Originality + Mobile 2

This promoted tweet appeared in my timeline yesterday.

You click through and are given ten reasons to switch to Samsung. Where do I start?

‘Why not Switch?’
Nokia’s ‘Switch to Lumia’ campaign launched in August 2012 and has been a key part of its Lumia messaging ever since, e.g.: this video from 2013 –

Yeah, this ad branded content pokes a bit of fun at competitors, but use another’s campaign line it does not.

Promoted Tweets
Rule 1: if you’re going to promote a tweet, add an image. Twitter has a feature whereby all images uploaded to the service directly (displaying on the pic.twitter url) automatically display inline. Brands rarely use the functionality to its fullest potential but at least some of them try. Take this tweet from HTC, for example –

Pro tip: images in tweets drive more engagement.

While we’re talking about the S5
The link in Samsung’s tweet above (after listing the ten ‘reasons’ why you should switch) pushes the Galaxy S4, the Galaxy S4 Mini, and the Galaxy Note 3. At last week’s Mobile World Congress, Samsung announced its latest addition to the Galaxy family, the Galaxy S5. And yet the link pushes the older products. Don’t get me wrong, while the S5 wasn’t the best handset announced at MWC, it was certainly Samsung’s best. So why not promote your newest and best product to your fans and followers? Unless of course you have a shed load of older stock to shift before said S5 launched…

The ten ‘reasons’ why you should switch
This is excellent.

Reason 1: ‘Small screens are so last year’ – which would be fine, except there’s a link to the Galaxy S4 Mini at the bottom of the linked page. Is it possible to troll yourself?

Reason 2: Battery life. Well, not really. More like battery accessibility. The first comment on the article nails it: ‘if only Samsung would fit a battery that could last a whole day, I wouldn’t need to change it’.

Reason 3: Expandable Memory! In other words: our version of Android takes up so much space on our phones, you’re definitely going to need more (look who comes last on the infographic below – ouch).

which

Reasons 4 & 5: Apps! They’re on Android and you can switch them too apparently. This point is so good, they made it twice. Also: ducks representing apps? Haven’t seen that before.

Reason 6: We’ve not only crammed your already-limited-with-memory phone with videos but also a piece of bloatware called ‘My Galaxy’ – you’ll love it!

Reason 7: You can share stuff to other devices.
(I don’t know a device that can’t do this)

Reason 8: Widgets. Are these exclusive to Samsung?

Reason 9: Look at our meaningless awards!

Reason 10: This is my personal favourite. ‘We’ve got your back with our 24mth warranty!’
This is the picture that accompanies it –

switch_article_image10

The warranty doesn’t cover water damage. Not. Kidding.

This post initially started out as a way to highlight the ridiculous advertising move of using a competitor’s key line to promote your own product (after it had been promoted into my stream, bear in mind). Once I’d scratched the surface, the whole thing just became more and more ridiculous.

If you want a GREAT Android phone, there are tons to choose from – and the Galaxy S series would no doubt feature in that list. But please! Do your research, listen to a great podcast, ask a mobile geek friend, hell – even ask me! I guarantee you’ll get a more informed batch of reasons than those listed above.

This stuff annoys me. Badvertising really annoys me.

Come on guys, you can do better than this.

 

 

Related reading: Originality + Mobile 1

 

New stuff from me.

Short post covering off five things that happened this past seven days.

Whatley x 3

Regular readers will know I run a feature called ‘Five things on Friday‘ and I very nearly included these things in that, but then I realised it went against my own brief for that (e.g.: things about me might not actually be that interesting), so I broke them out into a separate post.

1. My new job got announced. So that was exciting.

2. I’ve started keeping a log of the brand-related Snapchat activity I find interesting. You may or may not find it useful [one day].

3. The Mobile World Congress edition of The Voicemail went live. If you only ever listen to one episode of this weekly mobile technology podcast, make it this one. It’ll prime you with all the mobile knowledge you’ll need for the rest of the year. Probably.

4. The Guardian wrote about ‘the secret to viral marketing‘ and they asked me to comment. I commented. They published it. Before you click through, can you guess what the secret is?

5. I wrote a piece for work about why Facebook bought WhatsApp and it went on to become one of our best performing posts to date. Proper sense of achievement that. As was presenting a webinar on my 2014 social media trends to the social teams globally (including this bunch of pizza-munching Ogilvy folk in DC). Amazing. Thanks for having me guys!

There were a few late nights and several early mornings, but this past week was pretty awesome.

That is all.

Pebble: two weeks later

Wearable tech: I’m in.

Two weeks ago, in my first of no doubt many Pebblewatch posts, I mentioned that I was still very much in ‘calibration’ mode. Meaning that I was still working out how and what it needed to alert me to the different things going on on my handset.

I’m fully aware that I am very much in calibration mode with this thing at the moment. Each person, each device, and each experience is different. Some people like a lot of alerts, some people don’t.

Slowly but surely I’m working out the hierarchy of what I need and what I don’t (SMS’s? Notify me. Instagram comments and likes? Don’t notify me). And when that process is complete, I think I’m going to enjoy owning this Pebble device very, very much.

That phase is now over (in fairness it was over in less than a week) and I can happily report that my prediction was correct: I am enjoying this Pebble and am fully appreciating the passive content consumption device that the Pebble really is. Almost like a mini personal assistant, it fields incoming alerts from my phone so I don’t have to. I choose when I pick my phone up, not the other way around; Reminding me that the phone is there for MY convenience NOT everyone else’s.

What else is good?

Battery life. This is two fold.

1) The watch battery is pretty impressive. The first week was Thursday through Monday with a whole ton of ‘look at me, look at my cool watch’ usage. Week two lasted a little longer and, given that I’m used to charging most of my devices once every 24hrs (moreso in some instances), having a charge-life last more than three times that is somewhat of a useful novelty.

2) Here’s the biggie: if there’s one thing that mobile geeks want, nay, that ALL MODERN CONSUMERS want, it’s more battery life. When I initially thought about getting a smartwatch, all I could think about was that precious battery life that having a permanent / all day bluetooth connection would suck up. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Because I use my phone less, the battery lasts longer. Bluetooth use included. I could go into more detail, but Iain’s post on the subject covers it quite well (scroll down to ‘Power’).

I’ve already mentioned that Pebble plays nice with my audio apps (Spotify and DoggCatcher) and my fitness app (RunKeeper), so that’s ace and, if I’m honest, I’ve not really got around to tinkering too much with either v2 of the firmware or myriad apps that are available. There’s a weird dichotomy about the whole thing: having a new piece of technology often means there’s more that I can do, but that seems to be the complete opposite of what this device was made for.

I spend less time looking at my phone today, than I ever have before. And to my mind, that can only be a good thing.

Thank you, Pebble, for freeing me from the shackles of my device. You rock.

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FAQs:

1. Why do I need another notification device?
You don’t. Pebble isn’t that. When I wear my Pebble, I actually switch the ringer and vibrate off on the handset. In fact, between Pebble and MightyText for Chrome, the phone hardly ever leaves my pocket.

2. Will I like the design/plastic feel/strap?
The strap can be changed, and Pebble Steel is looking great.

3. Do I need a Pebble?
I don’t know about you. All I can say is: Pebble has changed the way I interact with my device for the better. I treat messages as urgently as I want to, and I decide when and how I communicate. This slight shift in behaviour is solely down to wearing Pebble. If you think you use your phone too much, then get Pebble.

Any other questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll reply as best I can.

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In the UK? Pebble is £139.99 and available from Amazon.
US readers prices vary.

How to opt-out of auto-play videos in Facebook

If you hadn’t heard, Auto-play ads videos in the Facebook mobile app (and desktop) are on their way.

Facebook Videos - DEATH

Good? Bad? Annoying? All three? Yeah, maybe. But look, here’s the bad news: on mobile, you can’t actually switch them off. What you can do however is prevent them from playing over your mobile network. In other words, make the videos only download over Wi-Fi only, and ostensibly opt-out of letting them auto-play on your handset.

Here’s how that works.

  • On iOS
    Go to Settings -> Facebook -> Facebook Settings -> ‘Auto-Play videos on WiFi only’
  • On Android
    Go to Facebook -> swipe right to the options pane -> App Settings -> ‘Auto-play videos on WiFi only’

Switch off auto-play videos in Facebook mobile

The benefits of this are two fold:

  1. If you’re hardly ever connected to wi-fi, you can pretty much ‘opt out’ of this auto-play media completely.
  2. If you’re not on any kind of unlimited data plan with your network provider, this will prevent Facebook eating into that precious data.

 

Hat tip to he who spotted this, Charles Arthur.
Go give him a follow.

 

The Lenovo Yoga Tablet: is it a #betterway?

This is James Whatley, reporting to you from Milan…

Yoga

That’s not me, that’s Ashton Kutcher. He’s just been on the screen to announce that he’s the new product engineer for Lenovo. No, really.

Fortunately, that’s not the only thing Lenovo were throwing a big shindig to celebrate. Tonight they announced the new Lenovo Yoga Tablet.

Yoga

‘Ooooooo! Shiny!’

First things first: this tablet is THIN. Not completely, it has a bulb at the end, but we’ll come back to that, but it is THIN. 3mm at its thinnest end (and 21.5mm at its thickest). Available in two sizes, 8″ and 10″ respectively, this Android (4.2.2) tablet from Lenovo really is a lovely bit of kit.

It being part of the ‘Yoga’ range, the tablet comes with several different ‘modes’. Unlike its PC/laptop predecessor, these modes are actually quite useful. At only 605g for the 10″ model [single] hand mode is super comfy. There’s also stand mode for consuming media, and tilt mode, is probably the mode I’d use it in most, is there for ‘desktop’ work, if you will.

lenovo

The model I’ve got is wifi only, but I’m assured that the Tablet is also available with a 3G Micro SIM slot in case you want to get mobile data on the go. While we’re at it, the Tablet also comes with an expandable micro SD memory slot, a micro USB port (supporting OTG, worth its weight in gold on any mobile device), and a 9000mAh battery (on the 10″ model, again) resulting in a stonking 18hrs of usage.

That is mental.

Screen-wise, you’re looking at an HD display of 1280×800 and a 178 degree viewing angle. That’s great but I’ll be honest, having been spoilt by both a retina MacBook Pro and iPad, the resolution on the Yoga Tablet is the only downside that I could find in otherwise outstanding piece of kit. Saying that, once I’d played around with the settings a bit and installed my own launcher, you’ll find youself getting over that minor issue quite quickly.

Finally, the Tablet is also available with a fairly snazzy magnetic Bluetooth keyboard that just so happens to double up as a cover. Very nice. I like that, a lot (although I can’t give you any feedback on how good it is quite yet as mine is still charging on the other side of the room).

It’s getting quite late here in Italy and I need to schedule this post for the embargo drop in about an hour or so. As I said, I’ve been given one of these beautiful things to have as my own and, having never had an Android tablet before, I’m very much looking forward to giving it a whirl.

Pics are up on Flickr, and go search ‘#betterway‘ on Twitter for more.

Whatley out.

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UPDATE: Pricing has been released and the 8″ and the 10″ models are estimated to arrive at €229 and €299 respectively. The Bluetooth keyboard is an additional purchase and that’s estimated at €99.

UPDATE 2: UK pricing for the basic models is set to be £199 for the 8″ and £249 for the 10″.

Specs (PDF)
Press Release (doc)

 

 

 

 

What phone should I get?

Someone recently asked me:

A good pal in the pub asked what was the best phone apart from the iPhone. What do you think? James Whatley you know about these matters. What’s the best out there on balance?

My response?
_____________________________________

If you’re not looking for an iPhone. Then your choice is Windows Phone or Android. If you want amazing photos, look at the Lumia 925 or the Lumia 1020 (see yesterday’s post for more on that one). The latter outperforms the former in the photography stakes, however the 925 has a more aesthetically pleasing industrial design. 

If photography isn’t your number one reason for having a phone (oh and if, like me, you can’t get on with the Windows Phone 8 OS) then it’s a tie between the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the HTC One – I own and adore the latter.

Finally, if budget is an issue, I’d look at the Google Nexus 4. It is, at the time of writing, Google’s flagship device and is merely an astonishing £159 SIM free on Google Play.

That’s all I got.

Whatley on a phone
_____________________________________

Disagree with this? Let me know.

But while you’re at it, let me know which phones you recommend when people ask you this same question. Those of you that don’t reply with ‘Let me ask Whatley’, that is…

 

The Lumia 1020 does take GREAT photos

Captain Obvious I know, but still…

One of my favourite 1020 shots to date

I’ve got a full review percolating around my skull for this device (kindly lent to me by the guys at Nokia Connects) but if you’re a regular listener to my podcast, The Voicemail, you probably know where I’m at with it already.

But after spending a couple of days with the device and irrespective of how I feel about Windows Phone, you can’t deny how incredible the camera on the Lumia 1020 really is.

WP_20131005_13_22_14_Pro

Taking it with me on my recent Tough Mudder meant we had some fantastic photos to share when we got back. Good work.

If the only thing you’re looking for in a phone is a decent camera, you simply can’t look any further than the Lumia 1020. Full stop.


Kate Bevan’s piece on the Lumia 1020 in The Guardian
is also worth a look.