Posts tagged “hp”

To win, deliver relevance

HP recently ran a series of full-page newspaper ads for its TouchPad. The different ads trumpeted different aspects of the product. Here’s one:

This particular ad focuses on the movie-watching benefits. Unfortunately, they ad begins poorly: The all-new HP TouchPad with the HP MovieStore powered by RoxioNow(TM).

The classic tech marketing mistake: brand soup (with a base of presumed relevance). Who is Roxio? Yes, readers of this post probably know, but let’s agree that most people don’t, and those who did haven’t heard of them for 5 years. What the heck is RoxioNow(TM)? We can infer that HP has struck a deal for some ingredient technology. Wonderful. But they shouldn’t presume that adds credibility to their offering. In the same way “HP MovieStore” is not a known brand and isn’t exactly dripping with credibility. At least you can figure based on the name that it’s somewhat like that other Pad company’s SomethingStore.

But it gets worse. Here’s the promise

It’s Hollywood’s recently released big screen movies and current TV episodes on your HP TouchPad. Catch up on something you missed or get hooked on something new.

But in this ad, where they can show whatever they want to highlight the compelling benefits, what movies do they display?

The highlighted films: Knockout, 8 of Diamonds, Being Michael Madsen, 3 Backyards, 30 Years to Life, Baby on Board, Mistaken Identity, and Kalamity.

Okay, anyone? 3 Backyards is a very recently released indie film. IMDB tells me 30 Years to Life is from 2001. Where are the recently released Hollywood big screen movies (note: direct-to-video doesn’t count) that I can get from the HP MovieStore powered by RoxioNow(TM)?

Next time you are sitting in a meeting and someone brings up Apple and wonders how it is they are so darn innovative, remember this example. This is how their competitors behave. This is their advertising – where they actually promise a wonderful experience; what does this portend for the actual delivery of the experience in the product itself?

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] Lending Coming Soon for Kindle [Kindle Forum] – [This announcement from Amazon produced a lot of skepticism on the important caveat – that lending will be dependent on the publishers. Nice move that allows Amazon to raise their eyebrows innocently, "Oh, sure, we're allowing people to share eBooks. It's those greedy publishers that won't let you do it. But don't look at us!"] Later this year, we will be introducing lending for Kindle, a new feature that lets you loan your Kindle books to other Kindle device or Kindle app users. Each book can be lent once for a loan period of 14-days and the lender cannot read the book during the loan period. Additionally, not all e-books will be lendable – this is solely up to the publisher or rights holder, who determines which titles are enabled for lending.
  • [from steve_portigal] Proposing a Taxonomy of Social Reading [Institute for the Future of the Book] – [Bob Stein opens the conversation on how we can further the dialog about what it means to be social in reading. The wiki-like format he's used allows for discussion but is pretty difficult to navigate. I've linked here to the overview page that summarizes the current entries in the taxonomy] In recent months the phrase “social reading” has been showing up in conversation and seems well on its way to being a both a useful and increasingly used meme. While I find this very exciting, as with any newly minted phrase, it’s often used to express quite different things…In order to advance our understanding of how reading (and writing) are changing as they begin to shift decisively into the digital era, it occurred to me that we need a taxonomy to make sense of a range of behaviors all of which fit within the current “social reading” rubric.
  • [from steve_portigal] Cross-examining your interview skills [Slideshare] – [Discovered through Google Alerts since it quotes me, but shared here because it's a great reference for a lot of fundamental interpersonal (and other) aspects of interviewing]
  • [from steve_portigal] Some crayons belong in kids’ mouths [Seattle Times Newspaper] – [Old news perhaps, but new news to me. A surprising brand name for a beverage!] In 2003, Seay bought the Crayons trademark for use with food and beverages from someone who had been tinkering with using it with juices on the East Coast. The crayons trademark is not the same as Crayola, a company that sells a popular brand of the colorful writing instruments known as crayons. Coincidentally, another local company — Advanced H2O on Mercer Island — uses the Crayola brand name for a bottled-water line called Crayola Color Coolerz.
  • [from steve_portigal] HP’s Slate specs slated by bloggers [Boing Boing] – [As Homer Simpson said, it's funny cuz it's true] it's just a pretty keyboardless netbook. Its most interesting characteristic is a bizarre slide-out tray that exists only to display the Windows 7 licensing information. It's like something from some kind of screwball comedy about awful product design: HP was apparently obliged to do this because it didn't want to mess up the exterior with this compulsory information panel.

Granny’s Inbox

Via PopSci, comes Granny’s Inbox

This connected printer uses a phone line to periodically dial into an e-mail account that only certain people can send to. Then it automatically prints new messages, even ones with photos. HP Printing Mailbox with Presto; $150


I was intrigued/amused because of this: a concept from work we did at GVO back in early 2001 (not for HP).

I don’t mean to imply that “we thought of it first” because no doubt we weren’t the first ones to come up with the idea; no doubt our client had probably thought of it as well. It’s amazing to see the same ideas come up over and over again (the fridge with the LCD screen is one of my favorite examples). It doesn’t mean they are good ideas or bad ideas. Sometimes they are just obvious ideas. It depends on who the company is and what the time period is. Push-printing seems pretty ridiculous in 2006, with “Grandma” (an aside rant – that’s an incredibly annoying but prevasive stereotypical user that everyone who has no clue always wants to design for) no doubt being fully capable of sharing her own photos via flickr or email, and not really needing this.

But once again you can see that ideas are relatively easy. Connecting your ideas to something relevant from culture, company, brand, customers – that continues to be the real challenge I see.

Manipulating Social Realities With Technology

One stance is that technology is neither inherently good or bad, it’s what we do with it, as humans with the ability to choose and judge and reflect our own cultural norms, that’s where the morality comes in. Of course, there are any number of agents along the way to actual use. Those that package a technology in a way that instructs in its usage may persaude or encourage behaviors that are not “approved” of. We see the media blaming cell phones, texting, the Internet whenever possible – it’s a better headline than to blame a gun, or a parent, or a person. Where does the accountability lie?

An emerging special case is the set of technologies that we can use to misrepresent reality to others. The first that caught my eye (back in 2004) was SoundCover (company website is now defunct, but story is here), software that would play fake background noises over your mobile phone, to add credence to an excuse (i.e., “I’m stuck in traffic.”). A more recent mobile twist is the popularity dialer that will automatically call you at pre-arranged times so you can look popular, or fake an exit from a bad date, or whatever. Hacking social norms and faking reality through technology.

Those are both sort of high-schoolish in concept and implementation, but the super-geekery (and with it, super-powers) come in a couple of tools for digital photography. HP has some software built into their digital cameras that automatically slims the subjects of the photo, while some software in development in Israel will automatically beautify women’s faces. Tourist Remover carries less cultural baggage and lets you get the picture you never really got, by taking a few pictures of the same scene and putting together a composite without all those other pesky people.

HP’s entry is the most surprising, for a rather cautious organization, it seems pretty brazen. Every week is another indicator of our culture’s poor health (X-rays don’t work as well because people are too fat, toilet seats are being redesigned for fatter butts, etc. etc.), and of course our body image standard doesn’t change in the same direction. Is this technology for vanity? Or worse? Or is it any better than correcting red-eye? Or removing a blemish in Photoshop? Where do we cross the line from correcting photography to faking reality, and when is that line-crossing a problem?

[Thanks, JZC, for the HP tip]

Sam Lucente: The Ethnographer

Sam Lucente: The Ethnographer is an article in the BusinessWeek IN magazine, a new thing they’ve launched – with a bit of hype and controversy – to focus specifically on innovation. They’ve got the usual set of folks no doubt, Claudia Kotchka, IDEO, Marissa Mayer (and if this sounds bitter, it’s not since I seem to be – on a much more mortal scale – included in the broader population of regular BW folks).

The story about Lucente is pretty good. I have liked and admired Sam since I had the opportunity to work for him on a project my old firm did for IBM many years ago. He’s done amazing things and is having an impact.

But he’s not, by any stretch of the imagination, an ethnographer. I would be enormously surprised if he claimed that identity for himself, and I would suggest he sees himself still and forever as a designer (just my impression of the guy).

I’m not going to get fussy and try to define what the heck an ethnographer is or isn’t, but I’d say that it’s like innovation, art, or p0rnography – we know it when we see it.

I’m not being territorial here. I’m not at all comfortable when people label me as an ethnographer, either. I think that BW’s ongoing enthusiasm for design and now ethnography and of course innovation is making them a bit careless with their terms, and that’s frankly going to simply devalue and commoditize the special things they are talking about. I don’t know how we in the community can help BusinessWeek – I want us to encourage them to keep writing about these great examples of people doing good work, but to keep their enthusiasm in check long enough to look more deeply (what do these words mean), broadly (who are some more usual suspects), and judiciously (maybe some of what we’re hearing has been hopelessly idealized for PR purposes).

Projective Techniques for Projection Technologies

Projective Techniques for Projection Technologies, my paper for the dux05 conference, has just been posted online. Check it out here!

To facilitate the development of a new home-entertainment device (a portable projector with built-in speakers and a DVD player) we conducted in-home interviews that explored home entertainment activities, presented a demo of a rough prototype, and brainstormed with participants about future refinements.

I don’t often get to talk about my consulting work, so it’s great to have a fairly detailed case study published and available.

HP home projector I worked on hits the market

The new boombox style HP Instant Cinema Digital Projector ep9010: front projection box with built-in DVD, 2.1 speakers (20W stereo speakers facing front and rear, plus 30W subwoofer) with every input and output imaginable…Available September 04 for around $2499.

I did some of the upfront strategic user research on first prototypes they developed for this. Neat to see it hit the market.


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