Chamath Palihapitiya Is Raising Billions to Take On AT&T and Verizon

The Federal Communications Commission is set to auction off what Palihapitiya and others call “beachfront property” of spectrum formerly held by TV broadcasters. It’s a chunk of the radio frequency airwaves well suited to cellphone networks because it can carry through buildings and over long distances. AT&T and Verizon are expected to bid, but some of the spectrum is set aside for smaller players. T-Mobile has said it, too, plans to bid, though cash-strapped Sprint is taking a pass.

Dude's proper legit, and a University of Waterloo alumnus! 

Overcast Review by Federico Viticci

Unlike previous apps by Arment, Overcast doesn't usher in new App Store categories or trends (such as the Newsstand magazine or read later app), but it manages to augment the classic podcast client for iPhone with functionalities that I'm now missing from other podcast apps. Smart Speed, Twitter recommendations, and Voice Boost are great additions that I now expect from a podcast app and that seem obvious once you get used to them, even though they actually took several months to be built and perfected. These kinds of features and interface decisions that disappear in the background and become natural tenets of an app are hard to get right, as it's easy to get carried away and make them prominent to the point that friction becomes a problem. From an implementation standpoint, Arment did an amazing job with the audio engine and the balance between Overcast's geeky nature and mass appeal, its sophisticated design and intuitive interactions.

I can't wait to use this. Unfortunately, I just sold my iPhone 5 in anticipation of the "iPhone 6".

Sundar Pichai, Head of Google's Android, on Apple, Samsung, and Amazon

Tim Cook recently used the stage at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference to throw a few darts at Android. He said most users are running “ancient” versions of Android without the newest features. Is that fair?
You have to understand, what Apple (AAPL) does and what we do are such different things. They make … two models of the iPhone, which they get people to buy. We are shipping thousands of devices throughout the world. … It’s not an apples-to-apples [comparison].  Apple announced lots of great things in their keynote. They also announced things we have done in Android four or five years ago, [such as] third party keyboards, richer notifications, and widgets. These all happened in Android such a long time ago. If you step back and take a holistic look, I think any reasonable person would say Android is innovating at a pretty fast pace and getting it to users.

Not too shabby Mr. Pichai, but there's more:

Tim Cook said Android is a “toxic hell stew of vulnerabilities.” Care to respond?
You have to be careful when you make a $100,000 Mercedes (DAI:GR) car not to look at the rest of automotive industry and make comments on it. … We serve the entire breadth of the market, globally across all form factors, et cetera. Android from the ground up is designed to be very, very secure. … History shows typically that malware is also targeted at the more popular operating system. So you know there is that. Do we take security seriously? Yes. [In the Google Play app store,] we detect malware. If you are installing an app, we ask user’s permission. If they say “yes,” we scan it. Even if you are scanning anything outside of the Play store, we still detect and warn you if its malware. Every time I look at the data—across millions and millions of users’ phones—the data is encouraging.

Zing! 

Google's Sundar Pichai Is the Most Powerful Man in Mobile

This year, Pichai will preview the next release (Lollipop? Lemonhead?) for the first time at I/O, rather than waiting until the fall. It’s a significant shift toward greater transparency. “I want the world to understand what we are doing sooner,” he says.

I guess I was wrong and thank goodness I was. Can't wait for tomorrow!

I didn't want to bury the lede however, so you should go ahead and read the entire profile, fantastic stuff. There's a good amount of detail on his earlier life before joining Google as well, which I don't think has been made public in the past.

Post-WWDC Keynote Opinion

WWDC is still ongoing for developers but the media has been churning out reaction to the keynote over the last three days. There has been a lot of regurgitation and summary, but I've come across some really good opinion pieces. Below I've collected what I've found to be the most interesting to me:

Growing Apple At WWDC by Ben Thompson

The new Apple: relaxed, playful, and trying to kill Google by Nilay Patel

Confidence by Craig Hockenberry

Apple’s war against Google has finally gotten interesting by Russell Holly

Meet the new Apple by Joshua Topolsky 

WWDC 2014 Thoughts by Chris Lacy

Bitter Medicine by Federico Viticci

Apple resurgent by Jan Dawson

While this post by "Underscore" David Smith was done in advance of WWDC, considering the nature of some of the iOS announcements in relation to what Android has "already done", I feel it's appropriate to link to it in this context. Warning: I am neither an Apple nor an Android fanboy, but I respect and use each platform equally.

This is the most important part of Underscore's piece:

Good copying learns from another’s innovation and then applies it in a novel way to a new context in a way that doesn't diminish the source invention. 

The Verge's WWDC 2014 Cheat Sheet

My picks are Extensibility, including widgets and inter-app communication, Continuity, HomeKit and Swift. Overall, while it's true Android users like myself have had many of these features for at least a couple of years, you cannot deny Apple's smooth implementation. But I will leave that debate for another day.

Another take away is the evident cultural change at Apple. The jokes were actually good, natural, not forced and Hair Force One is turning out to be Apple's public number two; he carried the keynote with aplomb. More importantly for developers, Apple is letting them into its walled garden albeit not completely. 

Looking Ahead To Monday (A.K.A. WWDC '14)

Last year I wrote a pretty lengthy preview of WWDC on Facebook. It received many likes, but a few complaints as well, saying that such content didn't belong in Mark Zuckerberg's domain. After doing something similar for Google I/O, I pulled the trigger and started this blog, initially on Tumblr.

Fast forward 12 months and it's that time of year again, but unlike last year I think someone has done a much better job than me at expressing my own thoughts and done so before I could write it up. Also, now that I'm working full-time, this blog has unfairly been ignored for long stretches since December 2013. I hope to rectify this, but I won't make any false promises again, just honest intent.

Anyways, check out the latest episode of the Accidental Tech Podcast (ATP), especially the iOS 8 discussion where they discuss everything I want, but likely won't get in Apple's next mobile OS release. To be fair, we really don't know what's going on with iOS 8 since the focus will be on refinement and not another visual change. There has been talk of Healthbook but overall there's less certainty in general this year than 2013. 

For kicks, check out this iOS 8 concept that shows how Apple could implement widgets and it's bloody neat. I doubt it's going to happen anytime though and perhaps will be a jailbreak feature in the future if anything.