There is a lot more to the new 4G LTE Networks that Optus, Telstra, and soon, Vodafone, are rolling out across Australia.
Sure, there is the promise of high speed data transfer, fast web browsing and the ability to download music and videos in seconds rather than minutes... or even hours.
These fast 4G LTE networks also allow the networks to transfer data cheaper than the current 3G model. What this means is that voice will start to be delivered via the data connection component of your mobile service, and this brings with it a number of clever services.
In Canada, a market similar to Australia in it's maturity and saturation, Mobile operator Rogers has introduced "Rogers One Number", a service that allows mobile phone users to extend their mobile number to their computer and transfer voice or video calls in the middle of a conversation between their computer and mobile.
This technology affords convenience for the consumer, especially in the highly competitive business market, and at the same time opens the way for carriers to grow their subscriber base in a saturated market and increase the average revenue per user (ARPU) which is all so important for the mobile networks now as growth slows.
It may take a while for Australia to follow this technology, as the key factor is coverage. 4G needs to be extensive in order to offer this sort of service, but I think it may be closer than we think. The question is, will all the carriers be able to offer this service?
The latest figures I have seen shows there has been good growth in digital subscriptions in Australia, most of this coming from The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and The Age.
I know that I get a lot of my news in the form of a digital subscription, but this is tied to a physical weekend delivery where the 7 day digital subscription is offered free. I wonder if this is how they manage to report increases in readership and uptake of digital subscriptions? As much as an 86% from last years figures apparently !
What does this all mean? It tells me that consumers are getting their fix in many different ways, absorbing news and entertainment through a multitude of media. So, in order to stay relevant to our consumers we need to adapt our offerings to them to include all different means of delivering their daily or weekly fix.
How do you do this? A good question isn't it? The problem is being able to offer a variety of solutions efficiently and economically. if you are expecting me to have this solution today, I will sadly disappoint, however I strongly believe there is "more than one way to skin a cat" (as they say) and opening conversations and news ways of thinking could bring many of these solutions together.
I also note from the same article I read that the two major weekly magazines, Woman's Day and New Idea have experienced substantial increases in circulation, which is a great news story showing that print media is not dead yet. In fact, niche magazines continue to buck the trend and have steady readership increases. Interestingly this does not surprise me. Although I am happy to get my news digitally (SMH App) I much prefer a magazine for special interest and dare I say it... gossip.
Reality TV helps with magazine readership too, Better Homes & Gardens being the best example I can think of where a TV show promotes the magazine and the magazine the TV Show. Brilliant marketing !
Although I have not focused much on solutions here, I would like to close with a couple of observations.
Support the Weekly magazine titles in your store with good placement and displays.It makes a lot of sense to support a brand/product that is doing well in the market.
Seek new innovations and products to ensure your retail store appeals to the changing consumer. This can be as simple as selling iTunes cards, gift cards and the like through your electronic terminals, right through to stocking E-Readers and tablets, or smart phones.
The next step is to encourage the publishers to provide Digital Subscription packs to sell at a retail level. What better place than the same store consumers use to buy their newspapers and magazines today?
Samsung have released their latest onslaught to remain at the top of the pack in world domination of the smart phone market.
Strong words I know, but Samsung is the largest technology firm in the world, by revenue, and in Australia outsells Apple 58 percent to 36 percent in the smart phone arena.
This latest iteration of Samsung's premium handset introduces many new features like eye motion sensors that will pause video playback if you look away from the screen, and restart playback when you look back.
There is also premium navigation, 'Air Gesture", a 13 MP camera, Quad core processor and a beautiful 5 inch Hi resolution screen.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 sells for $899rrp. Check the video below.
Ever wondered if all the clever things you see on TV and at the movies about our future might actually came true?
Space travel back at the beginning of the 20th Century was something in a Comic book, photographs and films had only been around for a very short time, and the car was just starting to make its presence felt in very small numbers.
Fast forward 100 years, and the mobile phone is a reality, integrating into our lives and becoming an important part of our social activity.
Well, the next step takes us even further further into the future, and quite quickly. The iPhone has only been around for just over 5 years now, and the next 5 years as opposed to the last 100 will see technology advance 10 fold.
Google have recently announced their new Google Glasses, that stream the internet straight to your glasses, take photos and videos, and even offer a heads up map and navigation. This is not the future, this is now, and Google plan to start selling Google Glasses this year.
Add to this the Smart Watched that are appearing now, which I blogged about on 7th March, and wearable technology will soon be the norm.
Samsung are the leaders in Smart Phone sales world wide, and they obviously plan to keep it that way. Unlike Apple, Samsung offer a huge range of smart phones to satisfy just about any market and consumer.
Due to arrive this month, is the new Samsung Galaxy Express. What is is that sets this phone apart from a crowded range?
Other than the 4.5 inch Super AMOLED display, S Beam, FREE Navigon Voice-Guided navigation, 8GB internal memory and 4G LTE connectivity, its the price that sets this phone apart for value. Only $499 rrp for a 4G enabled Unlocked Samsung smart phone with these credentials is very impressive.
At this price you would think there are a number of compromises compared to the Galaxy S3 from Samsung, and you would be right.
However, the fact that it has a 5MP camera, as opposed to 8MP for the S3, and a slightly less impressive processor, there is no denying the value equation.
At $499 compared to the S3 4G version at $799 the Samsung Galaxy Express makes a good case for itself.
Some years ago, those that are old enough to remember, will have read the Dick Tracy Comics or watched the cartoon series on TV. The younger ones might recall the 1990 Dick Tracy Movie starring Warren Beatty and Madonna. Was that really 23 years ago????
Us oldies will remember how impressed we were that Dick Tracy communicated with his chief using his two-way wrist radio, way back in October 1931 when the comic strip debuted in Detroit.
I know I wanted one!
Now there are rumors surfacing that Apple are working on the iWatch, and you can bet these rumors will prove to be true. My bet is it will be released sometime this year.
For people that don't want to wait, there are already a few "Smart Watches" available, although not quite mainstream yet. The best I have seen so far is from Sony. This clever ANDROID compatible Smart Watch uses Bluetooth and advanced applications to provide Facebook & Twitter feeds, incoming call and SMS information, and will even let you control your music on your Smart Phone.
Sony's very clever Smartwatch is quite good looking and priced at around AU$150.00. It is fully compatible with Sony's range of Smart Phones, and adapts well with most Android phones.
You may not actually talk into it... yet, but it is the next best thing for people who like to be up to date and discreet at the same time. Checking Facebook feeds couldn't be easier. Although, thinking about it, maybe starring at your watch all the time will draw attention to the fact you have a Smart Watch, and who wouldn't want to show that off?
The future is closer than we think, and when Apple launch their version we can be sure that just like the iPhone took smart phones to another level, so too will the iWatch.
Recently, I wrote about the new NokiaLumia 620 Smart Phone running the latest Window Phone 8 operating system. We were exited about the release of this phone, and now that it has arrived, one of our staff decided it was the phone for him.
Below, is Trystan's comments about the Nokia Lumia 620 Smart Phone.... don't forget, only $299rrp
"I recently picked up my new Unlocked Nokia Lumia 620 & couldn't be happier.
Set up was speedy as I already have a Microsoft account for Xbox Live & once running the phone does so quickly & apps run smoothly.
City Lens is a fantastic feature as it lets you look around you with the camera & see points of interest which you can then select for map directions & contact details.
Kid’s Corner is great for those who want their children to be able to play with phone games and apps but you also don’t really want them accidently messaging or calling someone. You can choose what apps are available from the settings menu & getting there is as simple as swiping left from the lock screen before swiping up. To get back you just need to lock the phone again but to return to the phone proper you have to enter in your unlock code.
One of the best things though is how helpful the phone is. If you’re trying to work out how to do something ie. Make a new ringtone just click get more & it will take you to the Windows Phone 8 How-to page for adding ringtones to your phone with step by step instructions.
To import music, photos & videos onto the phone you can sync the phone through the windows phone app it will prompt you to download or if you’re lazy like me simply dump the music you want into the music file on the phone or preferably the micro SD card & the phone will convert them as needed.
All in all at $299rrp UNLOCKED this phone is a great value mid range smart phone & well worth picking up."
The next thing to hit the market that will make a change to the way we view our mobile phones is the bendable screen. It may be still a few years before we see mainstream devices with bendable screens, but what this new technology does mean is that because the screens are made from a very thin plastic type material, unlike glass, they will also be virtually unbreakable.
The possibilities are enormous. The blending of a phone and Tablet into one device, with an opening screen, or even rolled up screens that can be released at the touch of a button.
There is even rumors that Samsung's next Galaxy (S4) could utilize this technology as early as April this year to offer an unbreakable screen, and Apple are experimenting with bendable screen as well.
If these two power house technology companies get behind this technology we will see bendable screens before we know it.
This April, we start to get serious about turning off the Analog television network in Australia.
I know most of you in the bush and regional Australia will ask why am I talking about something that took place years ago? You see, analog TV in many regional parts of Australia was turned off back in 2010, and yes, that's as much as 3 years ago now.
How time fly's. In fact, test transmissions for Digital TV started way back in 2001, and some of us will remember that large screen Televisions started seeing the light of day, or a dark room for that matter, sometime around then as well.
Ofcourse, in the early naughties (did I spell that right?) if we wanted a large flat screen television then we needed a friendly bank manager. Prices for this early technology were as much as the cost of a family car. But that didn't deter Aussies, because we love technology, love things big, love sport on the tele, and love to have the latest... don't we?
I digress, because aside from chatting about old Analog versus new Digital TV, what is important about the switch off of analog in our major metropolitan cities is the fact the switch off mans a whole load more "Spectrum" and bandwidth becomes available for other use.
That other use is currently ear marked to provide 4G (LTE) Mobile phone services, which although are already introduced by Optus and Telstra, more space is needed in the airwaves to bring 4G services to everyone in Australia. How quickly things change.
These are the main remaining switch off dates so if you have not got yourself a fancy new digital flat screen television, then it's time you spoil yourself and family. Better do it now, because you will need to start saving for your shiny new 4G mobile phone.
All of this technology got me thinking about our copper network for phones, developed and built starting way back in 1854, and bringing hi-speed internet today. This is soon to be replaced by the NBN.... but this is another story for another time!
There is a lot of talk at the moment about which is the best "Smart Phone" and which is the best operating system for your smart phone.
The answer is of course not definitive, but what I can tell you is that Nokia, once the worlds largest and best selling phone manufacturer is not simply lying down and letting the likes of Apple and Samsung take all of the market in the smart phone market.
Evidence of this is what I consider to be the best value smart phone on the market... the brand new Nokia Lumia 620.
This handset offers some of the best features you could want, and at a VERY competitive price.
These features include: the latest Windows 8 operating system, which is proving to be an exceptional user interface and perfect for business user and social use a like. Add to that a fast 1GHz Dual Core Processor, 3G Quad Band, for all Aussie Networks, a bright 3.8 inch screen, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 5MP Camera.
All of this, and more for only $299 rrp makes this great value.