Twitter is not all about tweeting

September 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

First off, I wanted to apologize to my regular readers (turns out surprisingly that there are a handful) for the month long absence from blogging. Tennis and family took all my spare time (and that’s a good thing) but as always, technology made its way back into the system. My company released the newest version of its product, the Kindle 3(we dont refer to it as Kindle 3- just the Kindle) to great success and acclaim. I am now a true e-book reader convert. It bothers me when books are not yet available on the Kindle and I cant stay away from my Kindle beyond a day. I love the way it makes the book discovering and purchasing process so simple yet takes nothing away from the book reading experience which to me is religion. So my shameless plug starts and ends here- Try a Kindle, just once.

On to the topic of this post, Twitter. As Twitter is announcing some new and exciting things as I type, I wanted to respond to a very common question I get from friends, colleagues and casual acquaintances. What is the point of Twitter and why should I care about someone’s 140 character rants?. First and foremost, Twitter is not just about tweeting. You could just go to www.twitter.com and monitor trending topics. No account needed whatsoever. You could have any one of the dozen’s of Twitter apps and do the same on your smart phone (personal recommendations for Twitter Apps: Twitterific, Official Twitter app and Tweetdeck) and just follow trending or topics of interest. By creating a Twitter account, you can start following people, websites, blogs and newspapers so you are on the know as things happen. Again, you dont have to tweet to have an account. And herein lies the beauty of this service. You get this aggregator service (not very different from your RSS feeds but still different) that collects both news and opinions, none longer than 140 characters for your quick consumption.This makes it almost a Google Reader ultralite but with the same punch. Everyone and every business or business person making it big or hoping to do so is on Twitter.

Twitter has become my go to destination for topics of interest- both news and opinion. For breaking news, there is CNN. For movies there is the indefatigable Roger Ebert (his tweets alone are worth logging into Twitter). For sports, every sportswriter and beat writer is on twitter not to mention every ESPN and SI journalist. Peter King of SI is always on for NFL. All popular tech blogs have a twitter presence (gdgt/ engadget/ mashable/ techcrunch/…/…).

So I hope I convinced that cynic in you to give Twitter a shot. When all the news from Twitter’s press conference is digested, I will update the post accordingly.

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A niche handheld device- Microsoft Kin

May 5, 2010 § 1 Comment

Microsoft’s Kin mobile experience is being unleashed on the suspecting public in the coming week [Official Website]. The two devices being launched as part of this social experience portfolio of Microsoft are the Kin 1 and Kin 2. Early reviews [1][2][3] are middling and while the design sensibilities have gotten some praise for its uniqueness (something very refreshingly new for Microsoft) the performance of the next generation social networking driven OS has come for some criticism. There seems to be universal praise for the Kin Studio feature and backup of social experiences- read posts, tweets and thus.

The one thing I found extremely interesting is that the Big V network is positioning this as a tween device but with a data plan akin to an iPhone or Droid. This makes no sense. Why would I pay more for a half baked browsing experience with poor phone performance and a good social networking interface when I get all the good stuff and a much better phone, awesome screen and a Webkit based browsing experience with the Droid or an iPhone.

Coming on the heels of its acquisition of Danger, the maker of the teen crowd friendly Sidekicks, Microsoft has attempted to make a unique device to target the iPhone generation but with Sidekick sensibilities. It should be lauded for this attempt at redefining a niche genre. This also bodes well towards what we can expect from the Windows Phone 7 launch later this year. At the same time, Verizon needs to figure out what it wants to do. Drive more people to the Droid/iPhone combine or truly create a niche in its network- similar to what T-Mobile did for years with its Sidekick fans.

For the design minded reader, there is a nice press kit from Microsoft detailing the design thinking behind the Kin. I liked it. Recommended viewing/reading here.

Disclosure: I do not own a Kin nor is this a review of the actual device. It is just my thoughts based on what I have read about it over the last few months leading up to its launch.

One more thing: For a device platform like this, you dont get to download apps of your choice. MSFT apparently polled 50000 strong target audience and identified apps that it built into the system. Until the Windows Phone 7 marketplace arrives, whenever that is, no more apps for you. Seriously.

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