GOOGLE ASSISTANT KEEPS ASSISTING

Google Assistant is now inside our Android phone. She says little but hears all. You’ll get yours soon enough. Google Assistant will do your bidding when you speak to it, even when the phone is dark and locked. We could be lying on the couch half dead and say, “OK Google, call the Doc.” The next step: it will bill us too. Most Android phones don’t have the Assistant yet. You can find out when yours will have it by Googling the question. (Yes, Google has become a verb.)  Last month, we read that the Assistant would be on both the “Nougat” and the “Marshmallow” operating systems at the end of February. That’s 30 percent of all Android phones. We […]

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MEDICAL APPS

A reader asked us to find her a blood pressure app for the iPhone. There are several of these for both iPhone and Android. Unlike the kind you see at the doctor’s office, the apps do not use a compression band that temporarily cuts off your circulation. They measure the slight pulsing from placing your finger on the phone. We tried “Finger Blood Pressure! Free” on our Android phone, and compared it with the reading we got on the $35 Omron 3 Series Blood Pressure monitor with a pressure cuff. The Omron is battery operated, so you’re not tethered to the wall plug. Omron said Joy’s systolic pressure was 118, her diastolic reading was 74 and her pulse was 46. […]

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APPLE WATCH

When we tried out some smart watches, we mainly used them for checking email, noting the weather and keeping track of stocks. Our friend Louise got an Apple Watch, and she uses it differently.

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THE RISKS OF APPLE PAY

According to a 2015 Mobile Payment Security Study of 900 security professionals, half say mobile payments such as Apple Pay are not safe. Nevertheless, nearly all expect paying by phone to become a lot more common in the next 12 months.

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STAYING FLEXIBLE

Bob was wrong about Joe Biden running for president, but he may be right about flexible computers. He predicts that a computer that wraps around your arm will one day be the norm, not a smart watch on your wrist.

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FUN WITH THE APPLE WATCH

A friend of ours got an Apple Watch as a retirement present and it came in really handy on a trip abroad when he couldn’t find his iPhone. His watch told him a phone call was coming in and he answered it on his wrist. He then realized that his iPhone must be nearby because the Watch won’t work unless it is. And so he carried that thought through and found the phone in another jacket. Or, you could just search through your pockets.

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BRACELET PHONE

We sometimes wear our hearts on our sleeves and soon may be wearing our phones there. A company is raising funds on Indiegogo.com, a crowd funding site, like Kickstarter, for what they call the “Blu Wearable Smartphone.” This is not like Apple Watch and similar wrist watch gadgets, this one wraps all the way around your wrist or forearm and you can read the display as your turn the band. The screen is as big as a regular cellphone, only it’s curved around your wrist. It’s ten inches long when unrolled, and two inches wide, You can do that these days, using Corning Glass Company’s “gorilla glass,” which is so flexible you can bend it almost completely back on itself. […]

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A FLIP OF THE WRIST

The Misfit Flash we wrote about a few months ago is expanding. Not literally, of course, but the features are expanding to track and control a lot more than your fitness exercises.

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KID FIT FAILURE

If your kid likes your fitness tracker and wants one of his own, it might be best to skip the new “KidFit.” Adult trackers work much better. The KidFit we tried out is a tiny black orb that fits inside an uncomfortable watchband. The instructions are laughably minimal. At first we didn’t know – and weren’t instructed — to pop the working part out of the watchband and connect it to a charger. We kept looking for some way to connect the watchband itself. We finally had to go to the website, X-doria.com, and watch a video to figure out how to get it going. But once we got it charged up It turned out to work badly and was […]

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CALLING DICK TRACY

What are smart watches good for? Not much. The dirty little secret of smart watches is that you have to have a smart phone in your pocket or bag or they don’t do much. Sales, as you might expect, have been less than torrid. For the forthcoming Apple Watch, next year, for example, you’ll have to have an iPhone too.

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