doorbells have been experiencing due to incorrect installation.
I will be adding full reviews of the CAT S62 Pro and Humax Aura over the coming days.
** UPDATE ** I will be receiving a review unit this week, which is very exciting. Keep up to date with my review of the Aura by subscribing to notifications by clicking on the padlock symbol and ‘Allowing’ notifications
Ultra High Definition Recorder powered by Android TV with built-in Google Assistant, Chromecast, Google Play Store apps and Kids’ Zone
First Freeview Play Recorder powered by Android TV technology with crystal clear 4K HDR picture quality
Built-in voice control via Google Assistant and access to Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BT Sport and thousands of other apps via the Google Play Store
Freeview Play provides 70+ subscription-free channels and 20,000+ hours of on-demand entertainment
Quick and easy set-up – simply log in with a Google account
Humax AURA App for iOS and Android enables remote planning, recording and viewing on the go
Watch TV on any screen: download and enjoy recordings on mobile devices
Chromecast built-in: stream favourite content from phone, tablet or laptop to a TV screen
Dedicated Kids’ Zone with timed content, safe for the youngest family members
Three digital tuners: record up to four programmes at once while watching a fifth*
1TB and 2TB options for up to 500 and 1,000 hours of recordings
Humax has today announced AURA: the first 4K Freeview Play Recorder powered by Android TV technology. This Ultra High Definition TV recorder provides a multitude of subscription-free and top-up entertainment delivered with crystal clear 4K HDR picture quality.
With integrated Google Assistant and access to thousands of apps via the Google Play Store, AURA syncs with the user’s Google account to deliver a customised home entertainment experience built around the individual or family. For ultimate flexibility, Google Assistant also provides voice control for frequently-used TV commands, and allows users to ask questions, discover information and activate smart home devices.
Humax AURA will be available from November 2020 from Amazon, Humax Direct and electrical retailers with an SRP of £249 for the 1TB model and £279 for the 2TB version.
Powered by the ultra-fast Android TV platform and with Freeview Play built-in, the new Humax box enables rapid access to favourite shows, movies, sports and other programming on live TV. Freeview Play provides the UK’s most popular on-demand apps such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and All 4, all of which are located together for maximum ease and convenience. For even further entertainment options, users can top up their viewing with paid streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BT Sport and Google Play Movies, and explore and choose from a huge variety of apps and games to download from the Google Play Store.
Freeview Play provides 95% of the nation’s most-watched TV, all for free. There are more than 70 live TV channels, alongside nine on-demand players: BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4, My5, UKTV Play, CBS Catchup Channels UK, Horror Bites, STV Player and BBC Sounds.
With more than 20,000 hours of on-demand content and over 700 box sets to choose from, Freeview Play also helps viewers make the most of its content with its Explore Freeview Play interface hosted at Channel 100. Home to a universal search function and hand-picked content recommendations, it is easy for viewers to find their favourites and discover new shows. As well as the ability to watch, pause, rewind and record live TV, Freeview Play includes an intuitive seven day TV guide with scroll back functionality.
Catering for even the most avid of viewers, AURA incorporates three digital tuners, allowing up to four programmes to be recorded at once while the user watches another live channel*. Two hard drive options (1TB and 2TB) are available, enabling up to 500 or 1,000 hours of recordings to be stored, giving owners almost unlimited capacity to capture their favourite programmes, series and movies.
Thanks to the Humax AURA app, many features of AURA can be accessed on a mobile device, such as streaming recordings around the home or downloading shows to watch later on the move. The app also affords users the freedom to schedule recordings or set reminders when away from home.
Setting up AURA is extremely simple. By logging into their Google account, users have instant access to all their downloaded apps, YouTube settings, music downloads, as well as Google Home connectivity.
Creating a home screen that is completely personalised to the viewer’s preferences, AURA allows app icons to be moved around easily, keeping all frequently-used apps and content in one place. Suggestions for content the user might enjoy based on their Google preferences are also displayed on this page.
With Chromecast built-in as standard on Android TV, AURA enables users to stream photos, videos, music and other media to their TV screen from a laptop, tablet or mobile phone via a home Wi-Fi network.
AURA’s accompanying remote control offers several quick access ‘hotkeys’: a Freeview Play button, Top Picks for content recommendations, a Google Assistant button to activate voice control, TV Guide button plus dedicated keys for Android Home, Amazon Prime Video and the Humax Kids’ Zone.
Google Assistant is integrated into the remote control, allowing users to benefit from Google Home services – simply press the button to activate voice control and ask an unlimited number of questions such as finding out the weather or travel information, choose favourite types of content, change channel or volume – or connect to smart home devices to play music, switch on the lights or heating, and much more.
Developed by Humax, the Kids’ Zone on AURA provides a safe environment for children to watch content curated specially for the youngest members of the family. Episodes can be browsed, searched and selected by duration, allowing parents to pick a show that will fill a suitable slot before dinner or bedtime, for example.
Rob Peacock, director at Humax, commented, “AURA is designed to sit at the heart of a family’s home entertainment experience. The very first Freeview Play Recorder to be built on the Android TV platform, it provides a fully integrated environment that reflects the preferences and favourite content of the individual or family – with lightning-fast access to everything they need in one place, and outstanding picture quality. With such an extensive array of features, users will never miss their favourite show, movie or sporting event, and thanks to a combination of Google technology and the Humax AURA app, they can enjoy the freedom of entertainment on any screen or device, wherever and whenever they wish.”
Available from November 2020, Humax AURA has a suggested retail price of £249 for the 1TB model and £279 for the 2TB model. Retailers include Currys, Argos, Amazon, very.co.uk, Richer Sounds, Euronics (CIH), independent electrical stores and Humax Direct. Prices include VAT.
If you click to buy through Amazon via this website, we will receive a small commission.
Earlier in the week, I spoke to Mark Murphy on BBC Radio Suffolk about the demise of the Yellow Pages directory.
The Yellow Pages was always sat alongside the equally large Phone Book, but had gradually declined over the years since the introduction of the Internet and increasing dominance of search engines such as Google which has made searching for and finding businesses much easier and informative.
Having rebranded as Yell.com many years back and diversifying it’s business interests as an ‘Internet’ brand, the directory has had a long and some might say “painful” death. In the way the Phone Book died in part due to privacy concerns, the Yellow Pages has died due to lack of interest. In our fast-moving world, there is no longer a place for archaic, expensive and out of touch printed directories. The internet now provides so much more. We will just need to find something else to keep the kitchen table from rocking!
You can listen to the on-air discussion we had about the Yellow Pages by clicking the link above. Don’t forget to Like, Share and Subscribe to the Podcast using your favourite Podcast service including iTunes, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and more!
See you next time!
The Gadget Man
Header Picture Credit: Comedy Nose – https://www.flickr.com/photos/comedynose/
Another year passes and as we move into 2019 we can look forward to another year of unstoppable advances in technology.
If I was able to predict upcoming tech, I’m happy to suggest that my number one for 2019 will be the folding mobile phone with potential devices from LG and Samsung already breaking cover in various forms.
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Both companies have already demonstrated their flexible display technologies and with the Mobile World Congress in February coming up soon, we should expect demonstrations of foldable, rollable or bendable screen tech from these companies.
Artificial intelligence is sure to continue its unstoppable march towards self-awareness (I jest!!), but all the same, we should be seeing multi AI ‘bots’ training directly with each other very soon! Who could forget the Facebook AI bots which invented their own communication language shortly after being switched on! More of this in inevitable, hopefully with the necessary safeguards in place.
The big 3 tech companies continue to advance home-based smart technology with integration into every part of our lives, add to this more AI and who knows what we should expect from the likes of Amazon, Google and Apple.
Holograms are a little way off, but augmented reality is making leaps and bounds with more advanced filters on spectacles providing with illusionary-holographic images a reality soon.
Phone batteries continue to provide us with more and more screen time and further advances in battery and charge technology will give us even more excuse to distract ourselves on a daily basis.
This year we look forward to the beginnings of the 5G roll-outs, giving us impossibly fast download speeds, but also extending decent internet speeds to rural areas of the UK.
Ultimately, we are not about to be overrun by killer robots and 2019 will be bringing some pretty astounding new technology, strap yourselves in and enjoy the ride.
I talked on air with James Hazell from BBC Radio Suffolk about my predictions for the coming year. Have a listen and don’t forget to Like, Subscribe, Share and Comment and I will see you very soon.
Following on from the ongoing Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal, I was invited to be a guest on James Hazell’s show on BBC Radio Suffolk. We talked in depth about how social networks and apps are using our data.
Please listen in by clicking the ‘play’ button above. Don’t forget to Like, Subscribe, Comment and Share.
When you wear something every day, you want to be sure it really works for you. That’s why Android Wear offers countless design choices, so you can find the watch that fits your style. Want a round watch with a more classic look? Feel like a new watch band? How about changing things up every day with watch faces from artists and designers? With Android Wear you can do all of that. And now, Android Wear watches work with iPhones.
Android Wear for iOS is rolling out today. Just pair your iPhone (iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, or 6 Plus running iOS 8.2+) with an Android Wear watch to bring simple and helpful information right to your wrist:
Get your info at a glance: Check important info like phone calls, messages, and notifications from your favorite apps. Android Wear features always-on displays, so you’ll never have to move your wrist to wake up your watch.
Follow your fitness: Set fitness goals, and get daily and weekly views of your progress. Your watch automatically tracks walking and running, and even measures your heart rate.
Save time with smart help: Receive timely tips like when to leave for appointments, current traffic info, and flight status. Just say “Ok Google” to ask questions like “Is it going to rain in London tomorrow?” or create to-dos with “Remind me to pack an umbrella.”
Today, Android Wear for iOS works with the LG Watch Urbane. All future Android Wear watches, including those from Huawei (pictured above), Asus, and Motorola will also support iOS, so stay tuned for more.
Dr. Seuss once said: “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” We agree. So whoever You are, and whatever You like—Android Wear lets you wear what you want.
This week we chat about the Google Chromecast, a very nice little thumb sized gadget that allows your to stream your videos, images and music from your Android phone, Tablet, iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac (providing you are using Chrome browser) or Chromebook.
Google uses the term ‘casting’, similar to cast a fishing rod, but put more simply you are controlling your audio or video using your mobile device and then playing it to a TV connected to the Chromecast.
Jack reviewed the Chromecast back in July, you can read it here.
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