Tag Archives: microsoft

Spare Ticket announced as AMI National Finalist

Ok shameless plug warning! We’re super excited to see our client Spare Ticket announced as a National Finalist for the Australian Marketing Institute’s Awards for Marketing Excellence in the ‘New Brand’ category. We’re up against some ‘stiff’ competition: Warnie’s underwear brand SpinnersSimplot’s Quorn and Queensland winner Mater Mother’s Private Redland; so fingers crossed!

The awards are a part of the AMI’s two day conference, Focus on the Future, held at the Hilton Sydney from October 19-20. The conference will showcase a number of high profile speakers from Microsoft, Commonwealth Bank, Spreets, Telstra and Nestle, to name a few, bringing together some of the world’s greatest marketing minds.

Will you be going?

Yours in marketing coolness,

The ‘Bandwagon’ that’s not for everyone

Apple’s strong marketing campaigns, amazing hardware and great software have definitely been stealing the technological spotlight almost to the extent where (and I don’t mean to start arguments about this) people seem to be forgetting all about Microsoft and what they have been up to. So I would like to take the time to talk about something that hasn’t even been rated enough to be under-rated, if that makes sense!

While we have all been staring or drooling at the pretty screens of the new iPhones or iPod Touch or iPad, we as consumers, and Apple’s competitors have had the blinkers pulled over our eyes. Apple’s icon-driven user interface on their iOS devices works. And it makes sense. It helped them sell their products in the volumes they have and it has also inspired their competitors to follow the trends they are setting. Google’s Android operating system jumped on the bandwagon and followed with very similar core design principles. With two of the major mobile operating systems choosing to go down this path, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing a lot of the same things carry over interface designs, but what about Microsoft? Have they fallen off the radar, stuck in user interface dark ages of the old desktop metaphor or will they jump on board the bandwagon and give us some more of the same?


They have actually done something completely different! Their approach to the touch screen user interface for smart phones is actually very cool. I like it because of their clever use of typography and iconography. It’s subtle, simple and clean. Take a look at these screenshots:

Windows Phone 7 Start Screen - Source: Microsoft

Windows Phone 7 Music Player - Source: Microsoft

They call the design language behind this user interface “Metro”. Its key principles are the fact that it’s incredibly clean and modern, it’s all about typography and all about doing something authentic and original. If you’re interested to see its slick animations or play with its incredibly responsive menu system or just look at something different, the next time you get a chance to, pick up a Windows 7 phone and see that no everyone has to follow the crowd.

Yours in technology,


Fastest Selling Gadget Ever? You’ll be surprised!

Which is the first company that pops into your head when I ask the question, who manufactured the fastest selling gadget of all time to date?

If you guessed Apple, I wouldn’t blame you, but you’d be incorrect – it’s actually, believe it or not Microsoft!

That’s right, a new Guinness World record for the Fastest-Selling Consumer Electronics item has been set by none other than Microsoft with its controller-free gaming device Kinect.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

The Microsoft Kinect system broke all sales records for consumer electronics, selling 8 million units in just 60 days. This smashes iPad sales figures by Apple (they sold 2 million units in the first 60 days of launch). The average of these sales by Kinect means they have achieved roughly an average sale of 133,333 units per day.

The record was confirmed Friday by Guinness on their blog.

If you read our blog often, you’ll know that I posted about Kinect just prior to its launch back last November. Since then, the number of games available that are compatible with the Kinect platform have increased and it has become one of the most popular additions to the Xbox 360 console ever.

Have you tried Kinect?

Yours in record breaking games,


10 Gadgets that Changed the World in 2010

Technology makes great strides every year, but in 2010 gadgets brought us much closer to the future of our dreams. Below are 10 devices that changed the world for the better.
1. The Apple iPad
Announced in January, only to be mocked about its name, the Apple iPad has silenced its doubters. More than seven million have been snapped up around the world, including more than 200,000 in Australia.Google reports the tablet’s unusual name became the fastest-rising search term in consumer electronics.
2. Xbox 360 Kinect
Microsoft promised it in June 2009 and late this year it delivered.
3. 3D televisions
In home-entertainment circles, 2010 was the year of 3D. The trend arrived on Australian shores on April 12 when Samsung became the first TV maker to bring 3D plasma and LCD screens Down Under.
4. Miniature cameras
Advanced digital cameras just keep shrinking – and this year they shrank into unprecedented forms.
5. Addictive apps
With the Apple, Google, BlackBerry, Windows and Samsung app stores begging for new apps to feed hungry phone users, it’s little wonder that 2010 gave birth to some of the most innovative programs for mobile phones.
6. National broadband
A select group of Tasmanians this year plugged into a national network that could change the way we live.
7. Big-screen smartphones
Touchscreen phones were big last year, but never as literally as in 2010.
This year a handful of phones bucked the miniaturisation trend and grew in size. While these phones remained slender, displays grew to four inches or more.
8. Small tablets
They didn’t make the same impact as their 9.7-inch rival (that would be the gadget at number one), but small-sized tablets are arriving and thriving.
9. eBooks for everyone
Electronic books trickled into Australian hands last year through Amazon.com, but the trend truly took off in 2010 when more digital tomes became available locally.
10. More channels
Remember when TV lovers had just five channels available? This year an extra three free channels appeared.

I wonder what Gadgets will change the world in 2011.

Source: The Brisbane Courier Mail.

Yours in Technology,

Microsoft Launches Kinect

It’s been a long time in the making, but Microsoft have finally launched Kinect.

For those of you unfamiliar with Kinect, it is Microsoft’s brand new controller-less add on for the Xbox 360. Kinect allows the gamer to control not only the menu system of their Xbox 360 simply by moving, but to interact with games in a way that’s never been seen by this console before.

In the initial stages, game types and the number of games available seem to be quite limited, however that hasn’t stopped more than 1 million customers already snapping up a Kinect unit.

The unit completely scans and reacts to full body movement, what’s more, it recognises the Xbox user that is playing! It will scan you and log you directly into your gaming profile, you can also control your Xbox by voice commands that will be recognised and specific actions taken out such as starting playback on a movie and even pausing the movie when needed!

The interactivity of Kinect is amazing. If you’re not familiar with Kinect, check out the video below which shows Kinect during pre-launch (it’s working title was Project Natal). The video demonstrates the capabilities of the system with an interactive “game”.

Will you be trying out Kinect?


Yours in Interactive Games,

Microsoft launches social media savvy mobile phone to youth market


Microsoft have lifted the veil on their latest mobile phones – Kin One and Kin Two – designed purely with Gen Y, and even Gen Z, in mind. Long gone is the main necessity of a phone to actually administer and receive phone calls … no, today we expect our phones to be multi-level digital communication devices that we only occasionally make phone calls on. You know, when we’re not using it as a GPS, to read the news, to email the office, or to listen to our latest iTunes download. Thank you iPhone, and thank you Blackberry.

Now, the youth of today, prepare yourself … the new Microsoft Kin One and Kin Two mobile phones are designed solely for the social generation. You don’t need separate apps for Facebook, Twitter or MySpace – in fact access to apps is apparently not an option. Instead via the home screen the user can stream live feeds from social networks offering minute-by-minute updates and entertainment. Facebook updates, tweets, photo albums have never been so easily assessable before in an interactive pocket-sized package.

With touchscreens, slideout keyboards, cameras that record high defintion video, the Kin also offers online storage of photos and video through Kin Studio. Manufactured by Sharp and aimed to provide easy access to Microsoft online services, the Kin phones has hit the US market first, followed by Germany, Italy, Spain, and UK.

Social media is rife, influencing how we communicate to our friends, our colleagues and our customers. And now, with the rise of mobile phones supporting social media integration, especially the social-media super savvy ‘the Kins’, who knows where technology will take us next?

Yours in design,