Tag Archives: gadgets

IFA 2018: Substance or hype?

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I’ve been coming to IFA for many years and as a self-confessed gadget addict it’s like being a kid in a sweet shop. But like deciding which sweets to buy all those years ago, it’s a bit overwhelming and disappointing if you don’t choose wisely and suffer from buyers’ remorse!

So, here’s my take on what consumers should look out for and how marketers and retailers can prepare themselves for what innovations are coming next:

This year IFA was very comfortable in its own skin. Its confidence bolstered by the fact that Europe is a big market and like it or not, the UK whilst important does not set the agenda – so we didn’t see Brexit significantly impact the conversation. But what we do have to be aware of is that there are new, more stringent energy efficiency ratings for Major Domestic Appliances being implemented by the EU in 2019, that if not adopted in the UK could mean consumers are being sold products which are less energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

It’s either going to be easier or more difficult for brands to distribute in the UK – which would be a sad day for British consumers, who are low on the list for renewable energies and could potentially have appliances that are uncategorised.

Over the last four years as, smart technologies evolved from infancy to real life products and applications, brands are feeling excited and confident about the future and not surprisingly and as predicted last year the voice assistant is driving the conversation. There are still only really two major players, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. And as you walked into IFA 2018 it was awash with Google branding, experiential and staff across the event on every third party stand with Google Assistant enabled products taking a lead compared to Amazon with Alexa.

Most of the innovation on show was about the connected home via voice control, from washing machines with Hoover, Candy and Beko through to smart speakers, thermostats, lighting and TVs. Infact, AI assistants are being integrated into pretty much everything you can imagine. But as I’ve said all along and continue to maintain, a smart kettle needs a human to fill it with water and pour said water, a smart washing machine needs someone to put the garments in and take them out…..need I go on?

Every brand had a big bold stand with beautiful products, displayed to meet the exacting expectations of the tech savvy consumer however there’s nothing really ground breaking. For brands operating in crowded categories, it’s difficult to gain cut through in all the noise. The mistake some brands have made is to overcompensate for no news by regurgitating the old to the disappointment of visitors. Sometimes a brand can gain more credibility by playing it cool like Samsung, Sony and LG.

Those who have something new to scream about are making themselves hoarse doing so but to great effect in some cases. Would B&O have received the media coverage it did for the Beosound Edge? Unlikely when you consider its £2900 price tag, not your average mainstream product. A close second is 8K TVs which are coming to market soon from LG with no firm launch date and from Samsung in September. However, the only problem with this is that no one is currently broadcasting in 8K, studios aren’t producing on mass in 8K and it’s going to be prohibitively expensive. The first mainstream broadcast in 8k is likely to be from Japanese broadcaster NHK for the Tokyo Olympics in 2022.

As Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC Technology Correspondent, suggested, “is it just another gimmick to sell us more TVs especially when only four years ago we were being told 4K was cutting edge.”

I agree but as marketers our job is to sell the boundaries of possibilities to consumers. New products like these benefit the industry and rejuvenate categories. And of course, there was the ridiculous. The Candy Millennial Pink Edition washing machine, a season too late, raised a laugh at the press conference in being ridiculed by a senior executive, although perhaps the real message was lost in translation. It does though provide a lesson on trends and press announcements. Brands should be aware of not desperately trying to create headlines with new colour variations of their products taking the place of real innovation.

One clear message I’ve translated from many brands is the lack of consideration for the customer journey. They have been so wrapped up in ‘bigging’ up the product launch, gaining distribution through retailer listings and advertising that the customer journey, the only true measure of the effectiveness ATL achieves, is left until last and is almost an afterthought.

Brands need to spend more time considering the customer journey and if they invest even 10% of the ATL budget, I know it will exponentially increase sales in retail where over 80% of considered purchases in the consumer electronics category happen. There’s a higher expectation from consumers than ever and technology brands need to nail it to succeed in crowded categories, so let’s make sure we listen to what they need, rather than just giving them what we want.

Read the full article at Lovely Mobile News

 

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The 10 best gadgets for Christmas 2014

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From fitness trackers to tellies, it’s time to get gadgeting

I’m a huge fan of technology and am always excited to see new products coming to market, especially with so many wearable tech and connected home devices being launched at the moment.

This Christmas there are a number of great gadgets in retail now available to buy for you or the family. It’s always a great opportunity to upgrade on your gadgets and take advantage of the advances in speed, functionality and integration with your busy lifestyle.

So here’s my Top 10:
1.      eReader: Kobo Aura H2O

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The latest product from the Canadian manufacturer boasts an impressive 265 PPI (pixels per inch) which beats rival product Kindle Paperweight (212 PPI), providing a much clearer, larger paper-like screen, though it’s a little heavier than the Kindle. Perhaps its most useful feature is that it’s waterproof, meaning people who would like to use their eReader by the pool or in the bath can finally relax and enjoy their reading anywhere, anytime.
2.      Fitness tracker: Epson Runsense and Pulsense

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A new addition to the wearables market, Runsense and Pulsense offer a complete wearable package for the first time. Runsense is aimed at runners and includes an inbuilt GPS system to track performance and offer accurate real-time data on screen. Runsense is a serious product for fitness enthusiasts, while Pulsense is useful for anyone looking to improve their fitness and track their general health.

The Runsense monitors your individual technique to help improve performance, and has a huge battery life of 30 hours with GPS activated.

Pulsense is an activity monitor, rather than a dedicated running tracker. The Pulsense tracks heart rate and movement to calculate calories burned throughout the day and monitors everyday activity (including sleep patterns) to give users an accurate picture of their fitness to enable improvements where needed. The Pulsense is one of the first activity trackers to include an inbuilt heart rate monitor, adding a vital feature to the wearables market.
3.      Connected home: Hive Smart Thermostat

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Hive is a simple-to-use device which enables cost-conscious consumers to have full control over their heating. By being able to remotely control heating from anywhere with an internet connection or 3G, people can save up to £150/year on their heating bills by only having the heating on when it’s needed, rather than on a fixed schedule. The price even includes set-up of the device, so factoring in potential savings, there’s few reasons not to invest in one this Christmas.
4.      Family tech: Samsung WW9000 10kg ecobubble Touchscreen Washing Machine

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The Samsung WW9000 ecobubble is a top of the range washing machine, and you get an awful lot of washing machine for the money. Growing families with a lot of washing will benefit from a number of time- and money-saving features.

Its touchscreen removes the complicated array of buttons you find on some washing machines and its customisable settings can be set as favourites, meaning you can start a wash within seconds of loading the drum. It even detects how heavy the load is and adds the right level of detergent to each wash. It also works with Samsung phones to keep track of how a wash cycle is progressing and can be remotely started and stopped.

Other features include Samsung’s ecobubble technology which dissolves detergent at lower temperatures, removes dirt more effectively and enables quicker washing. It’s also a very quiet device. Its intelligence, convenience and design make it a great gift-to-self for parents of large families.
5.      Smartphone: Apple iPhone 6 Plus

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It’s hard to leave out Apple’s newest iPhone design in a list of best gadgets this Christmas. The sleek new design with a crisp display far exceeds what the competition can offer. IPS Retina HD technology is the cutting edge of phone design. The quality of the display is as good as a MacBook Pro. The display is also less saturated than other similar phones, producing deeper, darker colours and sharper text.

The battery life is also excellent, especially given its size, and can easily be used for a full day without the need to recharge. Ultimately, it’s the best iPhone to date, and finally gives Apple users a choice when it comes to handset size – something Android users have been boasting about for years.
6.      Tablet/laptop: Acer Aspire Switch 10

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The new Aspire Switch 10 is a hybrid between tablet and laptop, with a detachable screen for those who want web browsing and word processing on the go. Battery life is fairly impressive for a hybrid device, as it can last around six hours streaming HD films. The magnetic hinge which connects the tablet and keyboard is high quality. Buyers can choose between a 32GB and 64GB model, however it also has a micro SD card slot and an optional 500GB hard drive in the keyboard, meaning there’s more than enough storage space for films and photos.

It comes with Windows 8.1 and is an affordable proposition for those who prefer tablets, find laptops too cumbersome, but require a laptop’s functionality from time to time.
7.      Kitchen accessories: Magimix Le Duo Plus XL Juice Extractor

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The Magimix juicer is a versatile addition to a kitchen, functioning as a juice extractor, coulis maker, citrus press, and smoothie maker. It pours right into the glass making preparation easier.

Unlike some juicers it can effectively juice soft fruits like bananas and turn cooked vegetables into a jus or puree. It can take large pieces of fruit through an extra-large feedtube, minimising the time it takes to juice larger fruits such as grapefruit.

The 400 watt motor is covered by a 20-year guarantee and all removable parts are dishwasher safe and protected by a three-year guarantee. Cleaning is made easier by a shaped spatula for easy pulp removal. It also comes with a recipe book to get you started on vegetable purees and healthy smoothie ideas.
8.      TV tech: Chromecast

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Chromecast is an incredible device which lets you wirelessly ‘cast’ (stream) content from your laptop or mobile onto your TV screen via HDMI. It can stream video via apps, including Netflix and YouTube, but can also stream an open Chrome browser from your laptop or phone, meaning any content on the internet can be enjoyed on your TV screen without the need for an unsightly cable.

Essentially it turns any TV into a Smart TV, and for such a low price, that’s a bargain.
9.      Audio: Pure Jongo T4 Wireless Speaker

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Brilliant quality speaker, but real quality is in the wireless features – can stream music from many devices over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and play music anywhere in the house.

Combine multiple speakers together to use as a hifi system, or keep speakers in different rooms of the house to stream music from a single device to each speaker.

Can use any streaming service with the speakers – Spotify works perfectly, and can even use iPlayer to watch shows on your phone whilst playing sound through the Jongo. Can even control volume from phone just using the normal volume control buttons.

Seamless streaming make the Jongo T4 a step in the right direction for wireless speakers and music streaming in the home.
10.  TV: Samsung 65” Series 7 HU7200 Smart UHD LED TV

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This 65” Samsung TV is arguably the most innovative in the market in terms of the features it offers. It might be the most expensive item on the list, but Samsung has developed it to be future proof, as it can update to be compatible with future upgrades to UHD quality.

The Smart UHD TV is wide-angled and curved to enable optimum viewing with a wider picture and clearer images. It also up-scales non-UHD sourced video content to near UHD-level quality, even converting DVDs to an almost ultra high definition level.

Other features include the ability to switch between screens with ease, for example to pause a film and browse the web to find out more information on an actor before switching back. It also has voice-activated browsing which means users can quickly find out whether it’s going to rain by asking their TV.

As a Samsung it also boasts Samsung connectivity to stream content from a Samsung tablet or smartphone.

It’s arguably the most immersive TV on the market – if you love movie watching and want a real quality experience, then this is the perfect choice.

 

Read more at: http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/lifestyle/christmas-in-london/the-10-best-gadgets-for-christmas-2014/9269.article

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Did the Wearable Tech Expo deliver the goods?

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Last week saw London’s Olympia host the UK’s first ever Wearable Technology Conference and Expo, dedicated to showcasing the latest developments in smartwatches, wristbands and other wearable devices. With speakers from Microsoft, Google, Samsung and Intel, the show promised a lot, but did it live up to the hype?

The show floor at Olympia reflected an industry that is still in its infancy with a clear split between sport and leisure wearable gadgets. The most commercially successful wearable tech category so far is that of sports-focused devices, and the plethora of health and fitness-trackers on display at the show underlined the consumer demand for these products.

Wearable tech innovations are helping athletes – both amateur and professional – to improve their performances by creating data while they train, allowing the user to identify areas that require improvement and extra focus. The recent Winter Olympics highlighted these developments as we saw athletes from around the globe trying out a variety of devices in an attempt to gain an edge over the competition. Users of sport-based gadgets certainly know what they want from their devices.

On the other side of the coin, the majority of leisure-focused wearable gadgets like Google Glass and Vrase have not yet hit the open market. This category of devices needs to be refined and defined for the consumer before it penetrates the market, a point which was very evident at the show. The battle for domination in the wearable tech industry is heating up with the major announcement from Google last week about its plans to establish a bigger presence in the industry. The search giant announced Android Wear, a version of its operating system designed specifically for wearable devices. The effects of this move by Google will be felt across the sector by chip makers, electronics firms and fashion labels working on wearable gadgets this year.

All of this is taking place against a backdrop of privacy and security concerns among UK consumers. The market share remains firmly up for grabs and the next twelve months will tell an interesting tale.

In order to thrive in the wearable tech industry brands need to place more emphasis on the quality of the design of the products, with much more input from the creative and design side required. Brands will also need to explore more effective ways for users to interact with the devices. Whether this will be achieved by taking voice activation or recognition to the next level, or through an entirely different approach remains to be seen. We can expect a different state of affairs at London’s Wearable Tech Show 2015. Watch this space.

Rupert Cook is business development director at field marketing agency Gekko
Read more: http://wallblog.co.uk/2014/03/25/did-the-wearable-tech-expo-deliver-the-goods/#ixzz2wzshjKXd

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Top 7 tech gadgets to gift this Christmas

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From health gadgets to espresso machines, we present the festive hot list 2013

Brits now spend £9bn on new tech devices each year, carrying around £22bn worth of gear around with them. Preparations for the Christmas rush are under way and all but the most-forward thinking of consumers is beginning to think about what to buy. You’ll already be getting bombarded with glamorous retailer ads with annoying tunes. For those who will struggle to buy that gift for the busy business-driven loved one in your life, here are my top seven recommendations which will spread joy beyond any advert or celebrity endorsement.

1. Fitbit Flex
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This is the ideal gift for any healthy-minded individual. This bit of kit learns your daily activity, calories burned, your sleeping patterns and weight. It is lightweight and very comfortable and all you have to do is upload wirelessly and see progress on your mobile or online.

2. iPhone 5S
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Of course there has got to be an Apple product in this list! The beautifully designed iPhone 5S looks like the iPhone 5, but goes so much further under the hood. It has a new finger print identity sensor, 64-bit A7 chip, faster and better iSight camera and ultrafast LTE wireless.

3. Panasonic NC-ZA1 Bean-to-Cup Espresso Machine
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This compact and stylishly designed machine fits into any kitchen and will impress discerning coffee connoisseurs with its state of the art technology. A decent coffee to start the day is a must and the new Panasonic NC-ZA1 Bean-to-Cup delivers a personalised cup, just to your taste as it’s delivered through the easy touch screen function.

4. Eastpak Gybbs bag
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Perfect for storing all your gadgets in one stylish but hardy bag. It is roomy and is available in lots of on trend colours to suit smart or casual dress.

5. Toshiba Portégé Z930 Ultrabook

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Ultra light at 1.1kg and thin at 8.3 mm, it delivers with an Intel Core i5 processor, 128GB SSD, HD Graphics, non-reflective display. The steel grey metallic, magnesium chassis and matt black keyboard makes it a stylish gift. The perfect business tool and leisure too, portable and fast.

6.Samsung UE55F9000 LED 4K Ultra HD TV
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This is arguably the world’s most advanced Smart TV system and probably one of the year’s most exciting and eagerly awaited TVs. A 4k ultra HD 3D Smart TV with built in Freeview HD gives you viewing choices shaped around your viewing needs. It is clever enough to recognise your face and voice, it has gesture control and upscales your content to four times the resolution of Full HD. It is the first UHD TV that upscales HD 3D content to a UHD resolution.

7. Epson Expression Premium XP610
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The Expression XP-610 Small-In-One Wi-Fi is a premium printer, perfect for home users who are interested in printing photos and need a Wi-Fi printer that can print glossy photos and crisp, clear text documents. It has touchscreen control that will do your document printing as well as any scanning and copying you need too. What’s more is that there are two loading trays so that you don’t have to keep switching between photo and plain papers. It works from your iPhone too with Epson iPrint sending prints directly from your phone.

Gifts for all pockets that any tech aficionado will know all about and perhaps wish for.

Dan Todaro is the MD of field marketing agency Gekko

Read the full article at http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/top-7-tech-gadgets-to-gift-this-christmas/6858.article

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