According to Nielsen, 85% of people who have tablets use them while watching television. The report also claims that 30% of tablet use happens while watching television.
“As mentioned, 85 percent of tablet owners use the device while watching TV. Nielsen also says that 30 percent of tablet use happens while watching the television. TV companies are creating companion applications to engage viewers on a deeper level during their favorite shows. Even cable companies are creating their own video-streaming apps in an effort to get in front of the cord cutting trend — severing ties with cable operators in favor of services like Hulu Plus. Comcast’s Xfinity app is an example of this.”
At SXSW 2012, I watched a panel discussion about “three screen convergence,” or the idea that people are using laptops, mobiles and tablets while watching TV. The panelists were positively giddy about the trend.
Two moments of the panel have stuck in my head over a month later. The first was when Eric J. Bruno, senior vice president of Consumer Product Management & Development for Verizon Communications told the crowd that he, “geeks out about DRM (digital rights management).” That isn’t relevant to my point, but I’m still trying to understand how he was able to utter those words without his brain melting and dripping out of every available orifice. But I digress.
The second, and much more relevant moment was when Soraya Darabi spoke about everyone’s favorite “screen convergence is great” moment, the Superbowl. The panel was abuzz about the Superbowl, and similar national experiences where most or many of us are watching one thing at the same time. Ms. Darabi spoke of the hilarious tweets she saw cross her feed during the Superbowl and awards shows. She just loved the sarcasm and comedy from those she follows.The panel thought this was great too. Their collective conclusion is that social media commentary while watching a television program equals positive engagement.
I’ve often used my mobile, tablet or laptop while watching television. The only times I ever do are when I am disengaged. When I’m watching something that someone else has selected, and I’m either not interested or in the case of Grey’s Anatomy, doing my very best to resist the urge to permanently damage my ears just to make it stop.
When I’m watching Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Mad Men or Boardwalk Empire the last thing that I want to do is miss a single second of the show. The only time I’ve ever touched another screen is to look up some reference from the show, and if I do, I’m hitting pause first.
The people tweeting funny things about the Superbowl and awards shows aren’t engaging with the show that they are watching, they are coping with the fact that they are stuck watching it. They’re the bored friend dragged to the Superbowl party, or the spouse stuck watching the Academy Awards. They are using a different screen as an escape, and looking for sympathy from their followers.
Old guard media executives can pretend that this trend is good for them, but it’s just an exercise in self-delusion.
Update: I found this just after publishing. This study, is remarkably in line with what I just wrote.
Full Disclosure: The Three Screen Convergence panel at SXSW 2012 was organized by a personal friend.
(Via Venture Beat – Media)
Question: “If we take Chrome apps to its logical conclusion: Do you like Samsung 5 Chromebook? Do you see any there at SXSW?”
Browser As An Operating Systems
Rumors circulated for years that Google was creating an operating system environment within a web browser. It’s a natural leap for Google because it benefits greatly from Internet expansion. Due to ubiquitous broadband (at least in the States), and relatively fast, and inexpensive processors have given this idea legs: an inexpensive machine that only accesses the Internet and other software that runs in-browser.
Google has a fun habit of releasing mostly-baked products into the market. They do so with everything: Gmail, Google Music, Android, G+, Chrome (browser). Now, they are doing it with Chrome OS.
When you buy a Chromebook, you are essentially paying to enter an open beta. That’s all well and good if you’ve got the cash, and don’t mind tinkering with partially completed software & hardware, but it’s not my cup of tea. I’m happy to beta test a free product from time-to-time, but I won’t pay for the privilege.
What is Chrome OS Good at?
- Browsing the web
- Basic to intermediate word-processing & spreadsheets
- Editing content from within a CMS
Where Does Chrome OS Fall Short?
The Law & The Cloud
Technology moves fast. Regulations and laws creep when they move at all. Steven Levy put it best:
“…the legal and regulatory framework for cloud computing is still evolving, as we are reminded by the government subpoenas for digital information on people tied to Wikileaks. If we’re going to make the leap to the cloud, we’ll need renewed assurances that personal data on the servers of Google or other companies will enjoy the same protections as the information stored on our personal hard drives and in our desk drawers” (Wired).
This is a big deal because with every passing month, the US government has become more aggressive in expanding online search and seizure.
Are People Using Chromebooks at SXSW?
While I’m hesitant to use SXSW attendees’ behavior as a measure of good tech decisions, I have not noticed a single Chromebook. Mostly I’ve seen a ton of Macbook Airs & Pros, Lenovo Thinkpads, and iPads.
Where is This Headed?
For better or worse, our computers are going to become increasingly more dependent on the cloud. That being said, I do not believe that Chrome OS is the answer. Over the next few years we will witness an operating system convergence.
Apple: iOS & OSX will merge
Microsoft: Windows 8 is all about convergence of the desktop, television, phone & tablet
Google: Android & Chrome will become one
Chrome OS is kind of a neat idea if you can already do all of your work in-browser, and can mentally get past the privacy/ legal issues.
Personally, I can’t do all of my work in-browser. I can’t ignore the privacy issues, and completely surrender all of my data to Google. I am deeply troubled by the imbalance between meatspace and cyberspace civil liberties (which is not Google’s fault).
All that being said, this really is an individual decision based on personal values, and use-cases. If Chromebook is all you want and need, enjoy. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper than a Macbook Air.
This is just plain old weird.
Apple.com via a mobile browser:
Seriously? Apple.com isn’t mobile optimized? The “design meets technology to form magical blah blah blah, and birthed the mobile web into existence,” company never bothered to optimize their own website?
Note to Apple fanboys & girls: That “apps downloaded” ticker doesn’t count as mobile optimized. It’s lazy, and ironically self-celebratory.
Android.com via a mobile browser:
And Google isn’t off the hook on this either. “Mobile first,” Google never bothered to create a mobile-friendly version of their mobile operating system’s website? This is pathetic.
Us.Blackberry.com via a mobile browser:
You already know where this is going…
I can’t even get annoyed by this because I would have been honestly surprised if RIM got something right in 2012.
Windows Phone 7′s website via a mobile browser:
Surprise! It is mobile optimized…
… But only if you’re viewing the website in landscape. Switch to portrait and it’s improperly formatted.
This is so very Microsoft.
It shouldn’t be too much to ask the companies leading the mobile revolution to properly optimize their websites’ for mobile. It’s not like they have a lack of capable design or development talent.
Last week I had the honor of presenting to the NJ Mobile Meetup group. NJ Mobile is a collection of about 300 mobile technology enthusiasts that I co-organize. While I’ve been one of the groups organizers for quite some time, this was the first time that I actually spoke at an event. Much to my delight the presentation, which was partially based on my blog post The Rules of Mobile App Design, was very well-received.
My goal was to record the presentation and slides and post a video, but I’ve been experiences some technical difficulties of the crashing variety whenever I try to record my screen and voice at the same time. So here are the slides, and I hope to add the full video presentation soon:
Mobile device retailers like Apple, Best Buy, Amazon & Verizon want you to recycle or trade-in your mobile devices. They even offer a good chunk of change to do so.
It’s usually not a terrible deal, but there is one big reason why you should keep your retired mobile device:
Mobile devices break.
They are portable, small, handled often, and as a result are easy to drop.
The screens are prone to glitches and wear-out over the course of a year or two.
When they die, you may have a warranty, and your retailer will get you a refurbished one, but it will take a few days to a few weeks.
During that time you will either have to pay for a loaner (which is usually a shitty Droid Eris or something equally crappy), or you can use your own old phone.
You will be much better off with your own phone, but you won’t have your old phone if you don’t keep it.
Police are becoming digitally bold, and asking to search the phones of citizens during traffic stops. As with anything, it’s important to know your rights. The EFF put together a one page card detailing the rights of American citizens as they pertain to your digital devices.
“Natural Scrolling?” That’s really what you’re calling this shit? Natural scrolling?
Natural scrolling is about as natural as a deep-fried twinkie on a styrofoam plate, and fuck you for even trying to spin this stupidity.
Natural scrolling should be called “inverted scrolling” on a laptop or desktop. Sure it may be natural on a touchscreen to pull content in the opposite direction, but in case you didn’t notice, none of the devices that run Lion have touchscreens (at the moment).
Defaulting such an obnoxious and useless feature really diminishes the magic of using my new MacBook Air. Sure it’s easy to turn off, but why bother hassling me with it at all.
PS – The new MacBook Air is quite nice.