Open Tabs

Jesus Gorriti

Many people have an ambition to read some of the interesting articles published during the workweek, but most of us are also too busy with projects to get to them! The result is often a browser full of open tabs of articles we swear we’ll read later. To help filter through these articles, every Friday at Fjord, we circulate a few of these “tabbed” articles with thoughts and highlights for weekend reading.

We imagine that we’re not the only ones with Open Tab Syndrome, so starting this week we will share a few selected articles and some commentary around why it’s worth a read. Your first edition of Open Tabs follows!

Coca-Cola loses its #1 spot as the world’s most valued brand. In fact, it dropped to #3.

Interbrand has just published its latest “Best Global Brands” report. What’s notable is the players that have edged out Coca-Cola: digital and design focused brands Apple and Google.

In looking at the report, it’s clear that a focus on digital service design is a differentiator with a strong impact on brand affinity. Four of the five top brands are digital companies, and the only two retailers in the top 100 are both digital companies (Amazon and eBay).

iBeacon: Bluetooth’s rebirth

With the iOS 7 introduction to iBeacons, there is a lot of excitement over better location-based personalization. iBeacon is a way to monitor location-specific regions on any iOS device that supports Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). This trumps wifi for detection because Bluetooth has a unique ID, a low energy footprint, and the short range capabilities is an easy way to verify identity. Much smoother than NFC, mobile payment may have more viability now.

Read this article by Dave Addey that explains iBeacons well.

PayPal has also recently introduced their own Beacon, PayPal Beacon.

A new kind of home entertainment

Steam is an offshoot from Valve, best known for creating the video game Half-Life. Steam is a service aimed at bypassing video game publishers by tapping their customer base through a peer-to-peer distribution platform.

Steam is yet another player aimed at controlling the living room and competing with Xbox and PlayStation. However, Steam aims to allow gamers to play PC-based games from their consoles. So, a game that used to require sitting in front of a computer can now be played in the living room. They have beta tested a custom box built from PC parts, including the design of a custom game controller.

It is arguable that the PlayStation Dualshock controller is one of the best – even Xbox had to retrofit their first controller to be more like it. However, Steam’s new controller provides clickable, dual trackpads, popular configurations, and it is open source.

Tools are tools

Google’s new WISYWYG web editor, Google Web Designer, allows people to design using front-end code. It seems very promising for rapid prototyping, and allows users to generate workable code for free. It is still just a tool, and thinking through great design and great technical implementation still cannot be automated.

Test drive it yourself: https://www.google.com/webdesigner/

Other tools worth knowing more about are Framer and, of course, storytelling.

Never worry about roaming charges again

KnowRoaming is a new product promises to give you a global SIM card that allows you to use voice and data in 220 countries without roaming charges.

Ever curious about who doesn’t use the internet?

As of May 2013, 15% of American adults ages 18 and older do not use the internet or email! Find out why from this Pew report.

Jesus Gorriti

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