When Reading Won the Battle

It had been long since books had occupied any major spot in people’s lives. Since the TV set reached homes all over the world, books and reading in general, took a step back to the hypnotic module sitting in front of people. But oh behold! For the first time since the invention of TV, Nielsen has registered a drop in numbers of TV sets.

But it’s not that people just got bored with flatter, thinner screens with HD and Blue Ray and exchanged them for a pile of paper bound together. After all, books were losing the battle because they themselves represented no innovation against flat screens. Words like “bookworms” were not to be meant for a good connotation.

Then, something else happened. Popculture turned a 180 and suddenly being geek is the bomb (good for all of us then). What made books and geeks become the new hit wonder? Simple: Technology. “If you can’t beat them, join them” boy! is that phrase right.

So TV’s keep coming up with higher resolutions and less space? Why not turn the dusty old sheets into touch screens? And the only people smart enough to handle those little gadgets are geeks themselves? Not looking so tough now, eh? Books became E-books and now almost half the books sold in the world are digital books.

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Which brings  me to my next question. Sort of what was first? the chicken or the egg? Marketing campaigns lately have also tried to encourage reading lately (at least as far as Mexico is concerned). So was it because of marketing campaigns that readerships is higher than viewership or was it that marketers just saw the trend and decided to ride along with it?

Which ever one it was, the point is that “this too shall pass” is the perfect epitaph on TV sets’ graves in a near future.

Battlefield: China

With volatile changes as to technology and internet in China, every major company needs to be on the watch of the Chinese Government’s every movement. As soon as they change something in their favor, tech companies will jump right in. Sure, long distance lobbyists exist, trying to convince local government officials about the benefits a new technology will bring them.

Of course there is also the case of the Chinese being able to look at the technology that wishes to enter their country, and then just come up with an excellent copy of it; thus blocking the original from entering. This has happened to several products and services (tangibles and intangibles). The best known example is Facebook’s Chinese clone Xiaonei

But just as the particular trademark in all things modern: scarcity and demand make a market much more valuable. So, being that the population in China is of 1,336,718,015 people to be exact, what global company wouldn’t just love to take a chunk out of the Guinness Record Pie?

In fact, right now the biggest battle being fought is between Android and iPhone for a total of nine hundred million cell phone users in that country. Yes, you read it right. Apparently, 87% of those users will replace their phone- be it that they already have a smartphone or not- with either one of these brands, with others falling a bit behind (although not entirely forgotten). Already in the US, Android is taking over iPhone’s Share of Market.

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He who holds the biggest share of market, holds the keys of heaven, some would say. Game on!

RIP SMS

SMS, MMS, or if you’d like to call it “texting” is bound to be dead in a very near future. There was a time, not even too long ago, –say 5 years tops?– when there was a texting fever all over. It’s just simply that people find it in them to be more outspoken by writing than by talking. Anyway, everyone has been typing small keys away to get their message out. There was a even a crisis in the US where teenage kids would soar their billing accounts with the unbelievable number of text messages they sent. Even Oprah had a a guest once upon a time, a teenager that that a ridiculous bill to pay (dad wasn’t that happy about it).

Seeing this window of massive opportunity, BlackBerry implemented BBM. It is a combination of Instant Messaging and Texting exclusive only to holders of a BlackBerry. Every device has a PIN code and a Bar code which can be recognized by another BlackBerry device and then you just start typing away. These messages are entirely free. The only thing you need is a solid limitless internet connection for it to remain that way. Nonetheless, the bill doesn’t even begin to compare to what a texting bill would look like.

There are other Apps like Whatsapp that can be downloaded to any smartphone out there and works just the same as BBM, only it bounds all brands together. So you see? Texting is slowly down, because even if all cell phone users aren’t smarphone users, the number is rising pretty quickly. Why pay an absurd amount when you have free at the tip of your fingers?

BlackBerry + 1

After leaving my former Nokia smartphone unguarded on its last lines of battery it finally dove into sleep mode. When I realized that the next morning, even after two hours of being plugged in, it wouldn’t come back to life. Bomber! Out comes a loaner as a back up, turns out all my other phones were no where to be found.

The carrier’s office finally opened after Easter week. I went in only to learn that since I’d purchased the phone exactly 1 year and 1 day before, they couldn’t repair it for me. Ahh can you smell the carrier’s golden opportunity? Hint–> (say this with your best whispery voice) Buy a new phone!

Indeed I had to or I’d be stuck with the loaner for who knows how long with the only ability to press the same button a thousand times to get it to send out an sms.

Of course they came right out with an upgrade contract (of course!) More money, new phone but here’s the magic behind all those catches: a limitless internet connection on a purple BlackBerry (yes, you did read purple). Out comes the phone but not alone! It came with + 1; a prepaid (in case you need a loaner when your phone breaks) HuaWei phone. “What’s that?” I asked.

I had never heard or seen that brand before, not even back during my days in China. As I looked more into it afterwards, it’s a chinese brand of mostly USB sticks, just turned into a telecomm company. You have to give it to them though. Excellent way to come in a position themselves in the Mexican market. I bet you nearly no one here has heard about that brand before. Usually the “loaner” prepaid phones they give you for free are Nokia phones.

Has Nokia then lost two battles in such a short period of time? First they start sinking with their phone platform, having to join forces with Microsoft in order to be a Windows 7 carrier and now this? Nokia used to rock the analog phones! Sure thing Nokia has been punched several times (may be even below the belt?). Let’s see how they turn this around.

But for now, I came out of that store with two brands that seem to dominate both ends of the phone spectrum: BlackBerry for smartphones and Huawei for loaners.

Whatever Happened to Phones?

No, really, whatever happened to phones? When was the last time you used your home phone or even your office phone? Unless you really are a telemarketer or talk to your relatives via prepaid card on the phone, I’m willing to bet that was a really long time ago.

Everyone uses either Skype for much cheaper calls or their cell phones — which by the way aren’t used to make a lot of calls anymore–. Granted, there are still a couple of dozen calls to be made from the portable little devices, but as you may have figured out by now, you check your e-mail, social updates and somewhat still text. All those, even if singled out, out match voice calls by far.

Even preteens abuse their cellphones typing away text messages as if they were given candy for every one they send out. Gossip-Girlying it out by taking pictures and uploading them to Facebook or some other online community.

Alexander Graham-Bell may be didn’t even remotely imagine eventually his work would be nearly obsolete. It was though, a major stepping stone to something bigger, more global, and much more practical. So type away people, we’re getting good at typing on small keyboards (we even keep our nails tightly cut to get faster at it!).

QR Fever

As we’ve noticed, advertising has become a more interactive activity between customers and brands. Smartphones have provided that utility while having practically your whole life in a small gadget that fits in your hand (of course if only their battery lasted longer than half a day after vast use…).

QR codes haven’t been around for too long, but they are everywhere! On magazines, billboards, books, labels and now so it seems on sides of buildings and even stadiums. Audi’s Japanese marketing strategy included a video right at the beginning of QR codes popularity. This video was a short film of people lining up on the stadium’s field to form a huge QR code.

But what exactly is a QR code? For those of you who aren’t yet on the know (although it’s practically impossible to escape them now), QR codes are tiny squares which form an algorithm that only gadgets such as our smartphones can read. Once they are scanned with the phone’s camera, the machine interprets them and displays a message, a website, an image, a video, etc on whatever the brand wants you to see or look at.

This marketing strategy, more than just interactive, awakens people’s curiosity. Perhaps you weren’t even interested on the brand that’s displaying this, but that little itch to know what’s on the other side must be scratched. You can even find useful information on whatever product or service you are about to purchase.

Same goes with a special App called “Point & Find” for Nokia. You take a picture with your phone and upload the information to the net. The App automatically scans the picture and gives you information on the location. For instance, if you took a picture of a European Castle, an article on its history will show up on your screen. If you have a Nokia phone, you can download the app right here http://pointandfind.nokia.com/main_publisher before you purchase a Windows 7 Nokia phone that is. If you have another brand, there are plenty of other apps that work just the same.

So you see, mobile marketing is indeed, mobile.

On St. Patty’s Day…

Personally, I’m not a gamer. I haven’t been since I was about 12 and Nintendo 64 was the hit of the moment. But I look at my guy friends today and they’re mostly crazy over Xbox (to play Halo), Wii (on the boxing ring), and well the unfortunately discontinued Guitar Hero. I must confess, I did enjoy that last one when one of my friends practically forced the little plastic guitar strap on my shoulder.

As far as computer games go, they’re very last season for what I can see around me. Right now, after iPod Touch was released to attract gamers (think of it as PSP but cooler) game apps have been soaring. The latest crazy game app? Surely you’ve already heard of it… “Angry Birds”.

What’s more interesting about this particular presentation in games is that they are much more flexible than console games to be subject to special changes. Just look at “Angry Birds” looking like leprechauns. Oh St Patty’s Day. Wonder what they’ll do? Drink Guiness as they get angrier? http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/angry-birds-seasons-goes-green-for-st-patricks-day-08-03-2011/

The flexibility and instant connection to consumers, no matter where they may be in the world holds a clear distinction from the rest. Never the less, Kinect and Xbox are always on a guy’s eye for a night in with his boys.

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Tech-IN-Color

As it is already tradition in many of my posts, let’s take a look at a tech time line in our minds. Back in the 50’s, TV sets were large and heavy wooden cubes set in front of a French styled living room. There’s a strange connection between the size and shape in this decade to that of a wooden puppeteer’s box. The large bulbs coming into life to show a few hands interact perhaps? Except the puppets were news anchors or the very first of The Flintstones.

The 60’s came in and it took a little orange color, along with some green and yellow on the outside. Space race in black and white in a fashionable case. Wow, if only “Mad Men” could be seen in those sets. It would give the show a more realistic tone perhaps? Although you could most likely forget about the comfort of a remote.

Moving along to long thin lines of chromed metal on still wooden sets through out the 70’s and 80’s. Back into the wooden touches, just when color programming was taking its hit for the first time. All fuzzy as an old picture. Behold the 90’s when tech stuff was not only about TV sets anymore. Tape recorders, Sony Walkman’s, VCR’s, and tapes themselves. All in black. But hey, so far, how many times have you replaced your “gadgets” in a year? Virtually zero…

Just ass soon as the 2000’s hit tech growth went off scale. OK, so we’re at the beginning of the millennium’s second decade, but can you now keep track of how many cell phone’s you’ve had? My magic number for example is about 12 different ones since 2000. That’s about a cell phone a year. Not so shabby right? What colors have they come in though? The one I’m holding right now is white… and no, I regret to inform you it’s not the iPhone 4 in white, I wish!

Me and a fair number of people that are literally lining up outside stores to get the coveted little cell phone. With silver being the ruling color in the 2000’s and now white seems to be the Snow Queen everyone wants. Just look at good old Steve Jobs hold it as his most precious and newest baby http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20101026/apple-no-white-iphones-til-spring/ What color will be next? A changing color iPhone? Let’s see what happens with the already rumored iPhone 5.

The Already Old Smartphones

Yes, we have reached the point where we can finally say “Old Smartphones”. In fact, we’ve reached it over and over again. Every time Apple or any other brand releases a new model, even if it’s a newer version of what you already have, overnight your Smartphone becomes “old”. So what to do to to at least raise some of the money to buy the newer model? What we always do, sell the older model.

Now, with newer models, special prices from carriers and retail stores are very practical, so one generally doesn’t know what the appropriate price would be to sell at. The good part is though, you can always compare online. Find out what people are doing around you. Don’t sell too cheap, don’t sell too high. Here’s a pricelist provided by Ebay itself to help guide users, buyers and sellers http://thenextweb.com/mobile/2011/02/08/how-much-money-you-can-get-for-that-old-smartphone-infographic/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+TheNextWeb+(The+Next+Web+All+Stories)

Now take that Smartphone between your hands, thank it for the services, joy and frustrations it has given you, bid it adieu to go get the newer version. Someone else will share the same stories at a lower price (and probably a mashed up edge).