Phone: the silent takeover of AI.

Austin is still vibrating after Kurzweils talk yesterday. Enhanced humans. Man-machine connections. For many people it is a bridge too far, a century too early. But if you look closer, it shows that we’re almost there.

The average phone that the average #SxSW visitor uses, packs enough power to shame the most avid chess player, it is a billion billion times faster than the machines that decoded the German Enigma code in World War II. And it is readily available at your fingertips.

Phones are like Swiss Army Knives. Through our phone, we outsource our memory to the Cloud: our contacts, our pictures, our music, our social calendar, our cv. It’s virtually stored on a faraway server, accessible to 3 or 4 G connections and Wifi.  Our phones give us directions while driving, tells us where our friends are, and where we can find food. They are quickly becoming the number one gateway to the internet. More and more calls on Google, maps, Wikipedia and other information libraries are done on a mobile phone.

I’ve seen people giving presentations at #SxSW with their phone directly linked to a beamer, people who travel without laptop or iPad, and solely rely on the processing and connection power of their smart phone.

Phones are voice controlled, location savvy, and can connect to a multitude of external devices, from Nike Run, over Bluetooth sensor devices, to cars and home entertainment systems. The few people you see at SxSW that lost their phone are bewildered: it makes them feel thrown back in time, exposed, and vulnerable. Phones have more impact on our daily life than we care to imagine.

For brands and their agencies, the phone has become the target for the years to come. Here is the opportunity to link with your target audience at the very point of decision, the very point of purchase. The ability to connect to people wherever they are, and use the phone as a two way gate way is priceless. Contextual information, peer-driven opinion, profile and location linked behavior… it opens a ton of exciting possibilities, and a can of grim worms.

Use it wisely…

Looking for a smartphone for men

I know that I will be kicking in more political correct doors than I can possibly legally afford. But I need to ventilate: I want a new phone. One that is designed for men.

I now pack an iPhone. It’s overrated, ridiculously expensive, nice, smart, slick, fast, intelligent, and above all: good looking. It even makes the color of my eyes stand out. But it comes with a twist: it is delicate, sensitive and fragile. It hates dust, moisture, temperature peaks, sand, mud, shocks and scratches. Basically: it hates me.

Steve Jobs had a nice black turtle neck and washed-out jeans. But his phone is simply not made for me. I dive in half-frozen pools. I drive my Landrover through rivers and a meter of mud. I let it climb impossible mountains. I use the winch. I get dirty. I drive cars through corners faster than is good for me and the environment in general. I generate more  g-forces than a fighter pilot. I am a boy.

See, my Breitling watch effortlessly resists my kind of lifestyle. So does my Audi, my Landrover, my Swiss Army knife. Even my wife is Danny-proof. All, except my iPhone. I broke two in 20 months.  Before all you loyal Apple fans go all oh and ah, no other brand designs phones for me it seems. HTC, Nokia, Samsung… all those fragile designs seem to bend and break by just looking at them.

The only one that fits my profile is the phone from Landrover. But, it is real real stupid, middle aged technology. You can drive a bulldozer over it though.

Sigh. How difficult can it be: a sturdy impact resistant smart phone for a caveman like me?

Applications: when numbers touch the ridiculous

Funny. Big phone manufacturers are constantly shooting data around to prove how big, good; tough, thought leading and amazing they are. Nothing against that, of course… but it is pretty mind-blowing how much irrelevant data is used in trying to prove the case…

Allow me to pick one: number of applications available for the platform… Apple, RIM, Android, Windows 7 phones all boast a staggering number  of different applications that run on their platforms, and post nebular statistics on downloads. In all these infographics, Apple leads, followed by Android.  Scary thing I notice: people use these stats to determine which phone next to invest in.

Let me tell you this: the number of applications is utterly irrelevant. There is a gazillion apps available for my iPad. I could not care less: most of these apps are no apps I would ever use, or pay for. Some are –to my use- utterly unsuitable, badly made, not working, or of a general quality that makes me long for the Spanish Inquisition to deal with the developers.  Same for my Blackberry. I can have thousands of apps available. I just not want them.

Cruising over the app stores and download platforms of the big 3, I find more apps than rocks in the asteroid belt just outside Mars… but most of those… well, you get the picture.  Only a small percentage is stuff I would actually use. And I am a power user…  –  Nielsen proves me right: While about 35% of U.S. adults now have apps on their cell phones, only 24% of adults actually use them. About a tenth of all U.S. adults don’t even know if their phones can run apps.

So… look for handy applications. Quality over quantity. Select the top 10 applications that will make your life more easy, and more enjoyable. Trust me: the other stuff will be forgotten on your expensive touch screen within days.

Want a Girl? Get an iPhone…

 My inbox gets flooded by a small 350 press releases per week, and I thought nothing would surprise me. Been there. Read it. :-). And then, PRNewswire slammed a release on my screen that got my attention:

Men With iPhones Are More Attractive to Women”. People with way too much time on their hands apparently conducted a survey of 1500 women that suggests that men who own the Apple iPhone handset are more attractive than those who do not. 54 % of women will date you quicker when you have Apples cutest… and iPhones owners are luckiest in love. There, I said it.

The study used topnotch techniques to come to quotes as “if he has an iPhone then he’s obviously intelligent and well-off.”

Now look, it took us, men, a gazillion generations to judge women on their intelligence, humor, wits… and not on the length of their skirts. And now some heavily paid marketing bonobos discovered that those women judge and label us on the size of our… phones?

But I’m not giving in. Let’s get an #equalphoneday right after #equalpayday until all men will be treated equally by women, independent on the status of their phones.

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