Free Kindles, local mobile news, and pissed off fanboys: My recent CNN.com Tech mobile stories

It’s been a very busy month and a half for me. I spent a week in Los Angeles as a featured presenter for the Mobile News Week at the journalism school there, and now I’m finishing preparations to travel to two other journalism schools next week for the Knight Digital Media Center’s Mobile Symposium. So I haven’t been letting Contentious.com readers know what I’ve been writing elsewhere.

But I’ve been logging a lot of cool mobile stuff for CNN.com Tech. So here’s a quick list of what I’ve been covering there…

My picks for the most significant posts:

  • March 4: Why Amazon would be smart to give away the Kindle. I read some posts advocating this move, so I pulled them together and added my own thoughts. This post attracted a surprising amount of attention — I’ll have to revisit it.
  • March 16: Local news, information are going mobile big time, Pew survey says. This post didn’t get a ton of attention or comment, but because I’m a cofounder of Oakland Local, this topic was near and dear to me. This also presented an important opportunity to discuss the local impact of the mobile digital divide.
  • April 5: Facebook reaching out to feature-phone users. Facebook’s upgrade and consolidation of its mobile web sites is its second recent major move to improve access and user experience for feature phone users. Smart strategy for this company. I explain why.
  • March 28: BlackBerry’s PlayBook tablet may face uphill battle. Oh yeah, this post brought me tremendous grief from BlackBerry fanboys and trolls. To be fair, I should have clarified that with this device, BlackBerry will debut the QNX operating system it just acquired. But this is targeted as a consumer device — and among consumers, the BlackBerry brand has a pretty bad rep for user experience. It’s a great brand for messaging-minded business users, but the consumer market is different. I think BlackBerry will have to do a hell of a lot of expensive marketing to communicate about the new OS and overcome that preconception. Furthermore, I expect that most consumers will misunderstand how the Playbook will really handle Android apps, and may end up feeling misled. We’ll see. I plan to talk to some developers of Android apps to see how eager they are to port to the Playbook.

My other recent CNN.com Tech posts:

  • April 5: Boost Mobile scores highest among no-contract phone owners. I pay a fortune for my Verizon Droid Incredible plan, but when I bought it last summer there weren’t any good Android options on month-to-month no-contract plans. That’s starting to change, and when I upgrade my phone when this contract runs out, I’ll probably go this route. Useful to see how customers are rating these carriers.
  • March 30: Android is the Windows of mobile platforms. I wrote this soon after my controversial BlackBerry Playbook post, so I was a bit fed up with tech fanboys and trolls. I’d been meaning to write this post for awhile, but I’ve gotta admit — I decided to go for it in part as a “bring it on!” to the tech trolls. But it attracted relatively civil comments and little criticism. The best laid plans…
  • March 29: Mobile banking is booming, survey shows. I was especially intrigued by this finding: a quarter of smartphone users reported, “Accessing my account through my cell phone is too slow.” Yet only 9% of feature phone users had the same complaint! Really different expectations among these two user groups. I think that’s worth further research.
  • March 21: Only one in four mobile apps engages user, study says. The results of this research didn’t surprise me — but it’s yet another reason why you should only build a native app when that’s the best way to offer a compelling experience. For the vast majority of content offerings, the mobile web is a better strategy.
  • March 21: More apps may be coming for feature phones, too. Facebook bought Snaptu, a major platform for Java-based apps that run on most feature phones. I think this has wider implications — including that in the long run, as smartphone browsers improve, apps might become more of a feature phone phenomenon. Will keep an eye on this.
  • March 18: What a Sprint-T-Mobile merger could mean for wireless users. Yeah, like a lot of tech reporters, I was on the wrong track here. While I was researching it, I remember thinking “Why the hell would a CDMA-based carrier buy a GSM network? That’d be a tech nightmare!” Wish I’d followed that thought further. A couple of weeks later, news broke that AT&T is trying to buy T-Mobile. Oh well.
  • March 18: Google Maps’ Android app now routes drivers around traffic. As a car-free person, living in an urban area, I want this for biking directions. Maybe later…
  • March 14: Adobe caves in to Apple: fewer blank spots on i-devices?. Yes, anytime I mention Apple, it gets a ton of attention and criticism. Couple that with a mention of a long-standing and confusing tech industry controversy, and it’s a flamefest. Despite the high troll potential, I’ll probably revisit this at some point. I will say that Adobe’s PR has been very constructive in how they’ve been reaching out to me on this.
  • March 4: More U.S. consumers buying Android phones than iPhones, BlackBerrys. New data from Nielsen showed that slightly more U.S. consumers are buying Android phones than any other type of smartphone. Yeah, this post brought out lots of tech fanboys and trolls.
  • Feb 28: Immigrants more inclined to use tablet computers, study shows. This was a small study, but an interesting one. Possible explanation suggested by a commenter: “The reason for the disparity is because a tablet can boot up a keyboard in any language you want — while on a laptop you’re stuck with a QWERTY keyboard.”
  • Feb 25: Android users wait and wait for OS updates. At the time, owners of the Samsung Captivate (AT&T’s flavor of the Galaxy S series) were still waiting to get updated to Android 2.2 (Froyo). They’ve since gotten that update — but I learned that Samsung has a pretty bad repuation regarding firmware updates. Bear that in mind if you’re shopping for a smartphone
  • Feb 18: One-third of U.S. households lack broadband Web access. About the newNational Broadband Map, and a major year-end roundup report on the wireless industry, both from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

One thought on “Free Kindles, local mobile news, and pissed off fanboys: My recent CNN.com Tech mobile stories

  1. Pingback: You Can’t Take it With You…or can you? Benefits of Going Mobile | ClarisaClarity

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