Starbucks Free WiFi (Finally) Just as Broadband Demand Slows

Starbucks is not just offering its customers free wi-fi on the hazy notion that if they spend more time surfing the Web they will drink more coffee. No, the ubiquitous coffee shop retailer has plans to debut the second piece to its digital strategy this fall, which offers a more clear monetization path for it and its partners. Called the Digital Network, Starbucks intends to offer exclusive and premium content from such providers as Apple, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and health publisher Rodale.

Broadband Adoption Generally Slows
After several consecutive years of modest but consistent growth, broadband adoption slowed dramatically in 2010, according to [pdf] the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Two-thirds of American adults (66%) currently use a high-speed internet connection at home, a figure that is not statistically different from what the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found at a similar point in 2009, when 63% of Americans were broadband adopters.

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iPad: Users Younger, Wealthier more Engaged

Users of the iPad and iPhone mobile devices, based on the iOS platform, tend to be younger and wealthier than typical mobile subscribers, according to a recent survey by The Nielsen Company. Only about 15% of iPad users are more than 56 years old compared to 33% of all mobile subscribers. However, while more than 10% of both iPad and iPhone users are 18-24, compared to less than 10% of all mobile subscribers, the most substantial difference occurs in the 25-36 age bracket. About 40% of iPad users and 30% of iPhone users fall into the 25-36 category, compared to about 20% of all mobile subscribers.

How Engaged? Tips to Up iPad Ad Interactivity Even More
Early advertisers on the iPad – Target, Dove and Ford Lincoln – all sounded the same trumpet call: their iPad campaigns had higher levels of user engagement than their online campaign counterparts. Since then research firms have been scrambling to quantify just how much more engaged iPad users are with advertisers. New figures come from Mobclix, which just launched the Mobclix Index, a new monthly series of infographics that aims to shed more light on the constantly shifting mobile ecosystem. Platforms including Apple‘s iPhone and iPad, Google Android, Research In Motion‘s BlackBerry and Windows Mobile 7 will be highlighted. Based on advertising data resulting from the total number of iPad ads served by Mobclix (300 million impressions per month on average), the Index finds that, yes, there is increased engagement on gaming apps played on the iPad versus the iPhone.

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Beyond the Browser: Minority Report, Flipboard, Murakami

Minority Report
As my colleague Chris Paul notes: “finally”… Facial recognition software now allows ads in Tokyo to see faces of viewers and tailor the ads displayed. Very cool (or scary).

Response to social magazine iPad app Flipboard overwhelms start-up
Flipboard, the personalised, social magazine iPad app launched earlier this week, has created such an overwhelming response the company has had to enforce an invitation only system while it works to solve capacity problems.

Novelist Ryu Murakami plans to release his latest novel exclusively for digital bookworms through Apple Inc.’s iPad ahead of the print version. Mr. Murakami, the acclaimed author of over 15 novels including “Coin Locker Babies” and “In the Miso Soup”, replaced the publishers with a software company to help develop the e-book titled “A Singing Whale,” or “Utau Kujira” in Japanese. The digital package will include video content and set to music composed by Academy Award winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, according to the Japanese business daily Nikkei. The newspaper reports the e-book will cost 1,500 yen ($17) and will be ready to download pending Apple’s approval. Apple Japan and Mr. Murakami did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.
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iAd

Apple unveils iAd
Apple has revealed details of its new mobile advertising platform, allowing advertisers to run campaigns that “combine the emotion of TV with the interactivity of the web”, as the company targets delivering one billion ad impressions a day. The platform, called iAd, will be pre-installed in the new iPhone 4.0 operating system, set to be released this summer, and will give advertisers the ability to run full-screen video and interactive ad content without requiring the user to navigate away from an app.

What iAd Won’t Do For Marketers
For online marketers, there is a lot to like about Apple’s mobile ad platform, the iAd: an ad that stays inside the app doesn’t force the consumer to choose between the app or leaving the app to satisfy a passing curiosity about an ad (and guess who usually wins in that scenario).

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iPad Kerfuffle

Apple announced this morning that it sold more than 300,000 iPads on opening day. The comprehensive number includes pre-order pickups, deliveries to channel partners and walk-in sales at Apple Stores. Additionally, customers went home and downloaded more than 1,000,000 apps (oh, it’s on) and 250,000 ebooks.
The underlying problems, things like the lack of multitasking, expandability, the anemic iBookstore selection–all that stuff has been covered in the initial reviews. It’s something else entirely to actually have an Apple iPad in your hands, playing with it–you’ll discover quirks that only come from use, and the Internet community has been very vocal about them.
Here are some examples of the ways our Most Innovative Companies are taking advantage of Apple’s new tablet.
Even though the iPad looks like an iPhone built for the supersize inhabitants of Pandora, its ambitions are as much about shrinking our laptops as about stretching our smartphones. Yes, the iPad is designed for reading, gaming, and media consumption. But it also represents an ambitious rethinking of how we use computers. No more files and folders, physical keyboards and mouses. Instead, the iPad offers a streamlined yet powerful intuitive experience that’s psychically in tune with our mobile, attention-challenged, super-connected new century. Instant-on power. Lightning-fast multitouch response. Native applications downloaded from a single source that simplifies purchases, organizes updates, and ensures security. Apple has even developed a custom chip, the A4, that both powers the machine and helps extend its battery life to 10 hours. The iPad’s price puts it in the zone of high-end netbooks: $500 for a basic 16-gig, Wi-Fi-only model.
Before the iPad was launched, most of the information we had about the device was provided by Apple and a few trusted partners. With it now in stores, consumers and business can see for themselves what there is to like about it – and what is missing. For the most part, marketers’ business case for the iPad – eventual large scale adoption because of the Apple name, the promise of iPad apps etc – appears to hold true, according to the numerous reviews that ran this weekend. That said, there are some missing features and functionality with the iPad that should give marketers pause.
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NPD: Puma Phone, Solar MacBook

Puma and Droga5 promise a more playful breed of mobile phone
Puma claims it has created the “first mobile phone dedicated to encouraging an active life outside of the phone.” According to the apparel company, its phone will use the latest 3G cellular technology, but also have a “playful” side, featuring applications like “icon messaging, sarcastic calculator, scratching turntable [and] easy peasy video calls.” Droga5, the agency behind the Puma-phone campaign, says more than 500,000 units have been pre-ordered.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is such a tease. First it hints that Apple is working on intelligent power monitoring systems and solar-powered iPhones (and don’t forget the solar iPad rumors), and now a patent explores the possibility of sun-lit MacBook displays. AppleInsider points us to a patent entitled “External Light Illumination of Display Screens”, filed in 2008 but revealed this week. According to the patent, Apple is developing displays that can be backlit by the sun in order to save battery life.
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OMG! PSFK NY!

Try and contain your excitement, dear reader, but PSFK New York is back! (On April 9th, 2010).  Its a (quite liderally) unmissable opportunity to listen to over 20 speakers as they share ideas and opinions from the forefront of culture.

Topics range from the arts to entertainment to business to the web. Previous speakers at PSFK events include Shepard Fairey, Seth Godin, Jeff Staple; and key innovators from Apple, BBC, Esty.com, foursquare, the Guardian, MTV, NASA, Nokia, Starbucks and Virgin America.

This year (it says here) the mainstage will host talks by up 20 speakers behind some of the most inspirational projects that have featured recently on PSFK. This years crew include:

Rob Walker [if you haven’t read Buying In, you should]

Grant McCracken [everyone’s favourite Chief Culture Officer]

Nick Felton [early prophet of personal data and creator of the FELTRON report]

Shantell Martin: [vj and installation artist]

And many more!

Hosted of course by the purple polymath Piers Fawkes.

Tickets available after the jump.

Piers do I get my £5?

Other coverage:

Psfk-nyc (farisyakob.typepad.com)

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Social Media: Adversaries, Ambassadors

Us vs them is one of the oldest, and most powerful marketing ideas. Apple is a quintessential example: from their beginnings they’ve portrayed themselves as the small guy against the big powerful bully. In 1983 it was IBM and more recently its been Microsoft. The company turns customers into evangelists who are more than happy to spread the word about the good fight, but how exactly does it work?


Starbucks Gets Its Business Brewing Again With Social Media ambassadors
Starbucks posted its first U.S. same-store sales gain in two years for the last quarter during a time when the company relied on digital and social-media promotions instead of what had become an annual TV blitz. The chain partnered with Pandora to sponsor holiday playlists, staged a Facebook sing-a-long and leveraged its partnership with Project RED to drive traffic to a dedicated microsite — and its stores, offering a free CD with a $15 purchase.

Photo Credit: Ivan Marquez

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eReaders: Apple’s iSlate v Hearst’s Skiff

Apple’s tablet will not only act as an e-reader for books, magazines and newspapers, but will play video, games and surf the web underscoring Apple chief executive Steve Jobs’ ambition to carve out a new market. The launch of the tablet is said to have been Jobs’ main focus since he returned to work after a six month medical break. Last month it was reported that Apple had been talking to book publishers about putting their content on an e-book platform.

Skiff Gives E-Reader Market Viable Ad Strategy
Another e-reader device – this time from a major magazine publisher – will hit the market sometime this year. Hearst previewed its new Skiff Reader at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show along with the announcement that Sprint is providing 3G connectivity for the e-reader and will sell it at Sprint retail outlets and Sprint.com.

Possibly Related:

Analysis: Could a tablet replace your notebook? (macworld.com)
Gorgeous iSlate design guess: reed-thin, button-free (dvice.com)
CES: When did the Tablet become the Slate? (timesonline.typepad.com)
Apple snubs Intel for tablet chips (venturebeat.com)
Microsoft’s Ballmer May Announce Tablet PC Tonight (microsoft-watch.com)
The e-Reader story of CES 2010 (engadget.com)
Skiff Reader to hit CES (ubergizmo.com)
Skiff and Sprint to Preview Skiff Reader at CES (shoppingblog.com)
Hearst-Backed Skiff Challenges Kindle With E-Book Ads, Videos (businessweek.com)
CES2010: Hearst’s Skiff Reader makes play for newspapers, magazines (seattlepi.com)
Skiff takes e-readers to new territory: flexible screens (dvice.com)
Report: Apple tablet coming in January (msnbc.msn.com)
Speculation has Apple tablet arriving in January (thestar.com)

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Viral: Longevity, Awards

# This kind of viral activity is only possible when there is repeat viewing. That means there’s something about these videos that make people want to watch again and again.
# They have a sense whimsy. “All of these are ‘feel good’ spots that are fun and don’t take themselves too seriously,”. They provide an escape.
# They all contain the bit of “how’d they do that?” and “is it real?” that many successful viral videos seem to employ.
# And finally, he notes, “Most of these have a deep musical connection, which definitely contributes positive associations. Just look at Apple’s iPod ads for this.”


Virals Recognized With Their Own Festival.
No longer relegated to living on YouTube, virals have become mainstream and need their due. So goes the thinking behind the second annual Viral Film Festival. The brainchild of French buzz agency Vanksen, the competition seeks to recognize the impact that virals have had in pop culture by giving them a home. The awards will cover the most outrageous clips in eight different categories, including user-generated, music and non-profit.

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