The next dimension in technology…are we there yet, or are we all falling for marketing spin?

Apple came back from the brink of fiscal disaster with the iPod, and has been a marketing powerhouse with its newer products ever since. Technology players have tried desperatly to keep up with Apple’s growth and market share, and seem to be banking on 3D technology being the next ‘big thing’.

3D Glasses - sexy aren't they?

The definition of Sexy! Now you can be a nerd for watching TV on the couch

There’s no doubt about how fast technology is moving. Our mobile phones have replaced buttons with larger touch screens. The T9 predictive text has been replaced with full QWERTY keyboards with Microsoft Word style spell checking capabilites. Virtually every phone sold today has a x mega pixel camera built right into it. There’s definetly no denying that mobile phones have come a long way, and I would personally have to say this is all thanks to Apple and their iPhone.

Apple have been a marketing powerhouse since the release of their iPod music player in 2001. With the company facing fiscal disaster, the iPod saved the company. The companies revolutionizing technology, coupled with the marketing brains and spin, has kept Apple afloat, and one of the technology leaders it is today.

Let’s face it, the iPhone has changed the way mobile phones are today. Go out and buy a new phone today, and you’ll be influenced by the iPhone in no matter what you choose. Touch screens are everywhere and the GPS and phone has been morphed together like the digital camera and mobile phone were in the mid 2000’s.  What really defines Apples success is their marketing, and to a lesser degree their customer service. Without the hype and spin Apple has over their products, how many iPhones would you see in the wild right now? Apples products are designed for ease of use, but the feature set they carry is way more advanced than the everyday user needed before the device came onto the market.

Thinking back to the era before the iPhone, mobile phones were a simple creature. Top model thousand dollar phones could handle MP3 ringtones, perhaps a 2mp camera, and playing some MP3 files via an SD card you had to buy. There was the mobile web, but it was crappy. It was like WAP, except with colours. This was fine, and unless you were in the IT industry, you didn’t really need a phone to do much more. Then the iPhone rolled out with its fully web-capable web browser, calendar, e-mail messaging, iPod device rolled into one. The iPhone wasn’t cheap if you’re buying outright, but it wasn’t expensive either. With the iPhone 3G selling in Australia for around $800, it was at the expensive end of the scale.

Marketing the product really sold it though. You have to admire Apple for their marketing. Simple. effective and viral. I remember when I first experienced the iPhone. Whoa! It was like the best invention ever. The only thing that came close to that sort of device was a thirteen hundred dollar, windows CE “smartphone”/PDA. Their marketing strategy is simple, hype up the product, and keep the product in the headlines. There was heaps of free press for Apple with stocks of the iPhone selling out. Coupled with people never being able to access such a device before. Product placements in US TV shows, advertisments for other products even had the iPhone in it somewhere, the product quickly became a must have device, and in todays world, what we want, we get.

Powerhouse phone companies such as Nokia would have felt the pain from this device. Apple launched a far superiour quality product, and Nokia couldn’t keep up. Microsoft also had a similiar experience with the iPod and their Zune media player. The marketing of the iPhone’s features allowed its growth quickly. But with technology advancements now coming in more slowly, it’s turning into a race for companies to jump on to the next bandwagon before everyone else, to get the sale. It’s looking like manafacturers are turning to 3D technology for the next must have feature.

I’m not talking about the old red and green glasses 3D. No, this of course is digital 3D. Because anything that has digital in its name should surely help sales. Of course you’ll still have to wear the nerdy glasses though. The technology wasn’t well known or really embraced until the release of James Cameron’s 2009 movie Avatar. Since then, 3D technology is beginning to show itself everywhere. TV manafacturers have started selling 3D TV’s. Most movie theatres now have at least one 3D capable cinema, and there’s always a new movie being released in 3D.

Sony has gone all out, with its Sony Playstation console being the first 3D capabale console on the market. Its blu-ray disc technology is also supporting the 3D standard. Nintento have also released their update to the DS portable gaming device, with 3D capabilities, called the Nintendo 3DS. And coming hot off the success of the extreme 5 chewing gum, Wrigleys have also brought out a 3 dimensional chewing gum, for all the hardcore 3D fanatics to sink their teeth into.

The fact still remains, you still have to wear nerdy glasses (unless you’re using the Nintendo), and those glasses ain’t cheap. With the cheaper 3D glasses around the hundred dollar mark each. Not only that, they have to be charged, and work with your TV. I think the 3D technology being sold to us right now is over-hyped, and is being rushed to consumers, hoping that the ‘must have’ marketing will sell these devices. To get the recipie right, the price of 3D technology must be affordable, and accessible. With a family of four having to shell out $400+ on 3D glasses alone, plus a 3D capabale TV, and 3D capable bluray player, I don’t think the affordability is there yet. I also don’t beleive the technology is there yet. I can’t see people willingly siting down and watching TV wearing those glasses every night. If TV manafacturers want to make money out of 3D, they’ll need to come up with a way to allow people to watch 3D TV without the need for glasses. Until then, the technology will always be a gimmick,  an experience you’d use once, before never using it again because of the hassles of making sure your glasses have batteries, and you’re sitting in the right viewing angle.

Samsungs Smart TV’s

Not to be out done, Samsung has just recently started its new mass publicity campaign. Calling them Smart TV’s, all these TV’s are able to do is access the internet. Which, I think is actually a step in the right direction. I know I know, I’m a web dev, so of course I’m going to love any technology that can integrate the net. But these TV’s, have actually been made to work in Australia.

Usually when technology comes out over here, there’s all the bells and whistles, but nothing works because Australia is so far behind the rest of the world. But Samsung, being the great company it is (I am eagerly awaiting the release of the new 10.1 Tablet, but that’s another story) has actually made these TV’s capable of the IPTV we have on offer. Most notably, these are ABC’s iView and channel 7’s Plus7. Of course you can still access Facebook and Twitter on your TV, and perhaps in Skype video chat!

At the end of the day, a TV is something you don’t buy once a year. With the price TV’s are, they’re not something that should be brought once a year. But technology companies will do anything to get our money, and marketing their products as the next must have, is a tried and proven way of getting it. It’s just such a shame the consumers in this world are distracted by the shining lights, while the big corporations are taking money out of our hands.

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  • Soy

    Hi – was wondering where you’ve heard that Plus7 is coming to the Samsung TVs? I’m deciding what IPTV brand to buy, and hadn’t considered Samsung as – as far as I knew – Plus7 wasn’t available on it’s Internet@TV system.

    • Hey Soy,

      I am pretty sure I saw it on a TV commercial by Samsung. I could well be mistaken and it may have been Sony or another brand.

      Either way, I’m sure eventually a firmware upgrade would be available, that would allow you to watch Plus7. Although, knowing corporations, they’ll probably make you pay for an upgrade.

  • Fred

    It’s hard to put into words how interesting your site is. Plainly speaking I haven’t discovered stories of this nature keep up the good work.

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