Category Archives: Mobile

The Biggest Threat to Email: Mobile Chat

Hamish McKenzie writes at PandoDaily:

Given its young demographics, its location-responsive functionality, its ability to exploit the power of its host devices, various revenue options, and its personal quality, mobile chat makes email look staid and inflexible. Those factors won’t be enough to kill email. Indeed, as a delivery mechanism for in-depth written interactions, it’s hard to imagine what could beat email. But when it comes to online communications, mobile chat’s advantages are perhaps significant enough to one day thrust email into second place.

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Instant Messaging Rules The Internet

“If you strip away the flashy interfaces, expensive ad campaigns, and layers of hype, you’ll notice that for the past 15 years, the dominant unit of social technology has remained virtually unchanged: Today, as was the case in the ’90s, instant messaging is still king,” writes Charlie Warzel of BuzzFeed.

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White House Reverses Its Stance On Cell Phone Unlocking After Citizen Petition

After being interviewed on Monday by Amy Goodman on “Democracy Now!” the political activist and former GOP staffer, Derick Khanna received a call from the White House. Khanna was told that the Obama administration would change it’s stance and come out against the Librarian of Congress who, in January 2013, decided that cellphone unlocking was a criminal offense.

The Administration said it will also put forth its own legislation that will decriminalize cellphone unlocking and would be in favor of tablet unlocking as well (so long as the consumer owns the device, and is not under contract by a carrier).

Khanna, along with Sina Khanifar, collected over 114,000 signatures on their online petition at “We The People,” a website run by the White House.

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My Post on BuzzFeed: The 10 Outstanding Essays of 2012

Grantland.com

Grantland.com

A collection of this year’s best culture writing.

LeBron James’ Hairline, Manufacturing Rick Ross and Lana, Twitter subpoenas, Obama’s paradoxical blackness, an Asian hoops star, doxxing twitter trolls, a future beyond Facebook, our infatuation with busyness, breaking down Breaking Bad, and the revolutionary women of the Arab Spring.

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Nintendo Confronts A Changed Video Game World

With the launch of the new Wii U console next week, Nintendo hopes to reassert itself in the gaming world.  Writing in the New York Times, Nick Wingfield pits the aged Mario and Link against the hordes of cheap, accessible mobile games. (In this analogy Angry Birds are goombas and skulltulas.)

After Nintendo “posted the first loss in its era as a video games company,” Wingfield outlines the business challenges facing Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.

Games on mobile devices and Facebook are free or mere pennies.  The time investment for users is much lower for mobile games.  And the multi-screen dynamic that is increasingly more common in US households (TV + ipad + smart phone) squeezes consoles out of the equation.

(At one point Wingfield says that it can take “minutes” to boot up your Xbox and set up your Halo match as opposed to a few seconds to turn on your iphone’s field runners.  This is perhaps a very sad and oblique reference to our country’s pronounced ADHD.)

Citing industry analysts, Wingfield questions Nintendo’s decision to not develop games for android or iOS (imagine playing Mario on your iphone).

The piece is generally optimistic towards the Japanese brand, but it tries to frame the original Nintendo Wii as the company’s last great achievement.

While the onslaught of cheap, downloadable games is eating the console’s market share, Angry Birds will never replace Zelda (with games that are 99 cents, you get what you pay for).

The article helps explain key economic trends that are reshaping the industry.

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Foursquare Offers Personalized Coupons

Hamish Mckenzie writes on PandoDaily

The company is doing a trial with about 25 paying customers, including Best Buy and Old Navy, to see if users respond to sponsored results. “The point now is not for us to be generating a ton of revenue,” he said. “It’s to learn how these tools are supposed to work and to learn how the users are responding to the experiment of these promotions.”

Ultimately, he said, Foursquare’s proposed monetization scheme looks a lot like Google AdWords, but “targeted just at local, and exclusively on mobile.” The goal is to be able to let merchants target a specific 20-percent discount promotion to a specific user set, such as only the most loyal customers.

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Beyond The Check In: Foursquare And Social Cartography

On your foursquare social map your preferences are the topography, your friends’ tastes, the contours.

Drew Olanoff writes on TechCrunch

Partnering with the reservation service, OpenTable, foursquare’s “explore” feature allows users to quickly find a restaurant nearby, check what their friends have said about it, and then snag a reservation without leaving the app.

As I’ve said before, I’m using foursquare way more than I use a service like Yelp to find new places as I explore new cities. Explore is even handy in San Francisco, where there are hundreds of restaurants that I haven’t even discovered yet. Bringing all of this functionality into one place is a brilliant move by foursquare, and makes other services obsolete. Throw in tips, photos and past check-in information from your friends and this whole thing is really shaping up to be huge.

As I’ve written, these new features represent a trend away from the Facebooky check-in, and towards something like a personalized search engine.  Foursquare wants to be the interactive guide to your your social scene.

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Check Ins Are For High Schoolers, Pussy Whipped Boyfriends, And For The Old Foursquare… What’s The Future Foursquare?

Think for a moment on the concept of “checking-in.”  “Call me when you land!” mom says.  “Let me know when you’re on the road,” your girlfriend commands.  “Text me when you get there,” you’re annoying, psuedo-friend from college begs, because he knows that you’ll inevitably flake, but it doesn’t really matter because you’ll just say “sorry, I was totally smashed” the next time you run into him.

Most view these kinds of check ins as cumbersome chores, annoying reminders that your tab is being kept, that your leash, however long and unseen, is still snugly fastened.

I used to think foursquare was a horribly shitty, pointless app.  I used to think that their kinds of check ins involved vexing friction like calling dad after his 3rd “Are U OK? I miss you” guilt-text.  But it seems that the company wants to head in a different direction: One in which your phone, and its GPS technology, becomes a passive, ambient, knowing-guide to your social life.

While foursquare’s 25 million users continue to check in, the discovery company’s co-founder and CEO, Dennis Crowley, sees a trend in the way new users interact with the service. In an interview with Om Malik of GigaOm, Crowley talks about a future for foursquare.  Where the companies initial user base actively checked into restaurants, bars and coffee shops, many new users sign up with no intention of checking into establishments.  Instead, these people utilize foursquare as a guide to their local social scene. Where’s a good sandwich place around here? What bar is gonna be crazy tonight? Which bookstore did my roommate recommend?

With over 2.5 billion check ins already logged, Crowley believes that many people simply want to “consume” the reviews of their friends rather than checking in and creating their own.

Moving from active usage, explicitly stating to the digital public where you are and what you thought of a particular steakhouse, Crowley believes future foursquare will be a passive, ambient service, like your phone unobtrusively suggesting a sushi place that your girls love.  Or, you’d receive notice of a hilarious happy hour special because your foursquare knows, from previous experience, that you are a self-sabotaging, Jager-bombing binge drinker.

Alluding to Harry’s Potter’s, Marauder’s Map, the GPS geek complains about the sad state of map apps.  They are blank, Crowley says.  You are a pathetic, lonesome dot.  Why not populate a map with many other dots representing your friends?  You could see where the bros are draining Sunday pitchers, what club all the high heels are click-clacking towards.

Foursquare wants to become a hyper specific search and discovery tool, an app that uses your  friends’ taste (your trust) to become “contextually aware” of your preferences.  The company could be your silent cartographer, your local search engine who knows, without you saying, just where you want go.

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I’m upping my Internet game.  If you enjoyed my style come feast on my tweets.  @PlanetHozz

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“I Volunteer As Tribute!” How “Hunger Games” Marketing Is Some Next Level Shit.

Those who suffer from nerd fever have historically been male fans of sci-fi and fantasy. We think of serpentine lines of over-stimulated, under-sexed man-children waiting for the midnight showing of “Star Wars”. We imagine “Star Trek” and “Lord of the Rings,” World of Warcraft and Halo. But what about a young adult fantasy, originally a book, which stars a young girl?

“Twilight” and “Harry Potter”*** come to mind. And like these two, “The Hunger Games” spread obsessive fascination through clever web promotion. Using Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube, Lionsgate has been implementing a “phased, yearlong digital effort.” Armed with a tiny budget and small staff, marketers successfully turned fans of “The Hunger Games” into evangelists.

A crafty example:

On Dec. 15, 100 days before the movie’s release, the studio created a new poster and cut it into 100 puzzle pieces. It then gave digital versions of those pieces to 100 Web sites and asked them to post their puzzle piece on Twitter in lockstep.

While many have noted the record breaking opening weekend ($155 million, 3rd biggest of all time), it’s also interesting to note how many men made up the movie’s initial audience: 39 percent. Compared to the newest “Twilight,” whose first weekend audience was only 20 percent male, “Hunger Games” had a much broader marketing campaign.

Well received by critics and fans, the intense buzz generated online seems appropriate and worth the effort.

*** Yes, I meant to call Harry Potter a girl.

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