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Apple – Not A Technology Company

February 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Each time a new highly promoted mobile phone is launched, the media adds the following by default: “potential iPhone killer”. It seems to be believed that almost any phone launched is made to compete directly with Apple. The same is now said of tablets, where everything launched since the iPad is an iPad competitor. The sense of these comparisons is questionable at best, since Samsung, Motorola, HTC and others are technology companies. Apple is a fashion company.

A company launches a revolutionary product that changes the way in which we consume media on the move. Sold at a premium, this device becomes the “must have” item of its generation and propells the company to worldwide success, as it becomes a household name. Anyone looking to purchase a device for personal media consuption immediately thinks of this product before all others, not because of a superior feature set but due to its status as THE device of this type. There were others on the market of matching and even superior quality, but with no premium brand recognition, consumers were always going to choose the safe, accepted option.

Competitors eventually realised that you can not beat someone at a game that they did not invent themselves. What they needed was a new, evolved game, one with rules that they could control and shape in their own favour. With a new game they could compete on price and functionality in a way that suits your needs and gives you access to the market you desire. Sony was too slow to react; the iPod destroyed the Walkman.

Apple achieved this victory over the previous champion of portable media consumption, and in recent years took control of the smartphone market (without actually producing smartphone initially) because they changed the game. A hard drive instead of a cassete tape or CD meant it couldn’t be directly compared to the Walkman, which used inferior technology, so they were able to price it as a premium item, immediately creating an “exclusive” label for something most never realised they wanted (unless you truly do need to take 1500 hours worth of music with you for your daily 90 minute round trip to the office). A mobile with a capacity touchscreen, perfect for finger based navigation could not be compared to resistive devices as they were meant to be used with a stylus. In both cases the products took years before they could be classed amongst the top tier on features, but in the eyes of the consumer they were the ones to own.

Ask the typical iOS user why the are not using another operating system. You will not be impressed with reasoned, informative views on the failings of competing products and why they can not match their needs. You will be informed that Apple is better because it has better applications. Push for examples of this and you will be lucky if even a single app name is provided as being better on iOS than other platforms. I can only assume that companies have so far failed to realise exactly what they are fighting because they refuse to look at the industry through a different window. This failure is ever more shocking when you consider how Apple propelled themselves into the position they hold today. 

If you were to look into the home of a typical Apple user today you would see their Macs and iOS devices take centre stage, placed and positioned so precisely they could be mistaken for ornaments. But ornaments they are, used to present their owners as “cool” and “up-to-date” with today’s technology. They are on show to highlight that their owners buy the best, regardless of cost. Apple products are fashion accessories to the general public, in the same way that Nokia devices with the changeable faces were a few years ago.

Buzz words like “eco-system” and “closed environment” are used in ways that imply this is a game never before seen. This game is just another evolution of the one always played, and the key remains the same – “cool” always wins. Not the most features, the most open source, the best applications or the best screen technology, just ask Apple of the 80s or every other mobile manufacturer when the iPhone first arrived that could not even send MMS and had no app store behind.

Attempting to best Apple by offering products with improved specifications but at a higher price will never work, nor will offering a device with matching specifications at a slightly lower price. You must offer something different, something unique that blurs the lines when comparisons are drawn.  You can not play Apple’s game and win; their game, their rules. Change the game.

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Nokia Makes Plans, Samsung Makes Moves

September 8, 2010 Leave a comment

In June I posted on Nokia’s vision of the mobile market and specifically how they view the space in which tablet devices are intended to fit. While Nokia has been continuing with its planning (and re-planning, as they have since realised their initial tablet outlines do not match the market expectations), Samsung have surged ahead, taking centre stage with the same strategy.

Samsung recognised that a tablet at the right size can be the ultimate portable device, but even with its vast array of features, it can not truly replace the mobile phone. With this realisation, the Korean company looked for another way in, and it seems they came to the same conclusion as their Finnish rivals. Although it is not possible to completely replace a mobile handset, creating a device that prioritises the typical use cases of a phone (web browsing, text messaging, email, music, video, gaming) limits the benefits of the smaller device to one core feature – calls. If they can convince users that it is just as convenient to use a tablet for everything other than calls, while also giving an improved overall experience due to the larger screen, consumers will begin to look at tablets as not just mini-computers, but super-sized smart phones.

This approach immediately opens up tablets (and in particular, the Galaxy Tab) to the masses, but this alone is not the end game. As I highlighted in June, this development brings with it the opportunity for operators to sell consumers a second handset, and with it, a contract. The ultimate goal is for consumers to purchase 2 devices: 1 a portable browsing device and the second will be their handset for traditional calls and messaging. This may seem familiar and it most certainly is, as network operators have been trying to push netbooks alongside mobiles for a couple of years already. This however, is not in anyway the same thing. The tablet will replace your smart phone as you use it today; the second device will be pushed as a “minimalist” product, for when you are out on the town and only need a phone to stay in contact. These devices will more often than not be feature phones (such as the HTC Wildfire or the Samsung Wave 2) with displays no larger than 3.5 inches. The user experience will be largely transferable between a tablet and its “partner” phone, as manufacturers including Samsung and HTC have used their custom skins for Android as the basis of their feature phone UIs. Ultimately operators will attempt to make “bundles” of a tablet and a phone, allowing users to pay one monthly cost for both products.

The Samsung Tab is the trial run for how operators and manufacturers hope to position and market their products in the future. The early adopters will pay more for the convenience of a tablet and mobile phone with 1 contract, but as this type of bundle becomes more prevalent and our options broaden, we as consumers  should come out on top. The only real question is whether Nokia will be able to get its house in order quick enough to become one of those options.

What Can Tablets Replace?

August 31, 2010 Leave a comment

On the 3rd of September 2010, the IFA and gadget enthusiasts around the world converge on Berlin. This year the focus is expected to be on 3D, tablets and… 3D tablets. Over the next few days the media will be awash with proclamations of “iPad Killer” tablets, tablets “killing” the netbook or laptop categories, tablets have become “the number one Christmas wishlist item!” and so on. Before the mayhem starts and our minds and credit cards are whisked away by thoughts of big, shiny, touch screen devices, we should pause and ask a question: what can a tablet replace?

It might seem unfair to raise this question now, when we are still unaware of the specifications for devices still to be announced, but we can still conduct some analysis if we approach the question from the other side. In order to achieve this, we must ask a different question: what is wrong with our current options?

Portable Media Players

Pros – Small, portable. Good audio playback. Large memory storage and/or memory expansion.

Cons – Screens are too small. Dependent on a PC/MAC/Laptop to load media. Poor browsing experience. Poor apps store (for Android PMPs such as the Archos 5).

PNDs (Personal Navigation Devices)

Pros – Very good GPS antennas. Large screens. Simple menu layouts. Easy to use.

Cons – Single use device. Large and bulky.

E-Readers

Pros – Light, very portable (depending on the model). E-ink displays allow comfortable reading in any area with light, and also give the devices fantastic battery life.  If you are travelling, its easy to add new content without weighing down the luggage.

Cons – Single function device. A laptop or tablet is still needed for media consumption, browsing and word processing.

Netbooks

Pros – Light, portable way to carry almost full office productivity on the go. Keyboard. Can be used to for media consumption, browsing and e-book reading. Front facing camera for Skype/Google calls. Email.

Cons – No built in disc drive. Fragile under basic load conditions (when compared to a laptop). Uncomfortable for e-book reading. Display is poor under sunlight.

iPad

Pros – Portable. Full media consumption (via iTunes). Good email and browsing experience. Can load games from the iPhone. Every major e-book store available. Thousands of applications available to “mould” the iPad as you would like it via the Apps Store. Very long battery life. GPS (3G model).

Cons – Heavy and not practical for one-handed use. Must be propped up for extended use. Uncomfortable for typing. Very long charging time. No camera for Skype/Google calls. No full office experience. Not entirely desktop independent. Very expensive. The applications that bring the most productivity are purchase only. No multi-tasking. No flash support.

Laptops

Pros – Portable. Complete media consumption including optical discs. Full office experience. Great multi-tasking. Full keyboard. Camera for Skype/Google calls. Can be used for e-book reading, browsing & email.

Cons – Large, heavy and bulky. Poor for e-reading. Poor battery life.

Now that we have identified the problems, lets consider the solutions.

Archos has done an admirable job trying to combine the first two devices with their Archos 5 Internet Tablets. This has not been a success of course but they were moving in the right direction. Almost every tablet announced since the Archos 5 has included GPS. The ideal device at this screen size would combine a portable media player, e-book reader and navigation applications. This type of device should be the natural progression for the PND industry, as they attempt to stay relevant in a world filled with GPS enabled mobile phones and tablets. Imagine a device such as the Cowon v5, a 5″ display but with Android 2.2 or 3.0 and Navigon’s Navigator application pre-installed.  Such a device could redefine the “high-end” PND market.

Moving forward to displays of 7″+,  issues with e-book readers, the iPad and netbooks can be resolved. The problems are resolved by building a scalable device, a tablet that can be enhanced with accessories. The OS is also scalable, enhancing the ability of the device to adapt to the users needs. Due to its availability, market support, developer support and cost, Android is the only real choice for a scalable solution. The tablet would launch with separately sold accessories such as Bluetooth keyboards and docking stations, that add to its ability to being a viable laptop alternative. To fully replace the e-book reader it would be necessary to use a Pixel Qi type display, but for most readers the ability of this tablet to work not only as a colour e-book reader but as a netbook replacement (with or without the keyboard) would be enough at the right price.

As the IFA event approaches, we should remember that most Android tablets are only scaled down netbooks. They offer almost the same basic functionality (browsing, basic word processing, email, webcam for Skype), with the key difference being that a tablet is slightly more portable and is faster to use as a “quick grab” device due to the OS (netbook manufacturers installed Android on some of their products for this very reason). What is desired by the masses is not a tablet but a netbook, running Android, with a detachable touch screen display. While you are glued to your favourite blog over the next week, it might be worth taking a note of how much extra netbook manufacturers like Samsung, Asus and Acer believe you’re willing to pay for the ability to leave the keyboard at home.

LG’s Lost Advantage

August 12, 2010 Leave a comment

2008 was a brilliant year for LG’s handset division. Their strategy of providing feature phones with smartphone enhancements took the market by storm; they essentially created a third tier of mobile devices. It seemed to many in the industry that this could be the company that would ultimately “do a Motorola” and release a RAZR type marquee product that they would be able to milk for years to come. We jump to 2010 and LG’s surge has been surpassed by HTC and Samsung. LG are now seen as the budget alternative, far behind the competition rather than the smart choice.

There are many reasons that could explain how the company failed to maximise the opportunity it had created for itself in 2008, but there is only one description that accurately encompasses them all – complacency. What I find particularly perplexing is why they believed the company was in a position to contemplate such actions. Unlike Motorola, they did not have a RAZR product to milk. They did have the Viewty, but this was in no way a device successful enough to carry the business. It could be that their analysis of the market was incorrect and they did not see the trend for full smartphones coming, despite being on-board with Android from the beginning and being a player with the Windows Mobile. There is also the outside chance that LG are content with being in the second tier of handset manufacturers, but I believe the most distinguished theory lies in the belief that other principalities of the LG empire took more of a priority.

While the handset business did wonders for enhancing the profile of the company in 2007 – 2008, it was their display technology division and sales of their plasma and LCD televisions that gave the board their bonuses. The rate of growth in this market at the time was quite impressive, with LG benefiting as other manufacturing looked to the Korean maker for display panels. All growth comes at a cost however, and money had to be spent on growing their manufacturing facilities to increase capacity. In March 2009 LG opened a new $1.6billion LCD plant in South Korea, with further investments totally almost $3billion in other manufacturing facilities by 2018.

It is perhaps selfish of me to observe their actions from with limited knowledge and a clear bias towards their mobile offerings. I am sure people more acquainted with the company as a whole will have seen this as the right long-term move for the company, but I do that they do not neglect the mobile market for too long. Their unique way of thinking and imaginative offerings continue to push other manufacturers and this is something we must never tire of, even if there are disappointments along the way.

How To Convince Mobile Users To Change Their OS

Over the next 12 months there will 6 major smartphone operating systems vying for the warmth of your trouser pocket: Meego, Web OS, Blackberry OS, iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7. With so many options to users, how can any one OS rise up to dominate in the manor Apple has achieved?

The key is not in being the best, but in educating the user.

A mere 5 years ago moving from a Nokia to a Siemens device only required copying your contacts to the SIM and deciding just how important it was to play Snake on a daily basis. As simple as this seems, the mere thought of changing manufacturers and using a device with unfamiliar icons was considered adventurous beyond belief by the average user. Those who dared to peruse such a road were considered mavericks (or nerds and shunned to the “weirdo” corner of the social stratosphere). Returning to the present and we now have the dominant smartphone OS of Apple, which has taken mobile handset Neanderthals into the area of installing applications. These same people just a few years previous struggled to comprehend placing their contacts on a SIM to switch manufacturers; how can they even begin to grasp the concept of installing applications on a different platform and no longer using iTunes?

Believe it or not, Apple has laid out the rule book for how this can be achieved:

The Promise – Great products fail before they have stepped off the factory floor because they are never presented to the public as something that can fulfil their needs. I believe the main culprit for this failing is the belief that the need must first exist to the public at large before it is addressed. This is a common misconception; you need only to observe any Apple product launch to see how such a situation is handled. First, a problem allegedly found by their analysis of the market and highlighted by their customers is explained in great detail, to emphasise the depth of their “investigation”. This detail is vital, as it implies that the solution that will be announced over the following minutes has been well thought out, and it is unlikely any other solution can be found. If this is executed correctly, the reveal of the solution produces a psychological sigh of relief, as the short lived (but “important”) problem has been resolved. The launch/re-launch of an OS is thus defined by its ability to solve the problem its designers highlighted. For the iPhone OS, the problem was complicated, ugly UIs and the solution was a visually appealing UI matched with incredible simplicity.

Hype – No successful product has been launched on hype alone, but hype is still vital. Gaining “hype” is quite simple as long as you have a worthy Promise. The key is to minimise the time between announcement and shipping. If you are unable to launch within a month, it becomes necessary to supplement the hype with leaks or interviews. If we use Android as an example, the build-up and hype would be towards the next release. A supplementary leak would be a screen shot or two of a pre-release version of the OS on a device (using a device rather than emulator implies that the release is close). Committing to providing units early to certain websites/blogs such as Engadget, Tech Crunch and CNET also guarantees some extra coverage as you build towards release.

Marketing – Apple are renowned for their advertisements; they are able to get across their message using simple, concise methods while still making their products aspirational to the public at large. The construct of an Apple advert is quite interesting: a normal person, a normal environment, a desire to conduct a simple task in the environment + The Solution to complete the task. This entire construct is almost the exact opposite of how mobile devices are currently advertised. For example recent campaign by Motorola contained a series of advertisements showcasing the differences between the iPhone and their new Droid device, using a “Droid Does” slogan. These advertisements were entertaining to the geek community and did highlight key failings in the iOS platform, but none of this mattered to the average user. The adverts placed the device in the typical high-end mobile device niche (advanced, hard to use device “full of features I do not require”) and insured it would never become a mass market success in the vein of the RAZR or iPhone. Apple’s method works because it appeals to people of all ages. An OS with intentions of competing directly with the iPhone must appeal to the same user base.

Another method Apple uses to market their devices is product placements. Here also we must learn from the way in which Apple is presented. Their is no real focus on their devices or any major functionality in their product placements in television shows beyond on occasion a character finding it necessary to install an application to accomplish a goal (note the simplicity of the problem – resolution method used here). In most instances we see average people use their iPhones to achieve simple tasks like making a call, sending a text message or taking a picture. There is one key element however that is highlighted by every TV show – the speed of use. There is an assumption that in fact the focus is on simplicity, but that is purely a by-product. TV shows are about progression, the movement of a storyline from one scene to the next. Each scene is filled with as much information as possible to allow the ease of transition on to the next one. Its impossible not to be aware of this while watching your favourite shows; a common example is when you are checking the clock profusely if it seems a story may not be resolved before an episode comes to an end. A regular viewer of a series also recognises when a foreign element is introduced. When this happens, if The Promise and Hype have been executed correctly, the viewer will recognise the product and be interested to see its use by familiar characters. The viewer will notice if this product changes the manor in which a character normally operates. What viewers notice with Apple products is their favourite characters completing tasks quickly and simply. A great length of time is not spent with a character demonstrating and explaining what they are doing as its simply not necessary. Far too many marketing departments wrongly assume that showing someone achieving some great technical wizardry on a device entices customers. They assume that if they have your attention, they’ve succeeded in selling you the product. What they fail to realise is that while an image can be eye-catching, if they have failed to show the average user that they can still achieve their simple, day to day tasks with ease on this device (or OS), the average person will never assume it can also fulfil their needs.

Matching iOS apps experience – Applications are the key to any OS; they can be used to highlight how mature, stable and innovative a platform is, while also showing all of its limitations. Handset manufacturers using the Android platform believe that the purpose of the applications being used is more important than the apps themselves, so as long as the same goals can be achieved on their devices, there is no problem. They are wrong however, there is a problem. On a mobile device, the method in which a task is achieved is fundamental. Any change in this behaviour affects a user negatively at first, as they will need to learn the flow of this new UI. What this means is that a user of an email application on one platform will not be convinced that their experience will be the same on another platform, just because there’s an email app there too. Users have to be shown that their experience with their applications can be transferred. Individual applications have to be highlighted, showing the quality of the experience available and that it works almost exactly like what they are used to. Added features and functionality is fine, but asking a user to use a completely new menu structure in order to update their Facebook status will not win customers. The focus should be on making the transition as seamless and pain-free as possible. You are more likely to convince users to switch by offering them the same basic package + more, than by offering them something completely different. Different means new, something to learn and things to consider. Even if its better, this only matters if a user is unhappy with what they already have. Ideally, the easiest way to achieve this is to get the same programmers building versions of their application for your platform, but this is not always as easy as it would seem.

This last, final step is the hardest to achieve for any platform. Good product management practices dictate that to achieve such a goal, development of applications would be brought in-house, or at the very least a multi-year contract would be signed guaranteeing support of the application on the handset, backed up by a financial reward and penalty. The truth is the margins in the mobile space currently are being squeezed almost past the breaking point; the risks for such an undertaking are too dear for anyone other than Microsoft to consider.

Or Google. With their Android platform they are in a prime position to take on such a strategy. They have nothing to loose with such an undertaking. Android will become the dominant mobile device platform with or without their promotion, purely due to the wide ranging support they have not just from handset manufacturers but makers of tablets, laptops, microwaves, cars… The breadth of support allows them to take more risks, recognising that the potential pay-offs are immeasurable. Even if their campaign somehow managed to fail, it would not hinder the growth of the OS by any stretch of the imagination.

Consider this strategy being used for the upcoming Android 3.0 (Gingerbread) release. They announce that this new release will run on every new Android handset released after the 30th of November, and will allow all devices to have access to all of the applications in the Android Market. A week or two later screenshots emerge of the OS running on a handset and a tablet. An Android Market icon can be seen on the tablet, indicating that tablets will now have Android Market support. A couple of weeks on and the advertisements begin. One airs showing someone taking pictures, then emailing them to a friend. The friend opens one of the images, then using a menu option plans a route to the location as the image was geotagged. Another ad shows someone sat on a couch browsing on a tablet. They come across an ad for a sale starting tomorrow at a local store, so they click on the Google Maps button on the website which brings up the address and they save the location as a starred item in Google Maps. The next morning we see the person walk out the door leaving their tablet on the couch, but with their phone in hand the user launches Google maps where they are already logged in and sees the starred item created on the tablet. They select on the shop address and choose the options to navigate there. One advert explains to a user that they can do something that they have done before (take a picture, email it easily, navigate to a picture) and another shows them something new which they have not done before. Put simply, they are able to do exactly what they do now, but there’s also more. This is beginning to become a compelling product.

The general public does not care about the best OS, as they have no way of knowing what that means. They only care whether something is easy, familiar and enjoyable. The iPhone OS is all of these things, while not being the best OS, but that doesn’t matter. For the majority of iPhone users its the best OS because it gives them exactly what they want. No other OS on the market is currently able to match the iOS this out-of-the-box experience (applications do need to be installed for an idevice to have any real value but this is still a much easier process than competitor offerings), but this will not be the case forever. There is a massive opportunity for Google, Microsoft or even Nokia to step out and demand attention, to declare themselves ready and willing to not only match but beat the iOS platform. The move is bold and almost certainly suicidal for someone like Nokia at this stage but, he who dares wins.

Where are the Pixel Qi tablets?

Their displays looked to revolutionise the industry at CES, offering a world in which grey-scale e-book readers and a high resolution multi-function tablet device became one. I and the rest of the buying market still await the unveiling of a single product ready to ship with this technology on-board.

Many have reasoned that the hold up is due to the screens simply not being ready. Such advanced technology would need rigorous testing, new manufacturing techniques and there were bound to be new problems discovered that were not legislated for. Pixel Qi has consistently rejected this conclusion and placed the blame for the delay on the companies building these tablets. They continued to reiterate that contracts were in place, but they had to wait patiently on others to confirm shipping dates. To their credit it seems that PQ has been presenting an honest picture, as we have seen from the successful shipment of their displays to component retailers (the displays were sold out mere hours later). Logically the reasoning behind the delay now must turn to the tablet manufacturers.

I believe the delay is not of their making; the delay is due to Android. At present there is no real market of tablet devices, there is only the iPad. This device has no use case, but it does have the Apps Store. For anyone else stepping into this product category without a use case, the bare minimum is a lower RRP and the Android Market pre-installed. The first goal has already been realised by Archos and others. The Android store does not at present support tablet devices however due to their size and lack of 3G. This is all due to change in the 4th quarter with version 3.0 (Gingerbread)
of the Android OS, which I believe will open the floodgates.


Christmas 2010’s gadget gift list will almost certainly be topped by tablet devices, offering a vast range of functionality for very competitive prices ($299 is the market rate and another $100 is added for those using Pixel Qi technology, with holiday discount prices removing $20-30). The most enticing deals will be those including e-book coupons with the purchase, or will simply come with a selection of books pre-installed. I would also expect to see similar for films, with a tablet shipping with a Netflix app pre-installed and a 14 Day free streaming trial coupon in box or sent via email after registration.

Christmas 2010 will be a very rewarding time to step into the tablet category.

Google & privacy…

It would seem that this is the most opportune of moments to address something that I have touched upon in an earlier post. With the news today of the class action lawsuit against Google, its clear that serious questions are about to be asked about the data they are collecting.

As I explained in a previous post, the interpretation by the general public to Google giving away features and applications is almost always deemed to be for “the greater good”. While there is a recognition that Google as a company have certain interests in the internet, most seem to assume that for example they will make their money from Google Docs when they sell the complete solution to various corporations; the public is simply being used as guinea pigs to test their software. While there is some truth in the latter statement, there is a large question mark on whether people realise what Google’s main source of income is.

Maybe its simply that most people look at their usage of applications and the internet at large as a collection of separate experiences, with merely coincidental overlay.  It could be that people have no real interest in their privacy online and see discussion on the matter as simply unnecessary.  I believe however that the Google brand is seen as so trusting to the public, that any concerns regarding privacy and the use of their personal data are just pushed to the side. The differences in belief between Google and Facebook is very interesting in this debate. On the face of it we give far more personal data to Facebook than to Google and we have seen the side affects this has in the media, as Facebook continues to try to monetise this information as quickly as possible. The most interesting thing however is that the vairous complaints from mainly the technology press has had no more affect than a strong gust of wind on willow tree.  Branches have been shaken a little and maybe something like a leaf or two has fallen off but thats it. Facebook, in response to this “overwhelming media pressure” simply re-organised the presentation of privacy settings for user accounts but continue to go forward with harvesting  data any way they can. There has been no mass loss of users, no big ongoing campaign on Facebook itself to do more, nothing. What we can take from this situation is that as long as you provide a service that people like for free, you will have to do a lot more than “simply” sell their data to turn them away.

Google is on Easy Street right now. Just as everyone has accepted that they scan your emails on your gmail account and provide ads based on the content, track your location with Google Maps, track every search you make and record every website you visit, people will not flap an eyelid at their (accidental) WIFI snooping ways or almost anything else they do any time soon. Don’t assume though that this is just an ignorant stance to take regarding your privacy. Without a lot of money and serious professional help its almost impossible to go “off the grid” these days. When you have companies such as Netflix saying that they can build a pretty accurate profile of a person based on simply their rental history, you have to realise we’re simply living in a different world.  Hiding from “The Man” is not the only reason to be concerned about your data of course and it is right to be wary of one company holding so much information about you. One “solution” of sorts is spreading your information around by using different email and search providers, clearing your cache after every browsing session, avoiding any devices on the Android platform, shopping at different supermarkets and general stores, avoiding loyalty cards, only using cash for purchases, only buying films rather than renting….

We have to realise that our own desire for comfortable, easy living has created the opportunities for a companies like Google , Apple (they could potentially have a history of your phone, music selection, movies and tv series, books, laptops, macs) or any number of others to try to provide all of the services that you need to live your life the way you want. Everything comes at a cost however and while we may not see the price upfront, we have to remember that it is always there being paid by us with our sacrificing of more and more of our personal data. The issue of privacy ultimately comes down to a question, and the answer to that question defines exactly what you can and are willing to do regarding protecting your privacy. The question is simple: how important is convenience in your life?