Category Archives: TECH

BlackBerry Juice

Has BlackBerry gotten their "juice" back?

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Apple and Samsung have all but taken over the cell phone industry.  You will see a sprinkle of LG here and a sliver of Pantech there, but for the most part, these two large makers have the industry on lock.  What about BlackBerry?  I remember if you had a BlackBerry for work, that meant you had arrived.  Not everyone was allowed to have one, only management.  Now, my 11-year-old son is saving his money to get rid of it and get a “better” phone.  Sales in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom dropped by 53 percent third quarter last year from a year earlier to $949 million, according to a December 21 company filing.

For the past few years cell phone makers have designed and redesigned their products several times over.  It seems like there is a phone that will cater to each person, personality and business need.  Somehow the once coveted BlackBerry lost its juice.  It kept its signature keypad while others were switching to touch screens.  They lagged behind on technology.  Simply put, they didn’t move with the times.

Last month at the BlackBerry 10 launch, RIM (Research in Motion), BlackBerry’s parent company named Alicia Keys as the Global Creative Director.  Yes, Alicia Keys the singer.  Hmm,  didn’t see that coming.  Her role will entail working with app creators, retailers and the entertainment community.  I’ve thought about this.  Why Alicia Keys?  I know she’s talented but what does she bring to the table?

Well, Keys brings to the table what BlackBerry lags.   She has several factors working for her.  One, she fits the new demographics…young, vibrant and is constantly on the go.  This is digital share-all society.  Cell phones are not just for emergencies.  They’re for ordering food through apps, Tweeting, playing Temple Run and yes, even working.  Another plus for Keys: her appeal isn’t limited stateside.  She actually is global, doing humanitarian work in Africa and performing everywhere from the United Kingdom to Portugal.  Lastly, she is the ALICIA KEYS!  Since her debut album in 2001, she has managed to stay relevant and in the public eye.  Keys is a coveted vocalist, activist and remains a hot commodity.

She has mass marketing appeal.  Old, young, black, white, American, Asian and everyone in between, Alicia Keys has a spark.  However, is that spark enough to convert faithful Apple and Samsung users?  Only time will tell if BlackBerry’s got their juice back…

We want to hear from you!  What are your thoughts around the direction BlackBerry is taking?


Multicultural Tech Startup Seeks Next Step In Social Media’s Evolution From Pastime to Productivity

Continuing the trend of Millennials establishing themselves as innovators and drivers of the economy, a cause-driven tech startup aims to optimize collaboration in social media through their goal-sharing app zuggol.* IMAGES is happy to see young entrepreneurs from our community making the most of the digital age. Kudos!

True to Millennial form, Zuggol is a cause-driven startup ran by a young group of multicultural entrepreneurs in the Tech-heavy San Francisco Bay Area. Learn more about the Social Media-savvy founders here.

The Digital Age is heavily focused on collaboration and sharing, between brands and users alike; sites like Facebook are built on the fundamental belief that humans are naturally social and love sharing our experiences with others. Since not every experience can be shared in person, we do our best to capture our them through photos (which has evolved to create apps like Instagram), video (YouTube) and across a number of similar platforms. Really, we’re just super-evolved versions of the cavemen who documented their experiences through wall paintings, or ancient Egyptians who used hieroglyphs.

Dating back to the dawn of man (cue 2001: A Space Oddyssey-theme music), we’ve had the urge to show others where we’ve been, and we’ve gotten much better at it over the years; now we also update our friends on where we are through apps like Twitter, Foursquare, or Highlight; we also express who we are by showing where we’re going and what we believe, and we love collaborating with our peers through sharing knowledge/ info/ resources that can help us each toward a common goal.

So which mediums truly optimize this experience by helping us along the way?

Enter zuggol, a platform based on the belief that a key to achieving goals is making them fun, having support, and sharing them with friends for motivation. Currently undergoing final testing and tweaks, the first version of the app is scheduled to hit the market for download late summer/ early fall 2012.

The platform will consist of five sectors: Education, Music, Fashion, Fitness, and Fun. Once goals are established, progress within each sector can be followed by friends, encouraging resource/information sharing to help users reach each milestone along the way. From starting a small business to training for a marathon, zuggol aims to help out and give Social Media a boost in its transition from a pastime to a truly productive endeavor. Stay tuned!

* On zuggol: Yes, the app is all lower-case (capitalize when referring to the company) and it seems hard to pronounce. You can help influence one of those concerns by voting on the app’s pronouncement here– they’ll even plant a tree for every 100 votes!

How do you use Social Media? Just for a fun pastime, as a resource for optimizing productivity, o a little bit of both? We want to hear from our readers! Comment below or Tweet us @IMAGESUSA. We will make sure to check back for an update on the success and engagement of zuggol.

Library of Congress receives Twitter archive

Today, the Library of Congress announced there recent partnership with social networking site, Twitter. They have signed an agreement that will keep an archive of every public Tweet ever sent over to the library’s repository of historical documents.

“We have an agreement with Twitter where they have a bunch of servers with their historic archive of tweets, everything that was sent out and declared to be public,” said Bill Lefurgy, the digital initiatives program manager at the library’s national digital information infrastructure and preservation program

So the next time you send a tweet, be sure to think twice!

Study: African Americans Have Highest Recall of Mobile Ads

In 2011, most of us are accustomed to the plethora of advertisements we receive via mobile devices. Whether it’s banner ads on Pandora, the “viewers choice” spots on Netflix, or the mini-movies on Hulu – they’re everywhere! While some brands went out of their way to engage consumers with creative mobile ads in 2010 [See “True Blood” mobile ad in Variety above], many still roll their eyes at the sight of yet another ad on their mobile screens.

But there’s good news for savvy multicultural marketers utilizing mobile advertising in their 2011 strategies! Despite the eye rolls, research conducted in 2010 shows consumers are actually retaining the information received from the ads. When responses were broken down by race and ethnicity, they revealed the greatest differences in recall, with African American mobile internet users coming in first. African Americans recall mobile ads at a higher rate than do other demographics, at 41%, compared to 36% of Asian Americans and 36% White Americans.

Read more here.

An Appetite for Apps and Advertising

Advertisers are clamoring to understand and target cell phone users through mobile advertising. With the prediction that the majority of cell phone users will have at least one smartphone by the end of 2011, it is impossible to ignore this emerging new advertising medium. Right now there seems to be a dearth of information regarding how individuals find applications (“apps”) to download and the extent to which people are receptive to viewing advertisements via mobile phone.

“The buzz surrounding mobile and tablet apps is deafening,” said Kelly Mayfield, IMAGES Senior Media Buyer + Planner. “Media companies of all sizes are considering how mobile apps might help a hurting bottom line. The benefits far outweigh the costs: advertisers are able to serve more targeted advertising, consumers receive only those ads relevant to their everyday lives, and the direct response mechanism provides measurable results for media companies.”

Read more here.

African Americans, Women and Southerners Talk + Text The Most in the U.S.

According to Nielsen, the media measurement service, African Americans use the most voice minutes – on average more than 1,300 a month. Hispanics are the next most talkative group, chatting an average of 826 minutes a month. Even Asians/Pacific Islanders, with 692 average monthly minutes, talk more than Whites, who use roughly 647 voice minutes a month.

African Americans and Hispanics also text the most. Hispanics send and receive around 767 SMS messages a month while African Americans send and receive around 780 – significantly more than Asians/Pacific Islanders (384 texts a month) and Whites (566 texts a month). The voice and text results are compiled from one year (April 2009-March 2010) of mobile usage data gathered by the Nielsen Company, which analyzed the cellphone bills of more than 60,000 mobile subscribers each month in the United States.

Read more here.


Greener Solar Powered iPhones On the Horizon?

If Apple has anything to do with it, iPhone-atics will soon charge their phones with sunshine.

Confirming the flurry of internet rumors, Apple recently applied for a patent for a solar-powered iPhone. The patent calls for sleeker, “invisible” solar panels that won’t change the iconic look or weight of the iPhone. Earlier manifestations of solar-powered phones have received mixed reviews from consumers, sighting long charging times and bulkiness. From iPodnn, the patent describes “weaving solar cells into a display, thereby keeping them off of the device’s outside surfaces and still allowing easy reach by light. The technology involves sandwiching the cells underneath glass and touch-sensitive layers.”

Knowing Apple, this recent patent is only the beginning of their evolution into creating greener products. Until we have iPhones made of recycled bottles and powered by kinetic energy, do your part by adding a few of the Top 7 Best Green iPhone Apps to your phone.

Still curious about these “invisible capture” solar panels? Indulge your inner tech geek by diving deeper into Apple’s vision for solar cell technology here.

via Inhabitat