Episode 49: Moto X's big night outThis week on Always On, we road test Motorola's Moto X, taking it out for a night on the town. We explore new parking options using tech on a smartphone. And, Molly Wood rants about Google Glass.
-This week on Always On-- There better be a spot right here. Look at that. Okay Google Now, karaoke bars in San Francisco. West Virginia is considering legislation that would ban Google Glass while driving-- a disaster waiting to happen. Okay. [unk]. I don't know. It just beeps at me but it doesn't do anything. There has got to be a better way. Oh, wait, there totally is. I don't think anyone's gonna argue with me here, parking is an area that is ripe for innovation. Whether it's how we pay for it or how we find it. -We're making it easier for people to get to those merchants. So, the city benefits-- -Uh huh. -because they can increase the revenue. They can reduce congestion. A third of cars that are moving in large cities are no longer in transit. Now they're doing that blind circle saying, "Where do I park?" So we can alleviate that second step and alleviate as much as 20 minutes in a journey while we make it really easy to get to that law firm, that flower shop, or that, you know, restaurant. -Silicon Valley-based Streetline is one of the companies rethinking the parking experience. They're building tech so drivers can more easily find parking by showing what spaces are open or occupied. So, is this active data for an area? -Yes. So we can also get a bird's eye view of how many cars are parked. So, right now we know right into-- down the individual spaces what spaces are full and not. Less than 2, one or zero, it's red. It's such a dynamic environment which probably not gonna be-- that space is not gonna be left if it's there. -Right. -But, on the other hand, green for plus, there's enough spaces that even if you're a minute or 2 away, you can find the parking spaces. -To create these data rich maps, engineers have designed wireless sensors which they embed into the ground in parking spaces. And so now, this is the hardware-- -Yes. -this is the sensor? -Here's the sensor. So, the sensor is a wireless 2.4-gigahertz little Mesh network wonder. -Right. -And the system is put into the pavement. -So, a car pulls in to a spot with a sensor-- -Uh huh. -and then over here we see the car? -As a matter of fact, right here our system senses it within about 10 seconds, takes it up to the internet and then back down to reports within about a minute. -I'm just fascinated by all of the changes that could potentially come from this data, like it just gets more powerful by the minute it seems. The data that's gathered gets wrapped up into a neat little mobile app, so you can get voice guided direction to open parking spaces. Now this I had to try. I'm gonna go on a hunt for a parking spot here in downtown San Mateo. It says there's only 17, so I better get moving. -Parking nearby. -Parking nearby. Let's go find some. Like I had to go to my parking spot I guess. Okay, you'll be sorry. There's only 17 parking slot in the whole town. Operation: Find Parking. This is officially the most stressful part of the day. Tap this. This doesn't feel like the safest thing ever. Oh, I see, now the line connects to where there's parking. Okay, so let's see what happens if I turn right. Turn right on the east third, that's us. Let's see if this will just guide us in-- 300 feet-- 150 feet. I don't see any spots. There better be a spot right here. Look at that, right where the red dot is. Look at that. Well done. Not bad. I wish it was built-in to the apps so I didn't have to like kinda come out into parking, but yeah, boom-- found it. You can start to imagine the possibilities when sensors are everywhere and this kind of data is always available. So, what is the future look like when every parking space has a sensor, potentially every device has some kind of interface for finding parking? -Right. Well, that's a good point. This is a start. Right, a mobile app is a start. But where you really wanna push that data is to where the consumers are. Where are they? They're in their cars. They're using NAV systems, so we provide that data and the API or interface or some sort of data feed to those car manufacturers. They can put that in, integrate it with real time traffic, integrate it with navigation, integrate it with other services and bring it all together. Now parking isn't totally caveman like it used to be. For example, I have a whole collection of apps that let me park anywhere no quarters necessary. So, I'm just gonna put a little time on the meter, let's just do 15 minutes because--let's do even less, 9 minutes. I'm just gonna go grab a cup of coffee. Let's start parking. Oh, I got so distracted by Twitter that I forgot that my parking had deactivated, so I'm gonna just go right on back and add another session. I think I need like, I don't know, just 10 more minutes in the sun. Okay, now I'm good. Time for us to take a quick break. When we come back, I'm gonna hit the town with Motorola's new Moto X because I want to know if this innovative and personalizable smartphone can keep up with my social calendar. Welcome back, everybody. Now this is the Moto X. Stylish, totally customizable. It runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. It has a 4.7-inch AMOLED Display. It takes 720p video and it has a 10-megapixel camera, but what I really wanna know is whether it fits in, in my actual life so I'm taking it on a date. So, here's my Moto X and I am taking it out for a night on the town because I want to know if all of that cool Google Now stuff, if it's little flip-to-start- the-camera thing, if all of that makes it a good phone for like a social girl on the go. But before I leave the office, I have to get it setup with voice so that I can ask it questions and win bar bets. Now I have to go to my settings, Touchless control. Move to a quiet room like seriously quiet. Hold your phone away from your face and speak normally. Say "Okay Google Now" when prompted. Okay, okay Google Now-- continue. Okay Google Now-- continue then say it again. Okay Google Now-- Okay Google Now, help me. Oh, I do have a list of things I can do here. So, I can search, get directions, make phone calls, send SMS to line where I already set reminders. Oh, ask questions, schedule meetings-- oh, well, I can play music and movies with this? Okay Google Now, what's a good place to get a drink around here? -Here is drink. -It wants me to go to Boston for that. I think I know a place that's closer than that. -Cheers. -Cheers. It's here, watch, this is my favorite bar trick. -Okay. -It goes like this and then the camera comes on and you're like selfie, like just-- -That is so convenient. -that's it, when [unk]-- -That is awesome. -I know, yeah. -Love it. -So, look out, we'll be taking a picture later. Okay, ready? I love this song. Okay, my fave-- one of my favorite remakes is of this song and I can't remember who does it. Okay Google Now, what song is this? It's listening, all right. -It's Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd. -It's Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd. -Close. -Close. -Okay Google Now, what are some other versions of Simple Man? Oh, so it has media-wise-- no, Shinedown. That's the one. -Very nice. -Shinedown, yeah. -I'm actually curious if it will recognize my voice. -Oh. -Can we try? -Yeah, all right, again push it closer. -Okay. Okay Google Now-- it recognized me. -I thought that it loved only me. Thank you. -[unk]-- all set. -[unk] for all set. -[unk]-- there for you. -Okay. -Thank you. -Thanks. -I don't know what's going on with me today, but I'm still hungry. -I am too. -Yeah? -I think we should try to see if we can make dinner reservations. -Oh yeah, 'cause Siri can do that. All right, okay Google Now make a dinner reservation at Hog and Rocks. -Okay. -Hog and Rocks on the mission. All right, well, here's Hog and Rocks, I'll just call them. -We made it. -I know, all right, I'll take a picture for Posterity for my Foursquare. -Great. -Okay-- Hog and Rocks. -Selfies, ready? One, two, three. -That is like really cute. -That's actually really good. -I know. -Okay. -All right, let's go in. All right. -All right, Full Bellies. -Yes. -Four Roses Bourbon. Where we should go next? Okay Google Now, karaoke bars in San Francisco. -There are several listings for karaoke bars near San Francisco. -Let's do The Mint. -Let's do The Mint. -Yeah. -Off we go. -Okay. -This is The Mint, ready? -Rumor has it-- rumor has it-- rumor has it-- like when we creep out, she ain't around. Haven't you heard to rumors? -All right, I just have one question, okay Google Now-- it's hard to hear me. -Nothing gonna do-- -[unk]-- -Okay Google Now, what is the greatest karaoke song of all time? It gave me the top 500. That's pretty good though, I have to admit. -Understand. Never gonna give you up. Never gonna let you down. Never gonna run around and desert you. Never gonna make you cry. Never gonna say goodbye. Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you. -I don't wanna roll in. [unk] goes in prison. Time to drain it on. The train keeps rolling on down the same left turn. -[unk]-- -What you should know. I can't live if living is without you. I can't live-- I can't give anymore, oh, no. Yeah-- if you let it, 9 to 5, they got you where they want you. There's a better life and you think about it. It's enough to drive you crazy if you let it, 9 to 5, they got you where they want you-- -Okay. Time for final impressions on the Moto X after our night on the town. All in all, I really like the Moto X. I like how customizable it is. I love the Google Now integration. I love the way the voice controls work. What I don't love is the same thing that I have never loved about a Motorola phone, the camera. The night shots are terrible and there's just no way to improve it. I don't care how fun it is to go like this and launch it. So, if you don't care about taking pictures at night, then I guess it's a perfectly good phone and it is. But I think most people wanna use it 24/7, so that makes this a kind of reluctant do not buy. Time for a new segment here on Always On-- a Mini Molly Rant, this week's topic, Google Glass. Now when Google first announced its Glass project, there were a lot of naysayers and mostly what they said was you'll look stupid wearing them. Okay, I was one of the few who was in favor of Google Glass. I thought it would be awesome to have a permanent heads-up display with mapping and Twitter and information and this kind of virtual world happening all around you. I am sorry to say that I was wrong. It turns out that Google Glass represented new frontier in human rudeness in attention and danger. First, there's the human interaction factor. I mean, I'm walking down the street, but I'm living in a virtual parallel world where I've like got my Twitter and my Facebook and my Maps and I don't even care, 'cause I'm a Glasshole. And I personally refuse to ever have a one-on-one conversation with someone wearing Google Glass. I mean it's bad enough that everybody gets out their phone and starts typing while you're speaking to them-- imagine when their eyes start wondering slowly skyward. -[unk] pineapple and we're like, "Let's buy some piÃ±a coladas and carve out this giant pineapple," it's awesome and then somebody-- -Okay. -puts on Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch and everyone just starts-- okay, had enough. -Then there's the mobility factor. People in San Francisco are actually riding their bikes around wearing these things. In fact, I once saw a guy crashed into a curb, dive into a group of pedestrians and then look around in a panic for his Glasses, his Google Glasses. Does anything about this seem like a good idea? Finally, there's the stuff that just should be against the law. West Virginia is considering legislation that would ban Google Glass while driving. UK is thinking about enacting the same laws and I gotta say everybody everywhere should be working on this law. There is nothing about driving while you're distracted by Twitter feeds and maps and all kinds of other crap that isn't a good idea. It's like a disaster waiting to happen. Now, I'm not trying to be anti-technology here. I love the idea of Google Glass. I don't think they look stupid. I think I look kind of cute. It's just that when they come about, I think we also need self-driving cars and a whole lot of self-restraint. So, I'm thinking the world is not yet ready for Google Glass. -Okay Glass-- -Luckily, I think most of the people who have Google Glasses live in either Silicon Valley or the Bay area, so it's kind of a self-contained issue. I just hope it doesn't spread. All right, time to answer some of your mail. Dear Molly Wood, can I give you some ideas for 'Touch or testing' technology? Number one, can you take an iPod, our iPhone to a hockey arena and drop it on the ice and put it in a hockey bag and shake it around? Number two, take a iPhone to a gym and drop it when you're running or walking on the treadmill or a different exercise machine-- from Keegan East. P.S. I will email you again. Keegan, that sounds a little bit ominous and I think I could probably get jail time for 'Touch or testing'. I don't feel entirely comfortable with that. But I hope you saw our segment from just a couple weeks ago where we took the Galaxy S4 Mini to the gym, dropped it off the treadmill and kickboxed it a little bit. If you didn't see it, you should really go back and watch it 'cause it was awesome. I look forward to your next email and also email from the rest of you, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> is where to find me. I'm also on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. That's it for this week everybody. Coming up next week on Always On, we get a unique look inside a world-class music streaming venue with one of the legendary founders of the great ODAT. Plus we take the Nokia Lumia 1020 to a music festival to find out if that 41-megapixel camera makes it the perfect phone for seeing a concert. That's all coming up next week. Until then, thanks for watching Always On. -[unk]. -Now this is the Motorola Moto X. It's stylish, it's customizable-- I'm right here. We're terrible. Come on. Help us, help, help, help, [unk]--