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INQ1: the Facebook phone
February 17, 2009, 7:12 pm
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When the iPhone was released in Australia, there was a lot of debate about adoption rates. With only Vodafone and Optus offering it, even a Vodafone salesperson I spoke to told me the services didn’t fit the phone.

The pick-up has been moderate, mostly by Apple fanatics, but nowhere near what it could be if the services DID fit.

So I’m interested to see how 3’s first phone will do…

I’ve been wanting to see a combined phone manufacturer and service provider for ages – hardware and services make up about half of the customer experience each, how can you leave half to someone else?

3 made its backwards integration experiment through the new subsidiary INQ, with the first phone the INQ1 to be distributed solely through 3 in a similar manner to the Skypephone. Maybe 3 is the carrier in the best position to offer features like Skype at a profit – instead of charging call rates they can charge for data.

[EDIT: Just heard that Nokia is creating phones with a Skype application…look out!]

Unfortunate then that 3 is disbanding internationally, with Vodafone recently acquiring the Australian branch (does this mean we’ll finally get the data plans the iPhone needs?).

Still, it doesn’t mean that INQ is necessarily doomed…and it would be a pity, because the INQ1 is the first phone to be based around an online platform, namely Facebook.

That’s right – it syncs all contact information around your Facebook account, allowing you to see profile pictures and status updates in the same screen as your list of phone numbers. (Maybe that’s how Facebook is making its money these days.)

It will be one of a limited number of phones apart from the iPhone  to offer a variety of widgets including RSS feeds, Skype and Windows Live Messenger. It’s nowhere near as pretty and a touch screen doesn’t come standard but it’s also nowhere near as pricey.

I have one concern though: Facebook’s recent change in Terms of Service.

I haven’t been able to find any info on whether personal data synced with Facebook on the INQ1 will only be stored on the phone or whether it will also be relayed to Facebook’s servers.

If information is in fact sent to Facebook, then under the new TOS it will be their property forever.

Imagine if Facebook not only has your birthday, your education, your list of friends, interests and photos…but also all of your call records, personal SMS and appointments?

What if they’re keeping all of it?

Worse, using it?

What if that data gets lost?

[EDIT: As of 18/2, Facebook has reverted their TOS and is taking feedback from users. If you didn’t like it, make sure you have your say…]


Vodafone Christmas Clone
November 25, 2008, 6:06 pm
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The Vodafone Christmas Clone is so clever that it hurts.

It has so many things that should work:

  • fits with their existing campaign about being everywhere you want to be
  • integrates online (email, Facebook) and ‘real world’ (craft..!) elements
  • offers incentives to participate and spread the word

But I have a question…

Who do you know that wants to look like lego?

Simple design flaw.

Apart from not knowing anyone who would bother to print anything off and make it…



Make the most of now
August 30, 2008, 1:32 pm
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One company, half the world, a hundred odd different cultures.

How do you maintain a consistent brand whilst customising it over different locations? Here’s a brief look, using mostly Vodafone ads and mobile content services.

The first two are from the UK; they’re both fun, active and entertaining. First up is the British ad for mobile music services, which demostrates straight up exactly what you can use the product for:

The next is Irish, which maintains the active angle but doesn’t use product demo at all. Clear difference in styles that is interesting given the close proximity of the two markets. Granted, it’s a different product and comes under the ‘make the most of now’ banner, but when you watch the ad try and imagine British people doing this; I can’t.

However, the same product has a different approach yet again in Australia/NZ. The Australian ad goes for product demostration again, but tries to be creative about it. It has much more individualistic concept than the Irish ad and the sentiment is more about connecting with what you love than just having fun.

The New Zealand ad, a bit like the Irish one, takes a concept (in this case trying to portray the possibilities in the modern world) and then links it to the Vodafone brand. I think it makes the best use of the slogan, but doesn’t do much demonstration at all…

However, it’s when you get to Asia that you see really dramatic differences. The focus is more on a continuing relationship with the brand (where the others show how the product helps you make relationships). The product may be shown but it’s more an implicit demostration of the brand being your best friend. Shown by the dog, in this Indian ad:

This Singaporean ad is for Starhub, but I find it interesting as well… Firstly, it goes for aspiration to freedom, wealth and love (and only shows open spaces, which are scarce in Singapore). Again, it’s your relationship to the brand. Secondly, with the sizeable Indian population…look out for a dog which is very similar to the one in the ad above!

Lastly, just for laughs…here’s the British ad for Vizzavi WAP email services, which makes product demonstration fun with animation and evil little chicks. (Oh, and kudos for making WAP onomatopoeic.)