Month: April 2014

The convergence of The Big Four tech giants continues

With leaked reports this week suggesting that Amazon are readying a smartphone to launch in the Autumn, it marked yet another example in the recent trend of the big four tech companies, Google, Apple, Facebook & Amazon, continuing to move in on each other’s turf. It seems that Amazon want a piece of the smartphone pie and feel like they have something to offer in this space in the hope of emulating Apple’s model of users being able to use an Apple device to buy Apple products via an Apple payment system (iTunes). This isn’t a new trend but definitely one that seems to have sped up over the last few months with Computer World highlighting the number of recent moves that have made these companies “a lot less like themselves and a lot more like their competitors”.

Even Twitter are getting in on the action. Just last week the company rolled out a new profile page to some users, giving images more prominence, displaying posts based on their level of interaction and generally continuing the ‘Facebook-ification’ of the platform. All this in addition to reports last month that the company was preparing to get rid of the hashtag and @reply features that have been such symbols of the platform up to this point.

In a similar vein, it seems that Facebook is hoping to diversify from social like Google has managed to diversify from search with the company recently engaged in some very Google-like ‘moonshot’ ventures like investing in virtual reality and drone hardware manufacturers that have nothing from the outside to do with their core business. It has also been reported this week that the company is currently testing out an e-money system in Ireland which, if it were to prove a success, could possibly muscle in on Amazon’s online retail business or the potential of Apple’s iTunes in the micro-payments space.

So it looks as though these companies will continue to diversify from their original core business and borrow elements from each other, all with the aim of trying to expand their customer base and keep users within their ecosystem. But are all these measures diluting the elements that made users love them in the first place, and what are the implications for us, the users, of having our lives and our habits influenced and monitored by such a small group of companies?

Amazon Smartphone

Image courtesy of Mashable

Posted by Rob in Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter

Digital frame & photo app connects old & young

This is a seriously good idea from Johnson & Johnson Middle East, a great example of how tech can be used to make a real emotional impact. These days, more and more families live outside their home countries, especially in the Middle East. As such, the grandparents in these families are even further removed from their children and grandchildren, lucky if they get to see them every year or two.

The ‘Grandparents Frame’ is a digital photo frame that let’s Grandparents, who typically aren’t on social media, witness their grandkids growing up via a social photo sharing app. We actually pitched to build this app for Impact BBDO but didn’t get it unfortunately. Still a bit of a tearjerker though.

Posted by Rob in Apps, Social Media, Tech

Facebook, Oculus, & the future of online retail

Facebook’s $2 Billion acquisition of virtual reality headset manufacturer Oculus Rift last week left a lot of people confused. The connection between a social media platform and virtual reality hardware is not exactly obvious after all. This video gives an idea of the potential that this coming together of technologies could unleash, particularly in an online retail capacity.

Posted by Rob in e-Commerce, Facebook, Retail