What is happenin’

This and that, that happened this past week in the wireless/mobile/PR industry.

This post was originally seen on the Mobility Public Relations Blog.

Google is attempting to legalize…
… Self-driving cars (in Nevada), and subsequently texting while driving, since – you know – you wouldn’t be driving any more. Vegas is a place that many go to retire; the cheap housing combined with warm weather makes Vegas a popular contender for retirees, and soon the elderly could have another reason: self-driving cars. You can read more on this endeavor here, and make sure you watch the video – the Prius takes turns a lot like my grandmother, only “safer.” Well, I know that neither the Prius nor my grandmother can see, but Google’s Prius appears to have fewer scuffs.

To Chrome or not to Chrome; that is the question.
Google is making a splash into the netbook market with the Chromebook. Google’s definitely made a splash into the headlines, and after June 15th we’ll start to see how the trend turns. The idea of the Chromebook is the essence of simplicity. The Chromebook has one function: to run the Google Chrome Web browser. The idea is to have a virus-free, lightning fast computer. It starts up in roughly eight seconds and voila, you are already browsing the Web with Chrome. There is speculation regarding Google taking a part of the “office” pie that Microsoft holds. Personally, I am not a fan of the name, this may already be obvious to you, but the name is essentially an Apple rip-off. Call me old-fashioned but, I would not purchase a computer where I had to view my emails in my browser, I couldn’t use MS Word (or Pages). There is just something about not saving your “Word document” somewhere on your computer that throws me off. I want to be able to convert my document to any format and email said document as an attachment, not a link. The Chromebook is not all bad and might make a decent second or third computer, take a peak and decide for yourself. What do you think?

Google and Google and Google anndddd Ford.
As if the cell phone “tracking” incident wasn’t creepy enough, Google and Ford are teaming up to make cars memorize where you go. Okay, I made that sound a lot less cool than the whole plan actually is. Basically prediction API software will let your car know where you go frequently and this data will be used to get you to your frequent destinations faster, by factoring in current traffic. Google maps already provides excellent real-time and historic traffic data, combine that with all of the anti-mobile phone laws and the middle man is cut out, at drivers’ convenience. The computer car integration market should prove to be quite an interesting trend to watch.

Going, going, GONEE.
That’s right Skype is SOLD to the highest bidder (Okay, I don’t know if it happened like that per say….) at $8.5 Billion. Last week rumors were circulating that Facebook or Google would purchase Skype, and the predictions were incorrect. Neither Facebook nor the popular contender Google purchased Skype. For once this week (and to be frank, for once in a long time) Microsoft came out on top. What are Microsoft’s plans for Skype? No one knows for sure. Some are hopeful Skype will become integrated with Outlook; I hope Microsoft up’s its mobile phone game. Perhaps we’ll see Skype take a more business rather than personal turn. With Microsoft’s acquisition performance record, I hope we see something productive come out of this purchase. Read more about Microsoft’s past purchases and potential uses for Skype here.

Facebook, trips and falls flat on its face and takes PR firm Burson-Marsteller with them.
Google remains victorious and unscathed after a poor attempt of sabotage surfaced. Facebook, of all companies, started the word attack. Facebook hired Burson-Marteller (a high profile PR firm) to spread some rumors about Google. If you visit Burson-Marsteller’s website the first sentence you see reads “Evidence-Based Communications.” Well that is obviously not true. Reporters didn’t bite, but someone bit back. Burson-Marsteller pitched the story to a blogger who declined to post the material, and proceeded to post the email conversation online. Busted, caught red-handed, hand in the cookie jar – you get the point. This is a big no no and combines two of my favorite things: technology and PR. Follow this blunder step by step.

Until next time,

Jessi

An exciting week for Apple

I didn’t say exciting had to be good did I? Apple has responded to the questions posed by the politicians. At the request of the supreme court Apple will appear and testify in regards to this whole issue. The rumors about people being able to locate you based on the location-based software is false. In fact sometimes the anonymous location being sent back to Apple in an encrypted form can be hundreds of miles off.
Apple posted a Q&A on its website if you are interested in the specifics. If you google the issue there are some interesting articles that will tell you more about location-based software. If you are concerned with this software I recommend that you do so, to get a full understanding. Here is a decent start.

Apple taking the head on fire for this location-based software has really helped out Google. Androids are now rumored to be displaying “warning” stickers on the new phones to make sure users are aware that location-based software can track their location. A little ridiculous if you ask me, but to each their own.

Onto other news with Apple.

The white iPhone 4 was finally released on Thursday. But now that the iPhone 5 is rumored to be released in September this product release will more than likely not do too much for Apple. I predict that the white iPhone 4 will be purchased by people who do not really care if they have the most up-dated iPhone model. People who were waiting for the white iPhone 4 ended up caving and getting the 4 many months ago. Unfortunately Apple is nine months late to its own party. Hopefully the company will be able to pull together a white iPhone 5 in a more timely fashion, come September. Personally, I had always said that I wouldn’t upgrade to the 5 and just wait for the 6, because I am satisfied with my iPhone 4 (and I anticipated a larger shift in the phone from the 5 to the 6). However, the rumored changes are appearing to be substantial enough for me to be interested in upgrading to the 5, but only time will tell. This article highlights some of the rumored changes for the iPhone 5 that started getting me excited for my September 9th eligibility date (that’s right I’ve already checked when I am able to upgrade ;)).

In other non-Apple wireless news… Verizon (the company that boasts about superior coverage) experienced a network outage with its long-term evolution (LTE) network. Users were reduced to 3G equivalent (EV-DO) and slower (CDMA 1x-RTT) network speeds. The network failure occurred Tuesday evening and the cause was identified by Thursday. Verizon said that LTE networks were scheduled to go up “market-by-market.” Can you hear me now?

Well that’s all for now folks!

Jessi

Musings from the mobile field: Apple’s Controlling Nature

Let me transition into this post by providing some light context. At my internship at Mobility PR, I find myself writing blog posts for the company (you can read them here – I have written all posts, stopping at the March Madness post). I am finding myself reading more and more about the industry and starting to form some of my own conclusions. This post is just that, a conclusion in regards to the mobile industry. Enjoy.

Analyzing the ups and downs of Apple’s product control; with the AppStore and the impact on the mobile market. What does this mean for competitors?

The downside:

Apple can reject any app that applies for the AppStore. Surely you remember the 2009 Google versus Apple debacle, where Apple rejected the Google Voice app from entering the AppStore, and Google took the whole affair public. In the end the FCC got dragged into the messy matter and Apple admitted the Google Voice app into the AppStore.

The AppStore takes 30 days to approve an app. From an app producing company’s stand point, if you wish to create an app for an event, the 30 day approval period can mean missing getting an application in the AppStore in time.

Apple mobile products don’t support flash. This results in some websites being inaccessible (or having missing elements) for Apple mobile device users.

Now let’s flip the coin. What is the upside to the controlling nature of Apple?

The upside:

While this possessive nature would have many running for the hills if this were an actual relationship, Apple’s control can come in quite handy. With an Android you can download apps from the browser or the Android app store. However, with this app freedom comes viruses and anti-virus apps. That’s right. Viruses are a larger problem not only for PCs than for Macs but for Androids more so than iPhones as well.

With product control comes quality control. And in the case of Apple & Google the U.S. government prevailed with the intervention of the FCC.

While Apple devices do not support flash, some websites use HTML 5 to avoid this compatibility issue. Other companies create apps as a solution to re-doing their entire website. With the Apple mobile market having a substantial market share, companies are forced pay attention to this compatibility issue.

Competitors:

For competitors Apple’s controlling nature (combined with a past exclusive relationship with AT&T) has allowed for Android to take the larger share of the market place. Sprint will benefit from the Google-Apple intimacy issues, with the first phone integrated with Google Voice being offered this coming spring, announced during CTIA Wireless 2011.

Why Apple lovers stay loyal:

Apple’s unique business strategy is that Apple software compliments Apple hardware. This exclusive relationship means that every Apple product is optimized to run more smoothly, more efficiently and effectively, without freezing, without crashing, because the software and hardware are made for each other. Apple could sell their software to other manufacturers and arguably gain a larger market share, but Apple does not wish to reduce their products’ synergistic results. The differing market strategies can be illustrated by: Oh you have a droid, what kind do you have? Versus What version of the iPhone do you have?

In business, competition is healthy and ultimately drives innovation and competitive pricing. So no matter what your preference may be (Apple versus Andriod) the ongoing battle between the two is beneficial for all – well all smart phone and tablet users at least.

Jessi