Mobile Social Network Usage by Age and Gender

Millions of websites use Flash: Get used to the blue legos.

The best web experience ever? Doesn’t look like it..

2010 is the year of the app from Fastcompany.

Apple: The iPhone Company

Interesting Foursquare presentation by Chris Tuff

The Vodafone Head Office – Portugal

One of the coolest corporate offices I’ve seen.

Daizi Zheng’s Sugar-Powered Mobile Phone

Daizi Zheng's Sugar-Powered Mobile Phone-1

Daizi Zheng's Sugar-Powered Mobile Phone-2

Treehugger reports on an intriguing cell phone concept design that’s powered by sugar. Daizi Zheng’s mobile phone runs on a battery that can generate power using soda, or any other kind of sugary liquid. It’s unique idea, and a potential solution to the environmental problems that come with disposing traditional batteries.

Zheng explains:

Through my research, I found that phone battery as a power source, it is expensive, consuming valuable resources on manufacturing, presenting a disposal problem and harmful to the environment. The concept is using bio battery to replace the traditional battery to create a pollution free environment. Bio battery is an ecologically friendly energy generates electricity from carbohydrates (currently sugar) and utilizes enzymes as the catalyst. By using bio battery as the power source of the phone, it only needs a pack of sugary drink and it generates water and oxygen while the battery dies out. Bio battery has the potential to operate three to four times longer on a single charge than conventional lithium batteries and it could be fully biodegradable.

via psfk.com

via Treehugger

Wallpaper* city guides on iPhone

Wallpaper*’s excellent City Guides to London, Berlin, New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Milan, Rome and Tokyo are now available as iPhone apps. The Berlin one is currently a free download; the others are £2.39 each.
Via Notcot.

TrendsSpotting 2010 Social Media Trend Predictions

I’ve omitted the word ‘influencers’ from the original headline because it still bugs me a bit but nonetheless this is a brilliant compilation of so many varying predictions on 2010 in the one place from some of the biggest movers and shakers. I’m merely there to fill up the numbers obviously and being next to Seth Godin has provided many with much amusement. But I’m all for a bit of self-deprecation every now and then. Hat tip to @tim_whirledge for the original heads up.

Everyone that is featured in the presentation is listed below with their @names, making it easy for you to follow as many as you wish.

Major trends that came to the fore out of all the predictions were:

Mobile, Location, Transparency, Measurement, ROI and Privacy.

Not much new there then for 2010. Mobile, Location and Privacy would be my three to watch in 2010. Transparency shouldn’t even be there because it should happen without a second thought. But in 2009 we have seen and still in 2010 we’ll continue to see ideas, campaigns and executions which will pretend to be something they’re not / mislead consumers in some way or fake its roots and originality. Sometimes it is purely for the sake of controversy and to get people talking about it but other times you wonder who initially thought it would be a good idea and then how it ever made it in to the public spheres.

It was concluded that 2009 did not meet expectations. What should we expect in 2010?

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In this report,  the 2010 Social Media trends are foretasted by:

@petecashmore PETE CASHMORE Founder, CEO Mashable
@armano DAVID ARMANO Senior Partner, Dachis Group Author, Logic and Emotion
@chrisbrogan CHRIS BROGAN President, New Marketing Labs
@peterkim PETER KIM Managing Director, N.America Dachis Group
@seth SETH GODIN, Bestselling Author, Entrepreneur & Agent of change
@litmanlive MICHAEL LITMAN Social Media Strategist Consolidated PR
@tamar TAMAR WEINBERG, Community & Marketing Manager, Mashable
@johnbattelle JOHN BATTELLE Founder & Chairman Federated Media
@mariansalzman MARIAN SALZMAN President, N.America Euro PR, Trend Spotter & Author
@mzkagan MARTA KAGAN Managing Director, US Espresso- Brand Infiltration
@danzarrella DAN ZARRELLA Social & Viral Marketing Scientist HubSpot
@emarketer eMARKETER Digital Intelligence
@drewmclellan DREW McLELLAN Founder and Author The Marketing Minute
@idc CAROLINE DANGSON Digital Marketplace Research Analyst IDC
@jasonfalls JASON FALLS Social Media Strategist Social Media Explorer
@charleneli CHARLENE LI Founder Altimeter Group
@gauravonomics GAURAV MISHRA CEO 2020 Social Online
@marc_meyer MARC MEYER Principal Digital Marketing Response Group
@emarketer JEFFREY GARU Senior Analyst eMarketer 2010
@jimmy_wales  JIMMY WALES Founder Wikipedia
@alecjross ALEC ROSS Sr Advisor -Innovation State Department
@CraigNewmark CRAIG NEWMARK Founder of Craiglist
@scobleizer ROBERT SCOBLE Technical Evangelist Rackspace
@dmscott DAVID MEERMAN SCOTT Marketing Strategist & Author World Wide Rave
@roncallari RON CALLARI Social Media
@ravit_ustrategy RAVIT LICHTENBERG Founder & Chief Strategist Ustrategy.com
@equalman ERIK QUALMAN Author Socialnomics
@pgillin PAUL GILLIN Writer, Author & Social Media Consultant Principal
@adambroitman ADAM BROITMAN Partner & Ringleader Circ.us
@cbensen CONNIE BENSEN Director of Social Media & Community Strategy Alterian
@mikearauz MIKE ARAUZ Strategist Undercurrent
@nenshad Nenshad Badoliwalla Co-author Driven to Performance
@adamcohen ADAM COHEN Partner Rosetta
@danielwaisberg DANIEL WAISBERG Head of Web Analytics Easynet
@communitygirl ANGELA CONNOR Journalist & Community Strategist
@trendsspotting TALY WEISS CEO and Head of Research TrendsSpotting.com

BBC iPlayer is mobile’s most wanted

According to recent research by analyst house CCS Insight, the BBC’s iPlayer came out on top in a poll of what the most desired mobile service is with users saying that they want to get access to the TV and radio programmes on their phone.

BBC iPlayerThere are a handful of handsets out there which currently have the ability to play programmes from the iPlayer through 3G and Wifi, for example, a whole host of Nokia’s like the N85, N96 and N97 phone, Samsung’s, Sony-Ericsson’s and the iPhone. The iPhone can however, only stream over Wifi. Considering the amount of storage available on the iPhone, I’d love to to be able to download a programme in an evening and watch it while travelling in to work in the morning. I’d like to think over time, it will be possible!

Consumers’ mobile internet usage is on the increase due to phones like the iPhone coming with ‘all you can eat’ data packages. I use my phone more for web browsing and emailing than I do for actual phone calls. That’s something the telco’s will have noticed as a growing trend and it represents an opportunity for mobile operators to revitalise their ARPU (average revenue per user) and create new data-oriented business models as voice revenues continue to decline.

iPlayeriPhone

In the poll as mentioned above, navigation/maps and unlimited music are the next most desired mobile services after iPlayer, according to the analyst’s report, with around 20% of the votes on each. Maps have been ever present on the more top end of phones for the last few years, I was using an N95 and it’s ‘Maps’ programme about 2 years ago now but it’s becoming more commonplace and a standard feature.

Voda 2005Multiplayer games and other mobile TV were desired by four per cent of the vote apiece, with video calling being requested by just three per cent. Video calling was once a key feature for some top end phones on Vodafone a few years back in 2005. It was expensive, you were prohibited by others needing a front facing camera and well, it never did catch on did it. Picture to the left is Vodafone’s Christmas 2005 handsets which were heavily pushing the 3G technology, increased download speeds and mobile TV.

Interestingly, the respondents of the survey showed that gender informs hardware choice, with Samsung mobiles being twice as popular with women than men – but the reverse being true for the iPhone and BlackBerry. 90% of the users questioned had visited Facebook on their mobile with only 14% having visited Twitter. This for me would be a clear indication of the age of the large majority of users polled, where it was said that 18-35 year olds were polled. I’d think they were mostly of the younger age bracket as it’s well known that Twitter is more widely used by 35+.

The evolution of mobile

Kyle Bean - MobilesKudos to Kyle Bean for this.

Pretty interesting really, seeing the evolution and the miniaturisation from 1985 to the present day and how the rapid innovation, technology has allowed for size to no longer be a prohibitive issue when it comes to ‘real’ portability. Size is no longer the major challenge, nor is it about packing the phone with more hardware features, such as bigger and better cameras, or music, or screens. It’s more now about how the features are being used. I’ve noticed a shift over the last year or two where it’s now all about the software and the tight, seamless application of it as proved by Apple and the App Store, Google and Android. If it was a hardware race, no one would be buying the iPhone. 2MP these days is unbelievably poor (yes I don’t have a 3GS because I’m still locked in with my ‘old’ iPhone 3G for the duration of the contract.) My even older Nokia N95 had a better camera than that at 5MP. Clearly, my purchasing decision wasn’t based on the power of the camera. I was mesmerised by the potential of the App Store. The software then.

A present day example of this for me is the Nokia N97. Hardware wise, I think it’s actually highly impressive. The fold out keyboard really feels good to use on a regular and prolonged basis which is one thing that annoys and frustrates me about the iPhone. It’s quicker for me to write something down that it is to load up the ‘Notes’ application and hammer out the letters on the on screen keyboard. What lets down the N97 is the software. It’s simply nowhere near as intuitive, logical or easy to use than what has to be the benchmark for everyone now, the iPhone. The amount of times i’ve seen new handsets come out and the term ‘iPhone Killer’ being banded about is amazing.

Talking of iPhone Killers, the HTC Hero is one to watch which I’m keeping a keen eye on..

The models which Kyle selected to highlight above are:
1985 – motorola dynaTAC
1988 – nokia mobira cityman 1320
1991 – AEG teleport
1993 – ericsson GH198
1996 – motorola micro TAC 650
1998 – siemens C10
2001 – nokia 3210
2005 – motorola razr V3
2009 – samsung tocco

Borrowing a quote from the legendary Nigel Powers in the film Goldmember, perhaps better known as Michael Caine when he said:

“It’s not the size mate, it’s how you use it.”

You could say the same for the current state of mobile.

Mobile phones are the most searched for consumer electronics product; Apple the top brand

Below is a guest posting on the Hitwise blog by Richard Seymour, their UK intelligence analyst and resident gadget expert.

I found the below a pretty interesting read so hope Hitwise don’t mind me reposting. The hot consumer electronics list is full of insights so the webinar linked to below is a recommended click.

We have developed a tool to analyse the consumer electronics search data – The Hitwise Hot Consumer Electronics List. For the most recent week’s data (week ending 14/03/09), we can see that mobile phones are the most searched for products online, accounting for almost 30% of all consumer electronics searches. The top phone is consistently the Apple iPhone, with approximately 1 in 12 mobile phone searchers currently searching for all variations of the iPhone. The iPhone has so far only been surpassed on the odd week or two during the launches of new phones. For example, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic which launched on 23rd January 2009, took top spot during w\e 14th Feb, picking up 6.6% of all mobile phone searches. However it fell back to second spot the following week, where it remains with 4.7% of all mobile searches.

Mobile_phones_video_Games_computers_software_televisions_cameras_game_consoles_mp3_players_sat_navs_toys_hobbies_hitwise.png

1 in 10 searches are for video games – over twice as many as for games consoles in seventh place – with Resident Evil 5 the most searched for video game last week. Computers and software sit in third and fourth places, and televisions are the fifth most searched for gadget with 4.5% of all searches last week. Cameras, Mp3 players, Satellite Navigation systems, -dominated by TomTom – and Toys complete the top 10 most searched for consumer electronics product types.

Lego is the top Toys and Hobbies brand, accounting for almost 1 in 8 Toys and Hobbies searches. However, the Danish company doesn’t make it into our list of the overall top 20 most searched for consumer electronics brands. These are highlighted in the treemap below, which shows the most popular brands in the Hitwise Consumer Electronics List. The size of the box represents its relative size to the top 20, with the top 10 represented by their logos.

apple_nokia_samsung_dell_sony_sony_ericsson_lg_hp_panasonic_nintendo_hitwise.PNG

We can see that Apple leads the pack, with 12% of all branded searches – almost twice as many as Nokia. As we saw above, Apple’s iPhone sits ahead of Nokia’s phones in the mobile phone market, but it is iTunes and their iPods that really sets the company apart from the rest of market in terms of searches. In the top 10, Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic all compete amongst multiple product ranges (most notably televisions), whereas Dell and HP share their involvement in the computers and printers categories. As we can see, the Hot Consumer Electronics List allows us to compare brand share amongst brands that would never normally be compared based on their niche product ranges, such as Blackberry, Dyson, TomTom and Nikon.

Another great use of the tool is to identify and gauge interest in new products, brands and fast-moving product areas. For example, we were able to track the increase in searches for netbooks in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and the continued interest in them as more models enter the market. The chart below, made up of portfolios of search terms for netbooks extracted from this consumer electronics search tool, allows us to see that not only is the Samsung NC10 clearly the most searched for netbook, but also that the new Archos 10 has shot from nowhere to be one of the most searched for netbooks, and the 6th most searched for computer overall.

samsung_nc10_acer_aspire_one_archos_10_hp_2133_mini_note_asus_ee_hitwise.png

We have also been able to identify seasonal consumer behaviour. For example, there was a 31% increase in searches for garden products last week, with lawn mowers and especially the Bosch Rotak 34 the products of choice. There was also a 10% increase in searches for vacuum cleaners, lead by the Dyson DC25 as the Spring cleaning bug starts to hit.

The question is, are retailers and manufacturers already optimised for these products as we approach Easter? If you want to know more about the Hot Consumer Electronics List and see how it can help you, we’ve put together a short webinar describing how it works in more detail which you can watch here. If you have any further questions, please feel free to use the comments box below.

Follow Hitwise UK on Twitter.

Celebrities tweeting backstage at the Oscars, taking us closer to the action than ever before.

A side note – This was first written on Feb 24th but left as a draft and because I suck, unfortunately only now, in March have I picked it up again. I pondered scrapping it entirely as the currency of the article may not be as prevalent now but I still believe it brings up some interesting issues for discussion. It may also seem sensationalist alluding to the fact that now we have Twitpic we don’t need the paparazzi but this simply isn’t the case. I’m certainly not saying this is the end of the print medium, merely musing around it’s future and how it can combat the immediacy of the web.

Hands up who didn’t watch the Oscars, are going to watch the highlights at some point or who instead chose to read an article on the likes of BBC.co.uk for example which featured amongst other things all the winners? Along with all the above I read on my travels home this evening in the London Paper who rated the celebrities walking down the red carpet by who they thought wore the best and worst outfits. It’s clear we’re a nation who love celebrities and how they live their lives. We clamour for what dresses they wore, what they ate and drank, what freebies they got and who they mingle with. Before, we used to have to guestimate and imagine what it might all be like back stage.

Not any more.

Now we have Twitter. Now we have Twitpic.

It’s as if we’re there, a front row seat, you can almost smell the excitement. This is where the print medium will never be able to replicate the immediacy of user generated content and blogs. Celebrities are now even sticking two fingers up to the paparazzi themselves. How? They are snapping pics of themselves and their fellow celebrity mates and putting them up on the internet, for free. Yep, for free. Don’t believe me? See a few examples below.

It wasn’t just photos that slebs were creating though.. Using the Qik video online service, Ashton Kutcher posted two amateur videos during the party, one of P Diddy dancing to Prince’s Kiss and another of Demi Moore. He also published a clip of the couple relaxing at home before the party.

The postings humanised the stars, who are typically seen only in an immaculate, staged environment. We’re seeing a side to them that we would never normally have seen before.

Moore, meanwhile, published two pictures from her Oscars party, one modelling her backless black dress and another with Kutcher.

“I am so tired 2day & my feet R killing me from dancing but I think it was rockin’ shindig & everyone seemed 2 have a gr8 time! Nap time?,” Moore wrote once the festivities were over.

As the night dragged on and more alcohol was consumed, Combs decided to run a bubble bath.

“I’m holding an oscar rt now and takin a bubble bath!!!! God is great!!! Let’s go people,” Combs wrote on his Twitter page.

Hollywood reporter Ryan Seacrest tweeted his observations from the red carpet, including that Kate Winslet was nervous before the show (“she clinched my hand so tightly”) and that Mickey Rourke wore a picture of his dead dog around his neck.

“Ever wonder what happens if someone has to go to the bathroom on the carpet? Theres a portapotty behind the fan stands. Now you know,” Seacrest wrote.

Jane Fonda penned a few tweets herself throughout the evening, praising Hugh Jackman’s good looks and said she loved the documentary Man On Wire.

“Well, Heath’s winning and his family accepting on his behalf made me cry,” she wrote

Other celebrities particularly active with Twitter accounts include Snoop Dogg, Britney Spears, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elijah Wood, John Cleese, Michael Phelps, US President Barack Obama, MC Hammer and basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal.

Bringing online and offline together rather brilliantly, O’Neal recently had lunch with several of his Twitter fans after posting that he was at a Pheonix diner.

What I do find fascinating about the aspect of immediacy is that for example here this photo was at it happens posted within the last few minutes (and nearly 4,000 people have viewed already). It shows me in black and white who is on a programme that isn’t on until tomorrow and somehow because of that I feel more compelled to watch Friday Night with Jonathan Ross because it’s as if I’m part of it all now.

Below are a few images that are public for all to see via Twitpic. Some are from the Oscars, others are from celebrities in general. This is simply a cross section of what’s around from a very brief search and am sure it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Any that you think I’m missing that deserve a mention?

NB – I thought instead of merely updating the numbers below which were up to date as of Feb 24th, the increases are visible in brackets.

Bruce Willis just chilling out 44,240 views. (+5,794)

Russell Brand & Jane Goldman 29,957 views. (+1,609)

David Walliams 25,441 views. (+1,154)

Publicly berating the paps 24,460 views. (+5,763)

Ashton Kutcher. 22,425 views (+24,752)

Jonathan Ross 22,473 views. (+1,250)

Danny Wallace & Eddie Izzard 22,079 views. (+1,037)

Chris Martin 19,492 views. (+987)

P Diddy holding two Oscars in the air. 19,292 views. (+20,133)

Wossy’s Study 18,075 views. (+1,222)

Tim Lovejoy & Danny Wallace 3,961 views. (+429)

Richard Bacon 3,766 views. (+885)

Links for further reading –

Mashable -And the Oscar more most social media buzz goes to..

New Media Strategies – Oscar Night Buzz Report

Say hello to Consolidated’s latest recruit..

So you may or may not have noticed that I’ve been a bit light on the ol’ blog posts recently.. I know, it’s been about 2 weeks which for me has felt like a lifetime.. There has been good reason though and it all paid off in a spectacular fashion today.

For the last few weeks now, I’ve been using any spare time to work on a presentation for my final interview with a position at Consolidated PR as a Social Media Strategist up for grabs on 16th December. I felt there being a bit more pressure because they’re the 28th top company to work for in the UK and also have just been featured in Marketing magazine in the Top 100 PR Agencies coming in at No 54.

What was the presentation all about? I won’t go in to the finer points but it was essentially 30 minutes to talk through my vision on an integrated social media strategy for a campaign, and all that’s involved in doing so, it needs the context to fully make sense but it was interesting to research and deliver.

So I was stood before the Heads of Digital and Consumer PR being asked to do my thing, there was everything riding on it. This was it, this was the moment. Before all that though and to heighten the suspense a bit, why the change in direction? I thought you were happy where you were? You were always saying how much you loved it!

As much as I’ve loved every minute working at Splendid Comms, I’ve been actively looking for a while for something permanent which they were unfortunately unable to commit. It’s not the most ideal of times to be hiring generally so it was understandable. They are however a PR Communications agency doing some fantastic work with some great clients like Marmite, Guinness, Lucozade and ShoZu. It has a real family vibe about the place and they genuinely enjoy everything that they do. I’ll be sorry to leave it all behind but will for sure be keeping in touch with them all.

Back to the presentation.. for the last few weeks I’d spent most of my waking free time researching, digesting, writing slides, cutting out slides, by the end of it I was even beginning to enjoy it!

On the day, I was horribly ruthless with my own content, (the one thing I find hard to do, cutting out slides I’ve spent quality time on) and went with the philosophy of less is more. I cut out about half my slides.. It worked, they all followed on from each other smoothly and it was remarked that I adopted a methodical approach from start to finish. Excellent! Surprising myself a bit in the process actually, because I was a complete bag of nerves the night before, on the day and up until the minute I started presenting! I was equally as nervous about the potential questions after.. what would they ask? Would I have the answer? Incredibly yes. The dreaded ‘We’ll be in touch’ was said which left me in doubt but I was happy with how it went considering how nervous I was.

17th December, the morning after the presentation, I get a call, essentially along the lines of “We’d like to offer you the job,” I was in shock. For the rest of the day I’ve had a smile you just can’t shift and have said the word awesome at least every other word. Ask @jedhallam !

On the 5th Jan 2009, I will be starting at Consolidated as a Social Media Strategist. What a way to start 2009! I have a feeling it’s going to be a year to remember. Hopefully for all the right reasons.

Anything else happen today? Yes yes and yes. I was alerted to the fact that my SOTM photo had gone up today by @tommalcolm which was taken a few weeks ago now and I’d forgotten about amidst all the job stuff going on. Someoneoncetoldme.com is a fantastic site combining photography and quotes that resonate with the subject. Mine was a quote that stuck with me through thick and thin that the mind is powerful and that it’s ok to think big and be a dreamer.. and here it is..

Oh, yeah, and how could I forget and someone on behalf of Channel 4 who are doing a documentary which is going to be featured in Picturehouse cinemas first and then on Channel 4 in Summer 2009 and it’s all about privacy on the internet.. interesting topic. They contacted me because they want a perspective on the other side of the coin. I’m an advocate for transparency and openness.

You can find out about the sites I find of interest through Delicious, the photos I take using Flickr, personal details on Facebook, work details on LinkedIn and the conversations I have on Twitter. It’s all there, and I’m completely happy with that because it brings such bizarre situations as this.

So they want to hear about the positive effects of the social networking phenomenon taking place with sites like Facebook and Twitter which is fantastic because I’d go as far as to say it’s been a life changing 6 months for me because of such sites. One question, how on earth they found me, again, all this internet fame stuff is absolutely mind blowing, I’m not worthy.

“It would be really great to get your thoughts on our film, and discuss the possibility of you appearing in the film.”
I spat out my metaphorical cup of tea.. what? You are kidding right? This is insane.
So what brings of tomorrow? I’m taking part in a week long paid mobile study on behalf of Nielsen, not quite sure what the selection criteria was for that either, considering they’ve only taken on 2 people across the UK to take part in the study.
Every day seems to be bringing something new and exciting to the table at the moment for which i’m honoured and proud to be involved in.

E-consultancy Christmas Party.. See you there?

I got an email a while back from E-consultancy about a Christmas party in December.. I thought I’d put my name down and see how it all pans out, have been a fan of the E-con site and a site most companies I’ve worked for had a membership with. I saw a few familiar ‘online faces’ cropping up on the attendees list so at Number 141, I got my name down and forgot about it for a while.

It was completely off the bat so I just wrote a bit of spiel, didn’t expect to hear anything of it.. A few have however commented and said that in 3 lines they knew the essentials and where to find me to find out more.. Turned out to sum me up nicely & professionally(ish) in a short space.

I did think afterwards that I should have included my Linkedin Profile which others followed suit by doing but it did the trick!

Amazingly by the time it closed a few days ago now 740 people had registered their interest. I’m envisaging 740 people in a room now and that’s an impressive achievement. Just goes to show the reach of E-Consultancy and the cachet of the name.

All that’s left for me to say is if you’re going then leave a comment or drop me a ‘tweet’ (An @ message on Twitter) and let me know. Would be great to meet up with some online faces, offline.


Wishing you a MIR-y Christmas

So the guys over at Mobile Industry Review are pulling out all the stops this Christmas with an awesome feast of altruism and the causes in which it’s all in aid of are all fantastic and worthy of the press MIR will garner for this. It couldn’t be simpler to get involved..

So what have MIR got to say about it all?

“We’ve stashed away a load of handsets and accessories over the last few months and will be giving them away in a draw on the 10th December… just in time for Christmas.  So what’s going on?

This time around we won’t be picking winners from the site’s comments.  Instead we’re running a draw.  Entry to the draw is in exchange for a donation divided between Mobile Industry Review’s two chosen charities – the UK-based Childline and the UN Foundation (winners of a Mobile Industry Review award) which operates internationally.

Each donation of £5 / $10 gets you one chance to win a prize from the list – you can donate as much  as you like.  Individuals and companies can participate and we’ll publish your name if you share your details with us.

So what could you win? You could choose from:

We’ve updated the process so you can donate directly to the two funds.”

See the FAQ at the bottom of the page for further information.

The Blackberry Storm – “Embarrassingly awful”

I was thinking about collating a few of the reviews together in one central place to guage the general concensus on the Blackberry Storm and then saw what we have here to the left only cemented the opinion that it was a worthwhile posting.

A message by the one and only Stephen Fry on Twitter who managed to encapsulate all the reviews I’ve read so far, some weighing in at 5+ pages, all in 140 characters. Another win for Twitter then!

As a tech geek I’ve been watching RIM’s moves in to the consumer market with interest.. Native instant messaging, MySpace and Facebook apps for starters, these aren’t the mainstay of the enterprise user.

I can’t imagine this being the type of PR that RIM expected (especially from someone as influential and with such a wide reach like Stephen Fry) the release of the ‘Storm’ to drum up but as I see it, it’s put itself in direct comparison with the iPhone which has the touch screen experience completely down to a tee.. Obviously it’s not perfect, there are misgivings and sacrifices to be made, but there isn’t anything out there than can touch it (I’m sorry!). The BB Storm goes to show just how good it is.

Both Apple and RIM have tried to win over the different sides, the way I see it is that Apple is (Consumer) and RIM (Enterprise). Apple’s failings whilst making steps in to the enterprise have been well documented. Much of the comments from Stephen Fry above could be quite easily attributed to Apple’s Mobile Me service upon launching, with Steve Job’s admitting that it was unleashed too early and that it was “not up to Apple’s standards.” You can check out the internal mail sent round the company from Jobs here.

Most recently, Al Shipp, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Enterprise Sales left and will not be replaced. Apple’s decision not to replace Shipp may be indicative of its move away from the enterprise space..

An analyst at Forrester did however note that –

“Apple’s singular focus on user experience has resulted in some success in the enterprise – without even trying to break into the market,”

One of the things that the Blackberry does fantastically well, where it’s untouchable (I’ve got to stop with these puns) is the whole enterprise side of things, which it’s positively making steps away from with the more consumer led Blackberry Storm in a bit to get more numbers on board the Blackberry train.

For example, according to a new report, three quarters of the police force are currently using BlackBerry devices while on patrol.

This is due to their accreditation by the Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG). “BlackBerrys were made with security in mind and not as an afterthought.” says RIM senior manager of EMEA public sector sales Graham Baker.

So with all the above in mind, the Storm was expected to be the first major competition to the iPhone. Unfortunately, the very large majority of coverage and reviews say that it’s a great first attempt but more was expected from it.

There’s a fair few (thousand) people out there who are quite happy with the Storm..

Or how about this guy who bagged himself a free Blackberry Storm for this tattoo..

A man dubbed ‘T.J’, from Ohio, opted to have a life-size copy of the Storm tattooed on his forearm in order to win a free Storm in a contest entitled “What Would You Do for a BlackBerry Storm?”

“We just wonder what he’ll think of the tattoo once Storm’s been consigned to the great phone bin in the sky and replaced with a faster, sexier and more feature-laden model.” The Register.

If you want to win one where you don’t have to go to such measures, enter here

A round up of a few BB Storm reviews..

PCMag.comI felt like I was learning to type all over again. I had to get used to the hover-then-click strategy. This slowed me down immeasurably. The other problem with the keyboard is the way the Storm lets you know that you’re over the right key. I often couldn’t see which key was highlighted behind my own thumb. Another major problem I had is that correcting your typing mistakes is hit and miss—or worse. It will often try and suggest proper spellings or words it thinks you’re trying to type. That helped me about 50 percent of the time. The rest of the time, I was typing and retying words. Clicking on the giant button of a screen felt like an unnecessary and unnatural process. If I’m the typical target corporate enterprise customer for the Storm, RIM may have a problem.

Mobile Today – Stores and customer blogs were venting their frustration over the lack of Wi-Fi on the Storm. The decision has been universally interpreted as a means for Vodafone to force customers to go online and download music through its 3G network. Vodafone customer services said: ‘[With the Storm] we’re looking at streamlining people toward the unlimited Vodafone internet package.’ In other words, if you use Wifi then we can’t get any money out of you for using the internet.

The Register – While the Storm comes with Blackberry Internet Solution support, Enterprise integration will cost an additional 16 quid a month – once it’s working. RIM has long tried to position itself as a consumer brand as well as offering the best push email service for business users. The Storm is well equipped to reinforce this perception, but many customers are buying it on the basis that it will also integrate with their Enterprise Solution and are sadly disappointed.

Admiral H – The most exhaustive review I’ve read. – If you absolutely want the best all-in-one device on the market right now, get the iPhone 3G. It’s got the best web browsing, media (photo/music/video & YouTube) experience and their e-mail solution is solid. If you want the best BlackBerry possible, pass on both BlackBerry Bold and BlackBerry Storm and wait for the next one. Both are relatively raw as of this moment. It’s better to wait for the next revision when Research In Motion’s devoted more time into polishing their software. Don’t get me wrong, Research In Motion has done the best job so far of coming up with a true iPhone contender. But it’s no definitely iPhone killer, until they address all the mentioned issues

Gizmodo – The Storm is a strong effort from RIM, but it’s not quite the killer phone that they or Verizon need it to be. It’s good— RIM clearly put a lot of thought into the design. But I think it fall short of what they were aiming for, and ultimately what all the hype is driving people to expect. Some of this is fixable: The damn thing needs to crash less often. But SurePress is not the end-all, be-all of touchscreen technologies—it’s not really an evolutionary step forward, even. The experience may be fairly refined, but more polish is still needed. Had this Storm been left to brew a bit longer, it would’ve been much more powerful

PC World – Ultimately, the Storm’s touch interface feels like a failed experiment. It’s too bad, because the Storm has some nice features and makes a great first impression. I found the Storm awkward to use for everyday data entry tasks. I worry, too, about how well the mechanics of the click screen will hold up under the pressure of continual use by heavy typers. Where touch wasn’t a major issue, the Storm functioned well. The Storm’s camera certainly outshines the iPhone’s, not only in megapixel count, but with regard to its autofocus and flash. The GPS worked well, too. People who were hoping for a credible iPhone alternative fortified with BlackBerry’s strengths as a mobile tool for corporate travelers will likely find the Storm a disappointment. When it comes to touch interfaces, Apple still has no peer.

Engadget – Going into this review, we really wanted to love this phone. The selling points are easy: the phone is gorgeous to look at and hold, it’s designed and backed by RIM (now almost a household name thanks to their prevalence in the business and entertainment markets), and it’s packed with features that, at first glance, make it seem not only as good as the iPhone, but better. The only hitch in this plan is a major one: it’s not as easy, enjoyable, or consistent to use as the iPhone, and the one place where everyone is sure they have an upper hand, that wow-inducing clickable screen.. just isn’t all that great.

On paper it sounds like the perfect antidote to our gripes about the iPhone, and in some ways it lives up to those promises, but more often than not while using the Storm, we felt let down or frustrated. For casual users, the learning curve and complexity of this phone will feel like an instant turn off, and for power users, the lack of a decent typing option and considerable lagginess in software will give them pause. RIM tried to strike some middle ground between form and function, and unfortunately came up short on both. Ultimately, this could be a great platform with a little more time in the oven, but right now, it feels undercooked — and that’s not enough for us.

TIME – After 24 hours of actually testing the new BlackBerry side by side with its main competition — Apple’s iPhone 3G and T-Mobile’s G1 (the “Google phone”) — the novelty quickly wore off. I hate the click screen, and none of the handful of people I let try it had anything nice to say about it either. That’s a shame because the Storm has a slew of handy extras that neither the iPhone nor the G1 can match. But an annoying user interface is a deal breaker. The trouble with having to push down on the entire 3.2-inch screen every time you type a letter or confirm a menu choice is that it slows you down. The idea behind the clickable screen is that it will minimize errors by getting you to think before you press. Instead, it took much of the fun out of using the device.

If, like many Americans, you’re planning to scrimp your way through the holidays, the Storm isn’t worth busting your budget for. Even die-hard BlackBerry fans would be better off with RIM’s new Bold, Pearl or Flip. All three have many of the same pluses as the Storm, minus the drawbacks of the unusual display. This is one storm you’ll want to steer clear of this winter.

Chicago Tribune – Unfortunately, the Storm is more like a flurry, failing to add much more than a trace of innovation. If you use a BlackBerry, you quickly will grasp the basics of how to work this phone. But if you’re a smart phone newbie, the kind of person RIM wants to lure, looking for a touch-screen model, there are better choices. The Storm is sleek and offers nice multimedia functions; videos look great. But navigating the phone can be cumbersome.

Let’s get right to the point: The touch controls on the Storm do not compare with the more responsive iPhone or Google phone. RIM should have included a trackball with the touch controls, like HTC did with T-Mobile’s Google phone. An example: When you want to reply to an e-mail, you hit the menu key to bring up the familiar list of messaging options. The “reply” button is between “save” and “forward,” both of which I frequently hit instead, leading to frustrating back-tracking. A trackball would have alleviated this problem. If you’re looking for a new BlackBerry, my choice would be the Bold.

So if you made it this far, there’s the take of quite a few very well respected blogs. What’s your take on the Blackberry Storm? Do you use one and love it? Interested to hear what you think, I know there’s a lot of Blackberry love out there !