Trail Markers

There have been some stops along the way

Microsoft Surface>>Surface, the touchscreen technology from Microsoft six years in the making, finally debuted this April. AT&T showed it off in its stores: Customers could place cell phones on the Surface platform and get instant information about the products - information they could move around and interact with. (This technology looks so much like the computer screens in Minority Report, you get chills.) The next step, AT&T says, is to be able to place your old phone on the screen and watch as all your content spills over into your new phone. Sweet.

>>Apple's iPhone still beats Surface for portability and accessibility. It's almost everything you want in your nomadic media, with the cool factor of a touchscreen in your pocket.

>>Small screens in elevators and on gas station pumps are unobtrusive streams of nomadic media right where consumers didn't even know they wanted them: in places they're bored.

>> Syndicated content isn't a new idea, but it has gotten far more sophisticated and targeted. For example, the Healium Network, created for doctors' waiting rooms, includes customizable content from CBS. The name might be too slick, but the programs are far more entertaining than old magazines or a TV left on CNN.

>> A marketing campaign for Israel-based Ituran GPS actually mapped 300 of Israel's top Web sites and let consumers use the GPS system to find their way around them. What was supposed to be a sales gimmick turned into a Web navigation tool. Remember the information superhighway? This is the GPS for that.

apple widget>> Widgets on social-networking sites connect consumers to favorite brands and applications. Widgets have been both a way in for marketers and a way for consumers to control and promote brand messages.

>> That 45-minute Nike workout mix released in 2006 may have generated a little bit of flack for LCD Soundsystem, but consumers really did pay for it on iTunes. "45:33" was an unexpected
piece of branded media that consumers actually wanted to take with them. Still a favorite, two years later.

>> Twitter remains perhaps the ultimate in quick, effective word-of-mouth: easier than e-mail, and with a higher value than texting. The consumer is in complete control of this one, but that just makes any mention of your brand here are all the more convincing.
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