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February 27 2014


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February 12 2014


Pebble Steel in pics: Too small, too big or just right?

I’ve been wearing a Pebble Steel on loan for the past few days. I find it comfortable, well designed and far more attractive than the original plastic smartwatch model. The internals of the watch are the same on both versions and both can use the new Pebble appstore. So the question I’m getting over and over again is based around size. That’s fair, as most smartwatches have tended to be bigger and bulkier than their traditional counterparts.

pebble steel and other watches

I actually collect mechanical watches, although I’ve only recently begun and have a small collection. But these watches, as well as some older smartwatches can help answer the question of size when it comes to the Pebble Steel. Obviously, different people have different sized wrists so I can’t say if the Pebble Steel will fit you well. I can, however, show it relative to other watches I wear or have worn.

For reference, I’m 5′ 5″ tall, weigh around 130 pounds and have a 6.5″ wrist. I wear a Large Fitbit Force and fasten it on the second to last holes.

The Pebble Steel doesn’t completely cover my wrist although it’s about as big as I would prefer. Here is it next to my Fitbit Force and a mechanical Mondaine watch for scale. The Mondaine watch case is 35 millimeters in diameter while the rectangular Pebble Steel case is 46 millimeters x 34 millimeters. I wear the Mondaine comfortably on a regular basis.

pebble steel fitbit and mondaine

The Pebble Steel is smaller than the original Pebble, which measures 52 millimeters by 36 millimeters; a noticeable difference.

pebble steel, pebble and mondaine

For a few years I wore a Motorola MotoACTV smartwatch. I still do from time to time but less so due to its bulk. There’s simply no comparison here; the Pebble Steel is much easier to wear.

pebble steel and MotoACTV

The Samsung Galaxy Gear is certainly smaller than the MotoACTV but I don’t find it comfortable. The Pebble Steel is again noticeably smaller than the Galaxy Gear, which measures 56.6 millimeters by 36.8 millimeters.

pebble steel and galaxy gear

The largest watch I comfortably own and wear is a Hamilton automatic with a 44 millimeter case diameter. With my relatively small wrists, wearing this watch is a stretch; I really couldn’t go bigger. But the Pebble Steel works for my wrist because when measured from the lugs — where the strap attaches on a watchface — it’s actually smaller than the Hamilton. It’s also not as wide.

pebble steel and Hamilton

Of course thickness also plays a part when it comes to wearing a watch. The Pebble Steel is again slimmer than its predecessor in this area, measuring in at 10.5 millimeters thick compared to 11.5 millimeters on the older model.

pebble steel and pebble thickness

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear is even thicker, which contributes to the bulky feeling I get when wearing it. Officially, Samsung says the Galaxy Gear is 11.1 millimeters thick, but it looks even bigger than that when compared to the Pebble Steel.

pebble steel and gear thickness

And that Hamilton that I often wear? It’s about the same thickness as the Pebble Steel and most other watches I own save for the Mondaine, which is a super slim Quartz model.

pebble steel thickness hamilton

Having a thin, very flat crown helps the Pebble Steel when it comes to thickness. Look in the picture above and you can see the glass crown of my Hamilton extending above the watch case; fairly common for all traditional watches.

So is the Pebble Steel the right size for you? Again, it’s impossible for me to say.

What I can tell you is that the new Steel model is more comfortable to wear and is smaller than its predecessor. It’s also similar in size to other mechanical watches I wear, which is a design win. Could Pebble whittle the size down even more in the future? Sure it could, although I’d be careful not to reduce the battery size. Ultimately, the size of both the screen and the battery will continue to be limiting factors in future smartwatches as the internal sensors and chips themselves will likely grow smaller.

Disclosure: Fitbit is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True. 

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February 07 2014


Feds scold Samsung for using standards-essential patents to seek iPhone ban

The Department of Justice on Friday announced the end of an investigation into a controversial campaign by Samsung to obtain an import import of Apple devices that allegedly violated patents.

In a statement, the DOJ said it would not take action against Samsung, but issued a statement expressing disapproval of Samsung’s use of so-called FRAND patents, which must be licensed on Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory Terms, to seek an import ban:

in many cases, there is a risk that the patent holder could use the threat of an exclusion order to obtain licensing terms that are more onerous than would be justified by the value of the technology itself, effectively exploiting the market power obtained through the standards-setting process.

The statement comes after President Obama, in what may have been of the easiest decision of his Presidency, issued a last-minute order to reverse a ban on iPhones and iPads. Samsung had obtained the import ban order from the International Trade Commission, which found that the Apple devices infringed certain Samsung patents.

The ITC’s decision, which marked yet another low point for America’s dysfunctional patent system, came after Samsung sought an import ban at the agency at the same time it was fighting Apple over patents in federal court. In recent years, patent owners of all kinds have begun using the ITC, which can act faster than courts, as a backdoor way to harass rivals with patent claims.

The ITC case also throws more light on the role of FRAND patents, which are supposed to provide a cheap and efficient way for companies to obtain the rights to standardized technology. In recent years, however companies have begun using the FRAND patents in a more treacherous fashion — refusing to license the patents, and instead filing infringement claims against rivals.

Last month, the cable industry sued a patent troll owned by Apple and Motorola that has allegedly been using FRAND patents dating from the mid-1990′s to make legal threats against hundreds of companies.

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February 04 2014

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Unpacked 5-event skvallrar om nära lansering av Galaxy S5
Samsung har bjudit in till sitt Unpacked 5-event under den stora mässan i Barcelona den 24 februari. Rent teoretiskt skulle det förstås kunna vara något helt annat men vi vet alla att så inte lär vara fallet. Om övriga rykten stämmer kommer vi att få se en större mobil än sina föregångare med både upphottad […]

February 03 2014


Apple lawsuit wrap-up for January 2014

Apple lawsuitHere are the lawsuits, both big and small, that happened in January 2014.

  • Hilltop Technology LLC is suing all of Apple’s products that use a capacitive type touch panel, including the iPad Air, over Patent 7,864,503 entitled “Capacitive type touch panel.”
  • Rembrandt Patent Innovations LLC and Rembrandt Secure Computing LP are suing all “Apple’s servers and other Apple electronic devices that support iTunes functionality, and any Apple electronic devices configured or adapted to operate with Apple’s iPhone OS or iOS” over Patent 7,864,503 entitled “Secure and reliable bootstrap architecture.”
  • Apple reached a settlement with the FTC to issue refunds to parents whose children made in-app purchases without their permission. However, as Tim Cook’s letter to employees states, Apple had…

Continue reading Apple lawsuit wrap-up for January 2014

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