Thursday, December 05, 2013
There is still time to get that Christmas gadget this year, and the sales season has begun with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. One thing is for sure: mobile computer toys are much more affordable gifts nowadays: e-readers for less than $100; tablets from $150 in any size you want, 6”, 8”, and 10” that run Android, Apple and Microsoft software; and laptops from $250 that feature the Google Chromebook. You can even get a 32” TV for $168.
But while the choice this year is fantastic, the devices we purchase come with a lot of user restrictions. We don’t have a lot of the freedoms with digital tech that we have with other products—freedoms that we take for granted.
My Christmas Wish List is all about digital freedom: the freedom to choose the device I want and consume the content I want, in the same way I would with a toaster. I can plug a new toaster in anywhere and can use any type of bread I want from any baker. I can even bake the bread myself. Is that too much to ask?
It is ironic that a purchaser has more rights when they buy toasters than they do buying smartphones, tablets, computers, software and digital content. So this year, to promote digital freedom, I have created a Toaster Bill of Rights for Digital Freedom for my Xmas wish list.
Toaster Purchaser Rights
The purchaser has the right to buy a toaster that fits the purchaser’s needs and tastes. The toaster can be used with any electrical service provider offering a competitive price in any location of the purchaser’s choosing.
The purchaser can remain anonymous to the manufacturer and does need to register with the manufacturer to use the toaster during the ownership period of the toaster purchased.
The toaster manufacturer does not have the right to monitor, without consent, via any technical device, the purchaser’s use of the toaster, including what type of bread is being used, what times the toaster is used, and if the purchaser shares the toaster with a friend or family member.
The manufacturer cannot charge the purchaser for each additional person using the toaster.
If the toaster is sold with an electrical services contract, the purchaser has the right to substitute a toaster of his or her own choosing, from any vendor, if the toaster is lost, stolen or damaged.
If the toaster breaks, parts and service will be readily available at a reasonable price and the manufacturer cannot stop supplying parts for the said product. Charges for a repair cannot cost more than a new device.
The toaster manufacturer will provide a warranty to the toaster purchaser that in event of a new product being launched, bread can still be purchased for the toaster purchased.
The manufacturer gives up all rights at the time of purchase for further charges to the purchaser in the form an annual usage charge during the ownership period of the toaster.
The toaster purchaser can pay for electrical power service for the toaster based on actual consumption, as a purchase option, at a reasonable rate. In case of bulk fixed rate contracts, where there is a rotating monthly time of expiration, a credit to the account will be applied to the purchaser for any unused amounts.
* * *
I know this is a pretty big Xmas wish list. I just found it very surprising how much personal freedom we give up sometimes when buying digital content and devices. For recommendations on specific gadgets for this holiday season, check out some my blog postings
from the past couple years.
Dear Santa, meet the Tesla
But secretly, what I want for Christmas this year is a 17” in-car tablet computer for my car, like you see in the Tesla Electric Car. (And a new toaster of course.) This tablet computer connects to the internet, your smartphone, and the car’s computer systems for navigation, music and dashboard diagnostic monitors. Now that would be the ultimate gadget for me this year.
Happy Holidays and Best Wishes to you this Christmas Season.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
The COPAs, now in its 5th year, is a snapshot of what is happening in Canada in digital content. The COPAs attract media players from the worlds of television, newspaper, magazine and digital, to see who is the Best in Canada. Some of the winners this year were schools and students. The UBC Graduate School of Journalism, for example, won two golds for its use of video and multimedia. The consumption of video/multimedia/interactive content on the web is growing and I thought it would be good to show where the bar is set in Canada with these COPA winners.
The PAIN project and CUT entries from the UBC students, through their creative use of video, links and animation, create a truly engaging reader experience—similar to playing an interactive video game, but still telling a strong story. The other Gold winner in the video and multimedia category was the The UC Observer
for its documentary on homeless shelters. The CBC won Best Interactive Solution of the Year for an infographic used to illustrate its investigative report on offshore tax havens.
Let’s hear from the winners below.
* * *
The Pain Project - Gold - Blue category for business media
The Pain Project investigates the lack of access to morphine, the gold standard for treating pain. Teams travelled to India, Ukraine and Uganda to explore how such countries manage the pain of patients suffering from cancer and other terminal diseases. The stories of patients, caregivers and other stakeholders are featured in 13 short videos. They reveal how a combination of bureaucratic hurdles and the chilling effect of the global drug war are largely to blame, leaving humanitarians scrambling to work outside the law — or change the law — to bring relief to suffering patients all over the world.
The Pain Project (Click images to view projects)
CUT - Gold - Green Category for news media
CUT is based on a year-long investigation into the roots of global illegal logging. Ten journalism students in UBC’s International Reporting Program conducted on-the-ground reporting in three logging hotspots—Indonesia, Russia and Cameroon. They analyzed the environmental and social costs and the role of consumers. To engage viewers, the image of an apartment filled with wood products links to the producing country. An introductory video leads users to explore illegal logging in three countries along with related stories. Throughout the site, the multimedia character of the project is enhanced through videos, text, images, GIFs and audio clips.
The UC Observer - Gold - Red category for consumer magazines
The UBC International Reporting Program, CUT
reported on Canada's Out of the Cold programs, which shelter untold thousands every winter. For this short multimedia feature, the magazine returned to Waterloo, Ont.'s First United Church and found an ongoing need. Together, the narratives reveal the underlying problems of poverty and livelihood instability, not to mention the solutions moving forward. Equally important, we aspired to and succeeded in humanizing all of the subjects in this short online documentary.
CBC News - Best Interactive Solution of the Year - Offshore Tax Haven infographgic
The UC Observer, Cold Comfort
Before unveiling our massive tax-haven investigation, CBCNews.ca
decided it was critical to explain how the murky offshore world works. Text alone would not convey the complexity. We opted for an interactive animation that maps the proliferation of tax havens and the ways investors use them. Users follow the same steps a tax evader would, choosing a jurisdiction, setting up a trust and opening an account.
CBC News, Stashing Their Cash
* * *
The art of digital story telling is taking a new form with these COPA winners—a convergence of sight, sound, technical wizardry and words. What was surprising was that it took a group of students to lead they way in this year’s winner’s circle. The best ideas and inventions all started out as school projects, and the hub at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism offers a look at how we may tell stories in the future.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
We are likely now at a tipping point where mobile devices have reached mass adoption (40% market adoption is considered a mass market). We have 28 million cellphone users in Canada with a smartphone and tablet in the home. And with so many devices around, it is inevitable that some will break—which is why a new industry is emerging for fixing all the phones and tablets that have been dropped and cracked, dipped in water or had their batteries fried.
I have seen my kids’ Apple iPod Touch screens crack through daily use over three years and my own Blackberry Playbook tablet cracked when I dropped it on the bathroom floor. It will cost $125-$150 to fix according Ryan Winborrows at nerds4hire.com
, with the glass costing around $80.
With that in mind this month, I set out to review a tablet device that would not break when dropped, and wanted to look at the Panasonic Toughpad tablet designed for mobile workers.
Panasonic is a Japanese company that manufactures a range of electronics for consumer, business and industrial markets. It was the fourth largest TV manufacturer in the world in 2012. The Toughpad’s design is based on the company’s Toughbook line of laptop computers for the business market.
The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1
The Panasonic Toughpad is an industrial-strength tablet and is available in Android and Window configurations in 7” and 10” models. There is a 20” model, weighing 5 lbs., set for release in November 2013 geared for creative professionals. The Toughpad FZ-G1 is 10” machine using Windows. It is 0.8” thick and weighs 2.4 lbs. It has a stylus with a built-in cradle and is optimized for outdoor use. With an Intel 1.9 GHz processor, 128 GB solid state drive and 4G RAM, it has lots of computer power.
How do you test a tablet that claims it will not break? I took it camping to give it a whirl.
I liked the feel of the device as it was easy to hold (less slippery than others) and I did not have to baby it. I left it around the campsite, tossed it around in the tent and watched rain drip on it while reading an ebook. It also survived me dropping it on my office floor and was durable enough to pass the kid-proof test.
At the campsite, I was able to connect to the internet via wifi through my smartphone’s internet-sharing feature. The device also supports LTE 4G networks as an optional feature. Battery life is rated at eight hours and you can buy extra batteries and car adapter. It has plug covers for the USB, HDMI and power connections, so dirt and dust won’t get in, and features seven tablet buttons with two that are programmable by the user.
What I did not like was that it needed a fan to cool the processor. It was not waterproof, just water-resistant, and the Android version does not have a fan in its design.
Panasonic Toughpad cradle
The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 tablet is versatile and can convert into laptop mode, using a cradle and bluetooth connection for switching to traditional keyboard.
RATING: 4 out of 5
This tablet fits the needs of mobile workers in industries such as construction, health, engineering, mining and military, a market niche that Panasonic dominates. This quality does not come cheap as the Android 7” model is priced from $1,250, the 10” at $1,350 and the Windows 10” version from $2,250. The tablets are backed by a three-year parts and labour warranty. Based on this price point, this device will only have luxury-consumer niche appeal. Panasonic will need to create another version if it wants to go after the wider consumer market.
Monday, September 30, 2013
How important is SEO, or search engine optimization, to a magazine website or info-publisher (today’s new buzzword)? Where is the ROI? Is it an essential skill that your team has to have? Effective SEO requires a team effort, from the writers in how they craft their words, to the marketing team when they broadcast the content on social media channels, to the web team when they tag articles and photos for search engine spiders.
Search engines favour quality content and this standard will ensure your content will rise to the top of the rankings. This emphasis on quality content by search engines has spawned content marketing services, and the creation of “Media Brands” by advertisers as part of their marketing mix.
Image via referlinksfullcirclemarketing.com
OK then, we all know we need a SEO strategy. I am not an expert on SEO, so I asked Patrick Herman from the Search Engine People
what a good strategy would be for today’s publisher.
“SEO is of paramount importance for information publishers and why shouldn't it be? You're spreading news across the Net! Think of SEO from even bigger terms, in ways that can really benefit the site. Use the Google Keyword Tool to source keywords you can write content around. You can quite literally create thousands of pages (of course, set up the standard on-page factors to help get found) of content that can be searched and found generating traffic from thousands of different keywords right to your site.
So, what would I do? I'd research keywords that people are looking for, questions that need answers, hot topics/current events. Write compelling content that people can AND will want to use and share via their social outlets. Your content can drive infinite visitors organically, through social traffic and by way of other sites wanting to pick up that great piece of content. Heck, you can even turn that great content into a video, tweets, an infographic and much more. And yes, this is all SEO, all about optimizing your content for search engines.
From an advertiser’s perspective you're adding more impressions, more targeted pages that an advertiser may want to be a part of and of course this all helps the bottom line in sales efforts.
You've got content and you need it to show up where people are searching. With an effective SEO strategy you can make sure all of this happens for your site.”
Wise words for sure from the SEO camp. Let’s see what the numbers tells us. I had a look at the COPA website
stats on Alexa.com
, a free public website monitoring web stats, and discovered what key words are driving search engine traffic to the COPA site.
TOP key words driving traffic to canadianonlinepublishingawards.com
1. copa awards 18.%
2. online publishers association 12%
3. worlds best online publishers 7%
4. hire a new grad in marketing canada copayment 6%
5. top canadian online magazines 6%
, Sept 12, 2013
The traffic numbers are comprised of 18% brand, 25% subject and 6% unrelated searches. This tells me I am reaching a new reader through subject searches; but their true intent and search objectives when they typed these key words is still relatively unknown. Search engine traffic is a small percentage of the total at 3.7% at this point in time. We launched a COPA 2013 Judges blog on September 23 to help this grow.
Here is a funny Negative SEO movie satire on how to survive a hacker attack. Hopefully, it will scare off spammers. (Via siliconbeachtraining.co.uk)
Optimizing for search engine traffic can best be described as fishing for new readers. You need to have a rod (content) in the water. The more fishing lines (links) you have the more bites (visitors) you will have. Some fish may just nibble and go away and you may even catch a few (subscribers). You will never know what fish are biting at anytime (the anonymous world of the internet), but you need to be ready to catch them at a second’s notice (I want to buy now!).
Thursday, August 15, 2013
A rising company in the personal computer hardware market is ASUS, who came on my radar when I reviewed the Google Nexus 7 Android
tablet that was based on the ASUS Nexus 7 model. Based in Taiwan, ASUS was the fifth largest computer hardware maker in 2012 after HP, Lenovo, DELL and Acer, according to industry estimates.
The company was founded in 1990 by four computer engineers that used to work for Acer, another Taiwanese company. ASUS had sales of $14 billion in 2012 and 12,500 employees worldwide with roots in manufacturing computer parts like motherboards (the brains of a computer). It produces a wide range of computer hardware products that includes desktops, laptops, tablets and routers under the ASUS, Transformer and Nexus brands. In June 2013, it launched the ASUS Fonepad, a 6” tablet that includes a 3G smartphone. (I need to get one of these to play with.)
ASUS TAICHI- The Laptop/Tablet Hybrid model
The ASUS TAICHI is a laptop/tablet model that comes with two screens, one for tablet mode and the other for laptop. Previous models I have seen that offer both a tablet and laptop user experience use either a single-screen swivel or a detachable screen configuration (see my Feb 2013 blog
review of a detachable screen model). ASUS has taken this hybrid concept to another level and created something cool with the two screens.
The ASUS TAICHI is two devices in one. It is thin at 0.7”, weighs only 2.8 lbs, and uses Windows 8 for its operating system. Its dimensions are 12” x 7.83” with an 11.6” screen. This machine has an INTEL 1.7 GHz dual core processor, so it has decent speeds (2+ GHz is preferred). It comes with two cameras, two USB ports, VGA & HDMI connections for external monitors, 4GB RAM and has 128 and 256 GB memory options. There is no ethernet port though, so you will have to rely on wi-fi for your internet connection.
The tablet experience, with an 11.6” touch screen, offers more real estate than other tablets, but I found it a little heavy holding the tablet for extended periods using one hand. In couch potato mode this was not a concern as it sat on my lap. Battery life was 3-5 hours depending on usage, whereas tablets normally have 8-10 hours of battery life and weigh 1-2 lbs depending on whether they are 10” or 7” tablets.
The laptop experience is like using a slick ultra-thin metallic shell laptop with a backlit keyboard weighing 2.8 lbs. When you are in laptop mode the user experience is based on the Windows 7 interface, and it will switch to Windows 8 when you go into tablet mode. Ryan Winsborrow from nerds4hire.com
says he was frustrated when switching from tablet to laptop mode or vice versa when using Internet Explorer as they were two different versions of the web browser and did not sync together. he was able to configure to work on the Windows 7 version only, but it is not very touch-friendly to use, I like the Window 8 IE browser better in tablet mode.
The two-screen approach offers a smoother transition between modes versus others I have played with. It is less clumsy to use compared to a swivel or detachable screen approach, which I found very appealing, plus it was all in one device.
RATING: 4 out 5
The ASUS TAICHI is a cool computer toy for the person that wants it all. It ranges in price from $1,200 to $1,500 depending on the configuration you choose. Basically, it is in the price range of the ultra-thin laptop choices currently in the marketplace but with a second tablet touch screen as part of the package. Winsborrow rated the ASUS TAICHI 4 out of 5 as well as he also found it heavy for a tablet and thought the battery life could be better, but overall we liked its compact size and versatility as an everyday work device for mobile people!
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
The growth of picture sharing tools has created a new social media channel for magazine publishers and their content. (I know, another one!) You might have heard all the numbers: Poster child Instagram has 130 million monthly users (50% USA) posting 45 million photos a day, and Pinterest has its 48.7 million users (83% female).
Instagram was launched in October 2010 as an app for smartphones and is available on Apple and Android devices. It was bought by Facebook in 2012 and launched video sharing in June 2013.
According to a Pinterest user profile study by Engauge
, an Atlanta-based digital ad agency, people are using Pinterest for these reasons:
a) Getting inspiration with their careers or hobbies (57%)
b) Storing images of thing they dream about having (53%)
c) Keeping thoughts and ideas organized (47%)
d) Sharing ideas with others (32%)
This new channel is part of the growing mix of social media tools where a one-one digital relationship can be established. With all these new channels comes content requirements and this content is now morphing into what is called branded content, where companies create their own branded media website. Here is what is happening with Coke - you can now go to coca-colacompany.com
and get a recipe for macaroni and cheese. The website is less brand thumping and a little more soft sell and engagement. And Coke is the number one brand on Facebook according to this chart, so it has a lot of people to talk to.
Coca-Cola is the No. 1 brand on Facebook by fan growth
OK, we have a new picture sharing social media channel, what content do we package for this new form of reader engagement? This channel is a picture based not text based, or is it both? Here is a challenge for you. I invite you to create captions for these series of photos that will engage the reader, or you can just carry on the conversation with me online and see where it goes. I have tried my hand at creating a little cartoon humour with these pictures from my backyard. Please be kind with your comments.
A Day in the Life of a Garden Plant
A story of pictures and words where plants and animals can talk with each other.
While this is my first public creative stab on a “Picturetainment” message, it is based on conversational marketing principles that I talked about in an October 2011 blog posting.
But, can this message be monetized, where do we add graphic branding that is in good taste and how will you track brand mentions for ROI? Is there any paid media value here, or do we lump it into the unpaid media option as its audience reach is unpredictable? Or do we wait as brands take eyeballs away from us like Coke has done already?
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Consumption of video entertainment is shifting from cable TV to internet based. The days of the telcos selling both cable and internet is changing as people cut the cord and increasingly migrate online for their TV fix. In an eMarketer report
, 60% of US internet users surveyed told AYTM Market Research that they still had a cable TV subscription in May 2013, while another 23% said they had a subscription in the past, but not any longer. Further evidence of this trend is that 44% of households have a TV connected to the internet up from 24% in 2010 according to an LRG Research report
People are consuming internet TV/video on their smartphone, tablet, laptop, computer and smart TV. Driving this online consumption are two big players in internet TV - YouTube and Netflix, along with the ability to watch your favourite TV show from a station’s website on demand. Netflix plans to launch HD and 3D streaming in the future. As further indication of where this market might be going, take TSN, which sold an online viewing package for the World Juniors Hockey Tournament this year for $20.
Another emerging trend magazine publishers will have to keep their eye on is the use of mobile devices (smartphone and tablets) as a second screen while watching TV. In a world of multitasking people are looking at these devices during commercial breaks to learn about an actor or actress, dig up more info on the show or movie they’re watching, shop for products in ads and more, according to an April 2013 report
Can magazine publishers play in this arena with their content and produce their own internet/cable TV show? Cottage Life Media is doing as much with its partnership with Blue Ant Media. Rogers Sportsnet now includes TV, radio, magazine, digital, web and sports properties as part of its media mix. AOL
has launched a video service packaged as AOL Video Channel with 17 channels of video content covering a wide variety of topics including how-tos.
So it is only natural to look at smart TVs as part of the media equation for magazine publishers. For a sense of the equipment being offered to consumers, I had a chance to play with the Sharp Aquos Quattron 80” LED Smart 3D TV.
Sharp Aquos Quattron 80” LED Smart 3D TV
I watched it from eight feet away and it provides a large-screen theatre experience that should be the staple of any home. The field of vision at this distance did not require me to move my head to watch a show or game and it was not hard on the eyes after an evening of viewing.
The TV can connect to the internet with a Wi-Fi connection or wired ethernet. I would suggest you use a wired internet connection for a better TV experience as the Wi-Fi connection sometimes winks out while watching on home networks. Wired ethernet offers faster and more reliable transmission speeds. You may need to upgrade your Wi-Fi router too for it to connect to the TV.
Watching TV and movies on an 80” HD screen was just plain awesome. Watching sports made it feel like I was at the game and part of the action. The refresh rate though is slow in the LED model I looked at, resulting in blurring pucks while watching hockey.
For gaming, my kids got to play with their Sony PS3 on the TV. An 80” TV is not as responsive as on smaller TV due to what is called the refresh rate of the screen. On a larger screen, the reaction time between the game controllers and the movement on the screen was not as good as it is with a smaller screen, say a 32”. This is a limitation of the LED screen technology.
The Sharp Aquos Quattron Smart TV can be hooked up to pretty well any device you have that includes RGB, HDMI, ethernet, Wi-Fi and digital antennas, and is a plug-and-play set-up. The TV remote control was integrated with Netflix to make content surfing easier.
RATING - 4 out of 5
What is there not to like about an in-home theatre experience with an 80” screen that is soft on the eyes? It can be connected to an antenna, cable or the internet, so you can watch anything you want when you want. The refresh rate was a little too slow for me, but for movies the experience was superb. The chord cutting trend will only grow as people switch to internet plans that have reasonable bandwidth caps to accommodate internet TV viewing such as TekSavvy that charges $40 a month for 300G, which is more than enough for the average household.
To end on another note, I have some new responsibilities at Masthead
. I am producing the COPAs this year (Canadian Online Publishing Awards
) that will be held this November in Toronto. The entry deadline is July 19, 2013 (enter here
) and I am looking for sponsorship support from the industry. Any help will be much appreciated. You can send me a note via email at email@example.com
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Did you know that it has been three years since the first iPad was released? The iPad 1 is now obsolete. Owning a smartphone, tablet or laptop is now the norm, and device usage is changing consumer buying behaviour. One of these changes, that magazine publishers will have to adapt to, is called "Showrooming", a practice where somebody goes to a store to see a product but then buys it online for a lower price.
According to a report
by digital media strategy company GroupM Next and search marketing firm Catalyst, 26% of Canadian shoppers, after comparing in-store and online prices, will leave a shop and complete their purchase online for as little as a 2.5% discount.
For an example of how things are changing in another way, take how my neighbour fixed his car. He is a middle aged man with a wife and two kids. First, he talked with a mechanic friend to help with the diagnostic. Then he went on Youtube to see a demonstration video on how to fix the problem, and then did a Google search for the product he needed to get it done. And then he bought it online from an American vendor for significant savings after price-shopping at a local retailer.
The retail sector is going through an interesting metamorphosis right now that will affect advertising budgets for your magazine. Bricks-and-mortar stores are selling online and online stores are opening bricks-and-mortar stores. One of the keynotes at DX3, a digital marketing trade show
, was by the CEO of Mountain Equipment Co-op, David Labistour. He said 50% of MEC's sales are now online, and that the company has a person dedicated to Twitter communication as part of its customer service and marketing efforts. He also revealed some insight on the power of online product reviews: when a product had a positive review, its sales doubled; when it did not, the product went on sale.
To manage the 24/7 digital store model, marketers are looking at marketing automation technologies to manage customer data. What has emerged to solve this puzzle of interacting with your customer online, 24/7, is a concept called “Real-Time Marketing”. The vision is to create a personal one-on-one marketing solution that automates customer communications based on artificial intelligence using “Predicative Marketing”. The predicative algorithms (software logic) are based on digital content consumption habits and predicting future needs based on their demographic profile.
The expected outcome of such technology is a continuous one-on-one conversation with the customer, with a personal touch. This type of technology will certainly change the way circulators and ad sales managers work. The real-time marketing concept basically takes a page from the direct marketing handbook for personalized direct mail programs, with a digital spin. The technologies can interact with the customer via email or website.
Another marketing automation technology is social media monitoring solutions. These technologies enable you to track keywords across all social media sites to monitor brand chatter. This chatter is the equivalent of brand mentions in traditional media analysis. And these next waves of technologies is just the beginning, says Arjun Basu, content director at Spafax. According to him, the digital world is just starting puberty.
Monday, April 15, 2013
The latest salvo in the smartphone wars by Blackberry (formerly RIM) is the BB Z10, launched on January 30 in Canada. The risk is the same as with any product launch...you hope you have a hit. It looks like Blackberry did its homework and followed the textbook product launch template of a market leader with a big marketing budget.
In a previous blog post last June
on the Playbook, I said Blackberry was doing some good things with its product design. The BB Z10 user experience is built upon that same foundation. The user experiences are very similar, with the use of a swiping motion for navigation versus the button approach. You could say that this is the smartphone version of the Playbook.
The BB Z10 is a fast machine with a 1.5 GHZ dual core, 2 G of ram, a 4.2” screen, weighing 135.4 grams. Its dimensions are 130 mm x 65.6 mm x 9 mm. It has a durable rubber textured metal shell giving it a sleek, rugged feel.
After playing with the BB Z10, I felt that hardware feature sets are starting to plateau as all devices are doing the same things. Smartphones are settling into a standard hardware configuration: it is a cell phone, camera and mobile computer, with touch interface and voice controls.
Blackberry has created a product with its core customer in mind—governments, corporations, SMBs and women. But, it needs to make its user experience better than the Apple iPhone to move ahead. Let’s see if it was able to do that. Here are some of the key new features that make the BB different.
Talk, Text, Email, Social Message Hub
The BB Z10 has a communications hub feature where all your messages and calls can be logged into a single feed. In today's 24/7 society you may use voice, text, email or social to communicate, and with the BB Z10 this can all be collected in one inbox to make your life a little less complicated.
Big Fingers, Little Keys Syndrome
The touch keyboard design of the BB Z10 offers fewer typos when typing and an artificial intelligence feature called predictive typing. This feature provides contextual word suggestions based on the ones you use most. The 4.2” screen is bigger than the 3.5” models, which makes typing easier through more screen real estate, yet it is still pocket sized. A physical keyboard model (Blackberry Q10) will be coming in the next product release.
The BB Z10 enables companies to use a device partition between personal and business, which allows IT departments to have better security and control of company secrets. This is a smart play to address the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend for large corporations.
Photo-Editing Software for Picture Lovers
Women use more
social media and have a higher presence
on photo-centric sites like Instagram and Pinterest than men, and to get this user more engaged with its camera, Blackberry is offering a photo-editing suite to manage photos and post them on social networking sites. The big social media trend right now is picture sharing.
One new software feature that I noticed was the ability to support mobile payments. I discovered at the recent DX3 digital trade show this March in Toronto that Pay Pal account holders will be able to purchase products via their smartphone with an online ordering and store pick-up system with participating retailers. The mobile wallet is coming next to your smartphone.
The BB Z10 allows you to multitask as you can have two or more apps open at once. In Apple and Android you can only have one open at a time and you need to hit the button to switch on most devices. In the BB Z10 it is a swiping motion between apps which makes the navigation experience easier when multitasking.
Ryan Winsborrow of Nerds4hire.com
gives the BB Z10 a 4 out 5 rating; he liked that it was fast and powerful but lowered the rating because he cannot get all the apps he wants. App selection is changing fast and as of this writing there are now 100,000 apps in the Blackberry World store to choose from, up from 70,000 when the BB Z10 was announced in January. There is still some work to do for Blackberry in its reinvention as a consumer electronics company. It has created a smartphone that is a player, but not a category killer or creator.
As the utility of the smartphone increases, publishers will have to be mindful of the increase of picture sharing as part of their social media strategy and examine how to be a key content partner in the mobile e-commerce wave as part of their future business models. Some of the buzz in the digital ad community is “ Real Time Marketing” technologies, but that is next month’s blog.
Rating - 4 out of 5
Playing off of this month’s topic, I wanted to ask what you look for in a smartphone. How are Masthead
readers using their devices?
Please rank the options below by time spent, with notch 1 (on the left) being the most. Feel free to leave a comment as always, and I’ll be back with the findings.
What do you do most on your phone?
Thursday, March 07, 2013
This post was inspired by an Adobe survey
stat that showed 16% of respondents thought that internet advertising was creepy. This is a world shared by fake people, fraudsters, thieves, con men, and of course you and me. To weed out the creepy, there are political movements in creating a standard for digital privacy, but at the same time still giving governments the ability to police the criminal element. Legislation in the U.S., Europe and Canada are going through the public debate process right now.
The advertising community wants as much online consumer behaviour data as possible, and would favour as much as they can get down to the last website viewed. This will enable them to better target a message to the reader—the marketing utopia. The way people are tracked online is through what is called a computer cookie. And no, you cannot eat this cookie.
Here is the definition of a computer cookie according to Wikipedia
“A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is usually a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user's web browser while a user is browsing a website. When the user browses the same website in the future, the data stored in the cookie can be retrieved by the website to notify the website of the user's previous activity.”
Current business practices have it that a cookie is automatically placed on your computer when you visit a site. In Europe, some websites will ask if it can put a cookie on your computer before you enter the site. The privacy issue at stake can be illustrated by this example: Say you are window shopping at a mall and somebody is following you around everywhere, seeing everything you are doing, and whenever they notice you stop at a store they come up and offer you a deal for that store. Wouldn’t you feel a little creeped out by this? This is what happens online all the time.
The importance of permission-based business practices for email marketing programs has now filtered down to cookies on computers, tablets and smartphones. There are established rules of privacy in other areas like your banking, health care and phone call histories, where some are secret and others require a court order, and I assume the internet will get there too.
But, cookies play a valuable role for magazine publishers, enabling digital mags and online portals to authenticate a subscriber through various wall models. This is how newspapers set up free trial periods for their content. Computer readers on all devices have the ability to not accept cookies as part of the device setup, but you will then not have access to social media sites that require cookies.
Historically, once magazine publishers obtained a customer’s name they had the right to do with it as they pleased for business purposes, but in today’s political environment stricter rules might prevail for online. Hopefully, common sense will win out, and privacy issues get resolved with some old-fashioned good manners reigning online.