Digitally Lead: Graphite's October Roundup
5 mins read
Published on Monday 31st October 2016
Welcome to Digitally Lead – a monthly segment where we look back on the news stories that turned our collective heads during the last four weeks.
#MadeByGoogle Unveils Smartphone
Google stepped into the Smartphone ring with the launch of the Google Pixel which debuted at the #MadeByGoogle event. With a 12.3 megapixel camera and unlimited photo storage, it combines high-end product design with Google’s impressive software services making for a compelling new option for those in the market for a premium device. Limited distribution exclusively via the Google Play store rather than Telco’s directly means it is unlikely to make much of a dent in global marketplace, although it should prove to be an interesting option for people looking for a high-end Android phone who may have been put off by Samsung’s recent problems. Other big announcements from the event were the launch of the Google Home speaker, as well as the DayDream VR headset which looks both cool and comfortable, a first for VR headsets.
…and Apple Responds
Perhaps in response to Google Pixel’s “highest rated smartphone camera ever” claim, Apple released its latest iOS 10.1 update which brings Portrait Mode to the iPhone 7 Plus. Portrait Mode gives uses a depth of field effect by applying a gentle blur to the background around the subject. The camera app shows the photographer the best distance to hold the camera from the subject to keep them in clear focus.
Young People Still Read The News
42 percent of Americans aged between 18 to 29 prefer to read the news in comparison to only 38 percent who prefer to watch the news in video format, new data from Pew Research finds. Only weeks after Mark Zuckerberg stated that the future of the internet is Video and VR, this sounds like a surprising revelation. We wonder whether the linear nature of video isn’t the ideal format for news, whereas linking to text articles allows a user to self-curate news that they are interested in.
BlackBerry Hardware closes
News came at the beginning of the month that BlackBerry would cease to make phones after 14 years. Originally the favourite among corporate customers, and then later with consumers – the handset had gone quite out of favour in recent years when consumers were choosing touch-screen over keypads. Between 2013 and 2016, BlackBerry subscribers worldwide dropped by 62 million people with their smartphone market share at now just 0.1%. Chief exec John Chen said: “Our new Mobility Solutions strategy is showing signs of momentum. Under this strategy, we are focusing on software development, including security and applications” – many commentators seem to feel this is long overdue.
Facebook Marketplace lands
Facebook has hit some pretty serious hurdles with the launch of Marketplace, introduced as an innovative way for users to sell their unwanted things to people nearby; giving sellers and buyers an easy way to connect through Messenger. But, of course – being the internet – people had other ideas. As Marketplace has no peer-review system, it was only a matter of hours before it was taken over by ads for drugs, animals, firearms and even a baby. Facebook were forced to apologise saying they had experienced technical issues in identifying posts that violate policies were to blame.
Facebook introduces Workplace tool
Facebook took on the likes of Slack in October with the announcement of Workplace by Facebook – free to use for any business pays for the service. It allows staff to communicate with each other through an app rather than host group chats around certain projects, and lets employees share links and images with each other just one click). We are fans of Slack at Graphite, which fills a smaller, but perhaps more pertinent communications niche in capability, but but Workplace is an interesting move for Facebook and we’ll be sure to try it out along with the likes of Starbucks, Oxfam and Danone who have all reportedly signed up already.
Twitter Takes @ Out Of Character Limit
Looks like JME & Skepta predicted the future as Twitter is now removing the @ tag from the character count when you reply to someone. Currently only launched to a sample group of iOS users, this follows earlier updates this year that removed photos, gifs and quotes from the 140 character limit. Instead the @username being included within the tweet, you’ll now get a grey line of text above the tweet which reads: “Replying to Username” This is part of a concerted effort from Twitter to keep the experience fresh and ever-evolving, a strategy that has been welcomed by the Twittersphere. But the question still remains – will they ever ditch their trademark 140 character limit altogether?
Farewell To Vine
Twitter have closed the doors on Vine after 3 and a half years of diminishing returns. The 6-second video app boomed when it first landed with many brands clamouring to capitalise on the latest social media channel reaching the coveted millennials. This comes in the same week Twitter announced it was cutting 9% of its workforce so it has come as no surprise to some. Their final tweet before the announcement enigmatically read “Leave a light on” (pictured) which now makes sense as a sort of swan song. If you were still enjoying the platform then fear not – they’ve said that the videos will not be deleted so you can still look back and enjoy your favourites.