Do we mellow as we get older -- or more curmudgeonly? The big 5-0 is only months away from hitting me in the face, a time when I should be chasing kids off my lawn, growling back at dogs and telling my sweet sixteen year old to turn down that heavy metal "noise." Instead I find I am liking more things, giving new products the benefit of the doubt, and searching for the good even in the most irritating new mobile widgets. A number of things passed through the handsets in the past few weeks that made me smile (maybe …
For actually giving us a second screen worth watching. After the underwhelming use of mobile at this year's Super Bowl, I wasn't expecting much from the Oscars. On the face of it, this ceremony does not seem to invite parallel processing in the same way sports does. For all we moan about the tedium of awards shows and the Oscars in particular, anyone who wants to watch the show is generally glued to the first screen, which doesn't allow for a lot of second-screen opportunities.
Since the days of Captain Kirk swaggering around the Enterprise conference room and barking commands at the pliant and oh-so-female "computer," voice input has been one of the core tech geek fantasies. For a decade I must have reviewed every iteration of Dragon Software's Naturally Speaking program, which tried to make Windows and its applications respond accurately to voice commands.
Since economies of scale seem to be a foreign concept to carriers, per-message pricing for SMS has gone up despite the incredible escalation in usage. My daughter is feeling the pain -- and it is almost chilling that the telcos have become so transparent, even to a 15-year-old. "They are just trying to get us to sign up for the expensive bundles plan," she says. Pressure for better texting plans will only increase as more publishers use them as an alerts channel.
For years now, mobile marketing executives have been telling me that clients always come to them asking to "get into mobile" without really knowing why. Portraying themselves as heroes saving befuddled, unhip brands still dusty with Stone Age media ash, the narrative plays out the same way every time. The mobile-wise guru helps these Neanderthals determine their real "marketing goals," and implement "innovative solutions" that "leverage the unique properties of mobile." Within weeks they have taken Trog the hairy-toed brand manager from his "Gotta get me some of that mobile stuff" ignorance into hip young text-to-win campaigns that place him …
One of the best insights to come from the OMMA Mobile panels last Thursday was that agencies -- creatives especially -- are not yet very excited about the platform's possibilities. The phone just doesn't seem to offer the kind of palette that creative directors are accustomed to in video or even the large, lush page of a glossy print magazine.
To read some of my correspondence lately, you would think that mobile Web sites are dying a slow death. In response to my call for panel questions at OMMA Mobile (that is happening today as we speak, by the way), a number of people asked about full Web browsing on mobile devices. More than a few of you think that made-for-mobile sites soon will be obsolete. I am not on board that train.
Maybe I was watching the wrong game on Sunday. My understanding from people who know sports better than I is that there was only one game of note this weekend, so I guess I was watching the Super Bowl. Funny, that. Here I was waiting to see how marketers leveraged this signature marketing event of the year on a mobile medium that was present in the pockets of every sentient being watching the game. Silly me.