Monday, January 3, 2011

Tailgating with Smartphones

I'm not much of a football fan, except when I'm on the treadmill or exercise bike. One tedium made more exciting by the other.  The games I watched yesterday were not memorable and quickly forgotten. But I was struck by the number and variety of tech ads showcased, a welcome contrast to the jingle-ridden car ads of the holiday season.  But the tech ads were a reminder that the smartphone category represents a large, growing and inevitable market. And one that is segmenting fast, fueled in part by the growing acceptance of the Android OS.

Samsung Galaxy ads was well-represented during the games, as was the Motorola Droid Pro in what sounded like a frontal atttack on Blackberry and it's hold on business consumers.  The Droid Pro is the smarphone that you can actually take home and use in your social life.

The reason that I paid attention to the Droid ads was that my family just purchased two Droids and were looking for comfirmation of our choice. I'm a long-time Blackberry user and a real fan. During the Beijing Olympics I posted from this device at least a dozen media-related articles at, where I worked until a few months ago. That's a love affair with the keyboard.  That the keyboard kept getting smaller was just another challenge to my big hands. The phone was perfectly acceptable and in eight years I remember only three dropped calls; in Beijing, Paris, and Mexico City. But the device was slow and the browser experience lousy. Lubricating the Blackberry "ball" with saliva just didn't seem high-tech enough.

By the time we got to the Verizon Wireless store,  a 10-course lunch of YouTube videos about the Droid under our belts, we were ready to participate in the Android sing-along.  The shelves were full of Android-devices. The Pro is very fast and the browser experience seamless. Perhaps Motorola has found the perfect balance of keyboard and touch functions for the Blackberry user who has decided to get a life.  In other words I am a perfect test case.

I don't think anyone buys technology based on strategic decisions, unless they can expense it. That said, from the perspective of competition, the more Android devices the better. The more Android platforms the better. The WSJ reports this morning that Google is looking seriously at a Digital Newsstand. We don't know whether this effort will be another Google Wave, but I hope not. Next Issue Media, the content industry consortium, is said to focus its early effort on Android. 

During the Jets game the advertisement asked me to use Bing as a verb, as in "Bing it".

That might take a little more time.




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