Mobile payment systems, whether they be Web-based models like PayPal or full-bore NFC-powered approaches like Google Wallet or ISIS, may seem to consumers a solution in search of a problem. After all, paying with your phone is a neat trick, but ask yourself the hard question: were those stacks of credit cards in your wallet that m-payments replace really a choke point in the purchase process? My guess is that providers are a lot more anxious to get m-payments off the ground than are consumers. Enter the gimmicks designed to get people acquainted with m-payments.
"So this is what you are spending your time with after going to the gym?" my wife asks, as if I had just introduced her to my mistress. She had been wondering why my gym sojourns were suddenly taking longer than usual. Her spousal suspicions were raised. But knowing me, she understood that her "rival" surely was a gadget, not a woman. And truth be told, if the 70-inch Elite HDTV in Best Buy could have shrunk to the corner of the darkened home theater room that day, it would have crumpled its stunningly beautiful LED display into a ball …
"So what are you playing lately?" I ask my daughter and her friends regularly. While I gave up the fruitless and misguided effort to be a cool dad eons ago, the one thing I do know about my daughter's generation is that video games are their signature art form. The fastest route through the adolescent wall of parental contempt is to talk zombie-massacre strategies in Left for Dead.
Now that I have gotten the niceness out of my system, we can turn to more serious and somber matters --- like what still sucks about mobile media and marketing. Oh, don't give me all that crap about "early days" and it will get better. We are over a decade and a half into the Web revolution and most ads here remain terrible. I find myself ticking off another year (about eight now) covering the mobile business, still waiting for some things to change.
It's that time of year again, when everyone in my family reminds me that "Your Christmas spirit sucks!" OK, so I am not the jolliest of elves. But I do have at least a few things to be jolly about after a year of innovation in mobile. Like Santa, I have been keeping a list of who has been naughty and nice. And as much as every molecule of my "two-sizes-too-small" heart yearns to hand out lumps of coal, the "nice" list is particularly full this year. This is not a "best of" or top ten. These are just the …
Another round of hand-wringing over the value and effectiveness of Apple iAds begins today with an article in The Wall Street Journal reporting that Apple is "softening" its approach to brands and agencies about the format. WSJ says that after Apple's famously overpriced introduction of the format last year, the tepid response among many agencies has forced it to retreat on pricing, become more cooperative with buyers, and host the kinds of dog and pony shows of iAd attributes that all mere mortal media sellers have to do.
"What are you doing with Snooki on your phone?" my daughter blurts at Thanksgiving as she peruses my iPhone deck. She knows full well that she can embarrass me in public just by reading off the apps on my phone. We used to aspire to having phones express our personalities in some focused presentational way via wallpapers and ringtones. But a limitless trove of apps has changed that dynamic and turned many people's phones into weird assemblages of their own taste, the range of their curiosities, and random acts of downloading.
In addition to countless puns and plays on the product name, commentators have been coming up with all different ways of characterizing the Kindle Fire 7-inch entry into the tablet category (tablet on training wheels, et al). By all reports, Amazon's new mini-tablet will easily take second place in the tablet market by year's end. Whatever reservations analysts and reviewers have about the device, its flaws are outweighed by its incredible price.
"Are you messing with my 'Lion King' movie?" my daughter messages me through Facebook. She is about 20 miles away but is getting updates on my movie-watching via the wall postings. Apparently I "checked in" at Pride Rock and the Elephant Graveyard.