March, 2008

  • Steve Clayton

    Great Ads #10 Guinness spoof



    Fine work form AQKA and Pot Noodle.

  • Steve Clayton

    Microsoft architecture diagrams - with DeepZoom



    Another great idea for the use of DeepZoom - those massive architecture posters Microsoft publishes. aristippus suggested we put them online with DeepZoom so I tried it out with a few.

    See what you think. Should all of our posters be available this way?

  • Steve Clayton

    MIX 08 Sessions:Zune feed



    Very nice work by Matthew - something I'd hoped to do myself but never got around to it. You can now download the whole of MIX08 automagically by subscribing to the feed.

    Great work Matthew :)

  • Steve Clayton

    O2 XDA Orbit 2 review


    With my recent travels I've been a bit slack on blogging about the XDA Orbit 2 that O2 (via VCCP) kindly sent to me recently. A few of my blogger friends are also on this seeding program and have reviewed in depth so I thought I would take a slightly different view than give you an in depth technical assessment. Besides, when it comes to the software I'm biased :)

    For informed views from others, check out reviews from the likes of Being Lucy Diamond, Blog Til You Drop, Darren Straight, Keith’s Affiliate, Marketing Blog, Mediations, Mobile Phone Development, Neville Hobson, The Engaging Brand Blog and Will McInnes – all of which have been put up on the xda_blog

    I wanted to explore 2 quite different things

    1. Word of Mouth Marketing - Neville has covered this somewhat in an earlier post on approach to social media outreach
    2. The out of box experience/hardware


    On the former I think it's terrific that companies like VCCP and O2 are taking this new approach to seeding. (disclosure - VCCP are quite clear - the Orbit 2 comes with no obligation on me to say or write anything about it.)

    I'm sure they still send devices to key journalists and positive reviews there can generate huge coverage and hopefully sales. Meantime, with the rise of blogosphere and Twitter some of the more forward thinking companies are looking to generate word of mouth support. It's risky but can also pay off if you pick the right people and connect them with the right product. With respect to this device, I think they did a good job...on both fronts :)

    I used to work in the mobile group within Microsoft and even though I haven't done so for over 3 years people still ask me for advice. Why? I guess they see me as a credible source which compared to your average user I am. That's not being boastful but I've played with hundreds of devices in my time and you sort of get a feel for winners and losers. For O2's sake I'm pleased to say I think they have a winner on their hands here. Allow me to explain why at a superficial level

    1. The device looks good - whether we like it or not, fashion is a big part of the buying process. with this device, HTC and O2 have done a great job of keeping the Orbit 2 "clean". By that I mean free from superfluous elements. The only caveat I have to that is the jog dial which I wonder about the longevity of
    2. The Orbit 2 is packed with features but they complement each other well - the FM radio is a nice addition I only noticed by accident (never read manuals!)
    3. The SatNav integration is first class. I have to admit some bias in that I know the CoPilot guys well and I think their software is terrific. On this unit, it's well integrated, co-branded and just works.
    4. The screen - you can't help but like a screen this good


    Darren has a tonne of shots of the Orbit 2 including the packaging. That's my next stop. We all know that Apple raised the bar on the Out of Box Experience making it almost Zen like with the iPod. It's taken other manufacturers time to catch up and I personally still think they have some way to go but the Orbit 2 is on the right path. Gone are the plain cardboard boxes of early Pocket PC and Smartphone days and you now have packaging that makes you want to keep it. The ultimate test and I bet over 75% of iPod owners still have the box.

    There is still work to do here but having got a Zune Original recently (more on that soon) I think that device is a little ahead of the Orbit - not much, but enough that I think there is room to improve. Here is what I'd do

    • package the cables up a little more tidily and professionally (e.g. LG Prada)
    • provide a (branded) cleaning cloth - nothing irks me more than when I lose my cleaning cloth for my Vaio (sad I know)
    • consider one sensory element many people miss - smell. call me mad but this is where there is room for subtle differentiation - olfactory work lets call it. I don't want my expensive new device to smell like it just came out of a plastic and cardboard box. Think about how a fresh new car smells. new leather shoes.

    that's all I have for now. I'm going to load the device in to my car this weekend and see how I get on with CoPilot but right now, if someone asked me based on experience so far whether this is a winning device, I'd be inclined to say yes.

  • Steve Clayton

    Vista SP1 released



    Finally Windows Vista SP1 is iout there and available to all via Windows Update. Check out Nick White's post on the Windows Vista Team Blog which has more details and an update on the drivers situation.

    As Nick notes, the "standalone installer" is available from the Microsoft Download Centre but Windows Update will help ensure a better experience, so if you do choose to visit the Microsoft Download Centre make sure that you read the KBs before installing.

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