Seeing Through CES Tablet Hype: It’s About The Experience, Not (Necessarily) The Vehicle

Posted by: in Communication Strategy, Social Media Insights & Trends, Thinking Creatively on January 5, 2011

Attending the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is always a daunting experience, particularly navigating noise generated by announcements hailing the latest “breakthrough” products. This year’s star is the Tablet computer and the revolution it’s purportedly bringing. Mashable has a real good summary of the trends to look for at CES and, in a not-shocking development, Tablets rate number one. Seemingly, every company on earth is releasing their version (trying to make a dent into Apple’s iPad market dominance) and the show hasn’t even officially kicked off yet.

But through all the hype of Tablet-thon it’s important keep a larger perspective on what Tablets exactly mean if this revolution truly takes hold. A series of announcements (originating from the show and elsewhere) highlight how the evolution of “mobile” is the true story here. And while that might not come as a shock to technophiles, its ramifications certainly could for folks in other sectors.

To wit, cable provider Comcast today announced they’re releasing an app that will allow subscribers using iPads and Tablets running the Android to stream live television to those devices. Though streaming will initially be confined the subscriber’s home, a new means for consumers to consume live broadcast content has been opened. Until now, it’s been the domain of streaming content, such as Netflix.

Also today came news of eBay generating nearly $2B in mobile sales, nearly tripling the total amount from the previous year. Additionally, mobile ad platform firm Millennial Media raised nearly $30M in funding from several top-tier venture funds, confirming (along with Google and Apple’s acquisition of other players in the space last year) advertising on mobile platforms as a very real market. Mobile is now a premier place to sell content and consumables.

Lastly, Mashable reported on the trend of schools dipping their toe into using iPads in the classroom, ordering thousands of the devices for their students to use. Alas, a new means to educate students is taking hold, via mobile devices.

So what does all these seemingly disparate news stories mean? The Tablet noise generated out of CES and the announcements I discussed underline how mobile devices and content are becoming must-haves. This means marketers (and those of us who help them) should start thinking “mobile first” when creating and distributing content, and educating core audiences.

Are you ahead of the curve by already thinking mobile first for your company or clients?

If so, how? If not, what are the barriers keeping it from happening?

By: Brendan Lewis

Brendan P. Lewis is a Director of Social Media in WCG's Austin office. Previously, he was Director, Corporate Social Media Relations at Juniper Networks

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