Google Banks On Wallet

May 31, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

Can Android’s native adoption of NFC convince the doubters to turn their phones into credit cards? Read this extract from my latest feature at TrustedReviews to find out… (link to the full article at the bottom).

 

Google Banks On Wallet

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 27 May 2011

Like it or not, your future phones are going to gain the functionality of a credit card. It is driven by banks which want to encourage impulse purchases and lapped up by mobile phone makers who want a cut of the revenue. Even if you don’t use it thieves won’t know this and more will be stolen regardless. So if you can’t avoid the side effects, will the positives be worth it? They should be… in time.

Google Wallet is the latest company attempting to convince you of this. It announced Google Wallet this week, a contact based payment system for Android using Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC will be common to all handsets – regardless of manufacturer – as they make the transition to virtual credit cards. Google said Wallet trials will initially be limited to New York and San Francisco, a single handset (predictably the Nexus S) and one network (Sprint). It hardly sounds earth shattering, but look closer and you’ll see why it should be. READ ON

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How Windows 8 & A Mango Diet Have Made Microsoft Fighting Fit

May 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

Recent moves suggest that Microsoft is finding its feet again. Read an extract of my thoughts for TrustedReviews as to why…

 

How Windows 8 & A Mango Diet Have Made Microsoft Fighting Fit

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 25 May 2011

It’s only Wednesday, but already the week of the 23 May 2011 is shaping up to be one of the biggest in Microsoft’s history. Based on early indications, it could also be one of the best.

Let’s run through the events. Late on Monday night Microsoft CEO let slip what many had hoped: that Windows 8 will be launched next year. “We’re obviously hard at work on the next version of Windows’” he explained. “As we progress through the year, you ought to hear a lot about Windows 8.” A Microsoft spokesperson subsequently told ZSNet Ballmer misspoke, saying “to date, we have yet to formally announce any timing or naming for the next version of Windows” but the cat is out the bag.

Just 24 hours later Ballmer was at it again. This time revealing the details of Mango, the long-awaited update for Windows Phone 7.

The update will bring over 500 new features to the currently slick, but limited platform. Chief amongst them: multi-tasking, contact grouping, threaded emails, core integration of Twitter and LinkedIn, merged messages across IM, email, Facebook and more, smart location awareness in apps and a browser overhaul with the inclusion of IE9. Microsoft will call the update Windows Phone 7.1, but in all honesty it should have been 7.0. Regardless, our first impressions of Windows Phone 7 Mango can be found here.

What both these updates show, however, is Microsoft getting back on track… READ ON

 

 

Spotify Can Replace Your iPod

May 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

In an experiment for TrustedReviews I find out if music streaming services are ready for the big time… find an extract below.

 

Spotify Can Replace Your iPod.

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 23 May 2011

Apple’s iCloud is the talk of the Internet, with it strongly expected to be the company’s long awaited music streaming service, but could there already be a streaming service capable of replacing Apple’s increasingly outdated iTunes and iPod model? We decided to run an iPhone experiment: goodbye iPod, hello Spotify.

The Terms

It couldn’t have been simpler. Remove all iPod music from an iPhone and move 100% to Spotify. Could we survive like this or are the theoretical benefits far removed from reality?

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Why did we choose the iPhone and Spotify? Well, the iPhone bit was easy – we had one to hand, it is utterly ubiquitous, and of course it’s on this device that the iCloud is surely to be most thoroughly integrated. As for Spotify, again it is the most ubiquitous of the streaming services, with one of the largest music libraries. We could just as easily have chosen the likes of We7 or Napster, or indeed smart radio services like Last.fm and Pandora, though we’ve never quite seen the latter as true personal listening alternatives.

Two weeks on the results are in.

The Upsides

The only way to describe removing all the music from your iPod is to compare it to a spring clean. That feeling of terror from what you have discarded, quickly followed by the relief and excitement of a clean slate. The amount of music we all carry around which we never listen to is huge and the instant creation of space is liberating. READ ON

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

Nokia Is Finding Its Feet Too Late

May 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

As Nokia streamlines its business is it really just readying itself for a Microsoft takeover? Read an extract from my editorial on TrustedReviews

 

Nokia Is Finding Its Feet Too Late

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 18 May 2011

Nokia is finding its feet too late.

Two huge stories have hit the troubled phone maker this week. The first that Nokia is ditching its Ovi brand, the second that Microsoft is about to swoop to buy the company’s entire mobile phone business. Are the two true? Are they related? And what does it mean for Nokia?

The first is simple. The news surrounding Ovi is true, with Nokia having confirmed it on its blog. “The main reason for this change is so we can leverage the high-value of the Nokia master brand to better support future plans to deliver disruptive and compelling mobile experiences globally,” said Ovi blog editor Pino Bonetti. Interestingly the bold letters are the company’s own, illustrating how keen Nokia is to stress: there-is-nothing-to-see-here-move-along.
f07f44 8814 ovi Nokia Is Finding Its Feet Too Late

 

To an extent this is true. Ovi’s services will remain unchanged, they will just be offered under the Nokia name so ‘Ovi Music’, ‘Ovi Maps’, ‘Ovi Store’ and others become ‘Nokia Music’, ‘Nokia Maps’, ‘Nokia Store’, etc. It is hard to fault the logic here. It reduces confusion for mainstream users and refocuses on the company brand. That said what has been swept under the carpet is Nokia having to correct yet another strategy misstep. In short the company had attempted to brand something that didn’t need to be branded and the name itself (the Finnish word for ‘door’) made no sense to the wider world. READ ON

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

A Guide to Google I/O 2011

May 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

Chromebooks? Ice Cream Sandwiches?  I demystify Google’s biggest event of the year for TrustedReviews and look at what hit and what missed the mark…

A Guide to Google I/O 2011

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 15 May 2011

You may have noticed news from Google flooded the tech space this week. The reason was ‘Google I/O‘, an annual two day developer conference held in the Moscone Center in San Francisco. So let’s try and make sense of it all…

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To understand Google I/O it is important to know where its slightly peculiar name comes from. It means “Innovation in theOpen”, but in typical Google style also refers to the input/output nature of the conference while being a visual play on the ones and zeros in binary code. This is somewhat long-winded, but is key to understanding the difference between it and similar events like Apple’s WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference): Apple shows what it has developed, Google shows what it is developing.

So what were the key highlights? In short: Google Music, Honeycomb 3.1, Android Ice Cream Sandwich, Android@Home, Google Movies in Android Markeplace and the long awaited unveiling of Chrome OS based laptops and desktops. READ ON

A Life on Facebook

May 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

A beautifully realised video illustrating how a life may look when lived through Facebook. Am I the only one who finds it somewhat scary?

Branding Editorial Featured In PR Week

May 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

Last week I wrote an editorial for TrustedReviews called ‘Why It’s Smart for Tech to Play Dumb‘ . It appears to have struck a cord, because it was quoted in the PR Week magazine this week – soapboxing our discontent for tech’s increasing obsession with celebrity endorsements.

Of course the interesting thing is the feature itself actually speaks in defence of celebrity endorsements and why – while appearing shallow – they can have a positive influence on product development. Still, as I’m sure PR Week will confirm, all publicity is good publicity… right?

You’ll find a scan of the PR Week page below. The my full feature: ‘Why It’s Smart for Tech to Play Dumb’ can be found in its entirety at TrustedReviews.

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Why Microsoft Paid $8.5bn For Skype

May 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

It may seem a ludicrous amount of money, but there is method in Microsoft’s madness. Here’s a sample of my breakdown for TrustedReviews

 

Why Microsoft Paid $8.5bn For Skype

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 12 May 2011

It takes something special for technology to become front page news, but that is what has happened following Microsoft’s blockbuster agreement to buy Skype for $8.5bn (£5.2m). The deal represents Microsoft’s biggest ever purchase and the size of the fee has left many scratching their heads. Why would Microsoft pay so much for a company which cost just $2bn in 2009? We’ll tell you why…

The first hints come from looking at the deal itself. As incredible as the price is, equally remarkable is Microsoft is paying investor group and Skype owner Silver Lake “in cash”. No stock options, no complex trades, cash. Which immediately tells you one thing: Microsoft was in no mood to lose out. Rumour has it both Facebook and Google were in the running and Microsoft has lost enough of the limelight to them in recent years.

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“Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world,” proclaimed Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in an official statement. Answering speculation as to how Microsoft will use Skype, Ballmer was clear: it would be in everything. “Skype will support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and a wide array of Windows devices, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities.”

Is this smart or is it simply throwing mud against the wall and seeing what sticks? After all eBay bought Skype in 2005 for $2.6bn before admitting it had “limited synergies with eBay and PayPal” and selling it off to Silver Lake for $1.9bn in 2009}. Right now Silver Lake is laughing all the way to the bank… READ ON

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

Why It’s Smart for Tech to Play Dumb

May 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

Beckham at Samsung? will.i.am at Intel? Lady Gaga at Polaroid? Believe it or not, it’s a good thing.

 

Why It’s Smart for Tech to Play Dumb

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 07 May 2011

Did you know that as of this week David Beckham works for Samsung? Or that will.i.am has been ‘director of creative innovation’ at Intel since January? What about Lady Gaga’s ‘product development’ job at Polaroid? Yes, they are all fatuous. Yes, they are marketing gimmicks. But they also symbolic of something hugely encouraging…

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First let’s wind you up with some quotes. “I’m very proud to be part of the team that brought the Olympics to my home city, London,” said David Beckham in a vague statement following his no doubt lucrative deal with Samsung. “It is one of the greatest events in the world. Working with a globally respected brand, like Samsung, our aim will be to help more and more people to enjoy and share the excitement of the London 2012 Olympic Games.”

“Nearly everything I do involves processors and computers, and when I see an Intel chip I think of all the creative minds involved that help to amplify my own creativity,” said an equally out of his depth will.i.am. “Teaming up with the scientists, researchers and computer programmers at Intel to collaborate and co-develop new ways to communicate, create, inform and entertain is going to be amazing.”

 

Do we really think David Beckham can teach Samsung something about user interfaces or will.i.am had anything to do with Intel’s 22nm 3D transistor breakthrough? Of course not.

Why we hate these deals is because it offends our tech sensibilities that some random celebrity can receive a monumental amount of cash (and no doubt a huge number of goodies) for knowing virtually nothing about technology and smile all the way to the bank. Prada dumbphonesSwarovski encrusted TVs? Thankfully they are all part of a positive bigger picture… READ ON

Copyright for all reviews, editorials and features on this site belong to their respective publishers. All samples published on this website are via prior agreement with those publishers and serve to act as a portfolio and centralised location for all my work. Contact me at gordon@gordonkelly.com should you wish to commission me or supply review samples, press releases or arrange meetings. 

iCloud.com: Apple’s most important development in years?

May 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

Why Apple’s registration of iCloud.com is cause for much excitement and expectation…

 

iCloud.com: Apple’s most important development in years?

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 04 May 2011

There was no grand keynote, no ‘magical’ new product and the Apple Store didn’t even go down for ‘updating’, but last week may have seen the most significant move by Apple in recent years: it bought a domain name.

The Cupertino company shelled out $4.5m for www.iCloud.com. The lucky beneficiary was Xcerion, a Swedish Dropbox rival, which has since renamed its service ‘CloudMe’. It bought this domain just three weeks earlier. For now Xcerion is still listed as the owner of iCloud, but any attempts by Apple to keep this a secret are well and truly out the bag.

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To be fair this appears to be one secret Apple is not overly determined to keep. In April it openly placed an order for 12 petabytes (12,000 terabytes) of storage from Isilon Systems, enough for 160 years of HD video. In the same month it posted a job listing for a ‘Cloud Systems Software Engineer’ “to join the team building the future of cloud services at Apple”. The company is clearly ramping up operations as it builds towards a public unveiling, possibly at WWDC 2011.

“At this year’s conference we are going to unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS”, said senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Philip Schiller. “If you are an iOS or Mac OS X software developer, this is the event that you do not want to miss.”

Again this is big talk for a company which is famed for its secrecy ahead of events. So why the public posturing and thinly veiled business dealings? Because it wants, no… it needs everyone to know when it comes to Cloud services Apple really is working on it. READ ON

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