2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

mobile brands

MWC '14: With QWERTY Keyboard in Hand, BlackBerry Plans Out Return to Greatness

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 25, 2014 06:42 PM

If there's any news worth reading about out of Mobile World Congress this week, it's that BlackBerry is essentially rising from the dead. 

After falling from what was once the highest point on the smartphone mountain, the Canadian mobile brand looks to be making a comeback with new products, services and partnerships. But a big part of BlackBerry's comeback strategy isn't looking to the future—it's pulling from the past. 

Along with lower-priced devices aimed at emerging markets in Asia, the brand “plans to offer a retro-styled device with a keyboard” and trackpad, the Wall Street Journal reports. It may seem antiquated, but the phone also has built-in Menu, Back, Send, and End buttons—all requests of longtime customers looking for that "classic" BlackBerry feel. 

"We are definitely here to compete and make up some lost ground," BlackBerry CEO John Chen said, the Journal reports. Chen continues to be excited about the challenge BlackBerry has ahead of it: “This is like the third shift, sitting there, by myself…and trying to figure out where the problem is,” he said. "It could be devastating—you could be wrong. You could be working on a problem in circles and looking at the wrong places. But it could be really cool too.”Continue reading...

mobile brands

Intel Sets its Sights on Mobile at MWC '14

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 25, 2014 12:33 PM

After a broad presentation at January's Consumer Electronics Show, debuting consumer facing products like a charging bowl, and some more in line with Intel's usual business in computing, the chip company has set out to make a global impression on the mobile market at Mobile World Congress. 

Intel is using the MWC 2014 stage to outline its product roadmap and broader strategy to gain a bigger piece of the mobile industry market in 2014, including the launch of a 64-bit Atom processor, previously code-named Merrifield, and a 64-bit mobile Atom processor, code-named Moorefield, both of which are key ingredients in next-generation smartphones and tablets.

Matt Dunford, global Chief Benchmarking Manager at Intel, said these improvements maximize overall performance above that of Apple's A7 chip in the iPhone 5S, and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800, and the battery life is superior to both as well.Continue reading...

corporate responsibility

Apple Redeems Its Public Image with Improvements in Supply Chain, Sustainability

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 14, 2014 05:41 PM

Apple’s reputation as a tech innovator may be tarnished of late, but its corporate social responsibilties are shining more brightly as the company’s eighth annual supply-chain report said the company’s hardware factories do not use tantalum, a metal used in electronics, that is mined in areas currently engaged in warfare.

Warlords in the Democratic Republic of Congo profit from the sale of ores containing tantalum, as well as tungsten, tin and gold and grass-roots activists have called on corporate tech giants to keep "conflict minerals" out of their supply chain.

The report also uncovered fewer cases of child labor than last year: 23 underage workers as opposed to 74. Apple has been roundly criticized for using minors in its global supply chain for parts for iPhones and iPads which are made in 451 plants operated by various suppliers that collectively employ nearly 1.5 million people.

Apple relies heavily on Asian partners like Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group and has been criticized for not interfering with mandates for excessively long workweeks at its supplier factories, of which several were cited for not paying workers for overtime and no providing insurance. However, according to the new report, Apple says that its suppliers have achieved an average of 95 percent compliance with its standard maximum 60-hour work week.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Foxconn Looks West for Expansion Opportunities

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 27, 2014 07:33 PM

Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group, best-known as the major (and controversial) supplier of Apple’s iPhones and iPads, will likely be building high-tech factories in the US and low-cost plants in Indonesia in a major manufacturing shift away from China.

Labor issues and rising costs integral to "made in China" are forcing the world’s largest contractor of electronic products to stray from the motherland. "Foxconn has no choice but to do it," said Danny Lee, fund manager of Mega Financial Holdings, according to Reuters. "China is no longer a manufacturing hub for companies worldwide, especially so for the PC industry."

Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou, speaking at the company's 40th anniversary gathering yesterday, said, "Automation, software and technology innovation will be our key focus in the US in the coming few years."Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Microsoft, Google, Apple and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 27, 2014 09:14 AM

In the News

Microsoft posts record sales as Ballmer prepares exit; competes with Amazon on cloud storage prices; admits to Syrian Electric Army email breach; and releases global study on power of technology.

Google pushes back against data localization, faces protest in San Francisco, buys artificial intelligence startup DeepMind and announces global patent agreement with Samsung.

Apple reportedly eyes mobile payments service, as hopes are high for Q1 earnings release on Monday.

AIG says it’s on offense as corp rep restored.

AT&T quashes rumors of Vodafone bid.

Accenture tries to grab STEM graduates early.

Ally Financial readies pre-IPO roadshow.Continue reading...

brand revival

BlackBerry Gets Big Push from Pentagon on Road to Recovery

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 22, 2014 11:21 AM

BlackBerry’s eventual demise has been predicted for more than a year, particularly since its last batch of consumer phones made practically no impact on the mobile market. But it looks as if BlackBerry will live to die another day, as the brand has been on the up-and-up so far in 2014 and received a big vote of confidence this week from the US government. 

"The US Defense Department said its smartphones will be the primary device supported on a new network,” according to Bloomberg. By the end of January, around 80,000 of the company’s phones will be connected to the Department of Defense system. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android will also be represented on the system but only with about 1,800 phones and tablets. According to Fox News, the phones are part of the Pentagon’s “new mobile program for unclassified work.”

The news of the order helped BlackBerry’s stock see a gain on Tuesday, while the stock has seen a 22 percent gain so far this year. That's a noticeable turnaround from 2013, in which the company's stock fell 37 percent to a 10-year low in December. The company, though, doesn't expect to turn a profit until 2016.Continue reading...

mobile brands

BlackBerry Will Go On, Chen Says (At Least in a Knock-Off Keyboard)

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 8, 2014 01:52 PM

Smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry used to rule the roost as the world aspired to have the same phones that chief executives and bigwig attorneys were tapping away on. But BlackBerry had little chance to survive when the likes of Apple and Samsung introduced more advanced, user-friendly technology that has since won consumers the world over. 

It seemed that the company formerly known as Research In Motion was going to take a long-term leave from the consumer market, focusing on business and software, but BlackBerry apparently still has some fight left in it. CEO John Chen said at CES 2014 this week that while the company was going to “focus on its enterprise business for the next 18 months,” it was still planning to keep in the consumer smartphone race as well.

After posting as astounding $4 billion loss and only selling two million of its new smartphones, Chen said BlackBerry needs to sell five times that per quarter in order for the company to break even.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Apple Launches 'Made in USA' Campaign with New Mac Pro

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 20, 2013 08:02 PM

Apple is now taking orders for its new all-American Mac Pro computer, the first product in its $100 million “Made in the USA” drive announced in October.

The cylindrical computer that looks like a "space-age trash can or small jet engine," according to Ad Age, is the first Apple product made from domestically manufactured components. Containing Intel's latest Xeon chip, it has a starting price of $2,999 and can reach up to $3,999 depending on the chip’s power and memory. 

More than 2,000 people in 20 states are working on the Mac Pro, according to the company.Continue reading...

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