Android apps on Chrome OS. iOS apps that can be turned into MacOS apps. Microsoft’s universal apps. Even an Echo UI jammed into an Amazon Fire TV box. All of these are examples of the current era of Frankensoftware: Apps or software features that were originally designed for one platform, but now are being ported over to newish, emerging platforms. On the downside, these software mutations can seem like the unusable concoctions of FOMO-driven tech executives in the early days. On the upside, Frankensoftware has the potential to make things better and easier both for consumers and software developers. Lauren and Mike discuss on this week’s Gadget Lab podcast.
Show notes: Want to dive deeper into Frankensoftware? Check out Lauren’s story on WIRED about the topic.
Recommendations this week: Mike recommends Currently, a Chrome browser extension that shows you the time of day and weather every time you open a new tab. Lauren recommends taking a break from all the bad news for a little while and enjoying the story of a raccoon that channeled Alex Honnold and free-climbed a tall building in St. Paul, Minnesota earlier this week, while the world watched the feat online.
Send this week’s hosts feedback on their personal Twitter feeds. Lauren Goode is @laurengoode, and Michael Calore is @snackfight. Co-host Arielle Pardes (@pardesoteric) is back next week! Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. Our theme song is by Solar Keys.
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