Art


A very interesting blog post on the FT about changes in the fashion industry caught my attention and I wanted to share the most subversive etail initiative I have ever heard about. 

www.honestby.com is the brainchild of Belgian designer Bruno Pieters. The site will sell a collection of 56 pieces for men and women. But what is groundbreaking about it is its transparency. It is transparent both financially and in terms of manufacturing.

By the time you press “buy” you will know exactly what you are paying for – everything from the material used, weight, who spun it, whether it is organic, a website for the supplier and so on – and you will find this for the fabric, the zipper, the lining, the trim, the label, the buttons, the thread etc. Under “price information” you will find out the cost per meter of the fabric, how much was ordered, how much was used, how much labour was involved, what the mark-up was, and how the profit was used.

High-end fashion has historically been a business built on opacity. Things cost what they cost and the less the consumer knows about the literal value of these, the better off the brands are and the more they can charge. It is precisely this attitude that Bruno wants to change as he thinks it breeds consumer mistrust – and why he wanted absolute clarity in his own brand. He has even gone so far to have said that if orders go up and he achieves economies of scale, his prices will come down.

It seems to me this has the potential to be a real game-changer in fashion, because if consumers get used to having this sort of information available, who knows, maybe they could start demanding it from other brands…

@natfut

honest-by

In case you haven’t seen them yet – there’s an early Christmas battle going on between M&S and John Lewis for who can produce the best festive advert. I say ‘battle’ but it’s been won hands down by John Lewis for this wonderful, charming story. In case you haven’t seen the M&S one, have a look, if you dare, here. It’s basically, everything that was quite clever and well executed in the collective ‘Perfect Day’ remake for Children in Need, but made bloody horrible by using the X Factor contestants. Honestly, it’s just unpleasantly “"sixth-form-project”.

One key element here, in tapping into the Christmas market, is getting the tone, sentiment, and festive spirit *just right*. What underpins all of this is the soundtrack – get that wrong, and you’re on the back foot from the off.

John Lewis have used a wonderful, understated and elegant remake of the Smiths’ classic ‘Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want’, evoking an emotional feeling in those watching it, and – if initial reaction if to be considered – making is a success and something people are sharing across social media.

The M&S advert however, has a clumsy, hard on the ears and downright unlistenable cocktail of different vocals, vocal styles, and most importantly vocal abilities. Say what you like about Frankie being apparently quite rock ‘n’ roll and meaning well, but let’s be honest, that guy CANNOT sing. He just doesn’t suit ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’.

The soundtrack is the key to associating emotion and sentiment in the brain – if you have that fixed in, the advert is memorable for the right reasons and something people want to share and comment on. Watch the ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ trailer if you don’t believe me – it’s a wonderful example.

John Lewis hit the nail on the head, but M&S has sadly missed this entirely.

*UPDATE* we told you it was all about the music – someone’s done a minor mash-up using the theme from the Shining instead. changes it somewhat….

@wonky_donky

How social technologies breed solo shopping – at least in the real world

The days of meeting up with friends and going on a shopping spree are long gone. With so much choice brought about by the increasing number of ecommerce platforms, retailers introducing more ranges online, and the growth of social technologies,applications and contactless payment systems, serious shoppers have drifted from the pack and prefer to go it alone.

Today, if you ask – “does my bum look book in this?” – you’re more likely to be ‘BBMing’ a picture to your friends, getting ‘liked’ on Facebook, or checking out real-time personal shopping apps than asking a friend who is actually shopping with you. That’s because any opportunity can be a purchasing opportunity. Whether you’re on your smartphone, visiting a supermarket or perusing Facebook, the opportunity to buy and price-check a range of goods in real-time is at your fingertips making it even harder for traditional retailers to make that initial sell, cross-sell, and most importantly getting customers into stores.

We’ve heard more regularly over recent months about the decline of the high-street and the future need for physical stores continues to be questioned. In recent years online fashion retailers such as ASOS and Net-A-Porter have done a good job of removing what some would describe as the stressful in-store experience and have brought the changing room right into your home – all of which has been done seamlessly, particularly when returning items. This in turn has made retailers think more strategically about the in-store experience and customer service they want to provide for shoppers in order to differentiate from online.

The most valuable part of any fashion store is the window display and the right-hand side of the shop as you walk in as it is what draws people in. These areas need to be stocked with bestsellers, new lines, adverts, packaging and items promoted in the press. Generally anything visible from the front of the shop should be high profit or popular items, and presented in an exclusive fashion so if your size is out it will bring out the animal instinct in you to hunt it down until it’s yours.

Highstreet retailers such as Topshop have also done a lot in recent years to try and keep shoppers in stores for as long as possible by offering different services. In the flagship store on Oxford Street, for example, you can now visit the nail bar, blow-dry salon, have your eyebrows threaded, grab a coffee and buy sweets while also doing your shopping. 

Customer service as always continues to be high priority for both stores that sell on commission and those that don’t. If sales assistants don’t say “hello” to customers who walk into stores like Reiss, Whistles and Hobbs, they’re likely to be pulled up for it. A recent and indeed very irregular visit to River Island, ahem, saw six different sales assistants approach me to ask how my day was going in literally under two minutes of entering. The need to appear helpful and make intelligent cross-sell recommendations is indeed a valuable differentiator compared to online, particularly when the customer feels they are getting that little bit extra when it comes to service.

Personally, from a serious shopper’s perspective, cool mobile apps are great for quick viewing, but online doesn’t have the same buzz for me that walking into a store does. Nothing beats seeing a sea of colours, fabrics, textures, coordinating items and ‘store models’ in real life. Obviously there are exceptions. However, as much as I enjoy the experience of walking into a store, shopping alone is definitely more suited to my patience levels. I’m also quite happy to BBM a picture to my friends and get their opinion that way rather than having them waiting around for me on the other side of a dressing room curtain.

@LucyDesaDavies

It’s pretty safe to say that it isn’t too often that The European Convention on Human Rights, originally set out in 1950, isn’t something that gets cited too often in casual debates around freedom of expression. Yet two particular articles sit at the heart of many debates surrounding the press and, arguably, in many debates around our society in general.

Article 8 states:

“everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.”

A simple sentiment, but one which sits at the core of the spate of recent super injunction cases and which is frequently winning arguments in court. The sentiment is one which few would realistically argue with; we all have a right to privacy, an essential aspect of a truly free society.

Key to the discussion around super injunctions is the interpretation of this right to privacy as the right to a protection of reputation.

Reputations are legally perceived to have a monetary value and, as dictated by legal precedent in the UK courts, everyone starts with a good reputation – unless proven otherwise. This idea sits at the heart of defamation rulings, the idea that the unfair tarnishing of someone’s reputation can have a negative effect on their potential income.

And yet all too often this idea is emphatically contradicted by the opening line in Article 10 of the same convention:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of expression”.

 

Essentially, everyone has the right to say what they want, when they want to – and if that is damaging to someone else’s reputation, so be it.

With two such contradictory statements at the heart of super injunctions and defamation rulings, it’s easy to see why cases can last for years following the original comments and/or story.

Nevertheless Article 8 has dominated proceedings in recent years, and a key reason for this is Mr. Justice Eady. If you don’t know Mr. Justice Eady, he is a UK judge frequently appointed to high profile defamation cases.

Numerous publishers have bones to pick with him and it’s rumored that champagne corks were being popped around Fleet Street (metaphorically speaking, at least) when he announced that he was standing down, and it looks as though his replacement might be somewhat more liberal towards freedom of expression, meaning we could see some change in precedence over the coming years.

The phrase “in the public interest” is frequently bandied about in defamation cases. This is the happy compromise between the two articles; you can only impact on someone’s reputation if it’s in the public interest.

So while it might not be in the public interest to know that Princess Caroline of Monaco goes out to dinner with her kids, (unsurprisingly, she received compensation over photographs published of just this), but that it might be good for the public to know about the less-than-wholesome life Tommy Sheridan (then an MSP) was leading; a case which only gets more extraordinary the more you hear about it.

Reeling out 17 witnesses, Sheridan initially won damages from the News of the World over claims that he was visiting an illicit club; five years on and he’s serving jail time for perjury, though one suspects we haven’t heard the last of it yet.

However, the “public interest” argument is also a pretty flimsy and arbitrary compromise which represents the only middle ground between the two. It’s frequently sullied by the press stretching the definition of public interest to, say, knowing that a premier league footballer had relations with someone they shouldn’t have.

It’s also quickly worth mentioning the increasingly prominent trend for “Libel Tourism”, wherein cases can be brought about in territories which have no bearing on the original comments or participants. This, as you may have guessed, is because the internet is ubiquitous and as such as long as you can prove that a comment made in America has been seen in the UK, then proceedings can be pressed in UK Courts – as seen with King vs. Lewis in 2004. Article 8 makes it easier to win damages in defamation cases (and to win super injunctions) in the UK than it does in the US, meaning that this is a trend which isn’t going anywhere.

This has interesting implications for PRs and the use of social media, as it’s increasingly becoming vital to ensure that social media policies are rigid and right, and to ensure that you watch what you say on social networks – either by yourself or on behalf of a client.

Article 8 is currently winning over Article 10 in the UK, so while you’re free to express yourself, you basically can’t express yourself too much. Or something like that. Even if only one person sees a defamatory comment it could be prosecuted.

It’s also worth remembering that Clients taking legal action in order to protect their reputation isn’t always A Great Thing. In fact, it’s pretty much very rare to see any real benefit. See McLibel, which ultimately had a damaging effect on McDonald’s brand. Looking at the reasons that McDonalds originally took action it could be argued that the head honchos at Google would be within their rights to consider similar action against Facebook and BM, yet I believe they are intelligent and perceptive enough not to.

The interpretation of these two articles sits at the heart of one of the key debates around the media at the moment; it’s important that as PR practitioners we fully understand what they stand for.

@tmbrntt

 

This behavioural group began as an observation that a key segment of our conversations were not trying to create new ideas or amplify them but were bringing content together and adapting the idea. 

When we began to look at this behaviour in more detail the degree of adaption seemed less important than the act of gathering and sharing this information.  In many cases the content was not being changed greatly from the essential meme or idea, but was  being put into context and given greater definition and relevance.

Over time we began to refer to this group as ‘curators’ (rather than adaptors) as this seemed to explain the deeper motivation for this group.  There is a degree of ambiguity to this description as many curators were also adapting content; for instance taking quotes or references from other articles and by placing them in a new context and adding to the meaning of the original idea.  Indeed, a small minority of them were significantly adapting the original idea.  But we do feel that curators is the better description, and to explain why I want to refer to a post written by Steve Rubel several years ago when he gave a succinct explanation of curation:

The Internet has empowered billions of people and is distributing their creativity across millions of niches and dozens of formats. Quality and accuracy, of course, can vary. However, virtually every subject either is or will be addressed with excellence – by someone, somewhere.

“However, the glut of content as we all know also has a major downside. Our information and entertainment options greatly outweigh the time we have to consume it. Even if one were to only focus on micro-niche interests and snack on bite-sized content, demand could never ever scale to match the supply. Content is a commodity. The Attention Crash is real and – make no mistake – it will deepen.  Enter the Digital Curator.”

Steve outlines how important this digital curator is in the development of influence and authority on the Internet.  It is this motivation for sharing, giving meaning, and identifying where excellence resides that can help make sense of digital chaos.  This wonderful need for people online to help curate what is and what is not so important online is a key dynamic of the topology of influence.

In acknowledging this a digital curator is different from the traditionally defined cultural curator, who is a crucial guardian or overseer of tangible objects.  A digital curator is working with electronic material and where it is linked and interconnected and even by putting it into context, (because the digital curator is a part of authority ranking), this act alone adapts the content.  Additionally digital is a different world from online, as its democratic instinct means that few curators can resist a tweak or adaptation to content that would be completely taboo to the traditional definition. 

So our definition of digital curator is different from the traditional; it allows for adaptation of the idea in giving it context but importantly it does not mean the curator starts a new idea or meme.  If this was the case they would be an idea starter not a curator and it appears that few curators want to start new ideas afresh; they are largely satisfied and motivated by this role of creating context. 

Given the time it takes to curate even the smallest conversation there is a practical force behind this. However, there is also the point that they are two different acts; one more organisational and sharing, the other more inspirational and isolated.

We are back again to make sure you are up to date with all things DERTy (Digital, Entertainment, Rights and Technology) from the week just gone.

We hope you find some of the weird and wonderful things from this week’s news and Twittersphere of interest. If you have any comments on any of the points below we would love to hear them.

Until next week…

Digital Entertainment

The reality of seeing things in 3D

We’ve got some serious bits in DERTy Talk this week, for which we apologise. But there is more to a Digital and Entertaining life than Angry Birds and Angry Bird Art. There is. We promise. And so the first story is from the IHT regarding the *surprise* that Mars Needs Moms has flopped at the box office. “Tens of millions” in losses are expected of this film that cost $175 million to make. 3D fatigue is setting in. Or is it? Brookes Barnes cites various reasons for the failure. Firstly, saturation – the movie comes off the back of a busy 3D animation season – Rango, Gnomeo and Hop). Secondly – cost. The 3D price tag means going to the cinema isn’t a cheap activity for families; faced with so many movie options some movies are bound to be left behind. Finally – the performance of Moms could be the death knell for ‘Zemeckis’ style animation. Basically unlike the clever bods at Pixar, the Zemeckis approach includes filming live actors then putting them through the computer. It’s the same style used on Polar Express and it’s not to my tastes. It’s kinda creepy. These three reasons aside, the glaringly obvious thing here is perhaps Mars Needs Moms just isn’t a very appealing tale. This should be a wake-up call to an industry that seems to think that celeb + animation + 3D is a guaranteed success formula. It isn’t. Just look at the bastardisation of Yogi Bear. Quality of the story has got to come first.

Hold me closer Tinie Tempah

clip_image002[6]Apologies for the lame headline, we’ve been listen to Elton a lot recently. What we actually wanted to talk about was Tinie Tempah the Facebook GAME. It’s basically the same game concept as Canabalt (which is awesome, btw) and Mirror’s Edge on iOS (even more awesome – though DISCLAMINER we do work for EA mobile). The futuristic-mash-up background is nicely sketched (reminds us of the lovely doodles by Andrea Joseph for Cross Pens) and the game is simple and easy. Crucially each level is soundtracked by one of Tempah’s album tracks. It’s not big. It’s not clever. But it’s a little bit of fun and is driving some good numbers to Tempah’s Facebook wall.

Product placement

clip_image002[18]With the relaxing of product placement laws, Chanel 4 and New Look have announced their first deal. New Look clothes will feature in catwalks on the channel’s T4 show and they will also have sponsorship branding. This tie-up makes a lot of sense, as the teenage market is increasingly hard to target it is nice that another string has been added to the marketers bow. This is likely to be the first of many announcements in this space so we will keep you updated…

Inside Out
image
Or Analogue meets Digital. It feels a bit crass to categorise this as simply ‘entertainment’ but it’s a beautiful project that is so very well put together. Spare four minutes and watch the video to get a better view of exactly what this project is and where it came from, but in essence it’s a photography project of a huge scale that looks to get people from around the world working together. People are challenged to use black and white photographic portraits to share untold stories. The images are digitally uploaded, turned into posters and then sent back to the creators to be placed wherever they like. When you watch the video you’ll see exactly how brilliantly this has come to life. It’s all being documented and archived so that it’s viewable virtually. All in all a lovely project with a nod to the beauty of a physical photo.

Rights

You’re e-book is overdue
This week HarperCollins announced that it’s to put a life span on its e-book content. Currently due to hit those readers in Canada, the publisher is limiting each e-book to 26 ‘check outs’. Effectively this gives an e-book a usage time of 12 months before it self-destructs. The new restriction to the DRM set up makes clear business sense, on paper, but it’s arguably a pretty heavy handed approach which is hard to justify when you consider how many years a physical copy of a book might last. An interesting landmark in modern rights management, but not a vote winner for HarperCollins.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2011/03/08/f-vp-misener-ebooks.html

Walk Towards the Light

An interesting feature in NMA today, and the first of many we expect, looking at UltraViolet. Exciting times ahead for consumers – when digital and physical content can be passed from screen to screen and between members of the house hold. (DISCLAIMER: our Edelman colleagues in the US have worked with DECE, the consortium behind UltraViolet).

Technologies

Google Wedding

Google is taking city mapping to the next level by rendering a 3D route plan of the Royal Wedding procession in London. Whilst it isn’t quite up to the same levels as The Getaway London it is an interesting example of how much mapping has come along in recent years. Some people will be very excited about this, indeed the Telegraph ran an article on it as did the Independent. http://bit.ly/emPrWa

Creative Play

Think – Work – Play.com is a space for London creatives, opinion formers and thinkers to share with others tips of the trade. You can get an insight into the latest creative concepts running in the city. Including the latest project in the East End http://think-work-play.com/boxpark-shoreditch/

 

 

Tweets from the team

@LukeMackay Skype screen-grab art. Very funny (via @trendhunter and @GerryWisniewski) http://bit.ly/hijy31

@LukeMackay A brief history of movie title design. Lovely. http://bzfd.it/eJS3hH

@LukeMackay Really beautifully done RT @motherlondon: Well, this is nice:http://youtu.be/DIArJjU8HjE

@LukeMackay The internet is dead. v. v. interesting read from #SXSWhttp://bit.ly/fqb8Wo

@AJGriffiths: News Corp jumps on the ‘social gaming’ band wagon. Sound a bit clueless. http://bit.ly/g0NSnN

@AJGriffiths: Silicon Alley insiders – really interesting profile in the FT http://on.ft.com/gWxLf6

Welcome! This is the first edition of a regular weekly update on all things DERTy (Digital Entertainment, Rights and Technology).

We hope you find some of the weird and wonderful things from this week’s news and Twittersphere of interest. If you have any comments on any of the points below we would love to hear them.

Until next week…

Digital Entertainment

clip_image002Jennifer Aniston and Smart Water
In an area where you see a lot of things branded as ‘viral’, but are in fact adverts which companies want you to pass on, it was a refreshing change to see a company do it really well.  I clicked on the link from Twitter with low expectations but what appeared was Jennifer Aniston promoting Smart Water in a really clever and innovative way.  The campaign has received literally hundreds of positive article, over 4 million views on YouTube and there is a lot of buzz around the campaign on Twitter.  Admittedly they had a high profile celeb to help them get this coverage, but I still think they have hit the nail on the head.  If you haven’t watched it already I strongly suggest a quick look.

clip_image004Intel reinvent art
We’ve been admiring Intel’s creative projects (such as the Creators Project) for a while.  This week the Remastered exhibition was launched “to explore the relationship between art and technology and celebrate its role in inspiring modern creativity as part of its Visual Life campaign”.  Interesting stuff.  Whether or not this art is reimagined or reinvented – a lot of the exhibits look very interesting.  Nice YouTube preview here.


clip_image006Equal Pay Day
People used to forge masterpieces – and Dougal Wilson’s vid for Benni Benassi’s Satisfaction happens to be a masterpiece of Noughties dance vids. So now here’s Raf Reyntjes lovingly-crafted recreation of the video – with an important difference. This time round, the girls are a bit older. Which makes it very funny – or hard to watch, depending on how you feel about seventy year old ladies wielding power tools whilst wearing hot pants. It’s all for a perfectly good cause, thankfully: Equal Pay Day. In fact, it’s a stonking way of highlighting the important issue of inequitable gender wage differentials. In Belgium.

And here is the original http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5bYDhZBFLA – Spot the difference?

clip_image008Spyro the Dragon gets real wings.
We’ve been a fan of Spyro for a long time (in a former life Luke worked on the little purple dragon of joy and can often be found wearing a purple dragon costume at the weekend).  So it was with fiery excitement that we read about Activision’s real-world tie-ins for the new Spyro game.  There’s a great overview on the Telegraph.  The box copy of the game will ship with real-world peripherals that unlock features and interact with the game.  Interesting stuff – and not unlike the chess scene in Star Wars (in our heads’ anyway).  This demonstrates that particularly for youth audiences digital entertainment is not just virtual but is also tangible.  Moshi Monsters are illustrating a similar approach with a range of real-world products that unlock items in the virtual environment.

Rights

clip_image010

Warner Bros bring film to Facebook
Those living Stateside will soon be able to rent films through Facebook thanks to a new deal between the social network and Warner Bros. Users in the US will first be able to rent The Dark Knight for $3/30 Facebook credits – and there lies the interesting bit. At the moment Facebook credits don’t mean much to the majority of users, but with the Warner Bros. deal sure to be the first of many, we might be about to see Facebook’s virtual currency step up a gear. It also brings into play everything people have theorised around ‘social viewing’ as now people will be able to easily integrate all of the usual Facebook functions around movie content. Sounds like an exciting test bed, watch this space.

Technologies

clip_image012Well Funded Birds
The company behind everyone’s favourite mobile game – Angry Birds – today announced a $42m round of funding to expand its franchise and develop new titles. This comes in the same day that it was announced the game was also heading for Facebook. Considering Rovio claim to have already made $50m from game sales, they must have some big plans up their sleeves. So prepare to be watching Angry Birds the movie and getting an Angry Birds soft toy in your stocking come December.

Tweets from the team

· Transmedia alive and kicking it seems RT @powertothepixel: Fourth Wall Studios raises $15m for cross-media productions http://lat.ms/goM1ft

· Fear and Rango in Las Vegas. Uncanny resemblance…http://bzfd.it/gg55S2

· Black Swan trailer – the Habbo cut. Very cool (Habbo a client) http://youtu.be/ggQa-5T5UqQ via @juzu17)

· Interesting RT @mashable:Who’s Really Scanning All Those QR Codes? [INFOGRAPHIC] – http://on.mash.to/i5bio3

· Never commit a crime in Strathclyde http://bit.ly/hl0oeI (via @shortlist)

Can content ever be country neutral? Meaning, can an idea or concept be equally relevant and meaningful in multiple markets at the same time?

I believe that the answer is yes. That doesn’t mean that the concept has to be interpreted in exactly the same way; “football” means different things in the UK and the US but it is still meaningful and relevant to its respective audience. The Eurovision Song Contest is another example of individual countries’ image of popular song can vary quite markedly.

However, the concept of Eurovision remains consistent across Europe; a popular song content not taken entirely seriously where international “favours” are exchanged during the course of an interminable voting procedure.

I recently participated in a training exercise within our agency including teams from 15 countries charged with launching a “St Valentines” mobile phone specifically for the female market. The challenge was to develop a central idea or concept which could drive local activities in five other EMEA markets. The idea was not that each market´s activities simply replicated each other, but that they each applied their twist to the central concept to make it meaningful and relevant to their market. In essence – like the Eurovision Song Contest – while the contest remains central, the songs themselves can be quite different (in fact, they should be – that’s the point of Eurovision!).

The secret, of course, is the central concept (or “strategic framework” as PR people sometimes call it). This concept is required to reflect the business proposition (the benefits or selling points of the product or service) but also be resilient enough to withstand localization (literally, turning and fine-tuning) by markets from Abu Dhabi to Aberdeen without losing meaning.

Our Valentine Phone contest generated some immensely powerful ideas; in many cases the teams didn’t realize quite how powerful there were. Here is a selection:

· “Women reveal the secrets of multi-tasking” – building on the phone multiple features (including a pocket mirror); this idea potentially could work in any market, there is an element of humour and women anywhere could relate to it (women think they can multi task more effectively than men (as centuries of child rearing would demonstrate)). This concept lends itself to all types of competitions, challenges, discussions, dialogue in any language or location imaginable

· Discover your secret “Femme Fatale”:  Another fun idea which could work multi-market, nice element of humour also; perfectly mapping to the phone positioning. Which woman has never dreamt of being a femme fatal in any country, any culture . . . just for a day?

· Lady Gaga flash mob: pure genius, really simple, relevant to the phone, inexpensive and fun. In reality this is a tactic rather than a strategic framework, but it has the beauty of simplicity and directness. You can just see this spontaneous choreography happening from the Gare du Nord to Red Square!

· Countless faces of love: this would generate conversations and dialogue in any market; solid idea worth developing; love whatever it looks like is really in the eye of the beholder. Another amazing strong concept that would easily stand the test of country localization.

These ideas can only really be developed and tested in a multi-country environment (teams paired up across borders for the above exercise), but when they are developed, such ideas are – literally – priceless.

@RogerDara

So I guess Tron was the pretty much the first film to tell of how a person went into a digital world completed a quest and then returned to the real world. If you know of any other others let me know.

For the launch of our client’s ePrint product we played with this concept firstly using architectural mapping to create an augmented reality display at the South Bank . We then tried to create play with some of the TRON: Legacy imagery to create a visual experience that could be both printed and posted onto the web.

The idea was to highlight how the web is not just encroaching into the external world  but creating links back and forth using wireless printing and posting to social networks. The ‘outernet’ is a phenomena still in it’s infancy but it is certainly fun to investigate. _ABU9234, 9234

_ABU9336, 9336

@naked_pheasant

Seems like any company with a strong brand and customer base can be a hardware vendor. Hot on the heels of Amazon apparently launching its own tablet, clothing retailer Next is quietly offering a cut-price iPad wannabe.

Amazon has form with the brilliant Kindle eBook but Next has come a little out of left field. It’s all thanks to Android of course, the iPad-baiting open source OS that’s garnering millions of fans and users around the world.

Android’s modus operandi is the opposite to Apple. Android thrives on anyone and everyone playing with it whereas Apple thrives on being a closed shop,  locking users into its hardware, software, content and payment platforms.

Personally I think it’s a stroke of genius. The price point (£180) is massively undercutting the iPad as well as the sprinkling of Android tablets already announced by the bigger technology companies. Next customers get access to a global community of content as well as a (hopefully) decent device for enjoying media. Next gets the kudos of playing in the tablet market and, if it’s smart, a channel through which to pump content and hopefully generate sales. On this point, Next launched its own iPhone app back in February, and you can bet that feedback from that experience led to the development of its own tablet.

It makes you think who else could enter the tablet market. Banks, motoring organisations, football clubs, in fact any brand, company or organisation that has a decent brand, customer loyalty and a sales channel to get the product to market.

So, outside of the big tech hardware vendors, any guesses as to who will be next?

@paulwooding1973

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