Latest industry insight - April 2012

Grab a cup of tea and take a few minutes to read our thoughts on this month’s news from the industry…

Apple iPad, Galaxy Tab added to UK 'inflation' basket

What’s in your shopping basket? Well, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) it’s more likely to be an Apple iPad than a step ladder, roll of colour film or casserole dish. These are just some of the casualties, which have made way for the iPad and a number of other new products now feature in the 700 strong basket of goods which make up the UK’s consumer and retail price indices calculations. Now, that basket feels a little bit lighter (and more exciting), doesn’t it?

Friends Reunited is relaunched with focus on nostalgia

Desperate marketing ploy or canny strategic manoeuvre? Opinion appears to be divided over the likely future success of Friends Reunited’s relaunch as a nostalgia and memory sharing website.  Those in the canny camp point towards Facebook’s timeline as vindication of the grip memory sharing and nostalgia currently exerts over the web masses.  And, there’s definitely a layer of logic that goes with that. But, then again, to me this looks essentially like a different type of sharing proposition, using public events as a primary memory and nostalgia sharing trigger. Facebook’s approach is much more about sharing individual and less public stories and events, in short, dare I say it, more “socially intimate” occasions. As recent experiences from social media have taught us (cue Twitter’s core strength as an information sharing medium), it’s ultimately up to the users to define what the service becomes based on how it is used. So, will this relaunch consign itself to its own future digital archive? Or will this become the virtual pin-up of tomorrow? Why don’t we meet up in 5 to 10 year’s from now and reminisce? Via digital means, of course.

LG flexible e-paper arriving in products, in Europe, next month

Excitement is building ahead of LG’s European launch next month of its e-paper display or EPD for short. With no news on the release the other side of the pond, it’s always nice to get something before our American cousins. Will the practice live up to the theoretical benefits such a medium can bring. And, if it does will it take off over here? For sure resolution quality is going to play a key part here. After all, poor resolution quality must be to e-paper what smudged print is to printed paper media and no one likes that. I’m certainly looking forward to getting my hands on some of this stuff when if does land in the UK next month.

Amazon launches beta “Trade in”

Finally, news of a more personal note, following an email I received recently from that etail monolith, Amazon. It went something like this.  Whilst staring at my Smartphone waiting for the train (customarily late as usual), I’m suddenly greeted by the question posed by one of my favourite online retailers. It went something like this… “Why not trade it your Design Patterns Book” (a book I purchased from Amazon 2-3 years ago).  Straight away I’ve got a figure in my head of what it must be worth in terms of a trade-in value. “Not much” is my instinctive reaction but on logging in (and doing a whole bunch of other things besides once I’m logged in - nice work Amazon), I’m pleasantly surprised to find it’s retained nearly 75-80% of its original purchase value. I’ve not traded it in yet, but I am committed to rummaging through the contents of my garage this weekend to locate suitable packaging materials. Then it got me thinking. What if the Amazon Trade in could also look at e-books?  Imagine that, a self-sustaining digital/ecommerce model in which no physical products ever exchange hands, just a continual two and fro of digital products passing from seller to owner, then back to the original seller for re-sale and so forth.  From looking at the Trade In forum page, there clear appears to be the market appetite for it. I just can’t see any way Amazon is going to sit back and ignore this future commercial opportunity. Now that’s sorted, but what would they call it?  How about Re-kindle?