All posts in “apple”

Dabbling on the Darkside: An iOS’ers Android Confession

Jordan Benedet is a Manager on the Client Strategy and Innovation team at Social Media Group. Follow @jbenedet.

I’ve been an iPhone owner since 2008 when the 3G first came to Canada, although my initial experience with iOS came slightly before this when I bought, and quickly sold, a first generation iPod touch. At this time most people had a simple flip or candy bar phone with highly advanced T9 text input and battery life of over a week. A smartphone was a BlackBerry, and having one meant you were a rich and powerful businessman who needed to be able to tap out important emails on a tiny keyboard 24 hours a day. Things have changed since then, mainly due to smartphones achieving the fastest adoption rate in tech history.

I’ve also been an iPhone / Apple evangelist, enlisting friends and family to jump into the iPhone world. My wife used to say she would never like or use a phone as much I do, but now I see her continually switching between her second iPhone and an iPad all evening while relaxing. It is not surprising to hear that 84% said they could not go a single day without their phone, and 60% of people would rather lose their wallet than their phone.

A Spark for Change

After years of living in the iOS ecosystem, I found myself a little bored. Normally when getting a new gadget I get excited to learn and tweak it, but when I got my shiny new 4S last year I felt like nothing had changed. The feeling was correct, because in my opinion nothing substantial had changed; it just had a better camera, in a faster and thinner phone. When iOS 6.0 came out the feeling continued; it had brought absolutely nothing new to the table that particularly interested me. Late in 2012, I started seeing many others writing about the same thoughts I was having, the most notable titled “An iPhone Lover’s Confession: I Switched To the Nexus 4. Completely” from Ralf Rottmann on Gizmodo. I felt the urge for change, and decided that I needed to dabble on the metaphorical dark side. After validating that my key IOS apps now had Android counterparts (something that was not the case last year), I was officially ready to take the plunge.

Jump Right Into It

It only took a day before I had explored Android, and customized the phone to my liking. It wasn’t long before the phone was rooted and I was installing a variety of custom ROMs. The big screen and larger phone took a bit longer to get used to. I still find it very awkward and cumbersome to reach the frequently used top left corner of the screen while holding it with only my right hand, but viewing anything on the large screen is quite amazing. I now realize that I would not want a phone any bigger in dimensions than the S3, and I would actually prefer if the width was shaved down a few mm as well in order to fit in my hand better.

I also liked how 3rd party apps can easily be made default for specific actions. The notification centre was a dream, allowing quick access to anything from music controls to system settings. It took me a while to get used to the “back” and “menu” buttons, but it wasn’t long before they became second nature. When I first picked up my old iPhone after a week with the Galaxy, I found myself trying to clumsily press a non-existent back button.

The Bad

Both operating systems are not perfect, and they both have pros and cons. I really like the Galaxy S3 because of the flexibility / customizability of Android, using the large screen real estate, and the hardware back button. The negative side of things for me really centres on the battery life. Using the phone drains the battery much quicker than my 4S did (with LTE off too), and it also drains much quicker in standby. Micro managing background apps and resources also can be a pain because you never know if a background app is just sucking your battery dry.

What I Miss

I do miss my iPhone for some very specific reasons.

  • The first is iMessage; most of my friends and family all have iPhones so group text chats are now much more difficult now. Replacement 3rd party apps just aren’t the same since Apple introduced the blue text bubbles!
  • The second is battery life. I don’t care if it is not user-replaceable, my iPhone simply had a longer lasting battery during every day usage.
  • Lastly, I do miss the passive multi tasking and push notifications that iOS uses. This definitely helps battery life, since I find Android apps that utilize notifications require a background service to be always running sucking up CPU cycles.

I haven’t decided if I will stay on Android permanently, but I’m definitely keeping both devices as it allow me to become an expert on both platforms. I’m going to wait patiently to see what IOS7 offers up – your move Apple.

WWDC Apple Updates and What They Mean for Social Media

Yesterday, Apple dropped an atomic bomb of updates at WWDC, sending shockwaves throughout the tech world. The MacBook Pro line, OSX and iOS all received much anticipated (and at times surprising) upgrades. Those close to the blast radius are now undoubtedly waxing over’s newly refreshed product page, basking in the brilliant wired future their new hardware toys will bring. Yes, hardware updates caused most of yesterday’s commotion, but like almost always, it will be the updates to software that will cause the fallout.

OSX Mountain Lion Notification Center
Apple continues to bring some of iOS’s best features over to the Mac, creating a more seamless experience for users across devices. In Mountain Lion, Notification Center will now post app notifications in the top left hand corner of the desktop. What’s interesting is the inclusion of Twitter. Users will have the ability to both Tweet and respond to Twitter notifications directly within the OS, effectively turning the Mac into a lightweight Twitter client in itself.

Facebook will now join Twitter as a fully integrated social layer within iOS. Users will have the ability to log into the social network at the system level, sync contacts directly with the iOS address book, “like” apps on the App Store and post updates directly from the iOS Notification Center. Functionality to post updates from the notification center has be extended to cover Twitter as well.

Photo Stream
Photo Stream has gone social. In a move that sees Apple treading on a bit of Instagram’s turf, users will now be able to share, subscribe and comment on a stream of photos taken by friends directly from their iOS device. What makes this move even more disruptive are the endless amounts of apps available for iOS that provide comparable if not superior photo editing features than the ones provided by Instagram.

Apple seems to be moving away from attempting to roll their own social network, rather embracing the rich communities that exist today. A smart move for a company that’s best known for their top notch hardware and software and not the web. Today, social media is vital to the digital experience of users, and Apple is now incorporating the best of breed properties directly into their ecosystem.

RIM Taking It To The Streets


Patrick Gladney is Director, Research & Insights at Social Media Group. Follow @pgladney.

In Canada, we take pride in companies that that challenge our traditional description of “hewers of wood and drawers of water.”   Over the past decade, we’ve been particularly fascinated by Research In Motion.  Unfortunately of late, our fascination with RIM has been more like watching a car crash.

Domestic market share is being dramatically eroded by Apple and Android.  The Playbook has yet to get a foothold in the tablet market. The Blackberry App World languishes in relative obscurity. Co-founders and CEO’s Mike Lazardis and Jim Balsillie are pushed out as the company seeks to alter its trajectory.  Tough times indeed.

But sometimes, desperate times call for dramatic measures.  As proof, witness the marketing stunt pulled by RIM in Sydney last week.  The company simulated a protest outside an Apple store imploring customers inside to “Wake Up.”    There just so happened to be a popular tech-blogger onsite there to record the protest:

It wasn’t abundantly clear at the time who was doing the waking, or what people were being instructed to wake up to.  But the mystery was successful in generating interest and awareness of the event as people speculated who might be responsible for staging such an event. The first suspect was Apple’s most formidable competitor Samsung, who not too long ago created a commercial of their own where characters were lured out of a line up outside of an Apple store in favour of one of their Galaxy phones.

Unwilling to cede credit, RIM finally owned up to the rally.  And then the claws came out.  Bloggers, followed by the traditional media roundly criticized RIM for orchestrating a stunt that “smacks of desperation” and suggested that “insulting the customer base that you’re trying to woo might not be the best marketing strategy.”

In my view, as shared with the Toronto Star, the RIM rally was a success.  The goal for this tactic was nothing more than to create awareness by leveraging  a market leader’s brand equity.  With half a million YouTube views in a week, I’d say not bad.  While the style of execution may seem inelegant to some, RIM clearly needs to disrupt the market inertia that currently plagues Blackberry.  The weakness to this execution is that there was nothing new that RIM could hold up as tangible evidence for consumers to reconsider their products.  It would have been better if this event could have been supported by substantive news like the release of the new operating system (BB10) that’s been in development since the acquisition of QNX in 2010.

What do you think of RIM’s latest gambit?


The Future of Advertising at a Glance

Jordan Benedet is a Manager on the Client Strategy and Innovation team at
Social Media Group.

No, I’m not talking about Catvertising. The online advertising landscape is changing at a staggering pace. A recent report from mobile analytics company Flurry provides a great visualization that illustrates how long consumers spend consuming TV, Print, Radio, Web, and Mobile media against how much advertisers are actually spending within each media category.

The results are clear. Print advertising is getting a substantial amount of advertising dollars, but consumers are no longer spending much time consuming that type of content.

Mobile and Web categories are where things get interesting, showing huge gaps between advertising spend and consumer time on each medium. Advertisers continue to pour money into traditional mediums, despite the fact that mobile and web platforms offer better engagement opportunities. This trend cannot sustain itself. Sooner or later, all advertisers should understand that their advertising budgets need to be adjusted to compensate for the migration to web, social media, and mobile platforms.

Media Spend vs COnsumer Time on Media

Mobile & Tablets

Mobile is a different advertising beast compared to traditional search and display ad units, and it’s projected that in 2012 mobile ad spend will reach $6.5 billion! The question is not whether your company should invest in mobile advertising, it’s how much should be invested.

Currently, the total amount of mobile ad impressions being served is somewhat limited. This is a result of mobile advertising still being in an infant stage, and also because screen real estate on smartphones and tablets is much smaller than the average computer screen, reducing the amount of total amount of ad impressions per page view. The limitation of available impressions is not necessarily a bad thing, however, since it will motivate advertisers to ensure ads and content are highly relevant to the audience being served.

Marin Software reports that ad clicks coming from smartphones cost 35% less per click, and produce 72% higher click through rates compared to desktop advertising. Unfortunately, that’s not the whole story—Marin also reports that computers and tablets produce conversion rates that are 160%, and 145% higher than smartphones, respectively.


Although the gaps in conversion rates are wide, it should be noted that smartphone conversion tracking can be much more difficult to achieve in comparison to standard desktop ads. Leo J. Shapiro and Associates has recently reported that 66% of smartphone owners use their devices to research products while shopping. If customers make their purchase in-store rather than online, this would result in conversions that cannot be tracked back to a mobile ad – essentially lowering mobile ad ROI.

Mobile ads are not just about search either. Neilsen recently released a study which states that Android users spend twice the amount of time in apps compared to the mobile web. This puts even more pressure on brands to ensure their mobile advertising strategy includes 3rd party mobile ad networks such as AdMob or iAd.

My point is that mobile and web advertising is where real growth is happening. It’s essential for advertisers to start exploring new ways to serve ads in mobile search, within apps, and on various social media networks to truly understand what budgets are required to achieve specific campaign goals (be that awareness or conversion). Now, if only those cool cats at the new Catvertising agency could figure out how to use a mobile phones and tablets…

Cat Tablet



Yet Another Ill-Advised Tattoo


Cam Finlayson is a Director, Client Strategy & Innovation at Social Media Group. 

Rumour has it that Nokia is currently working on a new product idea that will ensure you never miss an important call or email. The patent, filed by Nokia back in September, outlines a device consisting of thin material that can be applied to the skin that will vibrate when triggered by a magnetic field sent via a device such as a smartphone. Or, as some folks on the internet are calling it: a vibrating tattoo.

When you break it down, this is got to be one of the wackiest product ideas in a long time. It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that Nokia is looking into any and all opportunities to make up some of the valuable ground lost to Apple, Blackberry and Google over the last ten years.

Personally, I’m of two minds about Nokia’s product idea. From a tech standpoint I’ve gotta say that the concept is pretty cool. However, it does raise some concerning questions regarding where technology can lead us.

What’s most unsettling to me about this idea is how it illustrates our desire to stay connected and a growing dependency on smartphones. Have we actually come to a point where the anxiety of missing an incoming call or email has led to the need for this type of product?

I hope we’re not there yet, and if I’m right the market for this type of product will be quite small. That said, as smartphone adoption reaches critical mass, the lines between technology and culture begin to blur.

First, it was the infamous Crackberry that stole our 9-to-5 workday and cleverly redefined our understanding of work-life balance. Now we have a Finnish phone maker attempting to reinvent how we stay connected with their devices.

To put things in perspective, I encourage you to try a little experiment. Over the weekend, try to go a day without your mobile phone. If that’s not realistic, try to go for a couple of hours.

Those of you that keep your phone in your pocket or close by 24/7, will likely experience something really freaky: at some point you’ll either think you hear your phone ringing or will feel the sensation of your phone vibrating. This is commonly known as Phantom Vibration Syndrome—a fact that I learned a couple of months ago during a self-diagnosis with the help of Google.

For those of you eagerly waiting for Nokia to market this vibrating tattoo, count me out; I’m having a hard enough time dealing with the phantom ringing in my leg.

3…..2…..1….We have liftoff of the new iPad.

This post by Wangari Kamande a Research Analyst at Social Media Group.

When traveling to the moon, you better ensure your aim is true at launch, or else you will miss it by a mile. The same is true when launching new products or marketing campaigns, you want to ensure that your product or message meets or exceeds customer expectations.

Now, thanks to social media, brands can have an “early warning detection system” that can alert them of any previously unidentified issues.

You can be certain that Apple, who largely eschews social media marketing, is paying attention to what people are saying online about the new iPad, launched on March 15th.   (The last thing Apple wants is another antenna-gate.)

As reported in the Financial Post’s Tech Desk (and featuring data from SMG’s Research & Insights) team, there was a lot of online discussion about the new iPad.  But a deeper, more focused search quickly uncovered some product challenges and customers who were unsure about whether their device was operating to standard. A small, but vocal group of consumers complained about a yellow tint to the screen, overheating, or the fact that the covers Apple made for the iPad 2 do not fit the new tablet.

For Apple, this represents a great opportunity to quickly diagnose issues and jumpstart remedial action, if necessary with the goal of ensuring consumers are getting the brand experience they were paying for.

Social Media Signals

The signals and value that come from listening represent a big opportunity for brands. One of my favorite quotes is from the Author Harvey Mackay, he says, “You learn when you listen. You earn when you listen—not just money, but respect.” Make the decision to listen today; it will serve your brand well.

Why I Love the Cloud

Jordan Benedet is a Manager on the Client Strategy and Innovation team at Social Media Group.

The “Cloud” is a word that is being frequently used by both companies and individuals. Corporate adoption is taking off, with small to medium businesses projected to spend $68 billion on cloud computing by 2014!

The Cloud is a buzz word right now, meaning people tend to use it very often, and sometimes out of context. The cloud can mean a variety of different things, such cloud computing, or cloud storage. Over the last couple of years, the cloud has continued to evolve as the use of mobile devices and tablets increased. The cloud isn’t just a backup system, but a method for syncing and sharing files, music, photos, and videos no matter where you are.

Consumer cloud storage is offered by many companies, such as, SugarSync, Dropbox, Box, and of course, Apple iCloud. They all offer similar functionality, both PC Mag and 9to5Mac have great comparisons for those who are interested. This post centres on consumer cloud storage, specifically SugarSync, and why I dig it.

Personal Use Case

Let’s go back to 2002, a time when the Euro was born, and Ja Rule was on top of the charts. I was in university and decided that I was going to buy my first digital camera, the Kodak LS420. “This thing is amazing!” I thought. Thinking back though, the camera was expensive, slow, had a terrible LCD, and an even worse white out flash – but it was mine (and it still works).

A few years passed, and thanks to my trusty Kodak, I built up quite an extensive collection of digital memories. Friends and family marvelled at how I could store so many pictures on my computer without having a scanner! Then it happened – my hard drive failed without warning. At the time I didn’t have a backup system for my precious data. I lost everything. Years of pictures, movies, and memory-sparking files were wiped out in seconds. Data recovery efforts failed, everything was gone.

It’s Just Easier with the Cloud

The problem I had would have been solved 100% by the cloud. Although I have accounts with the brands I previously mentioned, SugarSync is my primary platform. It allows me to sync important files or folders from my personal PC, work laptop, and mobile devices. Any changes made are automatically updated in the cloud. My pictures and movies would have been safely, and securely stored on remote servers, which could have been easily downloaded again once I fixed my computer.

File syncing also makes working remotely much more convenient. For example, I wake up sick and can’t make it to the office but I have a presentation that needs a few changes before it is due to a client. Solution? Download the backup from the cloud, edit, send, voila!

How many people do you know that have lost their cell phone, and along with it, all of their contacts? With the cloud, contacts can be stored and backed up wiht ease – I personally use Google Sync on my iPhone.

I’ve written about SmartTVs in a previous post called the Connect Evolution. The cloud is a new addition to SmartTV functionality with Samsung recently announcing native SugarSync support on any AllShare capable TV. Most big brands are sure to follow suit and offer their own TV cloud integration soon. Lenovo has also partnered with SugarSync, so their PCs and tablets will include cloud functionality out of the box.

iCloud has recently brought the term, and functionality to a mainstream audience. It’s only a matter of time when the cloud is no longer just a feature, but the expected norm.

The Connected Evolution

Jordan Benedet is a Manager on the Client Strategy and Innovation team at Social Media Group.

Smart Washing Machine

Historically, connecting to the Internet has always been on computers, but over the last five years connectivity is no longer confined to a desktop or laptop – all thanks to the evolution of “smart devices”. Smart, or connected devices are changing how people create, consume, share, and control the content in their life.

Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in January provided preview of the new direction of major electronics manufacturers, and how they plan to design devices that not only provide value by leveraging smart capabilities, but also solve problems in an intuitive way. According to the GSMA and a post at RedWriteWeb, 90% of TVs at CES, 70% of automotive devices, 44% of health devices, and 30% of cameras were Internet connected.

Of all connected devices at CES, 30% were from the “home lifestyle” category, which includes TVs, refrigerators, and even washing machines!

GSMA Stats

What it means for the living room

The potential benefits of having so many connected home devices are mind boggling, but this post covers how these changes could affect the current family living room.

Smart phones changed the way we use our mobile devices. They provided easier and more efficient access to music, games, social media, and communication tools like instant messaging and the almighty email. Most people I know, even the highly skeptical, never looked back after upgrading to a smart phone (be it Android, iPhone, or Blackberry).

A similar principal applies to the connected TVs showcased at CES – picture many of the benefits that a smart phone brings, and apply it to your living room on a screen 10 times bigger. Older TV owners can still rejoice that set top boxes like ROKU, Boxee, or AppleTV, and game consoles such as Xbox can be used to turn any TV into some form of Connected TV.

1. Social TV

People love to talk about TV with friends, which make social elements an integral feature for all connected devices. Social components should be integrated seamlessly when possible. One main problem is that unlike smart phones, TVs are “shared screens” – making it even more important to utilize social privacy elements. Michelle, a colleague here at Social Media Group recently shared her thoughts on The Rise of SocialTV here.

2. Apps

Apps have been integral part of making smart phones the awesome devices they are today. They provide a never-ending supply of new content to learn from or play with. The same is true for TV. Having access to apps will let users control what additional features, games or widgets they want to use, ultimately leading to a more controllable, and enjoyable viewing experience.

3. Custom Streaming

Continuing on the DVR trend, connected TVs will also allow viewers to choose what they want to watch, and when. As content producers continue to align their service offerings to support a streaming model, more people will continue to cut or cancel their cable/satellite bills. Netflix and Hulu have also helped push the streaming model to the mainstream. This is one of the largest game changing features of Connected TV – user control.

Internet Connectivity is no longer a feature that is limited to the top of the line TV models – it’s now a requirement. TV manufacturers have to rethink what a TV is, which includes how to leverage Internet capabilities, but more importantly the overall user experience that allows TVs to interact with traditional computers, smart phones, and tablets.

The Ecosystem Approach

Many major TV manufacturers lost money last year, Sony included. Samsung was fortunate to only incur reduced profit margins. The root causes were eroding retail prices, and sluggish consumer demand. The time has come where device manufacturers have to become content suppliers in order to maintain profitability and survive, which essentially means more ecosystems.

Molly Wood from CNET recently wrote her thoughts on what a connected device ecosystem really means:

A perfectly constructed ecosystem turns a smart phone, a tablet, or even a TV into a symphony of interoperable, always-on, one-stop-shopping gadget glory. No device is just a device, anymore. Now, every device is a platform, and everything works together perfectly

Love it or hate it, Apple pioneered the closed ecosystem with iTunes and iDevices. The closed ecosystem means more consumers are locked in – essentially raising the costs to switch to a different platform. Their strategy is paying off too, which is evident in their recent first-quarter record profit announcement.  Rumors also suggest that Apple is making a big play into the TV market, a move that will definitely shake things up.

Samsung and Microsoft also have the right idea. Samsung has made major moves this year to create an ecosystem that will compete head on with Apple. Their TVs will work seamlessly with both their Tablets and popular (record breaking) smart phones. Microsoft’s new Metro UI will ensure Windows 8 devices, Windows Phones, and Xbox will all share a universal user experience and content repositories. Let’s not forget about Microsoft Kinect, which could bring a Minority Report type experience to your living room!

We’re moving into an all out clash of the TV titans for 2012. Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung will likely continue to fight over patents and designs, while advancing product capabilities, and refining their service offerings.

Clash of Titans - Apple vs Smasung

To Sum it Up

A huge influx in the variety and quantity of connected products are coming directly to consumers, but the true benefit of these changes really comes down to implementation.

Only time will tell if these products solve more problems than they make, but the awesome part is that this is one of the few circumstances where you can literally sit on the couch and enjoy the changes!

2011: The Year of the Tablet

Tablets are everywhere. In 2011 they have taken the personal computing world by storm. These thin, power packed devices are portable and allow users to be online, access email, video chat, and play games while on the go, or while relaxing from the comforts of a cozy living room chair (or the iPad chair). These versatile tablets don’t always get used on its own, recently Neilson reported that tablets make great TV companions with 40% of owners stating they consistently use their device while watching television.

Overall tablets can create value or entertainment for almost anyone – especially students, business professionals, technologists, or even Grandma! This post is a summary of major events in 2011 related to tablets and some of my own opinions and experiences.

State of the Nation

The tablet craze started when Apple launched the first iPad back in April 2010. Analysts either thought the product would be a runaway success or an epic failure. I will admit that I was skeptical at first, but that all changed once I had an iPad to call my own (full disclosure – I love it).

Since the iPad launched competitors have feverishly played catch up to try to match or beat the iPads features, functionality, user experience, and content availability. Throughout the last year and half we have had winners, some delays, and a couple of losers.  Overall the iPad still reigns supreme with an estimated 68% of the total tablet market share. Maybe that will change with the recent introduction of the Kindle Fire…but more on that later.

Another important factoid is that tablets are cannibalizing the PC industry. Forbes is reporting that European PC shipments sunk 11.4% in 2011, mainly due to lower demand for netbooks – a product that tablet functionality almost directly replaces.

It’s Not Just for Fun Anymore

Tablets are great gaming devices, so it is not surprising that ComScore says that 2/3 of tablet users play games on them at least once a month with 1/4 of users stating they play games once a day. I definitely sit somewhere in the middle of those stats, as I routinely use mine for gaming, reading, watching videos, and staying connected to friends and family.

Besides gaming and multimedia content consumption, tablets are also conquering the workplace. A prime example is that airlines have replaced heavy and expensive pilot flight manuals with iPads. Not only does it save the pilot from lugging around pounds of paper, but it also allows them to quickly search. Schools are replacing an entire year’s worth of textbooks, Doctors are using a plethora of medical apps to create efficiencies and improve patient care. Welcome to the 21st century.

How to Decide which Tablet to Buy

With a plethora of tablet options deciding which one is right for you can be a daunting task. Of course fanboys are likely to stick with their designated brand regardless of the features, functionality, or more importantly limitations. This resource from Tablet PC Comparison provides a high level overview of a large majority of available tablets. And below I provide my opinion on the subject.

Operating System / Content

The tablet OS is one of the most important factors to consider in your tablet buying decision. Until recently tablet discussions typically involved the great debate between Android’s open-ended operating system, with a variety of different products versus Apple’s closed and content-rich iPad.

The iPad comes with iTunes, which provides users with an almost unlimited amount of apps and multimedia content for their device. Although the Android App market is getting bigger, especially in the tablet app department, there isn’t a single repository where users can rent movies, or download TV shows (legally).

Of course that all changed with the Kindle Fire, which runs a modified version of Android. It is rumoured that Amazon subsidizes the sale of each Kindle Fire device at a loss as they are banking on customers’ continually buying content from them for the life of the tablet. Stream revenue is much better than a one time purchase!

Now we are seeing conversations shift to a debate between the Kindle Fire and the iPad. Will the Fire truly be the first iPad killer? Time will soon tell. Sure, we could also see another drastic change in 2012 with the recent announcement of HP open sourcing the WebOS platform, but that’s a whole other story.


Although all tablets are unique in their own way, many of the industry leaders have very similar hardware specifications. Most devices currently come with a dual core processor, up to 1GB of RAM, and on average 16GB of total storage. Other features to note are camera specifications, BluetoothWiFi, 3G (cellular), and GPS functionalities. For example, the Kindle Fire is cheaper than many competitors, but it only includes 8GB of storage, and doesn’t have GPS, camera, Bluetooth, or a microphone. To most consumers hardware specifications are not always a big deal (see iPad buyers), but for others the hardware specs may be the primary factor in their decision.

Screen Size

This is one of the biggest factors that drive a tablet purchase decision, and it really is personal preference. The RIM Playbook and Amazon Kindle Fire both utilize a 7 inch screen, the Apple iPad has a 9.7 inch screen, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab is 10.1. I love the size of my iPad, but I totally see the value in a 7 inch screen when it comes to portability.


Including price in this list is an absolute must, since most tablet buyers appear to be very price elastic. This observation is based on consumer reaction to outstanding sales of the $199 Kindle Fire, the Hp TouchPad fire sale back in the summer, and more recently the RIM Playbook price drop.

What’s Next?

It’s a given that new tablets will continually become thinner, lighter, and more powerful. Besides that I think the two key areas that will decide the fate of the tablet landscape will be content and price.

Content will be a key deciding factor moving forward. Amazon is placing big bets on their Kindle Fire, and I am excited to see how it all pans out over the next six months. In terms of price, the Kindle Fire seems to be setting the bar for entry level tablets. Consumers are currently gobbling the device up in record numbers, and Apple is rumoured to be working on a smaller, cheaper ‘iPad Mini’ that would compete directly with smaller, cheaper competitor products. I’m excited for 2012 which will most definitely bring a few surprises in tablet land.

Social Media Roundup for November 18, 2011


Google+ Pages continued…

Last week, Google announced new Google+ Pages for companies. Since then, top brands, including Pepsi, Hugo Boss, and Toyota have started to build their Google+ communities. What’s next?

This week, Google announced a series of new features that will make Google+ Pages even more attractive, and easier to use for brands.

Third Party Tools To Help Manage Google+ Pages

For those companies using platforms like HootSuite and ContextOptional to manage multiple social networks now integrate Google+ Pages. This feature will help populate Google+ with more brands as many organizations already use Social Media Management tools for their daily social media activities.

Trending topics and other improvements to the Google+ search

According to Mashable, Google+ has quietly rolled out trending topics within Google+ search this week. Just like Twitter trending topics, Google+ lists the top 10 most discussed topics within their platform. In addition to that, there have been other improvements to Google+ search as well. Users are now able to search within their own posts, their circles or their entire Google+ network.

Google+ Search

Google also tweaked the search page slightly. One thing that caught my attention is that Google+ Search now defaults to “most recent” rather than “best of”. This is Google moving back into real-time search (since their high-profile split with Twitter in July).

Average Facebook User [Infographic]

The average age of a Facebook user is now 38. New stats and facts from a new Infographic designed by JESS3 that looks at the average Facebook user’s daily activities. The Infographic shows that Facebook users are still the most engaged  – 52% of the users use the platform daily, and more than 20% of users are engaged with other people’s content.

Future Steve Jobs?

At TEDxManhattanBeach last month,  a 12-year-old boy named Thomas Suarez impressed with a speech about his journey to become an app developer and how he founded his own company. The video came out last week and has received over 1 million views on YouTube.  People are referring to him as the next Steve Jobs, as he shows charisma rarely seen in people, let alone people his age.

From the YouTube introduction:

Thomas Suarez is a 6th grade student at a middle school in the South Bay of Los Angeles. When Apple released the Software Development Kit (SDK), he began to create and sell his own applications. “My parents, my friends and even the people at the Apple store all supported me,” he says, “and Steve Jobs inspired me”. Thomas points out that it’s hard to learn how to make an app. “For soccer you could go to a soccer team … but what if you want to make an app?” He’s started a club for fellow students at school, where he shares his knowledge of programming. Thomas articulates his vision that students are a valuable new technology resource to teachers, and should be empowered to offer assistance in developing the technology curriculum and also assist in delivering the lessons.