Latest industry insight

Microsoft reveals Surface Windows 8 tablets

Microsoft’s recent closely guarded (and I use that term in a comparative sense) announcement of the forthcoming launch of its own tablet “Surface” promises to turn the heat up a notch or two in the increasingly competitive tablet space. Just look at the current battle going on between Samsung and Apple over “copycat” allegations. There’s a lot at stake here. Whilst no firm details on pricing or availability in the UK, the smart money’s on a tied launch with Windows 8 with the new tablet likely to just squeeze under the important psychological £500 price point.  This would mean an autumn release, leaving plenty of time for loved ones to make that all important pre-Christmas purchase on behalf of their gadget-loving partners. Question is- will it dent Microsoft’s relationship with other tablet manufacturers already running Windows OS? Unlikely, but not entirely unfeasible. It comes down to a question of balance of power between hardware and OS provider and which if the two could afford to do with out the other? I know where I’d put my money if I had to. For those of you spec-heads out there, check out Techradar’s neat 3 page product review and crack open the popcorn to sit back and watch their video demo of the new tablet: http://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/tablets/microsoft-surface-tablet-1085839/review

Facebook’s facial-recognition acquisition raises privacy concerns

Whilst facial recognition software has been used to drive Facebook’s tagging recommendations for some time now, the recent announcement that Mr Zuckerberg’s  ready to part with $60m to buy “Face” the Israeli-based facial recognition technology provider is causing some consternation on the faces of the data privacy community. It transpires that Facebook has actually been using this technology for well over a year now, but the outright purchase of this tech provider is seen by some as a signal that Facebook is ready to up its commercial game. Enhanced image analysis brings the ability to start capturing and farming brand identification opportunities in user submitted photos. This must surely open the door to more contextual advertising and closer brand targeting opportunities. Maybe we should all start wearing Muji? (logo free) or indeed will the absence of conspicuous branding be seen as being just as valuable in an “anti-branding” contextual way? P.s. Has anyone checked Mr Zuckerberg’s wedding shots for unintentional brand product placements?

Google TV service launches in UK with Sony tie-up

Sony’s tie up with Google means that us “lucky” UK viewers will very shortly be able to enjoy the delights of interactive TV from the comforts of our own sofas.  It’s already been available in the US for around two years now. English weather being what it is, may make July’s release a masterstroke of timing on Sony and Google’s part and it will be interesting to see how it will fare against the likes of Apple’s existing set top offering currently retailing at £99. For those looking to shell out some of their summer spending money, you’ll need to set aside around £200 for the privilege. Apparently a Blu-ray version is also expected to following later this year at around £300. Will Google come under similar criticism this side of the pond regarding being too expensive it did when it launch stateside nearly two year’s ago?  Maybe, but then again, there’s always those less price-sensitive early adopters to cater for!

Natwest crisis could see knock on effects drag on for weeks

Whenever stories break of a major tech failure, the reliance we now place on a technology is exposed in all its rawest glory. Natwest’s major IT failure has left around 17 million customers unable to pay bills for some time and the fall out is still being felt by many to this day. Whether you’ve been one of the affected ones or not, spare a thought for Natalie Westerman who is probably ruing the day she set up a twitter account under the guise of @natwest. One thing’s for sure Natwest is unlikely to repeat its winning ways of last year when it was voted number 1 Online Banking service provider.