Witness the major telecoms digging deep into their cavernous pockets, unleashing an absolute flurry of smartphone and tablet Ads upon us this holiday season. The modus operandi for successfully placing a brand new rectangular slab of glass into the hands of every semi-sentient being on the planet with a pulse seems to be repetition, repetition, and more advertising repetition.
All About Speed
The message above in the funny spot for AT&T’s new 4G LTE is all about the blazing fast speeds. The two speed-savvy football fans on the left, armed with such fast phones, seem to almost know events before they happen, much to the bewilderment of their fellow tailgaters who are presumably using much slower phones.
All About Multi-tasking
A number of other popular smartphone and tablet spots tout the power of multi-tasking, as though the ability divide one’s attention simultaneously among 3 to 5 independent tasks is both desirable and somehow cognitively empowering.
RIM’s struggling Playbook tablet famously harped on this capability, quite unsuccessfully though, attempting to differentiate a seemingly awkward device—glorious half-baked Android emulator and all—through sheer performance and multi-tasking muscle.
Nevermind the Playbook was over-priced, under-designed, and behind the 8-ball when it came to its sterile selection of apps, the 1 GHz dual-core processor and 1 GB RAM ultimately failed to lure early adopter tech-heads and application developers or put a meaningful dent in iPad sales. But hey, it ran Flash—natively. Remember that obscure little, recently ostracized, plug-in? The one allowing you to experience all the rich quirky stuff the Web had to offer. Unfortunately an entire generation of iOS users will never know the mindless fun of pranking someone with a Schwarzenegger soundboard.
Location, Location, Location?
While the proliferation of mobile devices continues to grow, the sluggish adoption of location-based tools (e.g. Foursquare, Gowalla) has been surprisingly relegated to a small portion of the mobile users’ digital psyche. Mobile audiences perhaps have yet to see the intrinsic value of ‘check-ins’, unlocking rewards and earning badges as important aspects of their mobile experience. The concept of becoming mayor of your favourite coffee shop or local restaurant appears to hold trivial significance in the lives of most people and comes off as a crude attempt at gamification —that nauseatingly over-referenced buzzword of 2011.
Let’s check-in next year and see if anything’s changed regarding the popularity of location-based tools.