Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things Media

Tag Archives: Apple

Friday Five – April, 11, 2014

Facebook announces News Feed cleanup to get rid of spammy messages, “like-baiting”
http://bit.ly/1kxka1q
If you were a fan of content from Upworthy, Thought Catalog or Buzzfeed, you might be in for a change in your news feed. FB, in an effort to make sure high quality content enters your news feed, is cracking down on link and like-baiting. Link-baiting, are articles with a headline that don’t match the content on the page. Like-baiting is when a brand says to fans, “like this post if, you…” – Make no mistake, the best quality always wins. Great quality isn’t spammy or gimmicky. Facebook is trying to make sure all brands adhere to this belief.

A look inside publishers’ content studios
http://bit.ly/1kxm6Hh
When it comes to creating great content, there is not one-size fits all approach. Every company and industry has a unique culture, set of business challenges and staffing models. This article from DigiDay does a great job of highlighting how publishers (e.g. NY Times) are rewiring their organizations to produce better content, faster and cheaper.

NFC Nails Could Change The Beauty Industry
http://bit.ly/1kxmxkE
NFC in your phone? Sure, that’s awesome. But, now, we have NFC in your finger tips. Takara Tomy Arts in Japan has created a line of press on nails that light up when near NFC powered phones. Fad? Or the future of “wearables”?

The Internet Of Caring Things
http://bit.ly/1kxn4Dk
This is a long read. But, I have a feeling it’s going to be a link you come back to, again and again. This great post from Trend Watching, highlights the future of connected devices, with a point of view, that the best connected devices will be the ones that create and improve our daily lives.

The Steve Jobs email that outlined Apple’s strategy a year before his death
http://bit.ly/1kxnDwP
An email, used as evidence in Apple’s ongoing patent case against Samsung, reveals how Steve Jobs planned the next few years for Apple. I share this, not because it’s a Steve Jobs email, but because it shows the importance of betting on behaviors (e.g. People wanting access to all their things all the time) and the need to keep innovating quickly. This passage about the iPad 2 sticks out the most to me:

2011 Strategy: ship iPad 2 with amazing hardware and software before our competitors even catch up with our current model

It’s an interesting concept and something that’s very applicable to us, given our omni-channel focus. It’s not good enough to ship one great product or launch when great campaign. The bar is now, launching several great products and campaigns, with a pace that leaves the competition gasping for air, as they try to catchup.

Friday Five – March 7, 2014

Getty makes 35 million photos free to use
http://bbc.in/1igZ4ih
The internet slays yet another institution. Rather than try and police the illegal and inconsistent use of their photos, Getty is making 35 million photos from their library free. Yes, free. When will music follow suit?

Watch this: Apple’s CarPlay running in a Volvo concept car
http://bit.ly/1igZN2Z
While everyone else was talking about the need for a mobile strategy, I’ve been pushing for a “mobility” strategy. Last year, I wrote, “This isn’t about about screens or screen sizes. The real opportunity, the real upside will come from not think about the idea of mobility, not mobile. What makes our smartphones such valued devices is that it’s keeps us connected to all the things that interest us. It’s the portability of information and content that makes our phones powerful; not the other way around.” And, In 2011, I forecasted, “Your car will be able to sync with platforms like Groupon Now, fourSquare and Google Offers. When you pull into a Best Buy, Starbucks or McDonald’s the car will automatically check you in, publish your check-in to your networks and serve you up an offer if one exists. Additionally, you’ll be able to use your GPS to find local and real-time offers.” With Apple’s launch of CarPlay, we’re clearly seeing the age of mobility mature and we’re getting ever closer to the your car being one giant always connected device that enhances and shapes your driving experience. You might enjoy sitting in traffic, now…maybe.

Why is American internet so slow?
http://bit.ly/1ih1kpS
Really thought provoking article. Thoroughly enjoyed the reporting and the approach of contrasting our internet speed growth, with that of South Korea. The only point I disagree with is, “We deregulated high-speed internet access 10 years ago and since then we’ve seen enormous consolidation and monopolies… Left to their own devices, companies that supply internet access will charge high prices, because they face neither competition nor oversight.” While this can happen, the idea that monopolies are bad, is misleading. Disagree? I point you to Google, who keeps on cranking out innovative new features and products, despite have a large monopoly on their core business.

FDA Wants to Monitor Social Media Chatter About Product Risks
http://bit.ly/1ih212p
A few years ago, there was nary a company in the pharmaceutical or medical deivce industry that wanted to participate in social media. The risk was simply too high. 5 years ago a consumer complaining about their medication would have been seen as an adverse reaction and would then need to reported by the manufacturer to the FDA. Thus companies, simply took an approach of ZERO participation. After all, if they weren’t participating they weren’t able to “listen” and if they couldn’t listen, they’d never know about the adverse reactions. My how things have changed. Now, “The General Services Administration has urged agencies to learn from social media to fine tune their services, noting that intelligence gathered from social media can help agencies deliver services more effectively and, ultimately, save money.” Social and consumer behavior, eats risk for breakfast.

Privacy Groups Call for FTC Investigation on Facebook-WhatsApp Acquisition
http://bit.ly/1ih3SEm
People want their privacy back. They want it back now. This didn’t just happen overnight. It’s been brewing for some time. If you’re organization is thinking about making social a key part of your business strategy, apply a consumer lens to all your decisions and ask yourself, “would I want this?”

Friday Five – January 24, 2014

How Spotify, Netflix and Amazon control your online habits
http://bit.ly/1asCeFB
“The more we know about you, the better the engine can be,” says Spotify’s Donovan Sung. This is why I’m still a big believer that the best is yet to come for Facebook. Choice Architecture is one of the most difficult things to grasp. When you have 3 ice cream flavors, choice is easy. When you have 100 it’s substantially harder. How information is presented will impact the consumer’s decision. This is why I think in-store design is so important, yet unfortunately overlooked.

Former Apple CEO backs virtual doctor’s office to create the ‘consumer era’ of medicine
http://bit.ly/1asDCbg
First, this is pretty damn cool. Second, do you realize we’ve been talking about this concept for roughly 10 years? The first doctor to get mainstream coverage of this was Dr. Jay Parkinson. In a Wired magazine article from 2007, he shared how he was using email, video chat and IM to treat patients. Perhaps, the world and technology needed to catchup to his trailblazing ideas. This is a great example of why I believe we are living in the Now Economy and it’s not going to change.

Target Tests Small Store for Urban Shoppers as Young People Pick Cities Over Suburbs
http://bit.ly/1asEuN7
Interesting isn’t it? Stores were once small and in the heart of the city. Then we went to the super sized Wal-Mart and Target format. From there it was on to the mega sized Sam’s Club approach. But, as people are sticking in the city and foregoing cars, we’re headed back to a smaller format. This is why I think the omnichannel approach Walgreens is taking by leveraging their 8,000 store footprint and adding larger format stores into the mix, is a win. It’s always easier to make your smaller footprint a little bigger than it is to downsize your larger format store.

Trends Come and Go in Retail, but Technology Is the One Trend That Is Here to Stay
http://bit.ly/1asFq3V
I think you could also call this post, “Job Security For Those Who Love And Can Adapt To Change.” This could and should have been a longer post, instead of a primer to get people to sign up for a white paper. I don’t normally include these types of links, but even in the relatively short post, I think they may a very important point – you need a model for managing and forecasting the rapid change in technology and its impact on your business.

Our Mobile Planet
http://bit.ly/1asGa98
If you made it down this far, thanks. This post is your reward. I spent hours playing around with the Our Mobile Planet tool that Google created. The tool lets you slice and dice a large variety of data about mobile. The data spans everything from app usage to mobile shopping and you can slice the data by age, gender and geography. This is the one link you’ll keep revisiting this year. Bookmark it. Yes, I said “bookmark.”

Looking Forward, My 2014 Predictions

It’s that time of year. It’s time for predictions about what the next year will bring in the marketing, advertising, social and technology space. As I’ve done for the past few years, before we start talking about 2014, let’s see how I did in 2013.

  1. “We’re going to see less emphasis on hiring heads of social and digital and more emphasis on hiring heads of analytics and insights.” I completely missed on this. I thought we were going to see the industry evolve. Instead we saw heads leave their organizations for other organizations. For example Shiv Singh left Pepsi to join Visa. Maybe 2014 will be the year of the mass hiring spree on analytics and insights folks.
  2. “We will see a run of acquisitions by older/established organizations on startups or young organizations.” I sorta nailed this one. It happened, but there wasn’t a run on these types of companies. Yahoo! of course, was the big player in this space, buying just about every startup company in the world. And Newscorp’s acquisition of Storyful for $25M certainly helped me feel better about my performance with this prediction.
  3. “There will be too many companies trying to solve the “social TV” question. They will all offer different metrics. The lack of standardization will cause a big problem and set us back. At the end of 2013 or the start of 2014 we’ll see one clear winner.” I missed on this too. Thankfully, twitter made some major purchases, like BlueFin Labs, which has helped bring greater clarity to the social TV question. This is one case, where I’m thrilled to be wrong.
  4. “Twitter will file for IPO. Simple as that.” Nailed it, simple as that.
  5. “Facebook will become less friend and more frenemy. To soften their transition toward frenemy, they will offer a tiered structure/classification that will essentially become a pay for access/feature model.” I’m giving myself a win on this one. While there wasn’t a tiered pricing structure, Facebook’s recent announcement that companies will need to pay if they want their content to be seen by fans, is starting to undo some of the great strides they made this past year thru partnerships with DataLogix.

Well, 3 out of 5…not exactly setting the world on fire. Keep in mind, in 2013, when I looked back on 2012, I nailed 90% of my predictions. That brings my two year average to 80%. Let’s see if I can do better in 2014. Here’s what I think is going to happen.

Future

  1. Agencies will feel the squeeze from two ends of the spectrum. On one front companies like Accenture, IDEO and smaller boutiques take a chunk out of the strategy portion of budgets. On the other front clients will start transitioning functions like social media and insights in-house. This will cause a ripple effect that will lead to more large consolidations. These consolidations will be big, but not quite at the scale of the Omnicom/Publicis merger.
  2. SnapChat will implode. It will grow it’s user base, but won’t figure out how to monetize the platform. All the while, Facebook/Instagram, twitter and Google will come up with extensions to their platforms that will provide the basic utility of SnapChat, but for a mass audience.
  3. Google Glass will come to the mass market, but will flop, UNLESS the consumer version has a built in cellular connection.
  4. Amazon will purchase a grocery retailer to expedite the growth of their Amazon Fresh service. If I were betting, it would be Supervalu.
  5. Über will IPO.
  6. We will see a major movie studio release a semi-major movie available for stream/download before it comes to theaters. My money is on Netflix pulling this off from a distribution standpoint.
  7. Mobile payments will finally gain traction, making up for the poor launches from ISIS and Google Wallet over the past few years.
  8. Companies of all walks of life will start creating “products.” For example, we might see Nestle create a product similar to FitBit, that will integrate with their Lean Cuisine line. P&G might create a wearable technology type of device for babies. It’s coming.
  9. iBeacon and other proximity driven messaging/communication platforms, designed to sync and communicate with your phone, will struggle to take off. The problem won’t be interest or cost. The problem will be the continued relative poor battery life of phones and the privacy concerns of consumers.
  10. The next big mobile platform, won’t be a phone, it will be a car. Ford, BMW or another car manufacturer will bring a custom version of Android to their vehicles.

I feel really good about 5 of the 10. Now, all we need to do is wait and see, if I’m right.

5 Things I’m Pondering Right Now

Changing Landscape

1 – A Changing Mobile Landscape

Wow. The pace of change in the mobile landscape is staggering. Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s mobile handset business was inevitable. Blackberry being purchased by private equity was less inevitable. I think many though Blackberry might be purchased by someone like Samsung or Apple. The private equity move is a bit of a head-scratcher. That’s some serious change. Add in Apple’s launch of the iPhone 5S and 5C, both with the added security feature of finger print verification. Frankly, this security measure was long overdue and it was only going to be implemented well by Apple. We’re on the cusp of some serious changes, but I’m not sure these changes will end up being great for consumers. Why do I say that? Well, as the mobile world shrinks, will we see a slow down in innovation? Google is being less open with Android. Samsung wants to create their own OS. Microsoft has never really been good with leveraging an asset they purchased (see Skype as an example). There’s just a lot going on. While this might not be good for the consumer from an innovation standpoint, this could be great for the market at large. Less players, less devices, less fragmentation should create better standardization and hopefully start accelerating the road map for mobile marketing and advertising.

2 – Career Advice?

Yesterday, I came across this post titled, “Career Advice to My Daughters.” With a title like that, you knew it was going to get a lot of play. It was shared several times in my Facebook and LinkedIn feeds. Friends, called it “thoughtful”, “poignant”, “important” and a “must read.” I disagree with all of those words, except “must read.” I have a daughter, Cora. She’s 6. I became more and more irritated as I made my way through the author’s post. A great friend of mine, captured my feelings better than even I could. She said, “Wow. So, that guy’s advice is to basically NOT have a career? I’m baffled.” Another friend, this one a guy, said, “This is the same type of garbage that drives me nuts about younger employees. They’re “owed” great jobs. Companies do not owe you a job. They certainly don’t owe you a great job or career. It is a financial transaction. Provide value and be compensated. Be awesome and you’ll get the better jobs. On the plus side, if Cora and his kid were in a pool, Cora finishes in the top 50%.” I couldn’t agree more. While, I don’t need, nor expect my kids (both of them) to become CEOs, I do expect them to have an understanding of how the world works and that those who like ambition, drive and a clear sense of direction, struggle.

So Hard To Keep Up

3 – It’s Tough To Stay Digitally Fit…Even For Digital People

Keeping up in digital is challenging. I read. I read more. I try. I try more. I joined Snapchat. I hate Snapchat. I keep trying Snapchat. In a very sobering study from Adobe (PDF), it was revealed that less than half of DIGITAL marketers feel they are highly proficient at digital marketing. On some level, this isn’t surprising. For years, we haven’t invested in making digital important…certainly not important enough to invest in making our digital talent better through formal training-like programs. When we talk about building the digital capability and increasing our level of digital fitness at The Campbell Soup Co., we don’t focus on non-“digital” talent. Everyone needs to get more fit. Even those that are considered the most knowledgeable about digital, can always be smarter, better and more fit. When I read a report like this I feel even better knowing my kids are embracing digital and technology at such a young age.

Real Time

4 – Real Time “Marketing” Fatigue?

I watched, as many marketers did, the “real time marketing” efforts by brands during the Emmy’s. Most brands seemed to sit it out; and I happen to think that’s a good thing that reflects a return back to basic marketing fundamentals. Now, it’s possible, many brands sat out the Emmy’s because the Emmy’s aren’t as big as the Oscar’s. However, I tend to think it’s because marketers are realizing that real time marketing is a fad. Yes, I said a fad. Let me be clear when I say a fad, it’s the idea that an Oreo Super Bowl moment is repeatable every day. What isn’t a fad, isn’t being prepared, actively listening and striking at the right moment with an authentic on brand message that your audience actually wants to hear. What we saw with this most recent Oscar’s, were brands forcing the conversation. They were trying hard to replicate a moment. The problem is, you can’t force a moment. Moments happen, what you need to do is be ready to take advantage of the moment. Now, of course, leaders in the space, took umbrage with people calling them out for forcing a conversation and ultimately delivering off brand and mediocre creative experiences. They would have you believe that “no one” has this figured out and this is part of the evolution of real time marketing and it’s about innovation and test and learn. I’m not buying that. At Campbell, we often talk about how social is 99% preparation and 1% execution. If you spend your time preparing, you’ll almost always be able to take advantage of that 1% moment. If we want social to be better than robo-calls, infomercials and overly aggressive mass market direct mail, we need to focus on the preparation, not on trying to make execution the 99%. Our new soup campaign features a character called called, The Wisest Kid. You won’t find any tweets from him during the Emmy’s. There were certainly some great oppotunities, but we passed on them. Why? Because, we’re staying true to the campaign and our audience…the Emmy’s started after The Wisest Kid’s bed time. To have tweeted during the Emmy’s, with the hopes of catching lightening in the bottle, would have meant we were prioritizing short term gains and the expense of long term growth. Know your brand. Know your audience. Connect with them in a natural way.

Spartan

5 – Does Your Digital Org Road Map Include Blowing It All Up?

Digital moves quick. Every day it seems like there’s something new to keep up on. When you’re building a digital organization or looking to transform an organization into a more digitally fit one, you have to have a plan. I know that sounds basic. I realize you’re thinking, well gosh Adam, tell me something I don’t know. Ok, now, think for a second; do you have a real 5 year road map for where you’re taking the organization? Does it have vision and strategy? Does it include how you’ll evaluate your progress? For some of you the answer is yes. That’s great. Now, let me ask you, does your plan include and account for blowing up your entire model at some point? I didn’t think so. Why is this important? Part of it is as simple as the old adage, what got you here, won’t get your there. The other part though is that the skills, staffing dynamics, focus, priorities, partners and economic environments change often. While your vision and strategy should be consistent, the road map to get to bright will need to evolve and ultimately, at some point, you’ll need to blow it up if you want to be successful 5 years out from the end of your 5 year road map. We’re 15 months into our journey to be the most digitally fit CPG in the world. It’s a marathon. But, a marathon that we need to run at a sprinter’s pace. The more I think about things though, it might be less marathon and more like a Spartan Challenge style race.  In Spartan Challenges, you need to adapt and adapt quickly and often. You have fire, mud, hills and other obstacles. Those obstacles force you to reassess your path quickly. You need to be nimble, but not sloppy, as you keep your eye on the end goal.

3 Thoughts On Facebook

No intro…no warmup, just 3 thoughts on Facebook:

1. Facebook has 900M users worldwide. If they made Facebook a $10.00 a year membership and all they got was 25% of those 900M to signup (I tend to think it would be more like 75%) they’d generate $2,250,000,000 in year 1. Still think Facebook is a stock not worth investing in?

2. Long term Facebook needs to figure out mobile. Hell, we all do. But, I want you think about something; much like Apple choosing to make the iPhone available on AT&T only…initially, what would happen if Facebook made their app available to only Verizon users? Or Droid users? Or made it free on Verizon and Droid, but $1.99 on iPhone and other carriers? Are users more loyal to Facebook, their phone operating system of mobile service provider? Don’t for a second think that this hasn’t been discussed. With mobile service providers getting rid of unlimited data plans, how big of a win would it be for Verizon to be the exclusive provider of the Facebook app…AND…data usage through that app wouldn’t count against your monthly data usage? Huge. Crazy big. That’s the power of Facebook; they are the only company right now that could pull something like that and force the cellular carriers to change their ways.

3. Lots of talk about Facebook creating a Facebook phone. I don’t think it’s crazy. One way to beat Apple’s walled garden is to build your own walled garden. Think about it for a second. Facebook has Instagram the #1 photo sharing platform. They recently launched their own photo taking/creating/sharing app as well. They have Facebook Messenger, which is a iMessage and BBM competitor. They have Facebook Pages as an app, now, to let you manage your business pages. They don’t need something like Google Contacts, gMail, or a Google Calendar because those are inherently built directly into the Facebook platform itself. Facebook even has an app store now! The only thing missing is a browser, although…many could argue that much like AOL in the early/mid 90s when people viewed the internet as AOL…that many people today see the internet as Facebook. Ok, you don’t like that argument? No problem, so Facebook could buy Firefox, Opera, Dolphin, Sky or any of the other browsers out there. Facebook has a lot of the dots on the board. If they chose to line them up, a Facebook phone wouldn’t be crazy…especially if you combine this idea with #2. Yes, imagine, Facebook building their phone, then pulling their apps and restricting access to Facebook from all other phones? Sounds very Apple to me…and I wouldn’t put it past them.

Some of these seem far out there. But, the reason they become something plausible is because Facebook is now a public company. They don’t answer to their community anymore. They don’t answer to their users. They answer to Wall Street. And when you answer to Wall Street you often do things to make your numbers beat estimates…even if it takes away from the DNA of who you are as a company. I always look at to the meteoric rise of Fallon when we/they were a private company and the subsequent rapid fall after they sold to Publicis and became public. When you answer the to the street instead of the users, things change….and when you don’t hit your quarterly numbers in successive quarters you do desperate things like charge for access and create your own walled garden.

Are You Reaching Your Potential?

I openly admit that there was a great sense of irony in learning of Steve Jobs’ passing on an iPhone.  Of all the products Steve brought to the market, the iPhone, may be the most iconic.  Sure, the iPod was revolutionary, AppleTV was redefining and the iPad was transformational.  But, a stroll down the street shows you the profound impact that the iPhone has had on the world.

But, this isn’t a post about Steve’s legacy.  It’s not a post about how much I’ve grown to rely on and love his products.  No, this is a post about three quotes…two from Steve and one from Jay Fanelli on twitter last night.

Courtesy of Steve Jobs

Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.

Courtesy of Jay Fanelli 

Every CEO of every company on the planet should pay attention to this right now and ask themselves, “why won’t this happen when I die?”

As I wrote nearly a year ago, Time Is The Most Valuable Currency we have.  It’s a currency that becomes more valuable over time…or if you will…as we have less time left.  And, despite it’s value, it’s a currency you can’t trade and it’s completely finite.  In any given day, you only get about 2 hours of time for yourself…or perhaps we let life dictate that all we get is 2 hours.

If you trace through the annals of history for Steve Jobs quotes, you’ll find several dedicated to the concept of time and making good use of the time we’re given.  Steve, more than anyone had to realize how finite time was over that past few years.  He exhausted every option, with money being no object, to receive a liver transplant in 2009.  Some viewed his ability to leverage his wealth to garner a transplant faster than those with lesser financial means as a problem with the healthcare system.  For a person, who seemed to understand how fleeting and finite life is, one would have to wonder, why was he fighting the inevitable.

I don’t think it was ego.  Quite the opposite actually.  I tend to think Steve wanted to leave knowing he had maximized his gift…that he had reached his potential…that his work was done.  It’s a maddening thing to know what your potential is, but realize you might now be able to reach it.

Time is fleeting.  You get what you get.  You have little to no control over how much time you get.  But, you do have complete control over what you do with the time you do get.  You can’t point a finger at anyone, other than yourself, for not maximizing your time.

We can all only hope to maximize our full potential like Steve.  iMagine a world in which we all strove to reach our potential and were bothered by falling short…even if it was only falling short by an inch?

For me, that’s what I take away from Steve Jobs.  There’s no sense in living if what you’re doing isn’t making you happy. And happiness has a funny way of helping you reach your potential.

It’s What You Leave Out

In my all time favorite movie, Almost Famous, there’s a key scene where Russel and William are talking about “the buzz” that’s generated from music and why Russel is in love with “music.”  As he describes, as written by Cameron Crowe:

But… it’s not what you put in, is it?
It’s what you leave out.  Listen to… listen to Marvin Gaye…
A song like “What’s Going On.”  That single “woo” at the end of the second verse – you know that woo – that single “woo.”

That’s what you remember.  The silly things, the little things… there’s only one, and it makes the song.
It’s what you leave out.  That’s rock and roll.

Take a walk with me for just a second…isn’t that the same thing you could say about a great campaign? It’s not what you put in, it’s what you leave out. How many times have you seen a campaign so stuffed with touch-points, collateral, key benefits and reasons to believe that the message…the one element so critical to the campaign, gets lost. And why is that message so critical? Because, the message (and I don’t just mean the copy) is what creates the emotional connection. The message needs to be simple. It needs to be palatable. It needs to be focused.

This is the reason Apple’s ads connect so well with consumers.

Apple fan or not, there’s no denying the power of that ad. The new “add-on” these days is social media. The first thing everyone wants to do is plug-in or bolt-on social media to a campaign. And why not? It’s easy to do and “everyone” is doing it. It’s all the rage, as the kids say! But, before you start adding Facebook, twitter, youTube, Posterous and all the other options out there to your campaign, make sure it’s going to add to the campaign, not take away from it. Sometimes, you might just find, if you want to connect, if you want the buzz, you’re better off leaving it out.

Why I’m Switching Back To The iPhone

When my contract on AT&T was up, there was no doubt in my mind I was going to switch to Verizon.  I knew that doing so would mean I’d be giving up my iPhone. I was ok with it.  Mostly, because, well…the iPhone was a horrible phone.  The AT&T network was horrendous; especially in Chicago.  I couldn’t take the dropped calls anymore. In addition to the AT&T infrastructural problems that existed, I had a big philosophical problem with Apple, Steve Jobs and the walled garden approach to the iOS platform. I believe in open.  I think open is good. I think open wins the day.

The first phone I switched to from the iPhone was the Google Nexus One.  It was nearly flawless and honestly opened my eyes about what a smart phone could really be.  I was hooked on Android.  I loved the innovation that was happening.  I loved the options – well I loved options period…something you didn’t get with Apple.  My first phone on Verizon was the HTC Incredible. It wasn’t an iPhone killer. It showed promise.  But, poor battery life and some strange ergonomics stopped it from being a real keeper.

Up next was the Samsung Galaxy S. This was so close…so close…so close. As I wrote a few months back:

Here’s the deal, the Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate had all the makings of being a great and legendary Android phone. But, Samsung let Verizon dictate far too many decisions. Additionally, Samsung made a number of puzzling decisions regarding email. Those decisions have an adverse impact on the end user experience and make it tough to recommend for corporate phone users. If you’re looking for a great Android phone with amazing battery life and are planning on using the phone for non corporate activities, this is a great choice. But, for you power users out there, I recommend looking at the HTC Incredible or the Droid X.

Lastly, let me say, if Samsung works out the Bing issue with Verizon and makes the needed updates to the mail app, this is a clear cut winner and would be the best Android phone on the market for Verizon and in my opinion, even the best across all carriers.

I’m on Galaxy S phone #2. My first one went through the washing machine and didn’t survive. I have a love hate relationship with the phone. I love the screen. I love the size. I love ergonomics. I hate the battery life. I hate the bloated pre-installed and un-installable software.

But, here’s what I hate the most and what has me looking at the iPhone, now that it’s on Verizon: the lack of commitment to software upgrades. Samsung Galaxy S owner are running Android 2.2. Many of the competition are already running Android 2.4 and Google is already demoing Android 3.0. Samsung and many of the other Android manufacturers (HTC, Motorola, etc.) have been rather mum on when updates will happen…if at all. Had the Google Nexus S (also made by Samsung), which in my opinion is the BEST Android phone ever built, been launched for Verizon, I’d be switching to that right now. It’s a perfect phone. Flawless. But, it’s only available for AT&T…and we already covered my feelings on that network :) It’s a shame really, because the Samsung Nexus S shows that Samsung can make a great phone when they aren’t being hamstrung by the carriers.

The lack of software upgrades and commitment to refining the customized flavors of Android created by cell phone manufacturers, leaves users like me feeling left out and working with buggy out of date software. All of that basically means we’re working with inferior phones.

When you talk to Apple iPhone users they often say, “it just works.” That “it just works” comes with a price and a tax. That price is limited customization. That tax is the iTunes store. But…it just works. Well damnit, I want something that just works too.

I won’t be doing the iPhone 4 though. Nope. No need to pony up the dough for out of date technology that is inferior to the Galaxy S. I’ll be waiting for the iPhone 5. I have a feeling it’s going to be a killer phone and on a network (Verizon) that actually works.

Light As Air

Recently switched from a 15″ MacBook Pro to a MacBook Air. I thought I’d have a problem getting used to the 13″ screen size, but I’m not finding it to be a problem at all. As a road warrior we’re all looking to save our backs and every little ounce counts. I’ve only been on two trips since I went “Air” and it’s made a huge difference.