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Nomos launches a new line of minimal (with a dash of play) automatic watches

If you’re fond of mechanical watches and not aware of Nomos, well, that’s not possible. But if you are fond of watches and don’t keep close tabs on the world of watchmaking beyond quartz, you really should keep tabs on this brand.

Cutting away from the norm and producing most of their parts in-house, including a very impressive automatic movement [what makes the watch tick], Nomos has been creating waves for their technical prowess, minimal and playful design language, and affordable price tag (in the world of mechanical timepieces; gloss over this point if you consider high-end branded quartz watches as your upper limit). For example, the series averages around $4,000 for a steel-cased watch while the special rose gold Metro watch costs around $9,700. Yes, these are still considered good value to just be in the under $5,000 category

Today they introduced their “At Work” series, which is probably just a branding term for a series which continue where their 35 mm automatic watches left off [this one is 39 mm]. If you observe their former, including the initial hand-wound watches, you’ll notice the subtle refinement in proportions, colours and nomenclature.

Not surprisingly, it’s easy to say which is my favourite — the gallery reeks of the prejudice — the rose gold Metro.

You can find their new collection on their website, but you should really just peruse the entire collection.

DxOMark smartphone ratings, explained

When Google launched the Pixel last year, it touted its camera prowess as “highest rated smartphone camera” credited through DxO, which was relatively unknown to much of the tech media. Since then, other manufacturers such as HTC and OnePlus (not to mention the Pixel 2) have boasted the same claims and people are still clueless as to how relevant these ratings are, and to what metric.

Marques Brownlee does a good job dissecting the DxO ratings in a reasonably unbiased manner on his YouTube channel.

My biggest takeaway: These ratings are not out of 100 i.e. the Pixel 2’s misleadingly high score of 98 is purely coincidental. The next Pixel may well have a score of 108.

Windows Phone: End-of-life

Jon Fingas, writing for Engadget:

It’s no secret that work on Windows 10 Mobile has wound down given the lack of new devices and software features, but what’s happening with it, exactly? Well, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore has just settled the matter. The Windows VP informedTwitter users that new features and hardware for Windows 10 Mobile “aren’t the focus” any more. There will be fixes and security patches, of course, but you shouldn’t expect more than that.

As for why the platform has been all but dropped? The executive boils it down to one main reason: the difficulty of getting developers to write apps. Microsoft tried paying companies to produce apps and even wrote them itself when creators couldn’t or wouldn’t get involved, but the number of users was “too low for most companies to invest.” Why build an app for a relatively small bunch of Windows phone owners when there are many more Android and iOS users? Belfiore himself switched to Android for the “app/[hardware] diversity.”

This is a good example of how Google benefited from copying (or “stealing”); Windows 7 had a good, new and different OS, but it didn’t matter. It was few years too late and all the traction was absorbed by iPhones and Android phones. Innovation doesn’t count for much if you’re late to the party.

Weekly Vision: October 08, 2017

The Weekly Vision is a collection of stories that are worth consuming as whole, or just not worth the time editing. You’ll find out either way.

Sorry, nothing this week.

Delete the Date: Anti-invitations for cancelled weddings

Jessica Hische:

I love working for The New York Times, but this project for the Sunday Styles section was especially fun. I was asked to create artwork about what happens when you have to cancel your wedding. My thoughts immediately went to fancy wedding stationery, and I had a lot of fun both writing and designing these fake anti-invitations.

Google Pixel 2: First impressions

Google just announced the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL at $649 and $749 (India pricing starts at ₹61,000) and judging by the flurry of professional video footage already out, it seems that Google handed out these devices to The Verge a week beforehand. More details and specs can be found at Google’s official product page.

Some initial thoughts:

1) Last year Google touted the Pixel’s lack of camera bump and inclusion of headphone jack. With both these ‘features’ going away this year, it makes them look pretty stupid.

2) Physical looks-wise, these phones are barely a marginal improvement over their not-so-noteworthy predecessors. The only impressive aspect seems to be the removal of antenna bands not only from the bottom-half but even at the sides between the glass front and back. I haven’t seen that in any smartphone, even the iPhone 8 with its glass back.

3) Not digging the quirky coloured side button.

4) IP 67 water resistance – much awaited. No wireless charging – hardly matters.

5) Google touts both phones having the same specs but that is not entirely true; the bigger phone has a much better screen ratio than the smaller one. Speaking of which, I think the smaller phone’s squarer corners look awful from the front.

6) At 6 inches, this is an even bigger phone than last year’s Pixel XL. Just goes to show how hard it is to optimise screen size with battery life. And also shows how impressive a feat of engineering the iPhone X (as well as the S8) is, with dual OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) front cameras, a similar sized screen, and a much smaller body.

7) A DxO ratings of 98 shouldn’t be paid much attention to, but I do still think the Pixel has extended its lead in the smartphone camera segment. OIS is going to be a noticeable improvement and along with an AI-powered Portrait mode (also available in selfies), I’m quite excited to see the results.

8) As usual I’m pretty sure this will perform (and feel) better than any other Android phone with similar or better specs, and should prove to be the best Android phone to buy this year as well.

Google announces a plethora of Pixel products including phones, speakers, earphones and a laptop

Google is really expanding its portfolio in the hardware market. Apart from the expected refresh to the Pixel phones —more on that later — and a VR headset, announced were three additions to their voice assistant – a mini speaker, a ‘maxi’ speaker and a pair of earphones (which is capable of voice translation on the fly). To round it up, they announced a portable camera and the Pixelbook – a 12.3″ Yoga-esque convertible laptop capable of touch / pen input and some AI smarts, not unlike what we’ve seen on their phone range.

Some additional video links for each product:

Google Pixel 2 ($49)

Google Daydream View ($99)

Google Home Mini ($49)

Google Home Max ($499)

Google Pixel Buds ($159)

Google Pixelbook ($999 and up)

Google Clips ($249)

Amazon finally launches the Echo in India

Sneha Bokil, writing for Fone Arena:

Amazon has launched three Alexa powered smart speakers – Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot in India. Currently, all the three smart speakers are available in India by invitation only and will start shipping in India later this month.

Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot are voice-controlled speakers that will let you order a cab, play their favorite music, check the weather and more. Amazon also mentioned that Prime Music is coming soon to India and it will be available as an exclusive preview on Echo.

Amazon Echo has been priced at Rs 9,999, the Echo Dot at Rs 4,499 and the Echo Plus at Rs 14,999. The company is offering customers an introductory discount of 30% off the purchase price of Echo devices and one year of Prime membership.

I’m interested to see if Amazon can replicate their overseas success in India. They seem to be going full throttle; haven’t seen such an introductory offer in any other country at launch.

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