Friday, March 26, 2010

Palm Pre In 30 Seconds

Palm Pre sales have been lack luster and yet this is such a great smartphone, for both business users and consumers.  Palm's Ad's have not exactly been exciting nor inspiring compared to Apple's iPhone.  Could this have been to blame for poor sales?   This is an unofficial Ad made by a Palm fan which shows the best features of this phone in about 30 seconds.   What is wrong with Palm's marketing department when a mere fan outwits the Company's efforts?  Judge for yourself.  

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Facebook Beating Google

Facebook is beating Google for news according to a recent study by Hitwise.  Among the top five print media web sites for the week ending March 6, 2010, 78 percent of Facebook users returned to that site for more news, compared to only 67 percent returning to Google.  Facebook has already surpassed Google in terms of traffic so a new trend for this decade is definitely emerging.  

This study also revealed that 84 percent of visits to were returning visitors compared to only 72 percent returning to Google for the news.  What does this tell us?  
1) That people are turning to social networks to consume the news,
2) News and media organizations need to rethink their advertising strategies. 

We are only at the beginning of this social network revolution, with e-readers (especially the iPad) and smartphones likely to further impact the way we consume information.  In the meantime, Google is also evolving with the times, having launched Google Buzz, its answer to social networks.  

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Smartphones Will Outsell PC's

According to analyst projections, within two to three years Smartphones will outsell PC's.  Another study by GetJar corroborates this with findings that predict downloads of mobile apps to handsets will leap from slightly more than 7 billion in 2009 to nearly 50 billion in 2012, representing a year on year growth of 92%.

The way we are connecting to the Internet is changing and what we are doing is changing too.  Social networks and blogging have fueled the need to be connected at all times.  Additionally, the functionality of smartphones such as the Palm Pre and iPhone, have enabled a sophisticated and yet friendly interface that has encouraged the user to stay connected.  The power of the processors inside smartphones is increasing rapidly, allowing them to run increasingly complex applications. At the same time, the speeds of the data networks they connect to are increasing as well, allowing the devices to more easily access powerful applications stored in the cloud.

WIth prices falling (almost monthly) and subscription packages too, there is little reason not to purchase one of these phones or even get one for almost free.  

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Apple iPad Sales And The Dawn Of A New Era

Apple sold 90,000 iPad's on the first day as pre-order sales, worth $54 million in sales.   I've been in the tech industry for over 25 years and for me, it was a no brainer that this product was going to be a game changer right from the announcement, despite a tough economy.  These figures were for yesterday sales alone.  There is likely to be a shortage if orders continue at this rate.  Analysts predict first year sales could reach 5 million units.  E-Week projects sales might actually reach 7 million.  It's the dawn of a new era!

And this is just the beginning.  Barnes and Noble has already announced it will make its books available for the iPad format as will Kindle.  The iPad is using the industry standard open source format -  EPUB, thus making available many more books outside of the Apple store.  You can add EPUB to iTunes and synch that way.    

Another great feature is the VoiceOver feature to read screen content aloud.  This feature alone could go a long way to making the iPad a broadly accepted device for reading books, much as the iPod supported generic MP3.  The National Federation of the Blind has praised Apple for its VoiceOver feature.  

Apple is making history yet again, as it did with the iPod and the iPhone. The rest of the industry is clamoring to catch up as Apple has birthed a new category of products. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Internet Is Changing The News

A study published by Pew Research shows that the internet is changing the way people consume the news.  About two thirds of people are getting the news from both online and offline sources.  Even more interesting is that the Internet is now the third most popular news platform behind television news (both local and national).  
There does not seem to be one dominant source for news online nor a particular time of day.  Most people use two to five sources for online news (65%), and read the news when they get the opportunity during the day.  Only 17% said they get their news from reading a newspaper. Distinct trends on how people are consuming the news are emerging:  

  • Portable: 33% of cell phone owners now access news on their cell phones.

  • Personalized: 28% of internet users have customized their home page to include news from sources and on topics that particularly interest them.

  • Participatory: 37% of internet users have contributed to the creation of news, commented about it, or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.

  • Advertisers need to pay attention to these trends.  The local and national TV news slots are no longer prime time for advertisers.  Furthermore, the coming of the iPad, which I believe will be a game changer, may well bring life back to the newspapers if they handle it right.  A mix of the traditional and online formats to read the news is probably just what the consumer now wants.  

    Sunday, March 7, 2010

    Social Media Hits Smartphone Usage And Palm Pre

    Social networks such as Facebook are becoming the core application that people use to connect and stay in touch with their friends and family, so it is not surprising that the smartphone is becoming the key access tool. People are not waiting to go home to update or comment!  The Palm Pre has a new upgraded Facebook App just released which makes it so much easier to connect with your groups while out and about.

    More than 25 million Facebook users accessed the site via a mobile browser.  Twitter has also seen tremendous growth and attracted 4.7 million users via mobile in January 2010.  Comscore found that more than 10% of those using a mobile browser are connecting to a social network, which is a 112% growth from a year ago.  Similarly, Twitter experienced a 347% jump.

    As more smartphones replace basic cell phone sales, this trend is likely to increase.  Currently, only about 17% of mobile users have a smartphone, but as prices continue to drop so will the penetration of smartphone sales.  

    Verizon just dropped its price for the Palm Pre Plus, deducting the mail in rebate promotion at purchase and bringing the price down to $99.  Shop at Amazon direct and you can get this phone for $69.99 for Verizon customers and only $39.99 for new customers.  
    Facebook on Palm Pre

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    Apple iPad Poised To Shake Up eReader Market

    The iPad isn't even available to touch and hold, but the latest consumer survey suggests the Apple iPad is about to shake up the market and become the number one leader.  

    A survey by 
    ChangeWave conducted among 3,171 consumers found that of those who plan to purchase an e-reader in the next 90 days, 40 percent said they will buy the Apple iPad, 28 percent will buy a Kindle, 6 percent will buy the Nook from Barnes & Noble and only 1 percent opted for a Sony Reader.  And price does not seem to be an issue as only 8 percent said they would not buy it based on price.

    Demand is certainly going to be hot for the iPad.  In 2007, when the iPhone was introduced, only 9 percent of consumers said they intended to purchase it.  

    This survey suggests trouble for the Kindle, the current market leader.  Once the iPad is available (beginning of April), Amazon and the rest will have to play catch-up fast.  

    The other interesting fact to emerge from this survey is that consumers said they intend to use their iPad for a variety of functions, suggesting it will also compete with netbooks (as I previously predicted in my Blog).  Watch out for the next wave of Apple announcements in June, likely to take the iPad format even further into the netbook space.  

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Social Media - The Internet's Next Search Engine

    Google used to dominate search on the Internet, but 15 percent of traffic to major Web portals like Yahoo, MSN and AOL now come from Facebook and MySpace, (in fact Facebook accounts for 13%).   A major shift is happening as people are spending more time navigating the Internet through their friends and family recommendations on Facebook.  Real-time search in Facebook contains rich media content: video, music etc.  Take for example a search on dinner and your friends' evening plans and restaurant searches may come up, together with reviews on that restaurant and perhaps links to their menu and map.  This is a much more useful search than you could achieve on Google.  Another great example is from Intuit.  Turbo Tax's 20 million users are on Facebook and each has an average of 150 friends.  In this tax season, it makes sense for Turbo Tax to tap into Facebook to create buzz, reviews and answers to tax questions.  

    Marketers need to focus on incorporating social media optimization just as much as search engine optimization (SEO).   Advertisers must include Facebook as part of their campaign.  Compete’s online media and search survey in December 2009 showed that Google is now third in directing traffic.  And who is number one?  Facebook!   

    Facebook now has 400 million active members, including about 225 million added in just the past 12 months, equating to a very large nation. 

    Google’s answer is Google Buzz, which allows Gmail users to post updates, videos, photos and links, Facebook-style.  However, it’s recent launch has not gone down too well and raised lots of privacy concerns, not to mention that you don’t tend to treat your entire email or contacts list as ‘friends’. 

    As marketers, we are still seeing this social media phenomenon emerge.  As a consultant in the industry,  I can only recommend and urge businesses to start engaging in the social media platform now, even if we don’t yet fully understand how to predict its impact on a particular business.  You will invariably learn from trial and error and you can start simply and grow your participation.  Having a website is no longer sufficient.

    To discuss how social media can impact your me or start the conversation right here.  

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    Smartphone Wars - Apple Files Lawsuit

    Apple is suing HTC for violating a total of 20 of its patents related to the iPhone user interface, underlying architecture and hardware. Apple CEO, Steve Jobs said:  “We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”  

    This will affect a number of Android devices and is an attack directed towards Google.   It’s unclear that HTC has the history or intellectual property to countersue Apple into a cross-licensing pact.  Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson  and Motorola either already sell or are about to release Android smartphone products.

    It's certainly not about the money as Apple is sitting on $40 billion in cash.  It is all about the competition!  

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