The evolution of mobile

Kyle Bean - MobilesKudos to Kyle Bean for this.

Pretty interesting really, seeing the evolution and the miniaturisation from 1985 to the present day and how the rapid innovation, technology has allowed for size to no longer be a prohibitive issue when it comes to ‘real’ portability. Size is no longer the major challenge, nor is it about packing the phone with more hardware features, such as bigger and better cameras, or music, or screens. It’s more now about how the features are being used. I’ve noticed a shift over the last year or two where it’s now all about the software and the tight, seamless application of it as proved by Apple and the App Store, Google and Android. If it was a hardware race, no one would be buying the iPhone. 2MP these days is unbelievably poor (yes I don’t have a 3GS because I’m still locked in with my ‘old’ iPhone 3G for the duration of the contract.) My even older Nokia N95 had a better camera than that at 5MP. Clearly, my purchasing decision wasn’t based on the power of the camera. I was mesmerised by the potential of the App Store. The software then.

A present day example of this for me is the Nokia N97. Hardware wise, I think it’s actually highly impressive. The fold out keyboard really feels good to use on a regular and prolonged basis which is one thing that annoys and frustrates me about the iPhone. It’s quicker for me to write something down that it is to load up the ‘Notes’ application and hammer out the letters on the on screen keyboard. What lets down the N97 is the software. It’s simply nowhere near as intuitive, logical or easy to use than what has to be the benchmark for everyone now, the iPhone. The amount of times i’ve seen new handsets come out and the term ‘iPhone Killer’ being banded about is amazing.

Talking of iPhone Killers, the HTC Hero is one to watch which I’m keeping a keen eye on..

The models which Kyle selected to highlight above are:
1985 – motorola dynaTAC
1988 – nokia mobira cityman 1320
1991 – AEG teleport
1993 – ericsson GH198
1996 – motorola micro TAC 650
1998 – siemens C10
2001 – nokia 3210
2005 – motorola razr V3
2009 – samsung tocco

Borrowing a quote from the legendary Nigel Powers in the film Goldmember, perhaps better known as Michael Caine when he said:

“It’s not the size mate, it’s how you use it.”

You could say the same for the current state of mobile.

Mobile phones are the most searched for consumer electronics product; Apple the top brand

Below is a guest posting on the Hitwise blog by Richard Seymour, their UK intelligence analyst and resident gadget expert.

I found the below a pretty interesting read so hope Hitwise don’t mind me reposting. The hot consumer electronics list is full of insights so the webinar linked to below is a recommended click.

We have developed a tool to analyse the consumer electronics search data – The Hitwise Hot Consumer Electronics List. For the most recent week’s data (week ending 14/03/09), we can see that mobile phones are the most searched for products online, accounting for almost 30% of all consumer electronics searches. The top phone is consistently the Apple iPhone, with approximately 1 in 12 mobile phone searchers currently searching for all variations of the iPhone. The iPhone has so far only been surpassed on the odd week or two during the launches of new phones. For example, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic which launched on 23rd January 2009, took top spot during w\e 14th Feb, picking up 6.6% of all mobile phone searches. However it fell back to second spot the following week, where it remains with 4.7% of all mobile searches.

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1 in 10 searches are for video games – over twice as many as for games consoles in seventh place – with Resident Evil 5 the most searched for video game last week. Computers and software sit in third and fourth places, and televisions are the fifth most searched for gadget with 4.5% of all searches last week. Cameras, Mp3 players, Satellite Navigation systems, -dominated by TomTom – and Toys complete the top 10 most searched for consumer electronics product types.

Lego is the top Toys and Hobbies brand, accounting for almost 1 in 8 Toys and Hobbies searches. However, the Danish company doesn’t make it into our list of the overall top 20 most searched for consumer electronics brands. These are highlighted in the treemap below, which shows the most popular brands in the Hitwise Consumer Electronics List. The size of the box represents its relative size to the top 20, with the top 10 represented by their logos.

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We can see that Apple leads the pack, with 12% of all branded searches – almost twice as many as Nokia. As we saw above, Apple’s iPhone sits ahead of Nokia’s phones in the mobile phone market, but it is iTunes and their iPods that really sets the company apart from the rest of market in terms of searches. In the top 10, Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic all compete amongst multiple product ranges (most notably televisions), whereas Dell and HP share their involvement in the computers and printers categories. As we can see, the Hot Consumer Electronics List allows us to compare brand share amongst brands that would never normally be compared based on their niche product ranges, such as Blackberry, Dyson, TomTom and Nikon.

Another great use of the tool is to identify and gauge interest in new products, brands and fast-moving product areas. For example, we were able to track the increase in searches for netbooks in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and the continued interest in them as more models enter the market. The chart below, made up of portfolios of search terms for netbooks extracted from this consumer electronics search tool, allows us to see that not only is the Samsung NC10 clearly the most searched for netbook, but also that the new Archos 10 has shot from nowhere to be one of the most searched for netbooks, and the 6th most searched for computer overall.

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We have also been able to identify seasonal consumer behaviour. For example, there was a 31% increase in searches for garden products last week, with lawn mowers and especially the Bosch Rotak 34 the products of choice. There was also a 10% increase in searches for vacuum cleaners, lead by the Dyson DC25 as the Spring cleaning bug starts to hit.

The question is, are retailers and manufacturers already optimised for these products as we approach Easter? If you want to know more about the Hot Consumer Electronics List and see how it can help you, we’ve put together a short webinar describing how it works in more detail which you can watch here. If you have any further questions, please feel free to use the comments box below.

Follow Hitwise UK on Twitter.

Celebrities tweeting backstage at the Oscars, taking us closer to the action than ever before.

A side note – This was first written on Feb 24th but left as a draft and because I suck, unfortunately only now, in March have I picked it up again. I pondered scrapping it entirely as the currency of the article may not be as prevalent now but I still believe it brings up some interesting issues for discussion. It may also seem sensationalist alluding to the fact that now we have Twitpic we don’t need the paparazzi but this simply isn’t the case. I’m certainly not saying this is the end of the print medium, merely musing around it’s future and how it can combat the immediacy of the web.

Hands up who didn’t watch the Oscars, are going to watch the highlights at some point or who instead chose to read an article on the likes of BBC.co.uk for example which featured amongst other things all the winners? Along with all the above I read on my travels home this evening in the London Paper who rated the celebrities walking down the red carpet by who they thought wore the best and worst outfits. It’s clear we’re a nation who love celebrities and how they live their lives. We clamour for what dresses they wore, what they ate and drank, what freebies they got and who they mingle with. Before, we used to have to guestimate and imagine what it might all be like back stage.

Not any more.

Now we have Twitter. Now we have Twitpic.

It’s as if we’re there, a front row seat, you can almost smell the excitement. This is where the print medium will never be able to replicate the immediacy of user generated content and blogs. Celebrities are now even sticking two fingers up to the paparazzi themselves. How? They are snapping pics of themselves and their fellow celebrity mates and putting them up on the internet, for free. Yep, for free. Don’t believe me? See a few examples below.

It wasn’t just photos that slebs were creating though.. Using the Qik video online service, Ashton Kutcher posted two amateur videos during the party, one of P Diddy dancing to Prince’s Kiss and another of Demi Moore. He also published a clip of the couple relaxing at home before the party.

The postings humanised the stars, who are typically seen only in an immaculate, staged environment. We’re seeing a side to them that we would never normally have seen before.

Moore, meanwhile, published two pictures from her Oscars party, one modelling her backless black dress and another with Kutcher.

“I am so tired 2day & my feet R killing me from dancing but I think it was rockin’ shindig & everyone seemed 2 have a gr8 time! Nap time?,” Moore wrote once the festivities were over.

As the night dragged on and more alcohol was consumed, Combs decided to run a bubble bath.

“I’m holding an oscar rt now and takin a bubble bath!!!! God is great!!! Let’s go people,” Combs wrote on his Twitter page.

Hollywood reporter Ryan Seacrest tweeted his observations from the red carpet, including that Kate Winslet was nervous before the show (“she clinched my hand so tightly”) and that Mickey Rourke wore a picture of his dead dog around his neck.

“Ever wonder what happens if someone has to go to the bathroom on the carpet? Theres a portapotty behind the fan stands. Now you know,” Seacrest wrote.

Jane Fonda penned a few tweets herself throughout the evening, praising Hugh Jackman’s good looks and said she loved the documentary Man On Wire.

“Well, Heath’s winning and his family accepting on his behalf made me cry,” she wrote

Other celebrities particularly active with Twitter accounts include Snoop Dogg, Britney Spears, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elijah Wood, John Cleese, Michael Phelps, US President Barack Obama, MC Hammer and basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal.

Bringing online and offline together rather brilliantly, O’Neal recently had lunch with several of his Twitter fans after posting that he was at a Pheonix diner.

What I do find fascinating about the aspect of immediacy is that for example here this photo was at it happens posted within the last few minutes (and nearly 4,000 people have viewed already). It shows me in black and white who is on a programme that isn’t on until tomorrow and somehow because of that I feel more compelled to watch Friday Night with Jonathan Ross because it’s as if I’m part of it all now.

Below are a few images that are public for all to see via Twitpic. Some are from the Oscars, others are from celebrities in general. This is simply a cross section of what’s around from a very brief search and am sure it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Any that you think I’m missing that deserve a mention?

NB – I thought instead of merely updating the numbers below which were up to date as of Feb 24th, the increases are visible in brackets.

Bruce Willis just chilling out 44,240 views. (+5,794)

Russell Brand & Jane Goldman 29,957 views. (+1,609)

David Walliams 25,441 views. (+1,154)

Publicly berating the paps 24,460 views. (+5,763)

Ashton Kutcher. 22,425 views (+24,752)

Jonathan Ross 22,473 views. (+1,250)

Danny Wallace & Eddie Izzard 22,079 views. (+1,037)

Chris Martin 19,492 views. (+987)

P Diddy holding two Oscars in the air. 19,292 views. (+20,133)

Wossy’s Study 18,075 views. (+1,222)

Tim Lovejoy & Danny Wallace 3,961 views. (+429)

Richard Bacon 3,766 views. (+885)

Links for further reading –

Mashable -And the Oscar more most social media buzz goes to..

New Media Strategies – Oscar Night Buzz Report

Say hello to Consolidated’s latest recruit..

So you may or may not have noticed that I’ve been a bit light on the ol’ blog posts recently.. I know, it’s been about 2 weeks which for me has felt like a lifetime.. There has been good reason though and it all paid off in a spectacular fashion today.

For the last few weeks now, I’ve been using any spare time to work on a presentation for my final interview with a position at Consolidated PR as a Social Media Strategist up for grabs on 16th December. I felt there being a bit more pressure because they’re the 28th top company to work for in the UK and also have just been featured in Marketing magazine in the Top 100 PR Agencies coming in at No 54.

What was the presentation all about? I won’t go in to the finer points but it was essentially 30 minutes to talk through my vision on an integrated social media strategy for a campaign, and all that’s involved in doing so, it needs the context to fully make sense but it was interesting to research and deliver.

So I was stood before the Heads of Digital and Consumer PR being asked to do my thing, there was everything riding on it. This was it, this was the moment. Before all that though and to heighten the suspense a bit, why the change in direction? I thought you were happy where you were? You were always saying how much you loved it!

As much as I’ve loved every minute working at Splendid Comms, I’ve been actively looking for a while for something permanent which they were unfortunately unable to commit. It’s not the most ideal of times to be hiring generally so it was understandable. They are however a PR Communications agency doing some fantastic work with some great clients like Marmite, Guinness, Lucozade and ShoZu. It has a real family vibe about the place and they genuinely enjoy everything that they do. I’ll be sorry to leave it all behind but will for sure be keeping in touch with them all.

Back to the presentation.. for the last few weeks I’d spent most of my waking free time researching, digesting, writing slides, cutting out slides, by the end of it I was even beginning to enjoy it!

On the day, I was horribly ruthless with my own content, (the one thing I find hard to do, cutting out slides I’ve spent quality time on) and went with the philosophy of less is more. I cut out about half my slides.. It worked, they all followed on from each other smoothly and it was remarked that I adopted a methodical approach from start to finish. Excellent! Surprising myself a bit in the process actually, because I was a complete bag of nerves the night before, on the day and up until the minute I started presenting! I was equally as nervous about the potential questions after.. what would they ask? Would I have the answer? Incredibly yes. The dreaded ‘We’ll be in touch’ was said which left me in doubt but I was happy with how it went considering how nervous I was.

17th December, the morning after the presentation, I get a call, essentially along the lines of “We’d like to offer you the job,” I was in shock. For the rest of the day I’ve had a smile you just can’t shift and have said the word awesome at least every other word. Ask @jedhallam !

On the 5th Jan 2009, I will be starting at Consolidated as a Social Media Strategist. What a way to start 2009! I have a feeling it’s going to be a year to remember. Hopefully for all the right reasons.

Anything else happen today? Yes yes and yes. I was alerted to the fact that my SOTM photo had gone up today by @tommalcolm which was taken a few weeks ago now and I’d forgotten about amidst all the job stuff going on. Someoneoncetoldme.com is a fantastic site combining photography and quotes that resonate with the subject. Mine was a quote that stuck with me through thick and thin that the mind is powerful and that it’s ok to think big and be a dreamer.. and here it is..

Oh, yeah, and how could I forget and someone on behalf of Channel 4 who are doing a documentary which is going to be featured in Picturehouse cinemas first and then on Channel 4 in Summer 2009 and it’s all about privacy on the internet.. interesting topic. They contacted me because they want a perspective on the other side of the coin. I’m an advocate for transparency and openness.

You can find out about the sites I find of interest through Delicious, the photos I take using Flickr, personal details on Facebook, work details on LinkedIn and the conversations I have on Twitter. It’s all there, and I’m completely happy with that because it brings such bizarre situations as this.

So they want to hear about the positive effects of the social networking phenomenon taking place with sites like Facebook and Twitter which is fantastic because I’d go as far as to say it’s been a life changing 6 months for me because of such sites. One question, how on earth they found me, again, all this internet fame stuff is absolutely mind blowing, I’m not worthy.

“It would be really great to get your thoughts on our film, and discuss the possibility of you appearing in the film.”
I spat out my metaphorical cup of tea.. what? You are kidding right? This is insane.
So what brings of tomorrow? I’m taking part in a week long paid mobile study on behalf of Nielsen, not quite sure what the selection criteria was for that either, considering they’ve only taken on 2 people across the UK to take part in the study.
Every day seems to be bringing something new and exciting to the table at the moment for which i’m honoured and proud to be involved in.

E-consultancy Christmas Party.. See you there?

I got an email a while back from E-consultancy about a Christmas party in December.. I thought I’d put my name down and see how it all pans out, have been a fan of the E-con site and a site most companies I’ve worked for had a membership with. I saw a few familiar ‘online faces’ cropping up on the attendees list so at Number 141, I got my name down and forgot about it for a while.

It was completely off the bat so I just wrote a bit of spiel, didn’t expect to hear anything of it.. A few have however commented and said that in 3 lines they knew the essentials and where to find me to find out more.. Turned out to sum me up nicely & professionally(ish) in a short space.

I did think afterwards that I should have included my Linkedin Profile which others followed suit by doing but it did the trick!

Amazingly by the time it closed a few days ago now 740 people had registered their interest. I’m envisaging 740 people in a room now and that’s an impressive achievement. Just goes to show the reach of E-Consultancy and the cachet of the name.

All that’s left for me to say is if you’re going then leave a comment or drop me a ‘tweet’ (An @ message on Twitter) and let me know. Would be great to meet up with some online faces, offline.