On Multitasking, Integrated Social Accounts, and the Future

I know, a very heady and timely topic for someone that posts as infrequently as I do. I've been a little pre-occupied with my Twitter steam and ignoring this blog, but hopefully that will change and I'll be back to some semblance of weekly posting again soon. Anyway...

In the past few weeks there have been two big mobile OS announcements, and both of them have featured (at least publicly) the same thing.  Both Apple's new OS4 and RIM's new Blackberry 6 feature touch-interface based multitasking as well as integrated social networking accounts. Of course there were other things in Steve Jobs' 7 pillars and BB seems to be focusing on appealing to a younger demographic, but as far as consumers are concerned, multitasking and social integration are the big steps forward.

Those of you that follow me on Twitter (or have just glanced at the stream on the right) no doubt know about my feelings on these "innovations" from Apple and RIM. Simply put, Android has been doing multitasking out of the gate and Motorola has this great little UI called Motoblur that does an amazing job of social integration. I won't go into depth here about those two, other than to say that I love my Cliq XT simply because it handles both multitasking and integration so well, and all this before the Android 2.1 upgrade scheduled for this quarter!

What I'd really like to note here is that the adoption of these features by Apple and RIM (in addition to the Facebook announcements from F8 last week) should mean great things for the inter-connectivity of the web. The thing that I love about the integrated social accounts on the Cliq XT is that it allows me to have a true snapshot of my life. If you looked at my old phone, you would assume that I'm a recluse that orders a whole lot of take-out (nearly 30% of my phone book was dedicated to delivery joints in my neighborhood). Now when I look at my phone I see all of my work and personal contacts with an option on how to contact those that blur the boundaries.

Allowing people to feel connected (and indeed reflected) by their hardware will, in the long term provide a greater incentive for sharing and web usage, which is exactly what applications (like Facebook and Twitter) and cloud-based services like Google and now Microsoft want. This is also crucial information for marketers and advertisers to keep in mind.

Both the mobile and social spaces will continue to expand exponentially in the next 2-3 years (I include tablets in the mix here, since I see them more as mobile computing devices than a replacement for the desktop). Mobile gaming and location-based services should be in the front of mind when looking to emerging and new technology. Same with QR and AR, especially if Motorola continues to move forward in 3D tech for mobiles.

These are just a few suggestions for people and agencies to keep in mind when it comes to the utilization of next gen tech. What you do with it is of course entirely up to you.

Digital Piracy or Missed Opportunities?

Today's NYTimes brings up an interesting problem facing the film industry that I had been meaning to talk about. An article titled Digital Pirates Winning Battle with Studios brings to light the challenge that at one time faced the music industry in the guise of Napster and other peer-to-peer services and is now being faced with by the film/television industry. While the music industry faltered by limiting access to digital content before allowing for legal options, the film and television industry is already making headway by posting content online (particularly television). Just look at NBC or ABC for good examples of how to share content with viewers. Or look at the tremendous job that Monty Pyton has done with posting free content on YouTube rather than pursuing expensive (and often pointless) litigation.

Digital piracy is going to happen. People are going to steal copies of movies and television programs no matter what the stuidos do, unless they stop making movies all together. So let's look at this in a fresh light. Why not take this opportunity to do some positive PR and ad some advertising revenue to the budget? Studios should provide BitTorrent sites with officially liscensed versions of their movies, but throw some advertising in before the movie. Moviegoers have obviously accepted this in the theater (just try going to a movie today without seeing an ad for Pepsi, or the National Guard), so why not extend the reach to the internet. Television studios are alredy doing this (see the above mentioned sites), and according to the article "Heroes" is being downloaded at an average of 5 million downloads per episode. So why not sell that ad space? True they can be skipped over, but the ads in the theater can be ignored and those on the DVD can be skipped completely in some instances.

It seems to me that this could be a great positive all around. Studios will see increase ad revenue and exposure, while basking in the glow of positive word of mouth. BitTorrent websites will be able to sleep at night and see increase viewership. Brands will get their message out to a new audience. And consumers will have another option for viewing.