Weekly Digital News Roundup: March 22-26
Samsung Confirms Smart Watch as Apple War Moves to Wrist
- According to LapTop, as fears mount that the smartphone market has become too saturated, a Samsung executive says the time has come to build a smart watch. If you think Samsung has concocted a wearable device just to counter the rumored Apple iWatch, the executive VP of Samsung’s mobile business, Lee Young Hee, wants you to know that the company “has been preparing the watch product for so long.”
- The Samsung exec also told Bloomberg that Samsung is “working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them.” Samsung just recently introduced its first wearable gadget for 2013 in the S Band, a Fitbit-like wristband that will sync with the S Health application in the upcoming Galaxy S4 smartphone.
- According to a separate Reuters report, the Samsung smart watch will perform many of the tasks of the smart phone, although the source wouldn’t elaborate. If other smart phone watches on the market are any guide, such as the Martian Watch and I’m Watch, we would expect the Samsung device to make calls, offer some fitness functions, as well as deliver news and social updates at a glance. It’s also possible that Samsung will court developers to make apps for its watch, which could help the brand be even less reliant on Google’s services. Meanwhile, Apple’s watch is said to offer many of the same features, with Bloomberg adding that the iWatch could also let you check your map coordinates and monitor your heart rate.
BlackBerry Chief Upbeat (and the iPhone is Old Hat)
- According to Financial Review, BlackBerry chief executive officer Thorsten Heins has said the rapidly advancing global smartphone market has left Apple’s iPhone in its wake, and predicted his company would have 100,000 native apps available for its Z10 devices in time for the US launch later this week.
- Speaking exclusively to The Australian Financial Review, ahead of the local launch of its make-or-break smartphones, Mr. Heins said last week’s launch of the Samsung S4, along with a wave of recent smartphone releases had reeled in the lead Apple used to hold in the market. Mr. Heins said one area that the new BlackBerry phones had surpassed the iPhone was in the ability to multi-task – running multiple apps at once – meaning that users could work in the same fashion on their smartphone as they liked to on a laptop.
- Along with Samsung, other phone makers, like HTC and Nokia have also impressed industry watchers with the quality of their top-end smartphones, leading to questions about whether Apple needs to speed up its release cycle of new iPhones. “The point is that you can never stand still,” said Heins. “It is true for us as well. Launching BB10 just put us on the starting grid of the wider mobile computing grand prix, and now we need to win it.”
Facebook Rolls Out ‘Lookalike Audiences’ Targeting Globally
- According to WebProNews, last month, Facebook began testing a new targeting feature for marketers called lookalike audiences. This Tuesday, the company announced the global launch. The feature enables marketers to target audience segments with similar common attributes (interests, demographics) to the customers a marketer has already identified as a target audience, through the custom audiences feature.
- “With lookalike audiences, advertisers (both e-commerce companies and direct response marketers) can expand their reach to specific geographic areas or audiences who are not already fans of the company’s page while still maintaining the desired demographic profile of their existing audience,” a spokesperson for Facebook tells WebProNews. “Companies using custom and lookalike audiences only know the size of their targeting groups; Facebook does not share any personal information from those audiences with advertisers.”
- “We’ve seen this new type of targeting drive a wide range of success metrics for direct response companies like Fab, including lower cost per checkout, lower cost per acquisition, larger purchase size, and faster and increased return on investment,” the company says in a blog post. The Lookalike Audiences tool will be available to all advertisers, in any country, from the power editor, this week.