Keeping up with technology is now a full time job. So to keep you one step ahead of the curve, we're delighted to introduce our Technology News Round-up. Courtesy of marketing and technology blogger Justin Firth, we'll be bringing you all the big technological news, ideas and developments affecting UK businesses and startups.
Tablet Computer Sales Set To Fly
Technology researchers IDC have already predicted that tablet sales will outstrip PC sales this year. Powering the growth will be a new range of cut-price tablets released in time for Christmas. Hot on the heels of Tesco’s recent £119 Hudl Tablet, Argos have released their own budget tablet priced at just £100. Although expect disappointment from any teenager who asked Santa for the iPad Air.
As well as tablets, new smartphones will be big sellers this Christmas. As computing continues to go mobile, all businesses would pay to keep up with changing viewing habits. Far from being a second-screen, a survey by mobile advertising firm Weve last week showed that almost half of the 18-34 age group now consider their mobile to be their “most important” screen. Furthermore, one in ten across all age groups said they now use their mobile for online purchases.
Microsoft Start Afresh
As well as struggling in both the tablet and mobile market, Microsoft have faced criticism from PC users over the new ‘Smartphone-style’ presentation of Windows 8. Last week’s free Windows 8 update reinstated the missing Start button and allowed users to bypass the new Window’s style completely on startup.
The return of the Start button is not the only thing which may please Window’s users. Microsoft have just released their remote desktop app for iOS and Android - allowing users direct access to their PC desktop from a mobile.
Facebook and Google Loosen Privacy Settings.
Both Facebook and Google have added fuel to the privacy debate this month by announcing significant changes to the privacy settings on their social networks.
Facebook have removed the block on users aged 13-17 being able to post publicly. By changing a post’s publishing setting from ‘friends’ to ‘public’, young teenagers’ content will be available for anyone to view. The unblocking of younger users is likely to provide new opportunities for brands to engage with a younger audience on the platform.
Google’s change to the Google+ social network also provides some new opportunities for businesses. ‘Shared Endorsements’ will allow users’ reviews to appear in Google adverts targeted at their friends. So if you like your local Italian restaurant then unless you opt-out Google can use your review in adverts designed to persuade your connections to make a booking. Expect ‘peer recommendation’ to replace online reviews as the big thing for digital marketing in 2014.
Crowdsourcing Gets Serious
Online reviewing is not the only value that other internet users can provide. Crowdsourcing (using online users across the world to assist) has been at the heart of many of this year’s big online developments.
Last week popular content website Buzzfeed announced it was going international with foreign language versions of its website. However rather than translating content with sophisticated software or paid translators, Buzzfeed will rely on users of the free language-learning app Duolingo to do the work for them. As part of their language lessons, Duolingo will give learners Buzzfeed content to translate. From all the translations provided, Buzzfeed will use the most popular versions. Sound a little unreliable? Apparently CNN already use the same method.
Further credibility to crowdsourcing is provided by new start-up Premise. Premise’s mobile app pays users across the world to record prices for items in their local shop. The result is a realtime snapshop of the global economy which can predict monthly inflation figures for individual countries up to six weeks in advance. A vital head’s up on the economy for both businesses and governments.
Most start-ups will know about the power of crowdsourcing from KickStarter; the online fundraising website which allows businesses to seek investment for new products. Fundraising on Kickstarter has one key rule; if you don’t raise all of the money before the deadline, you get nothing. Now a group of Swiss researchers have invented a tool called ‘Sidekick’ which can predict your likelihood of funding success within four hours of a project going live. The tool uses a range of indicators to monitor the buzz and progress around your project in the early stages. According to their research, if kickstarter projects have not taken off in the first few hours they are highly likely to fail. Putting your effort into the initial proposal and creating early buzz on social media is therefore vital to success.
ASDA Invests In 3D
ASDA may not be synonymous with innovation, but the supermarket looks set to become the first major retailer to offer 3D printing services to customers. ASDA shoppers will soon be able to bring any object in-store for scanning, or can be scanned themselves and 3D printed as a mini-figurine.The 3D prints will take a week to do and can be collected from the store when ready.
For those worried about becoming a cut-price replica, ASDA is not the only place you can get 3D printed for Christmas. Selfridges have a pop-up store courtesy of iMakr which alongside 3D mini-me’s will be selling 3D printers starting at £699 and 3D printing training courses.
As iMakr founder Sylvain Preumont points out “3D printing is definitely coming . . . And it's coming sooner rather than later."
The Startacus Technology News Round Up is provided by Chartered Marketer and Technology Enthusiast Justin Firth. Visit Justin Firth’s blog at marketingnext.co.uk for more comment on the latest technology and marketing ideas or follow Justin on Twitter @marketingnextuk
Cheers Justin and we look forward to hearing from you again in a couple of weeks time.