MediaFile

Verizon throws weight behind Motorola’s Droid Razr for the holidays

(Correction: The name “Droid” was originally misspelled in the headline.)

Verizon Wireless is bringing its considerable marketing and promotional resources to bear on the Droid Razr from Motorola Mobility, kicking off an advertising blitz this week for a gadget that the once-mighty cellphone maker hopes will make a splash this feastive season.

The campaign launched ironically just a few hours after Verizon’s executives were honored guests at a splashy event to launch ReZound, a rival phone from HTC (pictured on the left).  “Today we’re focused predominantly focused on Rezound“, Verizon Wireless spokesman Howard Waterman said.

But he went on to describe how Verizon Wireless will  kick off sci-fi style teaser television ads for the latest Motorola phone that same evening.  While Verizon is  offering several new phones for the holidays, it plans to promote Motorola’s ahead of rivals Apple Inc’s  iPhone, the Samsung  Galaxy Nexus – and HTC’s Rezound.

Razr “is clearly going to be the phone we’ll focus on and have tremendous adertising weight on in the fourth quarter,” said Waterman.

Verizon iPhone gets dinged by Consumer Reports (Update)

VERIZON/IPHONE“Antennagate” again?

The reception problem that plagued AT&T’s iPhone 4 last summer is also found on the Verizon version of the iPhone, according to Consumer Reports.  The influential nonprofit organization, which publishes guides on everything from cars to TVs, said Friday that holding the Verizon iPhone “in a specific but quite natural way” can cause the phone to drop calls.

Consumer Reports tested the device against five other Verizon smartphones — Samsung Fascinate, Motorola Droid 2 Global, HTC Droid Incredible, LG Ally, and Motorola Droid X — and said “the only phones in which the finger contact caused any meaningful decline in performance was the iPhone 4.”

The Verizon iPhone 4 launched earlier this month, but there has been no hue and cry about its reception, as there was with the AT&T device. “There has been no such outpouring of complaints about the Verizon version of the phone,” Consumer Reports noted. However, the tech blogosphere did take note of the problem when the phone went on sale.

Five marketers who better bring it big on Super Bowl Sunday

Call it the Ad Bowl. Or the Buzz Bowl. Or the BS Bowl. Doesn’t matter, it all boils down to this: Sunday’s Super Bowl is the biggest day of the year for advertisers, some of which dished out $3 million for the chance to reach an audience of 100 million consumers for 30 seconds. At that price — $100,000 a second — the stakes are high. A good commercial can be a triumph, creating just the kind of water-cooler talk that propels a brand to a new level with consumers. A bad commercial? Well, those behind it better start dusting off the old resume.

Still, like anything else, the risks are greater for some more than others. So here is our list of… Five Marketers Who Better Bring It Big On Sunday.

1). General Motors. Almost the entire auto industrycould be included in this one, since Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen and Audi are among those who will help the category account for roughly a quarter of all the commercial time during the game. It’s a turnout that reflects the improving fortunes of the U.S. auto industry, which snapped a four-year sales decline in 2010. GM, however, stands out because of the sheer number of ads it bought, five in all, after a two year absence. Can it strike the right tone with consumers? Can it differentiate its lineup? Will it play it safe — flags waving, trucks pulling 100 million tons of load, some catchy tune from an All-American rocker? Or will it try to liven things up, like Audi and Volkswagen have sought to do? (see below)

Social networking’s next frontier: the Boob Tube

IntoNowScreenYou already tell your friends which bars and restaurants you’re hanging out at, thanks to social networking tools like Facebook Places and Foursquare.

A new company called IntoNow, led by a former Google and MTV executive, thinks television is the next frontier.

The company has developed a technology that scans the audio waves emanating from your television set and identifies the program you’re watching, similar to how the popular iPhone app Shazam magically informs you of what song is playing on the radio.

Sprint: When all else fails, call a magician

davidblaineAfter bigger rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T stole the limelight at the Consumer Electronics Show with promises of multiple advanced phones for this year, now Sprint Nextel is trying to grab some attention with a stunt of its own.

In an intentionally mysterious invitation, the No. 3 U.S. mobile provider says it has enlisted the help of illusionist David Blaine to show the world how “Sprint’s making the Impossible Possible” at a New York Event scheduled for February 7.

Sprint’s promising that the event will be “a lot of fun” but it is mum on whether Blaine plans relive his Times Square encasement in a block of ice or his vertigo stunt in Bryant Park.

Apple’s Mac Store cuts the clutter

a screenshot of Apple's Appstore. REUTERS/ Apple Inc1000 apps might not seem like a lot compared to the 300,000 offered for Apple’s iPhone, but there’s enough on offer at Apple’s new Mac App Store to cover most software bases, some of it deeply discounted.

The Mac App Store interface is easy to navigate, much like the iPhone and iPad sections on iTunes, with app icons arranged in rows.

However, if you’re not running OSX Snow Leopard on your Mac, you won’t even get that far. The store isn’t offered on computers running older Mac operating systems. The solution is to upgrade your OS, but that will run you $29. And you can’t download it, so you’ll have to have it shipped to you or pick it up at one of Apple’s retail outlets.

Apple secrets at center of insider trading case

APPLE/The blockbuster insider trading case that shook Silicon Valley and Wall Street on Thursday likely gave Steve Jobs, Apple’s famously secretive CEO, a healthy case of heartburn this morning.

Four people were arrested on charges of leaking tech secrets to hedge funds–including details about Apple’s iPad months before Jobs took the tablet computer onstage with him to formally show off to the world.

According to the complaint, in October of last year, Walter Shimoon — who worked for Apple supplier Flextronics — was recorded in a phone conversation leaking information that tech geeks around the world lust for.

Palm Chief promises “hits” for HP

CES/

Six months after Hewlett-Packard announced it was buying smartphone pionners Palm  for $1 billion, technology watchers are still waiting to see just what emerges from the high-profile marriage.

Palm chief Jon Rubinstein still isn’t tipping his hand on any details around smartphones and tablets that are due next year from the new HP unit. But he certainly made no effort to manage expectations on Tuesday at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco.

“It’s absolutely a hits business…We have several products that will clearly be hits when they come out,” said Rubinstein, who predicted “tremendous growth” in devices based on webOS, the Palm platform that HP acquired when it bought the company this year for roughly $1 billion.

Jawbone maker branches out with Jambox speaker

JAMBOX_Black Diamond HandAliph, one of the most successful venture capital-backed consumer electronics start-ups in the U.S., has carved out a lucrative niche for itself making the high-end Jawbone mobile phone headset. But the company is launching a new product that will take it in a new direction, just in time for the holiday shopping season.

The company on Thursday unveiled the $199 Jambox, a Bluetooth wireless portable speaker which does double duty as a speaker phone. Aliph hopes it will become a must-have accessory for owners of iPhones, iPads and billions of other Bluetooth-enabled devices.

“This is the first step into a whole new world beyond headsets,” said Aliph CEO and founder Hosain Rahman.

Yahoo Chief slams Apple’s iAd

jobsiad2You might think from listening to most of the world’s iPhone, iPad, i-everthingelse enthusiasts that Steve Jobs and Apple can do no wrong, but not everybody is in agreement. 

In a bout of clear anti-i sentiment, Carol Bartz, CEO of Yahoo, scorned the notion that her company should follow in Apple’s footsteps with a service similar to iAd, the mobile advertising platform Apple unveiled this year. 

 ”That’s going to fall apart for them,” Bartz said in an meeting with Reuters reporters Wednesday. 
She suggested that advertisers will balk on Apple’s efforts to exert full Jobsean control over the ads. She kindly conceded that Apple’s effort is “ok for experimentation.”