Friday, 27 November 2009

The Office Lasts Forever

I am a huge fan of the American Office. Now in its 5th season and 94th episode, a massive 80 more than the original UK masterpiece.

This historic episode was an undoubted pinnacle of the American series as after many years of procrastination, deliberation and obtactles, Jim (read UK Tim) and Pam (Dawn) finally got married. Whilst the audience were undoubtedly waiting for a last minute problem to scupper their big day, it was actually one of the most amazing TV wedding scenes ever witnessed and rivalled the conclusion to The Office UK's romantic conclusion.

Of course, this pays tribute to the biggest social media hit of the summer. The JK Wedding Dance. Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz digressed from the increasing tradition of comical wedding dances as the wedding party danced in turn down the aisle. Shared on Youtube so distant relatives could watch, the video has generated over 30million views in the three months since it was launched in July 2009 and enabled Jill and Kevin to join the growing list of online celebrities.

The video helped Chris Brown's soundtrack "Forever" to Number 1 in iTunes and number 3 in the Amazon download charts. Due to the controversy associated with the artist Jill and Kevin have set up a donation scheme for domestic abuse.

The Office video has no doubt sparked a refueled interest in the original JK sequence. It will be interesting to see if this mass exposure is capable of changing the deserved negative opinions of Chris Brown and once again start to buy his records.

Monday, 2 November 2009

The Palm Pre

The Palm Pre launched exclusively on O2 on the 16th October 2009. Widely pitched as the most realistic competitor to the iPhone, the handset is the first entrant to the smartphone market from California based Palm.

I was lucky enough to be able to sample the phone prior to launch and demo it to a number of key contacts at the A4U conference. Here is a sample of the main feedback I received from some of the delegates.

One of the most common complaints about the iPhone is the usability of the touchscreen keyboard. Personally, whilst it took a bit of getting used to, I love my touchscreen keyboard and have even written blogs on it in the past. It appears however that it is a problem if you have long nails, therefore the sliding button keyboard on the Palm Pre proved to be particularly popular for the female tester.

The ability to have multiple applications open simultaneously is noted as one of the biggest pro points of the Palm Pre. Once you have become familiar with the touch controls, it is relatively simple to switch between different apps without having to go back to the home screen. This is particularly useful when switching between emails, calendar and the internet.

TouchStone Recharge
One of the most innovative aspects of the Palm Pre is magnetic charging. For any Palm Pre user, the touchstone charging device is a mandatory accessory. Simply place the Palm Pre on top of the touchstone and it will automatically charge the device. If you are on a call, the handset will automatically switch to speakerphone when placed on the touchstone. This is great if, like me you often find yourself on extended conference calls.

When the keypad slides from beneath the handset, a small mirror is revealed. This again proved to be really popular with the female contingent who proclaimed to use it for emergency make-up amends.

Overall, I think the Palm Pre is a brilliant alternative to the iPhone and a fantastic addition to the growing smartphone market. With new products on the horizon from Sony Ericsson, HTC, Samsung and Nokia, this market promises to develop substantially over the next 12 months. Increased competition is good for a market and can only drive further innovation so it promises to be an exciting time