"Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?" sang the Beatles on the landmark "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." They could have been referring to the medium that made them mega-stars, the long playing vinyl album, which yesterday turned 64 in better shape than anyone could have imagined. Will other tech products achieve such enduring "traction"?
Vinyl Crunch: RCA actually developed the first vinyl long playing album spinning at 33-1/3 RPM in 1931, points out Wired magazine in a celebratory posting you can read here. But little things like the Great Depression put the project on the back burner. So it's Columbia Records chief engineer Peter Goldmark who now earns all the credit for fine tuning and commercializing the vinyl album in 1948 - and even for trademarking it as the "LP."
Today, vinyl continues to rally followers young and old for its form and function. "My teenage daughter only listens to vinyl," shared super talent publicist Liz Rosenberg (whose clients include Madonna, Michael Buble and Melody Gardot) in a recent chat. Clearly that kid has access to all media. Some devotees think the LP may even outlive the CD. Gizmo Guy wouldn't go that far.
Here's some news items making us ponder the traction of other high tech entertainment media.
3D: Many naysayers have written off 3D as a short lived craze, And as a fan, it pains me when movie studios don't promote the 3D Blu-ray version of a new release. Or how DirecTV and Panasonic recently reduced the formerly 24x7 n3D channel to a "special events" only channel (it will serve up 200 hours of the London Summer Olympics in 3D.)
But on the positive side, Nintendo has been selling millions of its' 3DS game system. And today, the company announced a more expensive ($199.99) 3DS XL model with a "90 percent" bigger 4.88 inch 3D screen, hitting the U.S. August 19th. Clearly, lthey've found traction.
E-Book Lending Libraries: What's better for readers than the ability to instantly purchase/download a book on your tablet? A free instant download, right? Still, a new study from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project finds that only 12 percent of Americans over the age of 16 who read e-books have gone to the trouble of borrowing one from a library in the past year. And 62 percent of library users don't even know that they can check out e-books from the comfort of their homes. That's a shame.
Android Tablet Viability: Android-based smart phones are a genuine hit - collectively outselling the vaunted iPhone. But Android tablets - um, that's another, not so hot story, shares Marci McCue, marketing executive for the super popular content aggregator Flipboard. Apple's 2010 iPad app of the year, Flipboard has finally launched on Android smart phones and also will be newly available on the Kindle Fire and Nook tablets which use custom baked operating systems, But as far as standard, run-of- the-mill Android tablets - Flipboard is in no rush to go there. "As far as tablets go, the biggest player is the iPad," said McCue. "We'll watch the market but right now the market is the iPad."
Internet Radio: Our favorite internet radio app TuneIn is clearly taking off, especially in the mobile space. Cataloguing 70,000 radio stations from 200+ countries plus millions of on-demand radio programs, the company has now reported a 267 percent increase in the number of mobile listeners from the prior year, and a fan base of 30+ milllion active monthly users worldwide. Billboard magazine reports TuneIn is upping its game with a bunch of the top talk radio brands, including Fox News Radio, Bloomberg Radio, Public Radio Exchange and Monocle 24.
Smart Car Blues: J.D. Power and Associate's 2012 U.S. Initial Quality Study is out, and the big story is the bad grades served by consumers for their new vehicles' high tech audio, entertainment and navigation systems. Complaints about hands-free voice technology lead the pack. And the findings inflicted special damage to the ratings of Ford, which has made a really big deal of its' MyFord Touch and Sync systems developed with Microsoft. Two years ago, Ford rated fifth in customer satisfaction. This year, it came in 27th. Get back to the drawing boards, dudes!