It was around nine years ago that I bought my first ever smartphone – an Orange SPV, built for the French mobile company by the fledgling High Tech Corporation (spot today’s more famous acronym in there), running Microsoft Smartphone 2002 software. In the absence of a great deal of information about the new platform, I turned to a new website run by a fellow SPV fan that covered all things Microsoft Smartphone – which eventually became the popular smartphone blog Coolsmartphone.com.
Today, having abandoned the Microsoft smartphone platform in favour of the Apple beast, I’m joining a group of other enthusiasts to contribute iPhone and iPad reviews to Coolsmartphone.com. I’m grateful to Leigh Geary, the site owner – for the opportunity, and thrilled to have an outlet for my smartphone ramblings other than division6 – I suspect most faithful readers will be rather pleased that some of the smartphone updates, at least, will go elsewhere.
I’ll let you know when I get started but if there’s any app you’d like my thoughts on, let me know and I’ll look into it. I’ll mostly be looking for the charity of PRs promoting apps to send me download vouchers and/or interesting pitches to new apps (and won’t be covering any of my agencyâ€™s, Brands2Life, clients’ apps in the interests of avoiding conflicts anywhere). You can reach me on my shiny new mailbox for that – armand [at] coolsmartphone.com!
Against a backdrop of failing high street retailers, the growth agenda, and lots of clients involved in every aspect of the shopping supply chain, I’ve been thinking a little about how brands are making the transition to a more compelling online experience. After all, people still need stuff, so how are retailers drawing us in?
One of my agency’s clients has been doing some funky stuff to socialise its online shopping experience. NET-A-PORTER (admittedly not somewhere I shop) has launched NET-A-PORTER Live – a live, interactive Google Maps mash up showing what people are buying from the NAP store and allowing you to click through, share or buy things as they appear. It’s pretty cool, although I’d guess that it’s too early to tell if its working as a source for shopping inspiration and up-sell opportunities. NAP continues to invest in dev staff to create and evolve these experiences, which is one of the reasons they’re working with us to tell this story.
I also read/watched with interest as Pizza Express launched a partnership with PayPal to do online payments for in store eating using an iPhone. Now this looks slick-ish, but there are a few obvious questions; is paying by credit card really that fiddly (I think not), and does it really add anything to the experience that consumers really need? If NFC was involved, or QR codes automated part of the process I might think it was a better idea but as it stands, it feels like an expensive novelty.
On the other hand, Addison Lee expects to make 20m in iPhone cab bookings this year. Now that’s an app that fundamentally shifts the experience for the better, and so I’m totally unsurprised
Noticed anything else cool around?
Can Google please upgrade the Google Translate iPhone app to include OCR so it can do this, but just for plain text on images? I donâ€™t need a video feature or AR capability, or the clever editing that provides the illusion the translated text is on the billboard, sign or whatever, but itâ€™d be awesome if it OCRâ€™ed the text, translated it, and spat out a plain text English (or whatever-language) version of the sign, bit of paper, etc.
Iâ€™ve mentioned the coolness of the OCR video translation app (at least as far as the demos go) before, but if you havenâ€™t seen it, check it out. A step towards Star Trekâ€™s universal translators!