The buzz at this year’s Mobile World Congress has largely been driven by virtual reality (VR) and this follows Mark Zuckerberg’s surprise appearance at Samsung’s press event for its latest Galaxy handsets.
There’s been much speculation on why Facebook would invest $2 billion in this technology but two years on Zuckerberg finally revealed all – and perhaps it should come as no surprise it all comes down to social.
This runs contrary to how this generation of VR consumer technology was first conceived when Palmer Luckey launched a Kickstarter campaign for the nascent Oculus Rift in 2012.
The concept was sold squarely as a gaming device and many commentators understandably thought virtual reality was destined to remain within the pure entertainment sphere.
Read more on Virtual reality – a Facebook flight of fancy?…
Alongside many luminaries from the world of technology and media, I returned this week to Mobile World Congress for the first time in five years. I had more recently been focusing my attention on other consumer electronic events such as CES in Las Vegas, but it was great to be back in Barcelona.
I had been sceptical about whether there was still a need for a mobile-only conference but it was exhilarating to see an event of this magnitude in Europe’s backyard, attended by over 70,000 technology leaders from 200 countries. Read more on MWC 2015 – in review…
For the past two years, wearables have been heralded as the next big step forward in consumer technology.
According to the research firm Canalys, the market is expected to triple this year alone.
Spearheading the new digital platform are tech giants Samsung, Google, and most recently, Apple, which have all invested heavily in watches capable of displaying content from apps and online. Read more on Wearables: The future of publishing now…
The last month has seen two of the world’s biggest music artists – U2 and Thom Yorke (of Radiohead fame) – release albums exclusively through digital channels, but with vastly different distribution methods.
U2 were widely criticised for ‘forced gifting’ their album into the iTunes libraries of 800m unsuspecting users. Thom Yorke was applauded for continuing to find new ways of selling his/Radiohead’s music online.
We can learn a great deal about how to best create and distribute online content from the music industry. The stark contrast between these two releases provides a great list of dos and don’ts for brands and agencies. Read more on What U2 and Thom Yorke can teach us about online content…
Increasingly, consumers and the markets alike favour brands offering content that can be easily shared. The news site BuzzFeed, for example, has just secured $50m of funding which, according to The Guardian, raises its value to three times more than the Washington Post. BuzzFeed’s whole concept has been designed with social media in mind (apparently 75% of its traffic comes via social media users) and it rewards its writers not by the number of readers attracted by their work, but by the number of times their articles are shared online.
It’s clear that BuzzFeed is becoming one of a new breed of ‘strong’ brands. However, traditional methods of evaluating brands don’t take social status into account. So current brand rankings such as the Interbrand index are more likely to reflect the size of a promotional budget rather than the loyalty and engagement of customers.
For instance, Samsung has featured highly on the Interbrand index for the past five years. Yet it’s known for mimicking the design of competitive products and buying market share with large advertising budgets. On the other hand Apple earns its valuation by investing in product alone. Read more on Money can’t buy you affinity…
Thankfully, the huge influx of footie ads has relaxed a touch now that the World Cup has actually kicked off.
Last weeks brand chart was stuffed to the brim with footie stars and balls flying everywhere, but this week we’ve got a bit of a break with Father’s Day related campaigns and water sports that are of a sci-fi standard.
Sure, Samsung has dragged out their next enthralling instalment of aliens Vs Galaxy 11 and Pepsi Max have brought out an Unbelievable football match with teams of free runners and an inflatable pitch, but it feels good to see a chart that isn’t completely dominated with all things foot and ball.
Read more on Hoverboarding, human vs shark, and calls for dads…
This week’s brand chart
After a recent spate of trending videos from brands gearing up to the World Cup, such as Winner Stays by Nike & Now Is What You Make It by Pepsi, all stuffed to the brim with appearances from football legends, you have to wonder if these players actually have any time left to get on the pitch and play any football.
Read more on Viral chart: Watch dogs, a hero cat and a crazy clown prank…
In case you hadn’t noticed, there has been an explosion in the number of smartphone and tablet devices on the market today.
During the last decade, thousands of new connected devices on a range of different platforms have emerged to transform the way we consume and engage with content.
From Google Glass and smart fridges to ‘browsers at bus stops’ that might allow you to plan your journey, the internet is becoming ubiquitous and mobile in ways never before seen.
In fact, as the Internet of Things becomes a reality, we can expect more and more devices to ‘go online’. Innovations in connected devices represent a tremendous opportunity for businesses, but they have also created a very fragmented space, with new device categories emerging all the time.
The goalposts keep on moving and businesses are caught in a never-ending battle to ensure that their content works across all devices, all of the time.
Read more on Understanding global device traffic in a multi-screen world…
The app and device battlegrounds are rife with established players and newbies fighting it out to provide the emerging markets with new handsets, alternative app stores and fresh mobile content. New moves include Nokia’s alliance with Android with new releases including the Nokia X, Apple covertly re-releasing the iPhone 4 in India and Samsung set to launch the Galaxy S5 in the UAE.
However, none of the major mobile players have quite cracked the code to success in emerging markets. Competing factors include price point, brand popularity, localised content and viable payment options, but no one has yet found the winning combination. Read more on What’s app-ening in emerging markets?…
It’s been a busy few days in the world of tech product launches. Last week, Samsung unveiled its highly anticipated Galaxy Gear smartwatch, then this week, Apple revealed its upgrade on last year’s best selling iPhone 5 – the iPhone 5s, as well as the ‘budget’ iPhone 5c. We examined the social conversation around each launch to see how the products were received by observers on social media.
Read more on A week of smart launches: Samsung and Apple…