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从智能手机到智能手表的这些年 英语科技新闻

jo19870724 于2013-12-30发布 l 已有人浏览
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对许多发达国家来说,2013年标志着一个科技新时代的开端。市场调查人员得出结论称,如今在北美、英国、日本、韩国和北欧等地,一半以上的人拥有智能手机。

从智能手机到智能手表的这些年.jpg

 

For much of the developed world, 2013 marked the beginning of a new technological era. More than half the people in North America, the UK, Japan, South Korea and the Nordic countries now own a smartphone, market researchers have concluded. By next year, the rest of western Europe will join that mobile majority.

对许多发达国家来说,2013年标志着一个科技新时代的开端。市场调查人员得出结论称,如今在北美、英国、日本、韩国和北欧等地,一半以上的人拥有智能手机。等到来年,西欧其余国家也将加入这一阵营。

The rise of the smartphone has already created new winners and losers in the consumer electronics market. According to a November estimate by analysts at US investment bank Canaccord Genuity, Apple and Samsung captured a “remarkable” 109 per cent (correct) of handset industry profits in the third quarter of 2013, a figure that makes sense only if the losses suffered by suppliers such as BlackBerry, Nokia and Taiwan’s HTC are counted as “negative profits”.

智能手机的崛起让消费电子市场诞生了新的赢家和输家。美国投行Canaccord Genuity的分析师在11月份给出的估计数字显示,2013年第三季度,苹果(Apple)和三星(Samsung)“不可思议”地斩获了手机行业109%的利润。这一数字之所以说得通,是因为黑莓(BlackBerry)、诺基亚(Nokia)以及台湾宏达电(HTC)等供应商遭受的亏损被算作了“负利润”。

But it is not just their mobile rivals’ earnings that Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy devices have gobbled up. Cameras, music and radio players, alarm clocks, navigation systems, even torches and compasses are now absorbed into a glowing screen.

不过,苹果iPhone和三星Galaxy设备所吞噬的可不止是移动领域竞争对手们的利润。如今,不仅相机、音乐与电台播放器、闹钟、导航系统,就连手电筒和指南针也被整合进这些发光的屏幕中。

Yet as smartphones increase in sophistication, they are also enabling new categories of gadget that harness their always-on connection, sensors and processing power.

尽管如此,随着智能手机变得日益复杂,它们也催生出一系列能够利用它们的“永远在线”网络连接、传感器和处理能力的新电子产品。

Wearable technology, “smart home” devices such as lights and security systems, fitness trackers and even toys are all orbiting the smartphone, making connected devices one of 2013’s hottest gadget trends.

可穿戴技术、灯光与安保系统等“智能家居”设备、健身追踪器乃至玩具,都开始围着智能手机“打转”。可连接设备(connected devices)由此成为2013年最“火”的电子产品潮流之一。

As innovation in smartphones themselves starts to slow down, the platform that they are enabling is just getting started – even if analysts say mass-market adoption is still years away.

智能手机自身的创新速度开始放缓,但它们所催生的平台的发展才刚刚起步——尽管分析师表示这一平台还需数年时间才能为大众市场所接受。

“The nice thing about the internet of things is it’s not monolithic,” says Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm’s interactive platforms division, who predicts a “Cambrian explosion” of smart devices. “I expect wearables to be on a very fast cadence as form factors fall out.”

高通(Qualcomm)交互平台部门总裁罗伯?钱德霍克(Rob

Pebble, one of the best-known independent makers of smartwatches, which raised $10m on US-based crowdfunding platform Kickstarter last year, said in November that it had sold 190,000 watches in total – impressive for a start-up but hardly the sort of volume that would have Apple rushing its rumoured iWatch to market.

Chandhok)说:“物联网的美好之处就在于它不是一元化的。”他预言智能设备会出现“寒武纪大爆发”。“我预计,随着各种形态的智能产品逐渐问世,可穿戴设备将呈现飞速发展。”

As with most smartwatches, the Pebble mainly acts as a way to notify the wearer of incoming messages or other alerts from a Bluetooth-tethered smartphone.

名气颇高的独立智能手表制造商Pebble去年在美国群募平台Kickstarter上募资1000万美元。11月份,该公司宣布,它已总计售出19万块手表。就一家初创企业而言,这是一个令人赞叹的销售数字;但这一数字还不足以迫使苹果急忙将其传闻中的iWatch投放到市场。

The September launch of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear marked a significant moment for the smartwatch market. Although the device has had mixed reviews, the endorsement of the form factor by the South Korean electronics group – coupled with persistent rumours that Google, Microsoft and others are all working on similar watches – signalled that smart watches may not be a niche for much longer. Even Casio’s G-Shock now has a Bluetooth connection to receive message notifications – and has the benefit of actually looking like a watch.

如大多数智能手表一样,Pebble的主要功能是:接收蓝牙连接的智能手机收到的信息或其他提示,将之通报给佩戴者。

At the same time as the Galaxy Gear was unveiled, Qualcomm launched the Toq, a smartwatch that uses its Mirasol screen to showcase the potential of the technology.

三星9月份举行的Galaxy Gear发布会标志着智能手表市场的一个重要时刻。尽管该产品得到的评价褒贬不一,但这家韩国电子集团对此类可穿戴设备的支持——再加上不断有传言称,谷歌(Google)、微软(Microsoft)等公司也都在研发类似的手表——暗示着,可能过不了太久,智能手表就不再是一种小众产品了。就连卡西欧(Casio)的G-Shock现在也有蓝牙连接,用以接收信息通知——此外它还有个优势,那就是看起来的确像块手表。

Unlike the Gear, which needs charging every day and does not keep its watch face lit all the time, the Toq’s screen is always on and the battery lasts for several days.

就在Galaxy Gear除去面纱的同时,高通推出了Toq——这款智能手表的屏幕使用Mirasol显示技术,高通试图以此来展示这项技术的潜力。

“Being able to do things at a glance is very powerful,” says Mr Chandhok. “I don’t want to replicate the smartphone, but I do want to use it to raise things above the noise level. Notification really only works when it’s at a glance.”

Toq比Galaxy Gear更胜一筹的地方在于:Gear每天都得充电,屏幕也不是一直亮着;而Toq的屏幕不但一直亮着,电池续航时间更是长达数日。

But Robert Brunner, partner at the design agency Ammunition Group, which works on products such as Beats by Dr Dre headphones, says the appearance of these devices is just as important as what they do.

“能够扫一眼就解决问题是非常有用的。”钱德霍克说,“我不想复制智能手机,但我真的想用它来着重提示一下要做的事。通知真的只有在扫一眼就看到的时候才起作用。”

“We are in the fashion business,” Mr Brunner said at a recent GigaOm conference in San Francisco. “The things that people carry and use define us almost as much as the clothes we wear. Wearable technology needs to understand fashion.”

但设计公司Ammunition Group的合伙人罗伯特?布伦纳(Robert Brunner)认为,这些设备的外观与它们的功能同等重要。Ammunition Group设计的产品包括“Beats By Dr. Dre”耳机等。

A similar challenge lies in the smart home market, where devices such as the internet fridge are solutions searching for a problem.

“我们身处时尚行业之中,”布伦纳在近日于旧金山举办的GigaOm大会上说,“我们所所携带和使用的东西对我们的影响程度,几乎与我们穿的衣服一样……可穿戴技术需要懂时尚。”

“The magic that we all love of being connected and the things that it does is going, going, gone,” Mr Brunner says. “At some point, having running water in your house was amazing. It’s no longer just about this magic, it’s about what it’s actually doing in our lives.”

智能家居市场也存在同样的挑战,像网络冰箱这样的设备纯属“没事找事”。

Dozens of new devices have emerged in recent months, from smart locks such as August and Lockitron, which open with a wave of a smartphone, to Philips’ Hue lightbulbs, which can be set to match the colour of a photo from a mobile app, as well as other features.

“我们都喜爱连通性,它就像魔术。但这种魔术连同它带来的东西正逐渐过时。”布伦纳说,“过去,家里有自来水都是一件神奇的事。但今天,神奇本身已不再重要,真正重要的是它能对我们的生活起到什么实际帮助。”

Some are aimed at security-conscious folk: Dropcam’s $200 Pro camera constantly monitors its owner’s home, alerting them to movement after they’ve left the house and letting them watch a live video feed. SmartThings sells kits that enable garage doors to be locked remotely or sends notifications to a phone when the kids get home from school. Large retailers such as Home Depot, Staples and Lowe’s are devoting more and more floor space to such products, even though it is unclear how large the market for them is today.

近几个月来,有几十种新设备相继问世,从August和Lockitron智能锁(利用智能手机发出的电磁波开启),到飞利浦(Philips)的Hue灯泡(该灯泡所发光芒的颜色,可被设定为与手机应用中图片的颜色相同),以及其他特色产品。

“It takes time for people to embrace connectivity,” says Tony Fadell, chief executive of Nest, whose “learning” thermostat and app-enabled smoke alarm have attained an Apple-like cult following among early adopters of the “connected home”.

有些产品瞄准的是那些关注安全的人群:Dropcam售价200美元的Pro相机,能持续监视用户的住所,在用户离家后向他们通报家中的动态,并能让用户观看关于家中动态的实况视频。

“Most people are just jamming things together because that’s the fastest thing to do. They don’t rethink the experience from top to bottom. Just because it can be connected doesn’t mean it should,” he says.

Smart Things销售的产品能远程锁上车库大门,还能在孩子放学到家时给家长的手机发送通知。家得宝(Home Depot)、史泰博(Staples)和Lowe's等大型零售商,正将越来越多的店面空间划拨给此类产品,尽管人们还不清楚现在它们的市场到底有多大。

Ben Wood, analyst at tech consultancy CCS Insight, sees great potential in smartwatches, but says the connected home is “just too hard for the man on the street right now”. The plethora of single-purpose “point solutions” is still a long way from the joined-up vision touted at trade shows, he says.

Nest公司首席执行官托尼?法代尔(Tony Fadell)说:“人们接受连通性是需要一些时间的。”该公司的“learning”智能温控器以及支持移动应用的烟雾报警器,已得到“联网家居”尝鲜者的追捧,其中一些拥趸的热情与“果粉”无异。

Amanda Peyton, co-founder of Grand St, a marketplace for creative technology, admits that the “independent, creative, alternative electronics” market is worth just a fraction of the $1tn consumer electronics market today.

他说:“大多数人只是把各种东西硬连在一起,因为这是最快捷的方法。他们不会自上而下地反思整个体验……一样东西能与网络连在一起并不意味着它就应该与网络连在一起。”

“But it is absolutely the fastest growing of any sector,” she says. “Over the next few years, you will see this section of the market just growing enormously.

技术咨询公司CCS Insight的分析师本?伍德(Ben Wood)认为,智能手表蕴含着巨大的潜力。但他表示,“现阶段而言,普通人还很难实现”联网家居。他说,大量单一用途的“点解决方案”距商展上厂商兜售的整合后愿景仍相去甚远。

It’s going to cut into some of the existing consumer electronics market, but it’s going to grow the whole thing overall.”

创新科技产品销售网站Grand St的联合创始人阿曼达?佩顿(Amanda Peyton)承认,“独立、创新、另类电子产品”市场在今天价值1万亿美元的消费类电子产品市场中仅占一小部分。

Wearables and other “smart” devices might not overtake the smartphone market any time soon – but they promise to be a much livelier arena for innovation in the coming years.

“但它绝对是增长最快的板块,”她说,“今后几年,你将看到这块市场呈现巨大的增长。它会蚕食部分现有的消费类电子产品市场,但同时也会带动整个市场实现整体发展。”

可穿戴设备和其他“智能”设备或许不会在短时间内赶超智能手机市场,但在未来几年里,它们有望成为一个活力远超后者的舞台,为人们展示各种创新。

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