Hello! Hope you've all had a good week. It's been another busy week here at FHA Towers, which means it's a little later than i'd planned, but a couple of stories caught my eye for this week's Tech Week-ness. Let's roll.....
Launch of Moto X – Always on, always listening, just not in Europe
Much of the specs and details of the Moto X device had already been leaked in the press long before yesterday’s launch in the US.
We saw a 4th of July ad campaign heralding the arrival of The first smartphone designed, engineered and assembled in the USA which perhaps Google Motorola thought would send a shockwave of whooping and hollering across the nation, followed by the whispering of “f**k yeah! “ – Take that Apple! Not just ‘designed in California’ this is a truly American phone!
Does anyone actually care though. Will consumers care? The fact that it’s built in the US means it’ll cost Motorola a lot more to manufacture. Will the money received through the ‘made in America’ stamp outweigh the money spent on ensuring that label? Only time will tell, but I remain skeptical. In my humble opinion, the great mobile public doesn’t really mind too much about where their device is made.
They care about:
- How much is it?
- Does it have credibility? Or do any of my friends have it?
- What's the camera like?
- What apps can i get on it?
Others who perhaps care a little more about their devices will also look at:
- Contextual services like Google Now or Siri?
- Screen resolution
- Battery life
- 4G/LTE ready?
- Processor speed and chipset?
- How many cores does it have? Quadcore?
The big disappointment of the Moto X is that for some reason it’s US/Canada/Latin America only, which is pretty ridiculous when you consider today’s device market. It’s a strange tactic and we know that Google won’t like having all its eggs in a Samsung basket and in my opinion the HTC One is an infinitely nicer device than a GS4 but unfortunately for HTC it just can’t match Samsung for marketing spend. I digress. It would be hugely disappointing, not to mention short-sighted for Motorola (Google) not to be launching the Moto X or similar device for a European or even English-speaking market if there are problems with language packages and translations. Well thankfully, Motorola will be launching something in Europe, but it just won’t be the Moto X. So despite all of this, my interest is still peaked in a new Motorola/Google device and it’s perhaps down to on thing in particular.
The feature that has perhaps caused the most commotion has been the ‘always listening feature’ – which does sound a little menacing, but it’s the mobile embodiment of what we’ve seen with Glass by saying “Ok Glass”, except here it’s “Ok Google Now”. For me this is what the future of mobile is about and I’m not too worried about privacy, like others in my generation, I’m willing to give up some of my details for a truly useful service, on the pretence that my details will be used to make advertising towards me a little more relevant. If Google continues to deliver with Google Now and make it instantly voice activated, it’s going to be a hugely powerful service for everyone, making use of what Google has masses and masses of: data.
The Sun Set? Or The Sun Rise?
Love it or hate it, this week saw The Current Bun disappear in to the oven and behind that bit of heat-proof glass, or what I’m going to call it in this post, a pay wall. I think I’m right in saying that it’s the first of The UK’s tabloid/ red-top papers to move behind ‘The Wall’.
Its competitors will watch on to see how the public react as Britain’s biggest selling tabloid follows it’s more sensible cousin and reserves its online content for only those that pay the price. Although if you look at how ‘the sensible cousin’ actually did when it went behind a paywall, it actually lost 90% of its audience. The Sun has arguably some of the best writers in the business and you can bet it would have not taken this decision lightly. Publishers are still trying to figure out how to they can effectively monetise their content digitally, while still attracting their audience. Is it better to take the dive behind the wall now and secure an audience, no matter how small? Or do you continue playing the free-for-all game and hope that something else comes along to save the industry?
Publishers like Pearson with The FT have had success in doing this, but then, their audience is a fairly niche one and one that will pay for access to online content. Will The Sun’s? What can The Sun offer that others cannot? Well, in one way, they’ll be relying on the talent of their writers, along with a prolific sports section but will also, couple this with additional video content and as many other extras as they can to justify the paywall.
It’s hard to tell right now of course whether this move will signal the dawn of a new day for The Sun online or if it’s in fact the start of the sunset. Only time will tell.