It is a period of screen wars. Striking from a hidden base, Rebel devices have won their first victory against the evil Desktop Empire. The eyes of the earthlings, eager for content, are fixed on mobile. The Big Flatscreens of the Republic, yearning attention from their once revered living room thrones, plan their triumphal comeback on board lusty 4K vessels.
Myriad Content Alliances proliferate through the galaxy. Social Platforms fence in their population while loading their weaponry.
During the battle, Search Engine Knights revealed their ultimate weapon: The Mighty Glass, a nano screened armored device with the power to rule them all…
What a great year we are enjoying so far!!! In less than two months, 2013 has proven to be a very action packed year regarding what many of us call the battle of the screens. Big and Fixed vs Small and Mobile vs Smaller and… Wearable!!! Who will win the Screen Wars?
A long time ago, in a living room far, far, away…
After the 3D fiasco, TV manufacturers put their comeback hopes on Smart TVs and the recent irruption of 4K ultra high def super large screens at the past CES.
Hardware-wise, I appreciate big screen manufacturers’ efforts to be appealing, however, I have some concerns about their software and content strategies.
The way I see it, a Smart TV should basically be a large screen with online navigation capabilities, either through Apps or using built in/downloadable browsers; an OS compatible with current navigation protocols, RAM memory and some short of storage drive. However, TV Manufacturers seem to suffer an insane fever of kidnapping fixation. They’d like to trap us into their elaborated ecosystems using crisp seductive devices. In an effort to emulate Apple’s iTunes and app store successful model, TV manufacturers manufacture their screens with pre-installed applications channeling our access to content through fenced paths.
I do not support their policy, but I understand that, for example, a company like Sony, owner of a vast variety of content and a tradition of exclusivity (BETAMAX, Memory Sticks…) deeply rooted in their corporate culture, would try to capture audiences this way, but it is, in my opinion, a mistake for two main reasons:
- None of the manufacturers have the almost religious loyalty base of worshipers that idolize Apple policies and devices. None have a messiah to adore or a prominent Steve Jobs like visionary figure to lead by inspiration.
- Audiences are more intelligent and connected than ever. They want freedom to choose and expand. I find it somehow hard to foresee a future in which better prepared consumers would prefer their choices for content consumption to be limited and decided by someone else other than themselves.
TV manufacturers know their battlefield is limited to homes and try to rule over their turf, but I’d advise them to be extra careful with how they deal with audiences in our Social Media Driven world.
The plan: add speed, power and, connectivity
Smartphones and tablets dominate the mobile scenery. Laptops are moving away to exile as tablets unmask the content creation proficiency they had hidden behind their content “consumption only” disguise. Smartphones are no longer the second screen: most of us spend more time looking to our smartphones than to any other screen. It does not longer compete with the big screen, it adds up to the experience of watching live TV. It enhances TV enjoyment with search and social.
Mobile screens rule over the game. Developers, content creators, marketing agencies, consumer companies, profit and nonprofit institutions, public and private, struggle to figure out how to stand above others to catch the eyes mesmerized in mobile screens. The plan is to keep muscling up the devices with speed, power and, most important of them all: connectivity.
Connectivity is the name of the game for mobile: with other devices you own; with other people’s gadgets; with commercial aparatus in shopping malls, supermarkets, stadiums; with appliances, with urban furniture and street displays; through proximity, through the cloud… you name it. Connectivity to make that screen the remote control of our everything.
And just when we though there was no space for more screens, Google surprises us with the introduction of yet another one: Google Glass. This short of Sci-Fi device, a wearable computer as Sergey Brin likes to call it, revolutionizes the market providing a screen in front of our very eyes… all the time! No more need to distract our head from what we do, or even from other screens, to enhance your experience. Built in camera to capture, connectivity to share, in an elegantly light device: it’s a win! It is a serious contender to dethrone the smartphone. Apparently, the way to win the screen wars passed through going smaller.
- Better Portability
- Hands Free Multitasking
- Body Integration: it is not an extension, like regular glasses, it becomes part of yourself.
I also see evident downsides:
- Voice Command: it is ticklish to speak out commands when you are walking down the street, or watching your kids weekly soccer game, or even watching TV at home.
- Distractive: could you wear one while driving without becoming a risk to others? Or, as Mark Zuckerberg pointed out to Mr Brin : How do you look out from this without looking awkward?
- Being a Stand Alone Device: It could be a point in favor but also against Google Glass. Being a wearable computer implies putting a processor, wifi and mobile networks antennas, making it bulky even with the slim design accomplished so far.
With smartphones as powerful, connected and ubiquitous as they are today, I foresee Google’s competitors making lighter glasses that would connect with different phones through apps using Bluetooth, letting the phone do all the hard work itself. It would even give hard disk memory to store pics and vids we do not want in the cloud.
These are certainly exciting times to live as consumers, tech enthusiasts and Social Media Addicts like myself. Let the Force be with us!