We have to risk being "fools" both as marketers and young lovers because that is what offers all the risk and all the reward of being real and in a relationship.
Web bots, the “internet of things”, machine learning and other converging technological advancements offer an early glimpse of our artificial intelligence future. And marketers need to start paying attention.
Fast Company's cover story in the September issue is a must-read for any marketer, no matter the industry.
Davis Brand Capital friend and collaborator Kevin Slavin spoke at TED Global this month about how algorithms are increasingly shaping our world. Think that doesn't concern you, your business or your life? Think again.
There may be more bears in publishing than there are on Wall St. This isn’t new to the current recession; as Ken Auletta recently noted in the New Yorker, “publishing exists in a continual state of forecasting its own demise.” Now add to that traditional gloomy propensity today’s market conditions - a period when most industries are wrestling with digital disintermediation and even wholesale redefinitions of function. You get a complete meltdown.
When Steve Jobs took to the stage in San Francisco's Moscone Center on January 27, the world knew what to expect: Apple would finally announce its long-awaited tablet. With that pre-determined focus and the anticipatory roar for the next "insanely great" thing, most missed the larger announcement of the day. Steve Jobs did not simply announce the company's latest creation; he completed a task first made public in January 2007, when the company dropped "Computer" from its name to become Apple, Inc. The real news hidden in plain view as Jobs unveiled iPad was the repositioning of the company that created the personal computer.
Recently, Slate's Ben Sheffer presented Apple's case against Gawker's Tablet Scavenger Hunt, suggesting the web pub's Valleywag blog may be inducing Apple employees to violate trade secret law. But to measure the potential loss for Apple solely in terms of trade secrets is to overlook a much larger violation not just to Apple, but to the customer as well.
New mobile applications from automakers GM, Mercedes, Ford and BMW advance the concept of branded utility in profound ways. Recent apps from these brands blur the lines between branded utilities and pure product features. And there are important implications in the auto industry and beyond.
The functionality of iPhones and other mobile devices represents a fundamental shift in how we view the act of marketing, further blurring the lines between advertising, research, promotions, CRM and entertainment content. As new developments continue to make digital technologies a more integral part of our everyday lives, marketers will be forced to rethink mobile marketing's currently limited role within the marketing mix.
When I shot the picture of this little guy lounging in his highchair watching cartoons, I thought it was adorable. And admittedly, I still do. But simultaneously it terrifies me, because it foreshadows a new type of digital divide that will be created by mobile devices and the introduction of augmented reality.
The mouse may be dead to many netbook users, but if Disney has anything to do with it, The Mouse will remain alive and well for young technophiles. This week, Walt’s little company announced that it has collaborated with the unfortunately-named ASUS to launch the Disney Netpal.
In the wake of recent legislation allowing the FDA to regulate the tobacco industry, a variety of smokeless tobacco products are hitting the market. A few e-varieties promise a comparable experience without the stink and stigma of the earlier models. But will smokers find any of these alternatives up to snuff?
Trent Reznor is known in the music industry for being a risk-taker, musically and technologically. Though a critically acclaimed artist, Reznor has led an enigmatic existence, and his dark, electronic musical style conjures images of drilling down into and exploring outlying areas of a mysterious abyss. It's a natural fit, then, for him to feel at ease connecting with his fans in the virtual world.
Clive Thompson’s recent article for Wired entitled “The Netbook Effect: How Cheap Little Laptops Hit the Big Time” details the adoption of the Netbook, machines powered by flash drives intended for running bare-bones applications. These low-powered lightweights took the tech industry off guard, and they point to a valuable lesson for companies in every every sector.
MIT’s Pattie Maes and her sidekick Pranav Mistry set out to bridge the divide between the real and digital world. Their goal: leverage the vast amounts of data currently living on the web and in our social networks to aid real-time, real-world decision-making. The results of their work, demonstrated at TED, are jaw-dropping.
I frequently find Fast Company to be a frustrating read; it’s had more than a hard time finding a relevant voice post-dot-com. The magazine’s recent take on Amazon’s decision to release both Kindle 2 and an e-book reader app for iPhone and iTouch proves how old the publication’s vision of markets and technologies really is.
1899 U.S. Patent Office Commissioner Charles H. Duell is commonly (and falsely) attributed with having claimed “everything that can be invented has been invented.” Woody Norris thinks the opposite is true. His latest invention, hypersonic sound, creates high quality sound without breaking the silence. What a brilliant gift for a culture with a noise problem.
Microsoft wowed the web in 2007 with the Surface. Its latest vision of the future, 2019, is equally powerful (for a shorter version click here). The video features hyper-productive professionals in perfect sync with technology. The beautiful special effects and hypnotic music distract the viewer from the fact that, given the roomy planes, empty airports and sparsely-populated cities we see, a superflu apparently has killed off all but a handful of architects and their children. Plague aside, imagining a world like this makes us smile - as do the comments left by YouTube viewers, who inject a healthy dose of Microsoft, circa 2009, into this utopian world.
For Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, being the earth’s most customer-centric company means more than giving customers what they want. It requires inventing “on their behalf,” moving beyond dialog to predict future needs and develop the necessary skills to meet them. Such action begot Kindle, and through new collaboration with IBM, is moving cloud computing forward.
It was a slow year for gaming at the CES, and one glimpse of the future left us scratching our heads. Mattel’s Mind Flex, described by the pitchman as the “future of gaming,” converts theta brain waves into radio frequency signals that direct a small fan to move a light-weight ball through an obstacle course. We recognize and respect the potential, but wonder whether this simplistic application of the technology will inspire or underwhelm potential investors. Mattel also unveiled the Barbie Digital Nail Printer, which connects to your pc and prints custom designs directly on the fingernails. We love that the product, much like the recent ad campaign, promotes parent-child play and individuality.
Sony's Vaio P Series was the standout netbook showcased at this year's CES. The sleek, featherweight laptop features a high resolution screen, instant-on OS, 3G mobile broadband, GPS, and built-in Bluetooth. Streamlined for music, email, web browsing, video and basic wordprocessing, Vaio P fits comfortably into a coat pocket or handbag, and is marketed as a "lifestyle pc." Sony is betting an elegant design and luxury positioning will convince consumers to pay nearly twice the price of other netbooks.
In the wake of the Consumer Electronics Show, we look at the most promising products for 2009 and discuss our favorites from 2008... Palm stock jumped 34% Friday after the company wowed CES with the prē, the first real contender for iPhone killer. Noteworthy features include quick scrolling though open applications, a three megapixel phone with flash and slide-down QWERTY keyboard.
We're confused by this derivative spot for the Blackberry Storm, the company's new iPhone "me too." Is this Blackberry, Apple, or Target?
After much procrastination, my wife and I finally bought her first new’ish car. I’m on crutches because I’m a klutz, and we needed a vehicle with an automatic transmission that I could drive while I recover. So the timing was right for somewhat selfish reasons.
I’ve had my share of wee hour infomercial watching this year. And more than once, the sleep deprivation has had me giddy at the thought of buying one of those neato vacuum sealing doohickeys to keep my hamburger buns from getting all frosty in the freezer. But my curiosity pretty much died with the $139 price tag.
In 1984, the Apple Macintosh brought the humble mouse widespread fame in the personal computing marketplace. By the looks of things, Apple may just be the big cat that puts the mouse out of its misery. Will your next Mac be the first computer to abandon the tried and true mouse interface entirely?
There are many, many reasons why I love PowerPoint. It’s intuitive…it helps make eloquent and impactful arguments…and pardon my dorkiness, but it can be downright fun to use. But I also hate PowerPoint. While it can be a very um…powerful tool, I believe it has dumbed down corporate culture.
Video Game maker Rockstar’s newest gorefest, Manhunt 2, got the axe this week by the British Board of Film Classification. The ban prohibits the game’s sale in the U.K. America’s Entertainment Software Rating Board followed suit, classifying the game Adults Only - a rating big boxes like Best Buy, Walmart, and Target refuse to stock. While Rockstar is no stranger to controversy (the Grand Theft Auto oeuvre is a perennial cause célèbre for parent and religious groups), they certainly weren’t expecting this level of backlash, and they’re racing to save what was sure to be a blockbuster. Is the content of this game really so much worse than past offerings?
Cyber Monday is the day retailers love and hate. They love the huge revenue potential, but hate the pressure to perform.
At the MIT Media Lab, the Tangible Media Group believes the future of computing is tactile. Unveiled today, the inFORM is MIT's new scrying pool for imagining the interfaces of tomorrow. Almost like a table of living clay, the inFORM is a surface that three-dimensionally changes shape, allowing users to not only interact with digital content in meatspace, but even hold hands with a person hundreds of miles away. And that's only the beginning.
Post-digital is a confusing phrase. It’s hard to know what people mean when they throw it around—are we done with digital? What does digital even mean anymore?
Nearly two in five children have used a tablet or smartphone before they could speak in full sentences, according to a new report.
Nearly every automaker is working on some form of autonomous vehicle technology, but according to a new study, consumers are more interested in a self-driving car from Google than General Motors.
Ultrahaptics is a new technology, designed for retail, allowing giant touchscreens to give users physical feedback as they click, swipe, and type.
Seamlessly running campaigns is key.
Indooratlas says it has found the key to indoor mapping: the magnetic field.
Apple, as it promised, has just managed to "brighten everyone's day" with a big news conference that revealed the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C to the world. It was a powerful, detail-packed event that focused heavily on the iPhone.
Armed with a thermal imaging camera that detects infrared radiation, artist Nickolay Lamm spent the afternoon in NYC capturing the city's heat signatures on August 15, 2013. The results are a compelling illustration of why it feels like you might melt there in the summer.
3-D printing used to be a fixed medium. Now, graduate students have created a printer that can go back in time, make changes on the fly, and best of all, build objects in a weightless environment.
You know how kinect lets you interact with virtual objects? A groundbreaking project called Aireal lets you feel them, too.
If there's one reason to hope for an Apple iWatch, it's so that the wearable technology market has some small glimmer of hope of learning what looks good.
Thanks to the Apple iPad and other tablets, people are now shopping on the couch, in the bed, and in the kitchen, not to mention the most comfortable of “lean-back” environments: the bathroom.
In today's multiscreen world, 27% of all web traffic comes from smartphones, tablets, and various other devices.
On July 10, 2008, Apple launched the App Store, an online hub where iPhone owners could browse and download apps from third party developers. More than anyone could have expected, this became a defining moment in the history of personal computing.
Initial reactions to Apple hiring Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve have focused on the iWatch.
While marketers strategize heavily around how to help consumers decide what to buy, how much time do they spend thinking about how they will pay? This area of innovation is where mobile payment companies want to play, especially in markets where such technology is less than ubiquitous.
The key is to integrate what matters, and only what matters -- the defining ideas and the experience of the customer.
Google Glass isn’t in the hands of consumers yet, but a pair of intrepid Glass explorers didn’t let that stop them from taking the thing apart to see what makes it tick.
This week, Amazon announced the expansion of its experiment in grocery delivery to Los Angeles. The bigger news, however, was the unveiling of a new version of the hugely popular Amazon Prime.
Let’s face it, being safe doesn’t look very sexy. Case in point: anyone in a bike helmet. And while that’s no reason to be reckless, what if you could take care of your body and actually look cool while doing so?
Being constantly connected has changed our behavior: we simply expect the right information to be at our fingertips.
Nivea adds functionality to a traditional print ad promoting its Sun line in Brazil.
So the PC is doomed, but classic PC companies may not be.
When it comes to technology, you don't stand a chance against your kids. Born into a digital world, tweens—those age 7-13—have unprecedented access to devices and gadgets.
In our houses, cars, and factories, we’re surrounded by tiny, intelligent devices that capture data about how we live and what we do. Now they are beginning to talk to one another. Soon we’ll be able to choreograph them to respond to our needs, solve our problems, even save our lives.
A gun made with 3-D printer technology has been successfully fired in the U.S.
Fast forward to 2020. What job skill must you have? Coding.
For wearables to really take off, we’ll need powerful and sophisticated devices that are light-weight, elegant and small enough to be worn as accessories—or embedded into the fabric of our clothes.
Killer robots are a real threat to our future and must be outlawed now, according to a campaign launched in London on Tuesday by five international NGOs, led by Human Rights Watch.
Some of the nation’s young brainiacs were honored today at the annual White House Science Fair.
Jifiti lets users scan product barcodes and instantly send a voucher for those items to friends in other locations.
“You have to have that really tight narrative around the problem that you’re solving,” says Rahman, whose company created Jawboone headsets.
Virtual retail spaces have the potential to repurpose transitional urban spaces for entirely new uses.
Marc Costa, a New Jersey police officer, found himself dealing with an excess of paperwork on the job. Up to three quarters of a police officer's day can be spent filling out paperwork, and he wanted to find a way to make his workday more efficient.
On April 3, 1973 — exactly 40 years from today — Motorola employee Marty Cooper made the first mobile phone call.
Like these speakers? You can’t have them.
3D printing is still in its infancy. But, to use an overused phrase, it is the future. From home use to enterprise use, 3D printing will continue to grow and break into new areas.
The patent describes designs that could have a seamless, continuous surface resembling the fourth generation iPod nano, as well as other shapes closer to the current iPhone, but with every surface a touch-sensitive glass display.
The invisibility cloak has long been an idea present mostly in comic books and sci-fi novels — remember the Cloak of Invisibility from J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books or the scramble suit from Philip K. Dick's "A Scanner Darkly"?
Matt Richardson's hack displays a moving odometer in real-time.
The 3Doodler aims to bring 3D printing down to the handheld scale, with a pen that uses quick-cooling plastic to create hand-drawn 3D models.
About 7,000 starbucks locations offer a supposedly simple system for letting customers pay with credit and debit cards using square wallet. Starbucks even invested $25 million in the payments startup. So why can't baristas make it work?
The use of interactive digital displays are helping to provide customers with an immersive experience that engages multiple senses, something that’s impossible to replicate on the web.
Aiming to create an "object of desire" rather than just another TV, Philips' designers have created a TV that looks like a seamless sheet of glass with a black gradient.
Repeat trips to the doctor could become a thing of the past thanks to a new technology that can monitor your health and wellbeing remotely – directly from the surface of your skin.
The Shadow Cube creates barcodes that point to Wikipedia entries of great thinkers.
Using near-field communication (NFC) technology found in smartphones, commuters could scan book titles that appear on advertisements inside the car.
Omni-channel is the future of retail, but it may not be right for everyone just yet. However, by taking one or more of these steps in 2013, your organization will be closer to achieving an omni-channel reality and demonstrate to your customers that you’re serious about building the ultimate customer experience.
Auto-tracking is the next frontier in user interaction. Intelligent eye-tracking would result in a revolutionary paradigm shift.
Fjord charts the major innovations of the past, and predicts a future of totally intuitive "micro gestures and expressions" that will control our devices.
This sense of secrecy extends to the highest levels of the organization.
Flexible, stretchable electronic devices will help monitor athletes on the field, take medical monitoring away from the hospital bedside, and make portable electronics more comfortable—perhaps even wearable.
Are we jaded? Is SXSW too crowded to anyone to stand out?
It's like harnessing the Force: A new armband uses the electrical activity in your muscles to let you wirelessly control digital devices.
Mobile phones are found all around the world — ubiquitous even in emerging markets such as China and India — but how you use the device depends greatly on where you live.
Frog Design asked designers to invent wearable tech concepts, with results ranging from interactive tree displays to a wristband that helps wearers navigate NY subways.
On Wednesday, the search giant launched an application contest to let regular people from all walks of life try out the head-mounted, augmented reality "glasses." They simply have to prove they deserve it.
Nike CEO Mark Parker On His Company's Digital Future: Body-Controlled Music, Color-Coded Heart Rates
"Nike has broken out of apparel and into tech, data, and services, which is so hard for any company to do." In the coming years, Nike will expand its footprint in the digital space, especially through partnerships like the one it struck with TechStars, to attract startups to build on the Nike+ platform.
8tracks is a streaming, not on-demand, music service. Its some 600,000 mixes are uploaded by a small portion (less than 1%) of the app’s users, known as DJs. There are no restrictions on the type of tracks these DJs can choose, beyond a couple of requirements that help keep 8tracks legal.
Microsoft Corp. seems to be serious about its foray into the tablet market – the software giant is planning large volume production of its first tablet computer, Surface, in the fourth quarter.
Shoppers at the new International Finance Center Mall in Seoul can find their way around the four-story complex by approaching one of 26 information kiosks. When they do, they also are being watched. Kiosks at a Seoul mall, above, would use facial recognition software to decide what ads to present shoppers. Just above each kiosk's LCD touch screen sit two cameras and a motion detector
From rooftop bashes and acquisition talks to staff clashes and layoffs, Hipstamatic’s founders and ex-employees describe the startup’s losing struggle to keep pace with Instagram, Facebook, and others in the white-hot photo-sharing space.
The car has been called “the fourth screen” for internet-connected content. But even for high-performance brands like BMW, adapting the car to keep up with the fast pace of mobile computing has been a slow and complicated process. The luxury automaker plans to bring automotive technology up to speed and in sync with smartphones, computers and tablets by leveraging an EU-funded project called “webinos.”
Sony dominated consumer electronics for decades, but that was a long time ago.
The $25 million funding and sales deal announced late yesterday between mobile payments startup Square and coffee giant Starbucks is big, but it is only the tip of the iceberg for what the implications will be for Square and for mobile payments in general.
The emergence of online platforms is bringing a wave of disruptive innovations to traditional education. From 40,000 person classes that you can take from anywhere to Twitter-moderated discussion forums with trending hashtags, technology is fundamentally changing the way we learn today.
If you are of a certain age (around 50-60), Atari made the first computer games you ever played. Pong, anyone? Joystick? If you are a hip gamester today, Atari is a retro brand. Now in its 40th year, Atari is still in the games game. Recently, I spoke to Atari's design director, Kris Johns (whose team is responsible for the Atari timeline below) about the legacy, inventions, and future of this legendary brand.
Marketers have tried targeting consumers in stores with QR codes and barcode scanners that so far have gotten limited traction. Now IBM is testing a new approach, dubbed augmented reality, which is a bit like applying search or a personalized version of Google Goggles to the world of physical store shelves.
Microsoft Corp. unveiled its own Windows-powered tablet computer called Surface, altering its strategy of focusing on software and relying on partners to make the machines in a renewed attempt to take on Apple iPad.
When I was a kid and we got to the end of the ketchup or mustard after smacking the container with my palm and shaking it side-to-side I’d ask for a new bottle. But before a new one could be opened my mother would always require that I scraped out what was stuck inside the bottle with a knife or spoon. Her rationale for this was that leaving anything in the bottle was wasteful … and she’d invariably add “That’s how Mr. Heinz got rich.” My mother would have appreciated a new product called “LiquiGlide.”
Google+ rolled out on Wednesday a new ‘Local’ tool that allows users to share and find information about nearby places — from museums and spas to restaurants and hotels. In addition to tapping a user’s network or “Circles,” the new service also incorporates information from Zagat, which Google bought last year.
The iPhone maker rejects a donation-focused third-party payment system, saying it violates the App Store's terms and conditions. But does it actually have more to do with competition?
Tablets are on track to fundamentally change the computing landscape. The handheld devices of various shapes and sizes will be in the hands of 34 percent of the U.S. population by 2016, predicts James McQuivey, principal analyst at Forrester Research.
If you find yourself with Siri envy but don't want to pony up the $600 for a phone, you may be able to get that same level of convenience and computerized companionship in your car. Nuance's Dragon Drive enables automotive manufacturers to offer natural language voice commands for vehicle telematics, which will enhance usability and could reduce distracted driving.
According to a new report from Nielsen, mobile consumers are downloading more apps than ever before, with the average number of apps owned by a smartphone user now at 41 — a rise of 28 percent on the 32 apps owned on average last year.
The strategy address recently delivered by the corporation's new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, earned press coverage that verged on mocking, with The Wall Street Journal noting that the brand's "once-sterling cachet has deteriorated," and The New York Times going further, placing Sony in "a fight for its life," and accusing it of "an astonishing lack of ideas." Both observations are correct, but they only hint at the underlying question: why is the strategy that once served Sony so well now failing so badly?
Sometimes, user interfaces come together at the last minute. And not very well. In devices that should be up to date in the interface department you see multiple personalities fighting. It's like being a fly on the wall of the meeting where the designers and engineers all just said, when they had to finalize the design of a product, "Oh, screw it. Let's go get lunch."
UK-based Black+Blum’s Eau Good water bottle embraces the centuries-old use of active charcoal to make every day tap water taste better.
After releasing two generations of iPhones with exactly the same form factor, Apple is expected to show off a new chassis design — and possibly new materials — in its sixth-generation smartphone. And a little-known alloy that Apple has quietly been using for the past two years could be just the ticket to make consumers swoon.
Adidas will embed its miCoach data tracker in uniforms worn by players competing in the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on July 25. The “professional soccer team tracking system” riffs on the miCoach Speed Cell introduced last year, and Adidas says it will provide coaches with real-time data about player position and performance.
In an age when anyone can share, download and create not just digital files but also physical things, thanks to the proliferation of cheap 3-D printers, are companies at risk of losing control of the objects they sell? In March Levin and his former student Shawn Sims released a set of digital blueprints that a 3-D printer can use to create more than 45 plastic objects, each of which provides the missing interface between pieces from toy construction sets. They call it the Free Universal Construction Kit.
Siri is about to get one-upped by Google. The company on Wednesday unveiled a long-rumored concept called "Project Glass," which takes all the functionality of a smartphone and places it into a wearable device that resembles eyeglasses. The see-through lens could display everything from text messages to maps to reminders.
The gadgets of your smart home now come with software updates. Nest Labs today released the equivalent of version 2.0 software for its smart thermostat available for the Web, iOS or Android. The software tweaks for the $249 Learning Thermostat are designed to help people better understand how thermostat changes affect energy usage.
When an aircraft crashes, investigators are able to retrieve useful information about what went wrong from the flight data recorder, more commonly known as the black box. (The data recorder itself is actually not black, not until it’s retrieved from charred remains.) Statistically speaking, plane crashes are rare occurrences compared to car crashes, so why not install a black box for cars?
Nike has opened the world’s first NikeFuel Station at the Boxpark in Shoreditch, London. The retail space breaks new boundaries in digital displays and design, aiming to appeal to today’s digitally-enabled athlete.
PayPal is expected to launch a mobile payment dongle that would allow small businesses to process credit card transactions with a smartphone, according to a GigaOm report.
why is it that consumers are still paying through the nose for e-book titles that ought to cost a fraction of the price charged for the used hardcover version?
People who constantly reach into a pocket to check a smartphone for bits of information will soon have another option: a pair of Google-made glasses that will be able to stream information to the wearer’s eyeballs in real time.
Kodak is going to stop doing what they were once the first to ever do. No, not produce Kodachrome. They stopped that 10 years ago. They’re stopping the manufacture of digital cameras. “Did Kodak manufacture digital cameras?” I hear you ask. They invented digital.
The thermostat business is getting ugly. I understand that sounds crazy, but it’s true. Late last year Tony Fadell, the guy who created the iPod at Apple, launched Nest, a new company that aims to reinvent household devices. Nest’s first product is a beautiful, easy-to-use, $249 “learning thermostat.” It launched to rave reviews, and sold out instantly. In retrospect it’s clear why Honeywell put on a full-court press to show me all the ways its thermostat was superior to the Nest.
There is an old saying that hindsight is the only exact science, and it's true. The news that Kodak's long fade to black has finally ended with the company filing for Chapter 11 protection (a way of protecting it from bankruptcy while it attempts to restructure) has prompted an avalanche of retrospective wisdom about great companies "fumbling the future" (as the title of a book about Xerox once put it). And it's easy to see why. Kodak is like Coca-Cola, a brand-name that defined an industry. One of its products – the color film Kodachrome – even became the title of one of Paul Simon's most famous songs. You can't get more iconic than that. And the company was an industrial giant – at one time (1976), for example, it had 90% of film and 85% of camera sales in the US and was regularly rated one of the world's five most valuable brands. So it seemed inconceivable that a company as large and successful could disappear. And yet it might.
Barnes & Noble lowered guidance and its stock is getting crushed. It's thinking about spinning off its Nook business--both hardware and digital ecosystem. That won't save it.
With the public offering of Pandora and the recent U.S. launch of European music darling Spotify, as well as the emergence of other startups in the "streaming music" market, a great deal of media attention is focused on the online radio space. All of these music services are readily clumped together as "Internet radio." Streaming radio, is also sometimes called “Internet radio,” and they are essentially interchangeable. They involve delivering music (and/or other audio content) to a device via the Internet as a live stream. Internet radio is the opposite of a download. However, there are different types of services in the Internet radio basket, and many who speak or write about them end up comparing apples and oranges.
Google+ has been billed as a Facebook killer, its user homepage layout borrows heavily from Facebook, and now there are free self-service branded pages for marketers similar conceptually to what Facebook introduced in November 2007 – almost four years ago to the day. Despite all of this, Google+ is different. This is largely because Facebook the company has only one eponymous flagship product, and Google the company is using Google+ as both a networking hub and a social layer across its diverse suite of digital products.
Apple television rumors have swirled for years. But only now do we know that when speaking to his official biographer, Steve Jobs was keen to reinvent the television. And after ages trying to polish it into a user-friendly interface to video content he finally felt he'd "cracked it." Excitement has grown quickly since this revelation, but one analyst--Gene Munster--has checked with his sources and says that test HDTV prototypes are already in the pipeline, suggesting the device could be en route sooner than we thought.
"Happy chic" designer Jonathan Adler took some time away from whatever he's doing now to help put together eBay's first storefront. It's located in New York City, naturally. Each item in the storefront has a QR code; if you scan a code with your eBay phone app, you're directed to a special purchasing page within the app. What's that, you say? No, it's not a slightly more complicated version of browsing the site on your computer. Shut up. It's a dynamic and totally new 24-hour shopping experience.
Unleashed into the digital wilds, creatives have responded with innovative, far-reaching ideas that leverage interactive’s unique attributes. We look at some of the people best utilizing the new technologies to create work that stands out amidst today’s multimedia clutter.
In a few days Fast Company’s next magazine issue will begin arriving in newsstands and mailboxes. The issue has four different covers, and one of them features a picture of Steve Jobs. But this is not a commemorative obituary. In fact, the issue had already been printed at our plant when Jobs passed away. Instead the magazine offers a forward-looking analysis of what’s next for Apple--and how it will be battling with America’s three other favorite tech companies: Amazon, Facebook, and Google. We’ve dubbed this coming clash “The Great Tech War of 2012.”
Anyone who's spent an hour waiting to download a movie from Apple Inc.'s iTunes Store, or hunting for a recent release on Netflix Inc.'s streaming service, knows that online movies aren't exactly ready for prime time.
While there are many things worth celebrating of Steve Jobs's life, the greatest gift Steve gave us is a way to design our own lives.
Jeff Bezos announced a new family of Kindle’s today, including the Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch. But he also had one more thing. The Kindle Fire tablet is coming with an entirely new mobile browser called Amazon Silk. The browser is “cloud-accelerated” in that it splits tasks between the cloud and the device.
Amazon.com Inc. said it is testing a major redesign of its website, an overhaul that could refashion the way people shop on the world's largest online retailer. The new site appears to have been streamlined for use on a tablet computer, online-commerce experts say, indicating that the Seattle-based retailer is trying to improve the shopping experience on Apple Inc.'s iPad—or its own competing device. Amazon is expected to release a tablet in coming weeks, people familiar with the device have said.
Last night in after-hours trading, Apple's stock dropped precipitously. The prophets of Apple's doom emerged after a very long hibernation. Even those bullish on Apple's prospects could hardly muster more than lukewarm praise of Tim Cook's appointment to CEO of Apple Inc, saying, "he's pretty good, but he's no Steve Jobs." We believe they're all missing the point. Jobs has managed to perform the ultimate feat of leadership — he's embedded himself so deeply within the cultural fabric of Apple that the company no longer needs him.
While there are many theories for the underlying reasons for the the riots — social inequality, the economic crisis, gang culture, opportunism and the failings of capitalism to name a few — but there is little doubt that technology and social media were the great enablers of the rioters and the criminality that ensued.
Google has made its largest and boldest acquisition yet with the $12.5bn purchase of Motorola’s mobile-phone division, a deal the search company hopes will bolster its Android smartphone system.
Samsung's journey from low-cost OEM producer to a global brand name synonymous with innovation is an admirable one. The process of turning away from the basic elements responsible for your original success is a perilous and brave move. I can only imagine the resistance involved when an established, hierarchical company like the old Samsung decides to introduce practices that threaten the status quo.
In 2009, I purchased a Flip HD camcorder. Around the same time, Cisco purchased Flip, the company, for about $600 million. It was never clear precisely what Cisco was up to, but with YouTube being a big deal, some form of Internet connectivity seemed to top the list of the possible "synergies." It took Cisco just a year to change its mind, announcing in April of this year that it would shut Flip down.
The age of boots-on-the-ground activism has largely been passed over for organizing into Facebook groups and online petitions. And while those things are good ways to motivate people, real world action still works. ONE's new iPhone app lets you sign petitions, but also makes it easy to do things like call the White House or even helps give you information on how to get out to a real live protest. And--of course--there are plans to gameify everything. Prepare to compete for the title of most involved activist.
A device that looks like a smartphone is making supermarket shoppers—and stores—happier. Perched on the handle of the shopping cart, it scans grocery items as the customer adds them to the cart.
Few publishing executives have gotten a closer look at how quickly digital technology is transforming businesses around the globe than John Makinson, chief executive of Pearson PLC's book publishing arm, Penguin Group. The house publishes 4,000 fiction and nonfiction titles globally, and does business in a wide variety of markets, including India. Deciding how and where to sell those books is significantly more complicated than when Mr. Makinson took over as CEO in 2002. At the time, e-books were a minor enterprise, and the full impact of online discounting hadn't yet been felt.
Wow. Cisco has just issued a release stating that in a strategic plan to “align its operations,” the company will exit parts of its consumer businesses and realign the remaining consumer business to support four of its five key company priorities: core routing, switching and services; collaboration; architectures; and video. One of the casualties of this realignment: Cisco’s video camera Flip business, which was part of its $590 million acquisition of Pure Digital. As part of the plan, Cisco will close down its Flip business and “support current FlipShare customers and partners with a transition plan.” Cisco will also refocus its Home Networking business and will integrate Cisco umi into the company’s Business TelePresence product line. As part of the transition, Cisco plans to eliminate 550 jobs.
Toys "R" Us will soon be selling iPads alongside G.I. Joes, PlayStation games, and Legos. And did you know? One in five U.S. teens owns a tablet PC (which basically means an iPad). iPads: Apple's doin' it for the kids.
Worried about your data? If you’re not, you’re kidding yourself. It’s become clear over the past few months that the risk of security breaches has reached a new and frightening level — from sophisticated tools in the hands of national governments and organized crime to spontaneous attacks harnessing the resources of thousands of loosely connected vigilantes. Add to that the dizzying array of devices now used to access, move and store data. Security strategies that seemed airtight only a few years ago now look like so much Swiss cheese.
Starting this week, Progressive's perky sales clerk will push a new in-car product the company claims will be as transformative for the insurance industry as the iPod was for music -- a device that plugs in your car and tracks how and when you drive.
To no one’s surprise, including mine, Apple once again has the industry all abuzz about their latest innovation – the iPad2. After months of speculation and free press, Apple unveiled—through their charismatic and enigmatic leader, Steve Jobs—how they intend to extend their dominance over the rapidly expanding tablet market with the iPad2. As much as I admire Apple’s relentless pursuit and delivery of innovation, it’s their stranglehold on customer sentiment and the media in particular that I find even more impressive and, frankly, enviable. The question is, “Is it sustainable?”
The frustration that the country’s magazine and newspaper publishers feel toward Apple can sound a lot like a variation on the old relationship gripe, “can’t live with ’em, may get left behind without ’em.”
The battle between Google and Microsoft to shape the future of personal computing has stepped up a gear after Google unveiled an internet-centric laptop that it said would offer a cheaper alternative to the traditional PC. Executives at the search company said companies such as American Airlines and Kraft had been lining up to try out the new machine in the hope of saving large amounts on their PC costs.
In the 1995 film Johnny Mnemonic, the title character, played by Keanu Reeves, has a cybernetic brain implant that stores vast amounts of data. Today, we all have this capacity, but the mechanism is in our hands, not our heads. Smartphones are helping us become, well, smarter – both expanding our memories and giving us access to the web's collective knowledge.
Ray Ozzie, the software visionary who was hired to galvanise Microsoft’s attempt to overhaul its business for the internet era, is to leave the company after a brief transition, it was announced unexpectedly on Monday. “He was trying to push against the wind to accelerate the change,” said Wesley Miller, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft. “They’re a slow-moving company that needs to move faster.” Microsoft’s slow progress in cloud computing was one reason that Goldman Sachs downgraded its recommendation on the company’s stock earlier this month after many years of rating it a “buy”.
In our previous two posts, we discussed the significance of cloud computing and social software. We rarely get excited about technology for technology's sake — we are most interested in how technologies (and people and practices) alter the business landscape. In this post, we explore how the convergence of these two technology edges can help to support extreme performance improvement. In particular, we want to focus on their potential to change individuals' behaviors and orientation toward challenges.
How a tiny piece of software created by a few Google engineers is ushering in the mobile revolution and reshaping the fortunes of the world's biggest tech companies.
The only brands that stay relevant in our change world will be ones savvy about mobile technology.
At TEDxBerlin, Fabian Hemmert demos one future of the mobile phone -- a shape-shifting and weight-shifting handset that "displays" information nonvisually, offering a delightfully intuitive way to communicate.
Forrester Research’s largest annual survey of Americans’ technology adoption finds that 73 percent of the 37,000 respondents claim the mobile phone is the electronic device they use the most.
Whoever said technology was dehumanizing was wrong. On screens everywhere — cellphones, e-readers, A.T.M.’s — as Diana Ross sang, we just want to reach out and touch. Scientists and academics who study how we interact with technology say people often try to import those behaviors into their lives, as anyone who has ever wished they could lower the volume on a loud conversation or Google their brain for an answer knows well. But they say touching screens has seeped into people’s day-to-day existence more quickly and completely than other technological behaviors because it is so natural, intimate and intuitive.
Mobile advertising is increasingly important, as cell phone adoption rates, especially smartphone adoption rates, soar. With a range of mobile advertising options, including SMS, WAP, mobile app display ads, search ads, rich media, video and push notifications, the landscape can be a bit complicated. After a tough 2009, advertisers are expected to increase mobile and digital marketing budgets over the next year. With this in mind, it’s essential that advertisers keep up-to-date on their options in the mobile space. Here, we’ve laid out five mobile advertising trends to watch over the coming year.
According to Deloitte's 2010 Back-to-School Survey, three out of 10 consumers plan to use their mobile phones to assist in their back-to-school shopping. No doubt, as shoppers look to social media for product information, reviews and sales, the ecology of shopping is changing rapidly. As it does, marketers are trying to address two challenges. The first is how to strike the right balance between verified traditional methods and the pursuit of new ways of communicating with shoppers. The second challenge for marketers is to garner shopper attention, then earn and cultivate a relationship with the shopper.
The Internet is a medium that is evolving at breakneck speed. It’s a wild organism of sweeping cultural change — one that leaves the carcasses of dead media forms in its sizeable wake. It’s transformative: it has transformed the vast globe into a ‘global village’ and it has drawn human communication away from print-based media and into a post-Gutenberg digital era. Right now, its perils are equal to its potential. The debate over ‘net neutrality’ is at a fever pitch. There is a tug-of-war going on between an ‘open web’ and a more governed form of the web (like the Apple-approved apps on the iPad/iPhone) that has more security but less freedom.
Advancing technologies and their swift adoption are upending traditional business models. Senior executives need to think strategically about how to prepare their organizations for the challenging new environment.
The media is something that for most, if not all, of our adult lives, we have taken for granted. Media giants form the terra firma of the marketing industry, both its paid and earned disciplines. They provide the lifeblood of services and bring us the audiences we need to do our jobs. However, underneath it all, the harsh reality is that there's a new digital dynamic present today. This will mean that many media companies divide themselves into dozens of smaller independent operating companies if they wish to survive. Many won't.
As early data on iPad apps trickle in, one thing is clear: It's going to require mountains of metrics for advertisers to pony up for the new platform's ads -- and their high prices. But early data from Conde Nast will bolster the argument the iPad is worth a premium, as it's delivering on reader attention better than other media channels.
For Blockbuster, the advent of DVDs in the mail was a disruptive technology. The chain relied initially on bulky videotapes and late fees to generate a fat revenue stream, and its scale was huge; smaller, independent stores gradually left the market. Netflix opened a new battlefront, mailing thin DVDs and letting customers keep a disc as long as they wanted. Blockbuster saw the change coming. It even took action, setting up its own mail service. But seeds of destruction had been sown, and Blockbuster is now financially troubled. Netflix, meanwhile, is already embracing technology shifts that will make those red envelopes a quaint memory. Creative destruction has such a cataclysmic sound. But the term, coined by the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter to show how capitalism destroys companies as more innovative ones succeed, describes a process that is more like a slow-motion train wreck.
Today’s playlist is about toys that inspire learning, innovation — and of course fun! These are the toys of the technological age: they are alive, they think, they perform magic. What were your favorite toys as a kid (or an adult), and what did they inspire in you?
Americans are spending more on electronics like iPads and flat-screen televisions and less on durable goods like furniture, washing machines and lawn mowers, according to government data released Tuesday. The shift reflects a change in priorities for American consumers. After pouring money into all aspects of their homes during the previous decade, consumers are redirecting their purchases to eye-grabbing technology and socking away more of what's left over into savings. Apparel company executives are worried the lure of electronics will eat into their sales as the back-to-school season gets under way.
In early 2008, Microsoft Corp.'s product planners for the Internet Explorer 8.0 browser intended to give users a simple, effective way to avoid being tracked online. They wanted to design the software to automatically thwart common tracking tools, unless a user deliberately switched to settings affording less privacy. That triggered heated debate inside Microsoft.
While 2009 was arguably the year brands embraced the iPhone, developing apps left and right, the iPad doesn't seem to have inspired the same enthusiasm. Magazines have embraced the iPad, but despite the product's hype, larger screen and dual-touch technology, brands haven't followed suit.
That’s what Fake does best: Tend social sparks until they ignite and become full-fledged communities. Connecting people to one another is not just Fake’s hobby — she has made it her career. As the cofounder of Flickr, the landmark photography site, Fake provided a place for shutterbugs to share their work; they have uploaded more than 4 billion pictures. It was a seminal service that helped launch the era of user-generated content, spurring entrepreneurs to build Web sites and businesses based on volunteer contributions.
One sunny spring day in 2004, Dennis Crowley was running down Waverly Street dressed in yellow, avoiding ghosts. Crowley, then a 27-year-old grad student in New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, was participating in a class project called Pac-Manhattan, which used the streets of Greenwich Village for a grueling physical version of the classic arcade game. He was Pac-Man, and—despite a support team that was logging his movements, tracking ghosts, and directing him to power pills—people dressed as Pac-Man spooks eventually cornered him near Fifth Avenue. The New York Times described the experience as “a kind of tableau of digital convergence with the physical world.”
In a study out today, Forrester finds that only 4% of U.S. online adults have ever used location-based mobile apps such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt. Only 1% update these services more than once per week. What's more, 84% of respondents said they are not familiar with such apps, leaving the vast majority of Americans online still in the dark about location-based apps, which have had the marketing world obsessing over them in recent months.
They see life as a game. They enjoy nothing more than outsmarting the system. They don’t trust politicians, medias, nor brands. They see corporations as inefficient and plagued by an outmoded hierarchy. Even if they harbor little hope of doing better than their parents, they don’t see themselves as unhappy. They belong to a group — several, actually — they trust and rely upon. “They”, are the Digital Natives.
The trouble: the T400 doesn’t have “it” quality. It is a business machine in the most pedestrian sense of the term. No trace of elegance. No claim to being the pick of the technological litter. No “wow” factor. The T410 is just another business machine. This takes us into one of the thorniest issue in the branding world. What is “it?” And what’s “it” worth?
While the raison d'être for the tablet computer isn't yet clear, interactive media and personal data management both need transformative apps.
Amazon.com Inc. said it reached a milestone, selling more e-books than hardbacks over the past three months. But publishers said it is still too early to gauge for the entire industry whether the growth of e-books is cannibalizing sales of paperback books, a huge and crucial market.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs addressed these issues Friday from the company's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. His take? There's a small problem, but one that was blown out of proportion by the press. For once, it may be hard to argue with Apple's best salesperson. What are the ramifications for a brand that rarely deals with a crisis on this level? Experts agree that Apple will be just fine.
From cars to designer clothes to children’s toys, there’s a growing trend towards “transumerism” and “collaborative consumption,” which emphasize sharing, renting and experiencing over owning. Is it just a fad? Or is this a significant trend that will reshape our approach to goods and commerce? I’ve pondered what I call “cloud living” before. Now let’s dig deeper.
The first of Apple's iAds are expected to start popping up on iPhones later this week, but don't expect all the marketers that have committed to the platform to be there. A check-in with declared iAd advertisers found that many are still in the early stages of flushing out concepts and creative. Some are weeks -- perhaps months -- away from having an iAd in the system. What are the i-advertisers up to? Here's a look at some of those willing to share.
Apple, without a doubt, is creating a massive sea change in how we interact with digital content. Note that I didn't say "the Web." This is because the millions of iPad and iPhone users spend more time within Apple's walled garden of apps rather than in a browser. However, there's a potential dark side to the millions of Apple devices being sold and it should give every marketer pause.
For many marketers, advertising in stores is an increasingly important way to influence shoppers at the so-called moment of truth, as they finally make up their minds about which brands of soup, soap or cereal to buy — or not buy. Now, a company is hoping to bring commercials to the retail point of purchase on screens that will be attached to shelves and above aisles.
The era of the Web browser’s dominance is coming to a close. And the Internet’s founding ideology—that information wants to be free, and that attempts to constrain it are not only hopeless but immoral— suddenly seems naive and stale in the new age of apps, smart phones, and pricing plans. What will this mean for the future of the media—and of the Web itself?
Unilever may be a global marketer, but it hasn't been able to do many truly global ad deals -- at least not until its multimillion-dollar deal with Apple to be the consumer goods "presenting advertiser" on the new iAd platform was announced June 7. For Unilever, the deal aims at tapping the two biggest, and largely interdependent, trends it sees shaping marketing: globalization and mobile digital media.
In the third millennium it’s getting harder than ever to stay in place. Who hasn’t seen a driver almost crash while talking on a cell phone? Who hasn’t noticed children in a park staring down at a game-boy instead of romping about? Who hasn’t been to a dinner party and caught someone sneaking a glance at his handheld under the table and sending a tweet about the first course before even finishing it? Each week, it seems, industry comes up with new gadgets that help us to jump out of our bodies and flash out there to everything under the sun that can be encoded by electrical signals, pulses of light and binary values. Few of these digital experiences would have registered before the 21st century and some have become widespread only in the past few years. We’re in the first stage of a transformation of our sense of place as momentous as that which occurred a couple of centuries ago, when products from smoke-stacked factories forged modern society.
CEO Steve Jobs also unveiled some new metrics. Among them: Apple expects to control 48% of the mobile display ad market in the second half of 2010; it already has $60 million in commitments for its mobile iAd format; and it has paid out more than $1 billion in revenue to app developers. Here are some takeaways from Mr. Jobs' presentation at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference today.
In a significant shift in how phone carriers bill customers, AT&T Inc. will stop selling unlimited Internet data plans to new customers that buy smartphones and iPads, and will instead begin charging more for heavy bandwidth users. New AT&T customers will have to chose between two data plans with monthly usage limits—and pay additional fees for extra use. Existing customers, however, can stick with their current plans, AT&T said.
Loyalty cards — those little paper cards that promise a free sandwich or coffee after 10 purchases, but instead get lost or forgotten — are going mobile. And merchants are looking for ways to marry the concept to games that customers can play to earn more free items and, it is hoped, spend more money. Instead of collecting paper cards and fumbling through wallets at the cash register, customers are increasingly using their cellphones to track their visits and purchases, and receive rewards.
With a slide in the value of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) on Wednesday, Apple Inc. (AAPL) took over its long-time rival in terms of market capitalization, another notch in its impressive 2010 performance. The move by Apple, despite its own shares slipping 0.5% to $244.11, makes it the second-largest U.S. company behind oil behemoth Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM). Apple's shares have soared during the year, pushing it first past retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and now past Microsoft, two highly regarded blue chips. Apple has gained 16% in 2010 and hit an all-time high of $272.46 one month ago as its products have continued to fly off the shelves and its newly released tablet computer has garnered much attention.
"TV meets Web. Web meets TV." This is the tagline that Internet giant Google has given to its new software-based television platform called Google TV, described as the blending of the best of both TV and Web experiences. Realizing that TV still has the majority of the consumer eyeballs, Google is trying something new by extending its reach in cross-platform content--in this case, bringing Web, gaming, online video, and social media to the set top box and/or television set. According to Google, millions of "channels" of entertainment will now be easily maneuverable, seamless and searchable--in one device. Google has also challenged Web developers to start creating new apps using the Android open-source platform.
People who find the Web distasteful — ugly, uncivilized — have nonetheless been forced to live there: it’s the place to go for jobs, resources, services, social life, the future. But now, with the purchase of an iPhone or an iPad, there’s a way out, an orderly suburb that lets you sample the Web’s opportunities without having to mix with the riffraff. This suburb is defined by apps from the glittering App Store: neat, cute homes far from the Web city center, out in pristine Applecrest Estates. In the migration of dissenters from the “open” Web to pricey and secluded apps, we’re witnessing urban decentralization, suburbanization and the online equivalent of white flight.
In the massive new Barnes & Noble superstore on Manhattan's Upper East Side, generous display space is devoted to baby blankets, Art Deco flight clocks, stationery and adult games like Risk and Stratego. The eclectic merchandise, which has nothing to do with books, may be a glimpse into the future of Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation's largest book chain. Electronic books are still in their infancy, comprising an estimated 3% to 5% of the market today. But they are fast accelerating the decline of physical books, forcing retailers, publishers, authors and agents to reinvent their business models or be painfully crippled.
Google opened up an entirely new store of inventory for advertisers today with Google TV, an interactive platform that collapses the wall between TV and internet in the living room. The service, created with hardware partners Sony, Logitech and Intel, will launch this fall on TVs, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players.
Since late 2005, Apple's stock has quintupled. With a market capitalization of close to $250 billion, Apple is (at least today) the third most valuable company in the world, behind ExxonMobil and Microsoft. It's a stunning story that's been dissected to death, but still remarkable enough to warrant reflection. Ten years ago — three years after Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs had returned to "rescue" Apple — the company was still largely treading water, with a relatively meager $3 billion market capitalization. Its personal computer products had a loyal following in niche markets, but that was about it. Over the past decade, Apple has launched five legitimately game-changing innovations.
For Research in Motion, the maker of the popular BlackBerry smartphone, staying No. 1 isn't about apps or fancy hardware, it's about cost effectiveness. For all the hoopla surrounding Apple's iPhone and the various Android smartphones that have hit the market recently, many forget what is still, by a healthy margin tops in the market: RIM's modest BlackBerry. And RIM intends to stay on top by doing what it does best: offering something that's more affordable and can operate on wireless networks more efficiently than its flashier competition.
Coca-Cola Co. hopes a new high-tech soda fountain will add some life to listless soft-drink sales by letting restaurant-goers mix up 104 different drinks, creating inventions such as Caffeine-Free Diet Raspberry Coke. The soda fountain has been the touchstone of Coke's business since 1886, when a pharmacist John Pembertoncreated the secret-recipe syrup and mixed it with carbonated water. But the technology hasn't changed much since the 1950s, as a line of nozzles spit out big-name sodas.
U.S. antitrust enforcers are taking a keen interest in recent changes that Apple Inc. made to its licensing agreement with iPhone application developers and are likely to open a preliminary investigation into whether the company's actions stifle competition in mobile devices, according to people familiar with the situation. The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department, which are jointly tasked with enforcing federal antitrust laws, are holding discussions over which agency would hold the inquiry, these people said. Apple, the FTC and Justice Department all declined to comment.
Hewlett-Packard Co. scooped up Palm Inc. for about $1 billion in cash, pushing the computer giant deeper into the competitive smartphone market and ending the independence of a struggling company that was rapidly running out of prospects.
You seemingly can’t live without social media these days, or at least, that is what many in our industry believe. Why? Because “everybody” is using it. Everybody is communicating, “everybody is a publisher.” But does that mean that every European is publishing through social media? Well, not exactly. Yes, Europeans are online en masse and are using social media in big numbers. But how are they using social media?
Last week I presented at Stanford Graduate School of Business in a session on Mobile Computing called, "Creating Mobile Experiences: It's the Platform, Stupid." As the title underscores, I am a big believer that to understand what makes mobile tick, you really need to look beyond a device's hardware shell (important, though it is), and fully factor in the composite that includes its software and service layers; developer tools and the ecosystem "surround." Successful platforms, after all, are more than the sum of their parts' propositions. They are not simply a bunch of dis-integrated ingredients.
Invaluable as innovation may be, our relentless focus on it may be obscuring the value of its much-maligned relative, imitation. Imitation has always had a faintly disreputable ring to it — presidents do not normally give speeches extolling the virtues of the copycat. But where innovation brings new things into the world, imitation spreads them; where innovators break the old mold, imitators perfect the new one; and while innovators can win big, imitators often win bigger.
In the first weeks of the iPad launch, retailers have been largely left out of the conversation. But industry executives believe the device could have a major impact on everything from retailers' catalogs to e-commerce to enhancing the in-store experience. So far, few retailers have embraced the new Apple device even though many already have iPhone apps. Gap, Gilt.com and eBay are among the retail brands that have created iPad applications, while Puma is expected to add iPads to its stores late this year.
Thanks to Internet-equipped smartphones, shoppers are increasingly using software applications to check prices at other stores without leaving the mall. Now retailers are trying to use technology to fight back.
Own an iPad? Downloaded the eBay app? You should. It is by far the best way to experience eBay. Watch Movies? Seen the IMDB App? It is so much better than the website. Use Twitter? 81,43% chance you are not using Twitter.com but an App. It seems that more and more Apps are replacing websites in a time when more and more applications are moving to the web. What exactly do we want? Email went from the Application to the Cloud with Gmail, and we love it. The same for Flickr for photos and Google Docs for documents. At the same time Twitter started out as a website but quickly moved to applications on multiple platforms. It is clear that just moving everything to the web isn’t the ultimate solution for everything. That eBay and IMDB app are clear examples.
A push for real and meaningful innovation permeates the business environment. Leading brands embrace innovation as a tangible driver of business performance as opposed to a meaningless moniker-and inculcate true innovation and entrepreneurialism into their cultures, employees and overall enterprises. Innovation in the Re-Invention Economy shows its evolved self in every aspect of organizational drive and is industry agnostic in its rapid manifestation.
The success of Apple’s mobile devices gives the firm an opportunity to capture a goodly chunk of the emerging mobile-advertising market. Indeed, that is the reason why Apple recently acquired Quattro Wireless, a mobile advertising agency. Becoming an advertising powerhouse is certainly attractive. But Mr Jobs has far bigger fish to fry. The biggest of them all is turning Apple into the Microsoft of mobility. But first there is a little matter of locking as many software developers as possible into the Apple ecosystem. If the applications are there, so the argument goes, users will follow in droves.
Recently, there has been a lot of buzz on the Internet about two similar events. What happened was basically this; The Masters of the Universe had proclaimed their decrees like dictators and the only thing the rest of the world could do was, for a lack of a better phrase, gnash their teeth in frustration. If businesses are going to bet on creating solutions on platforms they do not own, they have to realize that this a huge business risk. When the platform owners change the rules of the game, everything pretty much goes down the drain and we will have likely no control or say over this decision.
With the aid of a US$1.8 million grant from the Department of Labor, they studied the way young people learn in a world of video games and smart phones. In collaboration with MIT; Virginia Tech; and the Institute of the Future, they build a high-tech, next-generation training facility called UPS Integrad. This facility offers 3-D simulations and webcasts along with traditional classroom instruction. Trainees are recorded to show them how they look in action. UPS teach them to drive in a replica outdoor city called Clarkville that has real streets, street signs, sidewalks, and simulated commercial and residential delivery and pickup sites.
Advertising agencies and software developers on Friday welcomed Apple’s new iAd network as a potential breakthrough that could give an important boost to the small but fast-growing mobile advertising market. However, they also warned that making ads for iAd would be expensive and it was likely to take some time for Apple to demonstrate it could build a big enough market to make it worthwhile.
Apple, the maker of popular gadgets, is getting into the business of selling advertising, ratcheting up its rivalry with Google. On Thursday the company gave a preview of a new version of the basic software for its mobile devices, including the iPhone. The software has a built-in advertising system, meant to be used by the developers who have created the more than 185,000 applications in Apple’s App Store.
Enter iPad. The proponents call it a radical new dominant design for computing. Don't buy the hype, say the detractors: the iPad's just another land-grabbing walled garden. Both sides are right — and wrong. The iPad is a revolution waiting to happen. But the revolution's biggest roadblock is Apple itself.
Nokia retains a massive share of the global mobile phone market, but cracks are beginning to appear in its once-impenetrable leadership. In particular, the electronics brand is struggling to defend its lead in smartphones - the fastest-growing and most profitable part of the mobile phone business.
With a carrier-agnostic iPhone coming to market later this summer, the conventional wisdom is that AT&T will lose customers (its phone coverage and iPhone service haven't been stellar) and a lot of profits (some say the iPhone has been not only its brightest but biggest single source of earnings). I say it doesn't have to work out this way. There's a post-generification breakout strategy for AT&T, but it would require a massive rethinking of its brand and marketing communications. Here are the three core realizations the company's brain trust would have to reach.
Apple Inc.'s iPad appeared to get off to a strong start over the weekend as swarms of buyers flocked to stores after weeks of publicity about the tablet-style computer. But the long lines soon faded, and few stores sold out of the device, which continues to face questions about how broadly demand for it will spread beyond technology enthusiasts.
The premise of this essay is that the explosive growth of mobile communications can be a powerful tool for addressing some of the most critical challenges of the 21st century, such as promoting vibrant democracies, fostering inclusive economic growth, and reducing the huge inequities in life expectancy between rich and poor nations. The benefits of mobile communications are particularly profound for developing countries, many of which are “leapfrogging” the traditional fixed telecommunications infrastructure. As a result, billions of people in developing countries are gaining access to modern communications of any sort for the first time.
For the past week or so, I have been testing a sleek, light, silver-and-black tablet computer called an iPad. After spending hours and hours with it, I believe this beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop. It could even help, eventually, to propel the finger-driven, multitouch user interface ahead of the mouse-driven interface that has prevailed for decades.
The next generation of Ford's Sync technology will turn its cars into rolling, talking, socially networked, cloud-connected supermachines. Introducing America's most surprising consumer-electronics company.
In 10 years of reviewing tech products for The New York Times, I’ve never seen a product as polarizing as Apple’s iPad, which arrives in stores on Saturday. “This device is laughably absurd,” goes a typical remark on a tech blog’s comments board. “How can they expect anyone to get serious computer work done without a mouse?” “This truly is a magical revolution,” goes another. “I can’t imagine why anyone will want to go back to using a mouse and keyboard once they’ve experienced Apple’s visionary user interface!” The haters tend to be techies; the fans tend to be regular people. Therefore, no single write-up can serve both readerships adequately. There’s but one solution: Write separate reviews for these two audiences.
MediaPost reports that Apple's next next big thing, after iPads invade the world next weekend, will be iAd, a mobile advertising platform to be debuted April 7. Coffee dates and patent suits aside, this could be the true Apple-Google battleground.
As smartphones and handheld computers move into classrooms worldwide, we may be witnessing the start of an educational revolution. How technology could unleash childhood creativity -- and transform the role of the teacher.
Everyone who jammed into the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on January 27, 2010, knew what they were there for: Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ introduction of a thin, always-on tablet device that would let people browse the Web, read books, send email, watch movies, and play games. It was also no surprise that the 1.5-pound iPad resembled an iPhone, right down to the single black button nestled below the bright 10-inch screen. But about an hour into the presentation, Apple showed something unexpected — something that not many people even noticed. In addition to the lean-back sorts of activities one expects from a tablet (demonstrated by Jobs while relaxing in a comfy black armchair), there was a surprising pitch for the iPad as a lean-forward device, one that runs a revamped version of Apple’s iWork productivity apps. In many ways, Jobs claimed, the iPad would be better than pricier laptops and desktops as a tool for high-end word processing and spreadsheets. If anyone missed the point, Apple’s design guru Jonathan Ive gushed in a promotional video that the iPad wasn’t just a cool new way to gobble up media — it was blazing a path to the future of computing.
The Apple iPad, hitting stores April 3, is one of the most-hyped products in technology history. There is talk that it could revolutionize computing and media. But when it comes to new products, great expectations can doom products that don't measure up to them.
Don't act too surprised if, some time in the next year, you meet someone who explains that their business card isn't just a card; it's an augmented reality business card. You can see a collection and, at visualcard.me, you can even design your own, by adding a special marker to your card, which, once put in front of a webcam linked to the internet, will show not only your contact details but also a video or sound clip. Or pretty much anything you want. It's not just business cards.
Google and Intel have teamed with Sony to develop a platform called Google TV to bring the Web into the living room through a new generation of televisions and set-top boxes. The move is an effort by Google and Intel to extend their dominance of computing to television, an arena where they have little sway. For Sony, which has struggled to retain a pricing and technological advantage in the competitive TV hardware market, the partnership is an effort to get a leg up on competitors.
I’ve been trying to organize my thoughts about the iPad and the direction that Apple is taking computing along with it. It’s really an extension of the way they look at the iPhone, which I found unsettling at the time but with the iPad, we’re all finally coming around to the idea that they really, really mean it.
It looked like the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Three years ago, Eric E. Schmidt, the chief executive of Google, jogged onto a San Francisco stage to shake hands with Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s co-founder, to help him unveil a transformational wonder gadget — the iPhone — before throngs of journalists and adoring fans at the annual MacWorld Expo. Google and Apple had worked together to bring Google’s search and mapping services to the iPhone, the executives told the audience, and Mr. Schmidt joked that the collaboration was so close that the two men should simply merge their companies and call them “AppleGoo.” Today, such warmth is in short supply. Mr. Jobs, Mr. Schmidt and their companies are now engaged in a gritty battle royale over the future and shape of mobile computing and cellphones, with implications that are reverberating across the digital landscape.
While communication and gaming gadgets have convenienced and connected us in ways never before possible, they may also be profoundly hurting our ability to be social, empathic and involved with each other. The signs are everywhere — from the near collisions on city streets where drivers are too busy texting to pay attention to the virtual relationships on Facebook and the addiction to video games.
Some small businesses are experimenting with new Web-marketing services that integrate social media. While entrepreneurs say they've seen some positive results, some of the services carry hefty fees and their long-term value remains unclear. Start-ups like Groupon Inc., LivingSocial, BuyWithMe Inc. and IMshopping Inc.'s NimbleBuy let merchants offer one-day promotions, sometimes requiring a minimum number of customers to participate in order for the promotion to be valid.
The Kaiser Foundation recently released a study documenting the astounding fact that 8-18 year olds in the United States have increased their media use from 8hrs 33 mins per day in 2004 to 10hrs 45 mins in 2009, which means that except for when they sleeping or in school they are almost always consuming media. I call them the 10:45 generation. Regardless of whether you think this is bad news signaling the demise of our children, or good news expecting our progeny are on the way to be becoming more literate in rich media world, as a business leaders we all must face this new reality. In particular, this short post will deal with the issue of managing your brand for the 10:45 generation.
User interfaces—the way we interact with our technologies—have evolved a lot over the years. From the original punch cards and printouts to monitors, mouses, and keyboards, all the way to the track pad, voice recognition, and interfaces designed to make it easier for the disabled to use computers, interfaces have progressed rapidly within the last few decades. But there’s still a long way to go and there are many possible directions that future interface designs could take. We’re already seeing some start to crop up and its exciting to think about how they’ll change our lives.
Magazines, books, newspapers -- all that printed stuff is supposed to be dying. Advertising pages, which have been steadily declining, dropped 26% in 2009 alone. But here, surely, was some evidence that publishing might have a chance. If an adolescent who otherwise spends every waking hour on a laptop still craves the printed word, then maybe, just maybe, there's a little new growth left in old media.
Sounds like a sensationalistic headline, but if you read Morgan Stanley’s latest series of reports on the Mobile Internet, you’ll walk away with the same impression. Morgan Stanley’s global technology and telecom analysts documented the rapidly changing mobile Internet market to provide a framework for emerging trends and direction. To set the stage, Morgan Stanley forecasts that the mobile Internet market will be at least 2x the size of desktop Internet when comparing Internet users to mobile subscribers.
Fueled by the music industry's ongoing turmoils and, finally, books going digital at a very rapid pace, there is a lot of debate on how to deal with the fact that many people habitually share i.e. redistribute digital content without any of the upstream users making their own payment. How can you monetize content when the copy is free? This question is a key issue across the board, whether it's in music, eBooks, news, publishing, TV or movies. The fear is, of course, that once a digital item has been purchased by one person it can be easily forwarded to anyone else if it is in an open format, thus seriously reducing the possibility that someone else will actually pay real $ for it, as well (of course, the same is true for supposedly locked or protected digital content as well - it just takes a bit longer). No more control over distribution = no more money. Right?
What will the future of social networking look like? Imagine this: your digital video recorder automatically copies a television show that several of your friends were talking about on a social network before the show went on air. Or this: you get into your car, switch on its navigation system and ask it to guide you to a friend’s house. As you pull out of the driveway, the network to which you both belong automatically alerts her that you are on your way. And this: as you are buying a pair of running shoes that you think one of your friends might be interested in, you can send a picture to their network page with a couple of clicks on a keypad next to the checkout counter.
You have to give it to Apple. The company has an uncanny knack for seizing the moment and whipping journalists and consumers into a frenzy. The latest wave comes from today's launch of the iPad tablet with iBookstore content store. As always, there's a lot to like about Apple's device. The user interface looks great, the bookstore seems intuitive, and Apple set a price point (at least for the entry level iPad) that positions the device well in the marketplace. The hype bar was set so high that inevitably some people were disappointed - Dan Frommer from Silicon Alley Insider called it a big "yawn" that won't define publishing the way many experts projected.
Literature has always relied on technology. We wouldn't have the Dead Sea Scrolls had the ancients failed to invent papyrus, just as we wouldn't have "The Da Vinci Code" if Gutenberg hadn't come out with movable type. Technology has also abetted literature by enabling the wealth and leisure that fueled the rise of the popular press — and allowed for such luxuries as a class of professional writers and a large campus establishment devoted to the literary arts. It is important to bear in mind that technology is not the sworn enemy of literature as Apple prepares (according to frantic rumor) to unveil its much-anticipated new tablet computer on Jan. 27. Still, the collision of technology and literature in this case may well prove explosive.
As we wanted to keep things straightforward and hands-on this month, we're highlighting "FUNCTIONALL". Which is all about a new breed of products that are simple, small and/or cheap (with a dash of sustainability), giving them global appeal, from India to Sweden. Now, if that doesn't warrant a brainstorming session...
With the widely anticipated introduction of a tablet computer at an event here on Wednesday morning, Apple may be giving the media industry a kind of time machine — a chance to undo mistakes of the past. Almost all media companies have run aground in the Internet Age as they gave away their print and video content on the Web and watched paying customers drift away as a result.
With the new tablet device that is debuting next week, Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs is betting he can reshape businesses like textbooks, newspapers and television much the way his iPod revamped the music industry—and expand Apple's influence and revenue as a content middleman. In developing the device, Apple focused on the role the gadget could play in homes and in classrooms, say people familiar with the situation. The company envisions that the tablet can be shared by multiple family members to read news and check email in homes, these people say.
Your iPhone operates by the touch of your fingers. Why not your car? Auto makers are starting to roll out a new generation of dashboard technology that substitutes touch-sensitive pads and displays for knobs and switches and videogame-style graphics for drab two-dimensional displays. Technology created to power games, mobile phones and computer displays is now being adapted—and often significantly improved—for those two-ton hand-held devices that come with four tires and leather seats.
Apple on Monday ratcheted up the public relations buzz surrounding the launch of a new product, widely expected to be a tablet-sized computer, this month. It sent out a press invitation via email, inviting journalists to “come see our latest creation”. Whilst far from explicit, as is Apple’s wont, the invitation was the strongest confirmation yet of what has been the company’s most anticipated new product since the launch of the iPhone three years ago.
We’ve seen some major world events unfold on the social media stage this week, the biggest being Google’s threat to pull out of China and the Haiti earthquake. Google’s (Google) actions have brought attention back to the long-standing Internet censorship that blankets China, while the destruction in Haiti has mobilized hundreds of thousands to open their wallets and their hearts. Just like the Iran Election crisis, people are again assessing the impact of social media on the world. It’s clear that social media has the power to impact world politics and the lives of billions, but some have overstated what social media can actually do. We need to understand what social media really is in order to utilize it effectively for social good. Let me explain by highlighting a few examples of social media’s impact on the world stage, and then concluding with how I view social media’s impact in the larger context of mobilization and world discussion.
Sometimes it takes a million square feet of gizmos to understand where humanity is headed. After all the pageantry and pixels, here's what the world learned about tech in 2010.
A longtime quest to bring the Internet to the living room has entered a new phase, borrowing a page from Apple Inc. and its iPhone. Companies are now racing to build marketplaces for TV programs that act much like iPhone apps, able to interact with social-networking services, play games, call up movies and other Web content—all using a remote control, rather than a computer equipped with browsers. The TV applications are designed to exploit new consumer electronics devices with Internet connections that are beginning to appear in homes in significant numbers.
Microsoft on Wednesday evening positioned itself for a potential war over a new category of touch-screen “tablet” computers as Steve Ballmer, chief executive, anticipated an expected major product announcement from Apple by showing off a version running on Windows software. The Microsoft boss used his speech at the opening of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to highlight the product, made by Hewlett-Packard.
So Google's got a new phone now. Internet coverage is predictably hyperbolic, though Scott Anthony smartly puts the phone's potential to make waves into the future tense, and the New York Times' typically giddy David Pogue was downright snarky in his review. Nevertheless, the tech industry is atwitter with a fresh new rivalry. Mac versus PC is so last decade. Now, it's "Hello I'm an iPhone." "And I'm a Nexus One." I vote for Rainn Wilson playing Google in the commercials.
The coverage of Google's Nexus One "superphone" - officially unveiled today - was swift and almost universally positive. The HTC-designed device looks beautiful, its functionality sounds fantastic, and by all accounts it looks like a viable competitor to Apple and Research in Motion in the smartphone market. In this case, however, there's more to the story. Google's distribution approach has the potential to dramatically accelerate a broad disruption in the mobile phone market where the balance of power shifts from carriers and retailers to device, software, and applications providers.
Google’s expected unveiling on Tuesday of a rival to the iPhone is part of its careful plan to try to do what few other technology companies have done before: retain its leadership as computing shifts from one generation to the next. The rapid emergence of the smartphone as a versatile computing device may be as much a challenge as an opportunity for Google, which built its multibillion-dollar empire largely on the sale of small text ads linked to search queries typed on PCs.
It’s hard to believe that at the beginning of the last decade, there was no Facebook, iPhone, Wikipedia, or YouTube. Almost shocking, considering how those entities have shaped a culture around the Internet, disrupted business models and impacted how and what information was shared through the Web. So what big Web themes might we see emerging into the next few years? Based on reporting and informal chats with venture capitalists, here’s a quick guess at what might be big in 2010.
A spate of new digital gadgets and the fulfilment of the internet’s promise as an interactive medium have dominated popular awareness of information technology in the past 10 years. But what could turn out to be a far more important and lasting transformation has been going on below the surface. It involves a step-change in computing that promises to bring fundamental and irreversible change to many aspects of everyday life – for good or ill.
Reasons to feel bearish about Microsoft aren't hard to find. But it's the software giant's diminishing profile in the mobile world that is the talk of Silicon Valley right now. The explosion of mobile applications on devices like Apple's iPhone and Motorola's Droid presages far-reaching changes in consumer behavior. Google gets that. Aside from helping develop the Android mobile operating system, the company plans to buy mobile ad firm AdMob. And now it is working on plans to sell its own phone. It's a different story at Microsoft.
Every address, every building, every business has a story to tell. Visualize your world that way: Look at a restaurant and think about all the data that already swirls around it — its menu, its reviews and ratings and tags (descriptive words), its recipes, its ingredients, its suppliers (and how far away they are, if you care about that sort of thing), its reservation openings, who has been there (according to social applications), who do we know who has been there, its health-department reports, its credit-card data (in aggregate, of course), pictures of its interior, pictures of its food, its wine list, the history of the location, its decibel rating, its news… And then think how we can annotate that with our own reviews, ratings, photos, videos, social-app check-ins and relationships, news, discussion, calendar entries, orders…. The same can be said of objects, brands — and people.
Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it. A blizzard of speculation is building over Apple's as-yet-unconfirmed release of a tablet computer. Among other things, the tablet is expected to offer e-books and TV programs. Apple has been trying to get TV networks to license their programming for a subscription service planned as part of a revamp of iTunes, presumably with the tablet in mind.
Google will start the new year with a mobile product announcement, setting the stage for what is turning into a showdown with its former ally Apple over mobile computing devices. The search group revealed earlier this month that it had issued employees with a mobile device to test, though it did not give details. On Tuesday it disclosed that it would hold an event at its headquarters in Silicon Valley next Tuesday for a mobile announcement, prompting speculation that the device would be unveiled.
As a rough 2009 draws to a close, the digital marketing world is looking ahead to 2010, hoping to deliver stronger growth in the sector, which is one of the few bright spots in the media world. What lies ahead? We identified 10 trends that are sure to make waves in 2010.
Last year, most Americans felt as if they had been hit in the head by a 4-iron. Wall Street nearly collapsed. The economy plunged into its deepest recession in decades. As housing prices sank, many homeowners realized that they owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth. Millions lost their jobs, and even those who didn’t hunkered down, burying their wallets in the backyard. This year — with more than a few bumps along the way — the situation brightened. With that, here’s a look back at five of the biggest business stories of this year — and what to look for in the next 12 months.
Apple has something big up its sleeve for next month. The company has rented a stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco for several days in late January, according to people familiar with the plans. Apple is expected to use the venue to make a major product announcement on Tuesday, January 26th. Both YBCA and Apple declined to comment.
Research In Motion Ltd. reported surging profits and sales of its BlackBerry devices while rival Palm Inc. posted another quarterly loss amid signs that consumer demand waned for its newest smart phones. The results showed the diverging paths of a market leader and an underdog in an increasingly competitive smart-phone market. Shares of the two companies moved in opposite directions in after-hours trading. RIM's shares jumped 12% to $71.21, while Palm's shares fell 8.7% to $10.70.
Verizon Wireless made clear from the start that its Droid smartphone was designed to put pressure on Apple, the maker of the iPhone, and AT&T (T), the exclusive U.S. iPhone carrier. As part of a $100 million marketing push, Verizon Wireless enumerates several ways it believes the Droid outperforms the iPhone. Yet analysts say the Droid and other devices that sport the Android operating system may also take a toll on Research In Motion, the maker of another smartphone, the BlackBerry. "It's clear there's been a lot of marketing at Verizon around the Droid, so that is going to hurt RIM," says Raymond James (RJF) analyst Steve Li.
Emily Pilloton is the founder and executive director of Project H Design, a nonprofit that aims to change the world through the power of design. Her recent book, Design Revolution: 100 Products That Empower People, is available now from Metropolis Books. Here, Pilloton gives the lowdown on 25 of the products she chose to feature.
Mobile marketing has been an interesting space ever since my time working at Bell Labs in the days of the 802.11A platform. Its promise was glittery then and now it's taken on a new level of interest, as measured by the near frantic rate of acquisitions and VC investments in this space. All this new energy can't be explained by the technology alone; the notion of proximity marketing has been kicking around for four years or more. What's different this time around is that mobile marketing breaks previous marketing models because the message is inextricably linked to the device it's delivered on. That's new. In the past, the device via which the marketing message was delivered, a TV for example, was irrelevant to the message itself. Welcome to Mobile Marketing 3.0. In the mobile marketing 3.0 world, hardware, technology, real-time interaction, community are all mashed up to deliver a marketing experience I'll call Extreme Marketing UX. The device is not irrelevant here but is what helps propel the action since the phone is part of the experience itself.
Jack Dorsey, who came up with the idea for Twitter and is now its chairman, has unveiled Square, his new start-up. The idea: anyone with a mobile phone can accept credit card payments. Mr. Dorsey has been working on the idea for a while, and on Tuesday the company’s Web site went live. Square makes a small square device that plugs into any gadget with an audio input jack, including an iPhone or iPod Touch, and turns the device into a credit card machine.
Looking for a good flick to watch tonight? Visit Instantwatcher, which marries New York Times critics' picks with the Netflix streaming-movie catalog. Interested in updating your music collection? Visit ArtistExplorer, which combines the Billboard charts with BestBuy.com's inventory database. Neither Netflix nor Best Buy made the applications—but both made them possible by opening up their APIs. You've likely been hearing a lot about APIs lately, and the concept isn't as confusing as it sounds. An open API simply means you've launched an interface that lets third-party software interact with your data; and those third parties can then mash the data up and build useful new tools on top of it.
In its heyday, "This is Your Life" was seen by a broad swath of viewers tuned into their Philcos all at once, never dreaming that someday it could be rebroadcast, paused live, accessed on another gadget, or that its entire run could be contained on a thin metal disc. Almost 50 years later, we're almost similarly in the dark. Those Samsung flatscreens in our living room might still be the go-to device, but they are fast being joined by computer monitors, laptops, gaming consoles, iPods and mobile phones distributing content once solely accessed by TV, or in some cases, content that competes with TV. It's conceivable—and probably inevitable—that TV/web convergence will lead to us ordering up movies, pizza and even advertising while watching custom-tailored content and interacting with social-network buddies at the same time. The question is how these services will work together and who will manage and monetize them in a world where the TV networks operate with a mass-media mentality and are anxious to keep $60.5 billion in ad revenue from going the way of Philco.
Now Wal-Mart, the mightiest retail giant in history, may have met its own worthy adversary: Amazon.com. In what is emerging as one of the main story lines of the 2009 post-recession shopping season, the two heavyweight retailers are waging an online price war that is spreading through product areas like books, movies, toys and electronics.
Consumers are generally cautious heading into the critical holiday shopping season, with preseason trends suggesting that electronics sales may be solid while sales of apparel, particularly women's styles, could get pummeled. Spurred by the release of a hot videogame and earlier-than-usual promotions on televisions, U.S. shoppers spent 6.1% more on electronics in the first half of November the month, through Nov. 14, than a year ago, according to a recent analysis from MasterCard SpendingPulse, a unit of MasterCard Advisors.
Flip, the Cisco-owned maker of pocket-sized camcorders, wants to go mass, and it's hoping its first, multimillion-dollar ad campaign, launched today, will establish it as a lifestyle brand. For a company that has previously eschewed big media buys in favor of grassroots marketing, it's a new strategy. But there's a lot at stake for the player that invented the sub-category of dummy-proof, affordable camcorders priced around or below the $200 range. For starters, it needs to quickly capitalize on the market's growth before it tapers off, thanks in part to competition from video-camera-enabled smartphones.
Depending on how you see it, social software is either all the rage or so 2008. You know the stuff: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Foursquare.... There's no talking about the web these days without it—that's for sure—but social software tools are quickly becoming an integral part of the way we run our day-to-day lives. It's not just in the consumer space, either. Companies and large organizations are catching on to the benefits of social networking and improved collaboration tools. They want their intranets to be more like Facebook. They want to use crowdsourcing to leverage employee perspectives and wikis to help people help themselves. They want Twitter for the organization, (or at least they think they do).
A U.K. firm is set to launch a camera to capture every moment of a person's life. While you may reel at the privacy implications, I'd wager that the high price of not capturing and sharing every moment of our lives will soon dwarf the cost to our privacy.
With Apple posting record profits last week, thanks in large part to brisk sales of its iPhone, it may seem downright crazy to mount a smartphone challenge at all, let alone one that takes direct aim at the iPhone. But that's just what Verizon, Google and Motorola are doing. With a teaser ad from Verizon zeroing in on the device's perceived shortcomings, such as its lack of a physical keyboard, the triumvirate is beginning a big push for Droid, the flagship device of the Google-backed Android operating system. So far, industry observers are unmoved by the buzz and give the Droid long odds in its bid to become the next ubiquitous handset.
Tuesday at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Morgan Stanley Managing Director, Mary Meeker, gave her usual quick presentation with a ton of information. Rather than trying to squeeze it all in (which not even she can in her 15 minute presentation), I will embed the slides below when they are up and hit on her major points. Meeker thinks we’re in a new computing cycle with the mobile web.
Just when brands thought they might muster a passable social-media "sense and respond" defense against the brutal realities of consumer nastygrams or Google search-result hogging, or just when they figured out a few tricks for managing Wikipedia and all those activists and product recalls that make their way onto your entry, brands must now contend with yet another trust broker that wraps candid conversation around their cherished homefront, whether they like it or not.
At first glance, Foursquare, the location-based mobile application capturing the fancy of hip, young urbanites, is a fun bar game that lets users compete for points and badges for going out at night. But dig a little deeper, and the service, which I just profiled in The Times, is also a handy, user-generated city guide. “The game elements are fun and people definitely like competing against their friends,” said Dennis Crowley, co-founder of the company. “But getting people to do something they haven’t done before — that’s where Foursquare gets really interesting.”
Google Wave is a new communication tool that the search giant bills as "what email would look like if it were invented today." While the plan to modernize email is laudable and ambitious, Google Wave's whiz-bang features can feel confusing and chaotic to new users. However, if regular people can make the leap that Wave does from email's message-based system to conversations as co-editing a single document, Wave could revolutionize the way we communicate and collaborate online.
Information overload dates back to Johannes Gutenberg. His invention of movable type led to a proliferation of printed matter that quickly exceeded what a single human mind could absorb in a lifetime. Later technologies – from carbon paper to the photocopier – made replicating existing information even easier. And once information was digitised, documents could be copied in limitless numbers at virtually no cost. Digitising content also removed barriers to another activity first made possible by the printing press: publishing new information. No longer restricted by centuries-old production and distribution costs, anyone can be a publisher today. In fact, a lot of new information – personalised recommendations from Amazon, for instance – is "published" and distributed without any active human input.
A few months ago, I sat with John Sculley, the former CEO of Apple, who described Steve Jobs' primary design principle: "Not what you can add, but what you can remove." It reminded me of the first law I outlined in my book The Laws of Simplicity, that, "The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction." This philosophy runs counter to a typical tech company's approach, where the goal is always to upgrade and add as opposed to subtract. It's true, for the consumer to pay more and get less defies conventional wisdom and seems to contradict economic principles. But simplified technology doesn't necessarily mean less functionality. Apple products aren't simple technologies by any stretch, but there is a beautiful simplicity to them.
Forget caller ID. A coming wave of “social” mobile phones is likely to tell you everything you ever wanted to know and more about the person calling you. An application called Robo.to, available in the fourth quarter on the iPhone and handsets that run Google’s Android operating system, offers a stream of information about callers, including personal videos, photos and their current location. It is an example of the “social address book” – the reinvention of a core handset feature that carriers will leverage to earn fresh revenues and win back consumer attention lost to iPhone applications and media companies’ services.
For decades, the adoption and use of the latest technologies was limited to a subculture: Whether called “tech enthusiasts” or “gadget geeks,” the implication was that most of the world got along fine with older, established products and services, while a smaller group pursued the most leading-edge technology. But according to a study released Wednesday by Forrester Research, a marketing firm based in Cambridge, Mass., a shift has taken place. What used to be the pursuit of a few has become decidedly mainstream. We’re all gadget geeks now.
In 2001, Jonathan Kaplan and Ariel Braunstein noticed a quirk in the camera market. All the growth was in expensive digital cameras, but the best-selling units by far were still cheap, disposable film models. That year, a whopping 181 million disposables were sold in the US, compared with around 7 million digital cameras. Spotting an opportunity, Kaplan and Braunstein formed a company called Pure Digital Technologies and set out to see if they could mix the rich chocolate of digital imaging with the mass-market peanut butter of throwaway point-and-shoots. They called their brainchild the Single Use Digital Camera and cobranded it with retailers, mostly pharmacies like CVS.
Globalization has been the headline for years as it’s changed the face of communication, finance, business and society. But it’s not a stand-alone phenomenon; it’s totally dependent upon mobility. Constant movement from place to place has made the last few decades frenetic. In fact, we live in an era of supermobility.
Once, just having a smartphone application was enough, but the era of novelty -- the blowing, shaking, one-trick-pony app -- is pretty much over. To rise above the clutter, an app has to be truly useful, whether it's created by a brand or by an entrepreneur.
As books make the leap from cellulose and ink to electronic pages, some editors worry that too much is being lost in translation. Typography, layout, illustrations and carefully thought-out covers are all being reduced to a uniform, black-on-gray template that looks the same whether you’re reading Pride and Prejudice, Twilight or the Federalist Papers.
New reports have several companies on the verge of releasing large screen electronic readers designed specifically for reading newspaper content. The first such product may be unveiled as soon as this week — a large screen version of Amazon’s Kindle, which we first reported on last year. This is setting up a lot like the newspaper industry’s Hail Mary. And it’s a pass they won’t catch.
We are living in a world where computing and information processing is going beyond the desktop model of computer interaction to be integrated into the everyday objects we interact with and activities in which we partake. This model is moving beyond the desktop paradigm, and has more recently been described as ‘everyware’. Everyday objects being networked is a simple concept, yet the application is complex, holding huge possibilities. If all objects from our daily routines could be ‘tagged’ with an identifying device we could see untold amounts of information about the product.
Polaroid is going to stop making film for its once-ubiquitous instant cameras later this year, and in doing so close the last shutter on the way we used to see our past.
Here are four ways the industry can fix what's broken and revamp its business strategies.
Everywhere we look, we see screens.These ever-present screens have created an audience for very short moving pictures, as brief as three minutes, while cheap digital creation tools have empowered a new generation of filmmakers, who are rapidly filling up those screens. We are headed toward screen ubiquity.
Snazzy new technology isn't enough to bring transparency to the White House.