Motorola today unveiled a Smart Watch that people actually might wear. The secret appears to be that it actually looks good. The Moto 360 will work with all smartphones using Android 4.3 or higher. Unlike most devices on the market, it’s round, like a real watch. “When you go back through modern civilisation time is represented by a circle” said design chief Jim Wicks design chief. It comes with leather and metal straps too.
During a somewhat delayed Google Hangout (embarrassing when time is literally of the essence) we could see Jim swiping the watch to manage the user interface and if the stills are anything to go by the user experience and the design aesthetic both look good. The information is contextually relevant so when you are using maps it will help you see where you are going and it has voice activation. “We are creating a device with mass appeal” said Wicks.
In fact the Moto 360 appears to do most of the things that Google Glass has promised minus obvious drawback of looking like a “glasshole”. The other plus being that watches are glance-able. It appears that the technology developers have finally come to the realisation that wearable tech will only be worn if it is well designed and looks right.
There’s no price available as yet or indication of the battery life although a good life and imaginative approach to charging have been hinted at . The Moto 360 will be available in globally in Summer 2014.
Here’s the full interview with Jim Wicks.
Prince and Social Media are two things which have been hard not to notice and have caused quite a stir in the UK recently.
Prince has been in the country performing a series of ‘pop-up’ concerts, promoting a forthcoming album and, if speculation is to be believed, working on some summer festival deals.
It’s not just the concerts themselves, taking place in small venues in London and Manchester, that have reasserted Prince as a man who stands out from the crowd in both talent and approach, but the way those concerts have been promoted.
As Econsultancy’s David Moth points out, “the ‘guerilla’ shows are part of Prince’s policy of avoiding middlemen and traditional marketing.” Famously (infamously, perhaps), Prince has given away new albums with UK newspapers and was part of a long and well-documented dispute with his former record label, Warner Bros. over creative ownership and control.
And so, no one was really surprised that the man who once said “the internet is dead” promoted the recent spate of gigs almost entirely through Social Media, not only prompting queues thousands-long outside the venues but also gaining print and broadcast media coverage, most notably through Woman’s Hour and Newsnight. As noted in The Sunday Times’s profile, “when a current affairs news show takes notice, you have got an event.”
Prince’s management and PR duties fall to CEO of Kikit Ltd. and Entrepreneur of the Year Nominee, Kiran Sharma, and the aptly named Purple PR. Ms Sharma was very visible throughout the campaign, using her personal Twitter account to make announcements and share comments from fans and Prince’s current band, 3rdEyeGirl. The PR company, however, seemed almost invisible. And that’s where the success of the last few weeks lies.
The perception was that Prince and his troupe had arrived in the UK and were looking for some small venues to play, with no real planning. On the red carpet of The Brit Awards, a member of 3rdEyeGirl said, “we don’t know until the morning where we’ll be playing that night.” This sent fans into a frenzy, connecting via Social Media from across the UK to try and dig out and share any vital information on the gigs. The hashtags #princewatch and #princearmy appeared, seemingly from the fans, and a fan-run account @PrinceWatchUK was set-up specifically for this purpose.
Kevin Costner was once told “if you build it, they will come” and here was an excellent example of this at work. The hashtags trended, there was 24 hour engagement and this all seemed to be coming just from the fans, with a few pieces of input from Ms Sharma and 3rdEyeGirl (for example with official YouTube clips from the gigs).
Clearly there was more going on behind the scenes than was presented. In order to move that many people around London, let alone the UK, this had to be well-planned. There’s even been suggestion that, on the night that tickets rose from being £10 to £70 and fans created the #10poundprince hashtag as a backlash, prompting tickets to be reduced again, it was actually Purple PR hard at work creating some trickery to gain yet more attention.
Whatever mastery was at work, this was a unique event, promoted in a unique way. This was a utilisation of modern media, the like of which has not been seen before, purely relying on the word-of-mouth generated by Social Media output to sell-out each show played and generate a huge amount of valuable mainstream exposure. (They even turned Manchester Town Hall purple for the occasion!)
What has all this done for Prince’s reputation? Certainly there has been upset from those who don’t regularly use Social Media; has he alienated a large amount of people? Those who are disabled and unable to queue all day outside gigs have also been challenged by his tactics.
I would suggest that Prince’s team will be more likely asking the question, “Has all this helped us achieve our goals?” If those goals were indeed to pre-promote the new album and secure that lucrative summer deal then only time and album sales will tell. For a few days near the end of February, though, one didn’t have to look far (be it online on the radio or on the newspaper rack) to read word of Prince, hear his new music and see fans going crazy!
Mark Zuckerberg has just released a white paper announcing a plan to connect 5 billion more people in the developing world to the Internet. It’s called Is Connectivity a Human Right?
Internet.org, is a partnership with six other companies, Ericsson, MediaTek , Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung to “develop joint projects, share knowledge, and mobilize industry and governments”. The plan is to get the world online and that means connecting two-thirds of the global population who are not yet connected.
Zuckerberg is well placed to lead such a charge but is he right to claim the mantle of human rights campaigner? Whilst cogently argued the paper is didactic. It lapses into the repetitive style more commonly asscociated wth propaganda and the last five paragraphs before the conclusion all begin with the words; “This is good…”.
The Facebook founder may be strong on connectivity but is he credible on human rights? His former colleague Charlie Cheever, who went on to start Quora has said; ”I feel Mark doesn’t believe in privacy that much, or at least believes in privacy as a stepping-stone. Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong.”
Maybe privacy isn’t a right but a privilege. Either way as Robert Hofs says in Forbes today “I can’t help wondering why these companies feel the need to trot out such idealistic concepts. Ultimately, there’s only one reason all these businesses are involved with this project: money”.
Social Media Cafe Manchester – or smc-mcr as it morphed into – came along at the right time to meet a ravenous appetite for digital communications.
But now, it’s no more.
I’m grateful to Tom Mason for bringing the news to my attention and for his affectionate “eulogy” to this rather modest and yet highly influential fixture in Manchester’s calendar of digital creativity. For the definitive insight into why smc_mcr is logging out, check out co-founder, Martin Bryant’s post on the smc_mcr website itself.
So, what made it special?
In the digital sector – one that has now become big business for learning seminars, training courses, day-long conferences, etc – smc_mcr offered collective insight from real-life practitioners (often early adopters of digital technologies and communications platforms) at no cost to the participants whatsoever. All those great brains in one room, willing to pass on their knowledge because, well, they were passionate about their subject and the sharing ethos seemed to meld well with the social media milieu.
At times, smc_mcr was unapologetically and hilariously shambolic in its structure and organisation. But that was more than compensated for by the wealth of interesting people and topics you could expect to encounter over a couple of hours on a Tuesday night, once a month.
On a simplistic level, it was networking with people you also had a relationship with online; but it was really so much more than that.
And, it supplied a regular flow of great material for PR Media Blog which, at the time, was itself trying to make sense of the ever-quickening revolution in digital communications.
Normally, an institution coming to an end is a sad affair. But smc_mcr has done its job, if ever it had a “job description”. It wasn’t its style to have some sort of “manifesto”; that would be far too bloody organised.
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