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Last week, when Google unveiled the Nexus 5 smartphone and Android 4.4 (otherwise known as KitKat), the news dominated the front page of Techmeme. I wasn’t surprised since flagship smartphone launches and official mobile OS updates always generate lots of interest around the web.

Android 4.4 KitKat on Techmeme

What did surprise me was the fact that Google is putting so much effort into memory optimization. That means Android 4.4 can now run on older phones and smartphones with more modest specs. The minimum memory requirement for KitKat is now 512MB. This is noteworthy in my opinion because this is the biggest step I can remember Google taking to address Android fragmentation. The details of just how fragmented the Android universe really is may vary a bit, but what’s not up for debate is that there are a heck of a lot of people using smartphones running old versions of Android. One reason getting more users on the latest version of Android makes sense is that it simplifies work for developers. They can write and test fewer versions of apps than they’ve had to in the past. Theoretically, this could translate into more smartphone and tablet apps being made for Android devices.

Let me switch gears a bit to talk about some Android history. Back in 2010, I took note when Google hired Matias Duarte from Palm. He was the guy that wowed the crowd at CES when just about everyone in the industry had written off the Palm OS. Even though it didn’t ultimately reverse Palm’s fortunes, he gave them a chance. Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) was the first Android version Google released with input from Matias. Thanks to Project Butter, the early reaction from reviewers was that Android 4.0 ran much smoother than previous versions and there was something new called Google Now.

Update from Lionel: Speaking of Matias Duarte, the folks at The Verge just posted a video interview with him and other key folks from Android’s dev team:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLoA_dvVMOA[/youtube]

At the time, the latest version of Android I had tried was Gingerbread, which originally came out in December 2010 (and it’s still one of the most common versions of Android that people are running even today). Back then, I had written off Android as an interesting experiment that did not offer a cohesive user experience. To me, it felt like functions in Gingerbread were bolted on—it seemed that Android was a phone OS for geeks.

Still, I figured it was worth buying the original $200 Nexus 7 tablet Google introduced with Jelly Bean to see what had changed since Matias and team had been working on a new Android version. Turns out I was blown away. Android 4.1 ran smooth as I had read in the reviews. It also offered a much more seamless and integrated experience. So many parts of the new OS seemed more visual. With Jelly Bean, Android as a whole was a much more polished OS. And my favorite part was Google Now. It was amazing a year ago when they introduced it, and since then, they’ve made it better.

So, why does this matter? 1) As this plays out, it looks like Android fragmentation will finally start to improve and 2) More importantly, many customers with older or lower-end smartphones will finally get the chance at the latest Android experience that includes polished Google standard apps (Google Maps, Chrome, etc.), the Google Play Store and Google Now.

Those are all good things in my book. Even if you’re not an Android fan, more competition in the mobile space means a higher bar for iOS 7 and Windows Phone iterations.

Update 8/20: Earlier this evening, the Hootsuite team added social verification and IP address logging to protect accounts.  The team reiterated that Hootsuite itself had not been compromised. You can read more details here.

We’ve seen some of the recent reports and tweets about potential issues with Hootsuite for a select number of accounts. Hootsuite’s Support team is working to fix Dashboard and Login issues:

Hello all, our team is hard at work to resolve some dashboard issues, including the login process. Stay tuned for updates! — HootSuite Helpers (@HootSuite_Help) August 20, 2013

And just a few minutes ago, Hootsuite published an blog post re: how to protect your social accounts from spammers. Here’s the tweet:

Social networks are seeing more attacks than usual from spammers. Help secure your accounts by doing this: http://t.co/rpmxdPcYVn

— HootSuite (@hootsuite) August 20, 2013

We are working with clients to help them through this. For now, please follow the latest at Hootsuite_Help on Twitter.

“It’s not about ‘best practices’ – it’s about ‘next practices’ as learned my new colleague Annalise Coady and I, when we excitedly touched down at the W2O Media and Engagement Summit in Austin.

We knew we worked with some forward-thinking people, but the depth and breadth of experience (along with general awesomeness) blew us away. Here’s a quick and dirty summary of some of the things we learned and plan to pioneer across the pond:

  • Media has evolved and PESO is the future: Day 1 kicked off with Head of Earned Media, Jim Larkin, demonstrating how media has evolved from the 1960’s, and how we as communicators have had to continuously adapt in order to connect with our audiences in new ways. Jim introduced the PESO (paid, earned, shared, owned) model – the integrated future of media engagement for W2O.
  • Relationship is king – know your influencers and tailor your pitch to suit: Ex-reporters Ryan Flinn and Brian Reid, along with Earned Media Director Peter Duckler and blogger aficionado Carla Clunis, shared their insights into ‘What Modern Media Want’. The clear message being we must become part of the community we want to influence and ensure we’re always approaching media with meaningful and relevant content.
  • Bring in the experts, right from the start: When you see an opportunity for our client to integrate, deploy our experts across digital, social, creative and media fields.
  • Jump in the pool: Your career at W2O doesn’t have to be linear. Do great client work and pollinate across the company, teaching account teams to do what you do.
  • W2O’s new search capabilities are awesome: Creating content that’s not findable in search is almost meaningless. W2O Search, championed by Greg Reilly and Sri Nagubandi, enables us to ensure we’re always producing content that meets the needs of our audiences – and most importantly, can be found!
  • Influence can be created – passion can’t: 92% of word of mouth still happens OFFLINE. We have the capabilities to execute outstanding WOM campaigns allowing us not only  to keep track of what people are saying about brands online and offline, but also enabling us to insert ourselves into the conversation through the engagement of ambassadors to spread goodwill.
  • Our clients are looking for first class ideas, strategy and execution: As part of a panel discussion, ex-clients Jim Larkin and Lionel Menchaca shared what they look for in an agency:
    • Passionate and committed to the cause as they are
    • Know the ball park they’re playing in
    • Competitive zeal
    • Always offer strategy and counsel where possible
    • Constantly align agency work with client business objectives
  • W2O knows more about what physicians are doing socially than anyone else in the world: Sounds like a heavy claim, but our MDigital Life database has made it so – just ask Greg Matthews!

As a company at the forefront of innovation, we must continue to push the boundaries of conventional approaches; experiment and practice truly integrated planning for our clients, or as they say in Texas; “Always drink upstream from the herd!”

Jim Weiss and I are are happy to announce that Lionel Menchaca, Dell Inc.’s chief blogger, has joined our global media and engagement team in Austin and senior communications strategist, Annalise Coady, of Fleishman-Hillard (High Road), has joined our global technology practice based in London.

Lionel, one of the first corporate bloggers in the Fortune 500, is re-joining me (Bob) here at W2O Group. In my view, Lionel is the best corporate blogger in the Fortune 500. He will immediately help our clients because he combines a deep understanding of enterprise technology with a customer mindset and the skills of a publisher that can think and communicate clearly in multiple languages.

Annalise was most recently interim President of Fleishman-Hillard’s High Road Communications, an integrated digital firm in Canada. She has led teams in the Middle East, North Africa and throughout the EMEA region and has expertise ranging in all aspects of B2B and B2C technologies. She also has led and conducted exceptional work for some of the world’s leading brands outside of technology.

We are investing in and building our companies so they can provide ‘next practices’ to our clients. Annalise and Lionel represent our commitment to create a leading integrated global technology team and expand our worldwide offering and capabilities for all brands.

Learn more about Lionel and Annalise and why they joined at W2O’s CommonSense Blog here and here.

Thanks,

Bob & Jim

With all of the hiring W2O Group/WCG have done recently, we wanted to take a little time to let our partners/customers/employees get to know some of these new employees better. To that end, we are kicking off a blog series that asks each of our new employees to answer five questions — some straightforward and some that show our more playful slide. Via this process, we’re hoping to give our readers a little better sense of who we are.

For our first interview, who better to feature than one of the smartest guys in the tech industry, Lionel Menchaca. Without stealing too much of his thunder, let’s jump into the questions:

  • [Aaron] Welcome to the W2O Team Lionel. We’re looking forward to working with you. For our first question, talk a little bit about your past experience.
    [Lionel] Thanks Aaron. Happy to be here. In terms of background, I come to W2O after spending 18 years at Dell. For a big chunk of that time, I worked in Product and Corporate PR. In the last seven years, I was Dell’s Chief Blogger where I focused on writing about all aspects of the company. Today Direct2Dell has more than 500 contributors and earned over 2 million page views last year. Being an early adopter in corporate blogging helped provide the framework that shaped subsequent social efforts in social networks like Facebook, Twitter and beyond.
  • [Aaron] What is your “super power?”
    [Lionel] My super power is empathy. Being focused on what mattered to customers has always been a key reason for success.
  • [Aaron] If you could work with any company as a client, who would it be and why?
    [Lionel] I would say Google because they seem to be pushing the technological boundaries as well as anyone in the tech space these days.
  • [Aaron] How do you stay up to date on latest trends/industry news?
    [Lionel] I read a lot of individual blogs but believe it or not, I still go the same place I’ve gone to since I started blogging at Dell namely, TechMeme. In addition, I regularly read The Verge, Engadget, BGR, GigaOm and ReadWrite as well.
  • [Aaron] Finish this sentence… “The agency of the future is ________.”
    [Lionel] The agency of the future is able to help companies make sense of the volumes of social information and to build tools that help them better cope with the changes that come along with it.
Big thanks to Lionel for answering these questions. You can expect to be hearing a lot more from him on this very blog. If you have additional questions for him, you can find him on Twitter or leave it for him on the blog.

 

I always enjoy speaking with David Gelles, who writes about social media and online trends for The Financial Times, since he gets to the point and focuses on the business of social media, not the hype. I’ve linked to an article he wrote last week where I add my two cents.

Here are a few key insights that resonated with me.

The first tweet was sent by co-founder Jack Dorsey on March 21, 2006. Like many innovations, it was unclear what it would lead to at the time. Once again, entrepreneurs just sort of know when something is right.

Jeremiah Owyang likens it to when Goodyear stumbled upon the use of rubber for tires…it happens…and sometimes it is just plain good luck.

Our early work at Dell is cited. I remember clearly when our team went to SXSW in March, 2007 and started talking about Twitter. We really didn’t fully understand it at that time, but we decided to embrace it and find out what it could do. Lionel Menchaca, Richard Binhammer, Ricardo Guerrero and other members of our team just sort of knew this was worthwhile…..you can’t replace instinct.

Today, we are at the very edge of Twitter for e-commerce. It’s just beginning. And my view….is that I’m quite sure it will lead to a big change in how we do business over time….sort of feels like March, 2007 all over again….

You can read David’s article at http://bit.ly/cSBVkR

All the best, Bob Pearson