This fall, Microsoft and Google are set to release revolutionary new tablet PC devices which are expected to make a significant impact on the growing market. The Nexus 7 from Google and Microsoft’s Surface both look to be promising new offerings, but recent rumors of a new iPad may indicate an even more impressive tablet is on the way.
The Big Three
Sources such as Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have all reported that Apple is set to release a new, 7.85-inch iPad later this year at a lower price point than the current iPad’s $499. Despite the late Steve Jobs’ apparent opposition to a “smaller” Apple tablet, consumers seem to be favoring the devices for their increasingly improving resolution and lower cost. While Google and Microsoft have publicly announced their plans to capitalize on this trend at their recent developer conferences, Apple has remained relatively quiet about their new tablet.
In fact, very little is known about the new iPad thus far. The New York Times has revealed the suspected dimensions and price point of the tablet, but many other features are still speculative, at best. While a retina display and iOS 6 functionality are expected to be standard equipment on the new iPad, only time will tell what Apple actually has in store.
Effects on Mobile Search, Social Media & E-Commerce
The upcoming face-off between Google, Microsoft and Apple in the entry-level tablet PC market is undoubtedly going to have a substantial effect on the mobile Web. The reduced cost of these new tablets makes them more accessible to the tech-savvy (and cost-conscious) youth demographic. This will almost certainly lead to a rise in social media and search engine usage via mobile browsers and apps. Additionally, another rise in E-Commerce revenue similar to last holiday season’s online sales boom is anticipated following the release of the three new tablet devices.
What Online Businesses Should Expect
Once the new tablets debut in the final quarter of 2012, online businesses should expect to see an increase in mobile traffic. Internet marketing efforts should include a heavy emphasis on social media and mobile E-Commerce platform optimization. If online marketers remember 2012 as “The Year of the Penguin”, 2013 may very well be remembered as “The Year of the Tablet.”
On June 20th, the Philadelphia Business Journal celebrated their 30th anniversary with an event benefitting the Philabundance hunger relief organization. Besides WebiMax’s own Todd Bailey, attendees included former Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell and former District Attorney, Lynne Abraham.
The anniversary celebration was a huge success for the Philadelphia Business Journal and featured some of the region’s most established entrepreneurs and restaurateurs. Even Top Chef Season 7 winner Kevin Sbraga was among the chefs at the event.
As part of the festivities at the anniversary event, WebiMax.com gave away a free Kindle Fire. The winner of the tablet, Cassandra Oryl stated, “It was such a great, energetic event, almost like a homecoming. I re-connected with so many people I already knew in the Philadelphia business community and also met quite a few new contacts. It was a great night overall.”
WebiMax.com has previously been featured by the Philadelphia Business Journal and was announced as one of their “Best Places to Work” in 2011. WebiMax would like to congratulate the Philadelphia Business Journal and thank everyone who helped to make the event a success.
On Friday, Google wrapped up its annual I/O Developer Conference in San Francisco. From the latest Android update to the announcement of the Nexus 7 tablet, the company revealed many of its upcoming offerings to a largely positive reaction from those in attendance. Now that I/O has come to an end, the Internet is abuzz with Google-related news and the impact of the conference looks to be significant to Google users as well as the entire SEO community.
A Glimpse Into the Google’s Future
Last week, I discussed several of the new products and services that debuted at I/O in a WebiMax.com News Update. In that video, I addressed the new Nexus 7 tablet which is designed to compete with the iPad and Microsoft Surface, as well as the Kindle Fire. The Nexus tablet’s $199 starting price point is a distinct advantage over the more expensive offerings from Apple and Microsoft. Additionally, the ASUS-designed device will ship with the new Android 4.1 installed as its operating system. In late 2011, a rise in mobile Web traffic and sales resulted from an increase in tablet PC purchases. The impending release of new tablets from Microsoft and Google this holiday season could create a similar trend this year.
Google’s focus on mobile platforms was also expressed by the company’s announcement that their social network, Google+, will be updated to become “tablet-friendly”. Google Maps is also being developed for iOS 6 in order to avoid losing its market share on Apple devices.
The company also revealed some details regarding the Nexus Q, which will compete with the Roku and Apple TV. However, Project Glass looks to be the most unique new product in Google’s lineup. While the augmented-reality eyewear may appeal to a niche audience, it’s unlikely that its $1500 price point will be easily marketable to those outside of the “Googlesphere”.
I/O’s Impact on Internet Marketing
For Internet marketing companies, the I/O conference was an opportunity to better understand Google’s plans for the months ahead. The company’s obvious emphasis on mobile should resonate with SEOs and should also be considered a major component of campaigns going forward.
Apple and Microsoft may be long-time competitors, but they will soon have a common denominator in Facebook. Both companies recently announced the upcoming release of their new mobile operating systems, which are both set to feature extensive Facebook integration. For Facebook, its users and digital marketers, this is undoubtedly great news. However, it will also substantially impact other brands, as well.
Apple & Microsoft
The two most prominent developers of operating systems in the world will remain as competitive as ever going forward in 2012 and into 2013. The mobile version of Windows 8 and iOS 6 are both looking to capitalize on the social media trend. Apple has even designed a new mapping application in conjunction with local search engine and social network Yelp in order to gain even more momentum in the social market. Microsoft’s social functionality goes even further. The “People” application allows users to interact and engage on various networks from their desktop without the use of a Web browser or third-party apps. Currently, Apple maintains 32% of the mobile OS market share, with Windows Phone trailing at 5%. Will the increased presence of social media help Windows capture a larger percentage of the market? Microsoft is certainly counting on it.
This week, Android OS 4.1 was announced at Googles IO 2012 conference. While Android-enabled smartphones and tablets currently dominate the mobile space with a 40% market share; a lack of social media integration in the next iteration of the operating system could affect sales and diminish Google’s mobile presence.
Other announcements today from Google IO 2012
- Google Play hits 600k Apps
- Nexus 7 with 4.1 at starting price of $199
- Nexus Q to stream media at $299
- Google+ optimized for tablet
- Project Glass (Augmented Reality) @ $1500 for attendees at IO2012
The next generation of mobile operating systems will certainly enhance mobile traffic and user engagement on networks such as Facebook. Regardless of which platform emerges as the industry leader in terms of sales and usage, it’s safe to say that social media will be a significant factor in the success of Windows 8 and iOS 6.
On May 20, Microsoft officially entered the social media arena with the public launch of so.cl. Just over a month later, the network has largely failed to gain initial momentum and has seen only minimal growth. Despite backing from Microsoft and extensive integration into both Windows Live and Facebook, so.cl (pronounced “social”) has not experienced early rapid expansion. Recently, networks such as Google+ and even the still-in-beta-phase Pinterest have achieved impressive followings in a relatively short time span. Although so.cl has only been widely available for five weeks, its underwhelming presence is somewhat surprising. However, so.cl does have potential and could succeed with the development and implementation of Internet marketing initiatives.
How to Succeed in the Social Space
Rather than utilizing ad campaigns, press releases and marketing efforts, Microsoft opted to quietly roll out so.cl. While some may argue that this was due to Facebook’s IPO launching only three days prior, it is unlikely that Microsoft was concerned about being overshadowed by a “competitor”. In fact, so.cl is intended to be a supplement to Facebook; not a direct competitor.
However, Microsoft’s choice to keep so.cl’s release low-key was not necessarily a misstep in marketing logic. Other social networks have debuted under similar circumstances and experienced exponential growth without requiring substantial marketing efforts. Therein lies the most significant flaw with so.cl’s model: It doesn’t dare to be different. Success in social media is dependent upon innovative and unique offerings. Unfortunately, so.cl does little to stand out in the social crowd.
Lost in the Shuffle?
Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest each offer different functions and features that are designed to appeal to their particular demographics and user base. So.cl, on the other hand, is more of an amalgamation of those networks and their offerings. Microsoft touts so.cl as “an experiment in open search.” The network allows users to search and share content from the Web and the aforementioned networks on their so.cl profile. While this service may attract a niche audience; it lacks the broad appeal of other networks and is likely to remain in the background of the social space rather than at the forefront.
The Future of so.cl
With the impending release of Windows 8 and its “People” application, it is assumed that SO.CL is a set up from Microsoft for future integration, which ties in directly to the operating system itself. Microsoft should consider marketing so.cl as a standalone network with a unique and useful feature set. Like Google+, Microsoft could emphasize further integration of so.cl into its other services, as well.
Although Microsoft may be unwilling to compete directly with Google+ and Facebook, such an investment may actually prove to be a prudent one for the company. Additionally, as social media continues to play a more prominent role in digital marketing, so.cl may become a valuable investment for marketers, as well.
Earlier this week, I wrote a blog for Search Engine Guide in which I discussed the upcoming release of Apple’s new mapping software for the iOS 6 mobile operating system. Apple has mentioned that Yelp will be used for localized and geo-targeted search services within the new application. However, this partnership with Apple marks just one of two major milestones for Yelp, as the company also recently announced a partnership with Microsoft to provide local results for Bing.
Two Big Moves; One Real Winner
By providing its popular local search services for both Apple and Bing, Yelp is both enhancing its brand and its revenues. In the first quarter of 2012, Yelp claimed an average of 71 million unique visits per month and 6.3 million have accessed the site via mobile devices. Partnering with established brands such as Apple and Bing is only bound to increase those already impressive figures and reinforce Yelp’s position in the local search market. While Apple and Bing are both likely to benefit from their respective deals; Yelp is the undisputed beneficiary.
What About Google?
Google+ Local is undoubtedly Yelp’s primary competitor in the geo-targeted and localized search industry and it is certainly a formidable adversary. With G+ Local being firmly integrated into many of Google’s core services, Yelp will have to remain focused on these crucial new partnerships and maximize its user base. Apple’s decision to replace Google Maps may give Yelp the upper hand, but only time will tell if Google Maps will retain all of its +150 million users following the iOS 6 release this fall.
The Future of Localized Search
With Yelp and Google+ Local poised to square off in the months ahead, the future of localized search is a concern of virtually all digital marketers. Local listings on Google will continue to be a cornerstone of geo-targeted online marketing campaigns, but the value of Yelp is sure to increase exponentially going forward. Regardless of which brand emerges as the number one local search engine, the rise of Yelp offers a significant new platform for geo-targeted search marketing and is definitely a wise investment for SEOs.