13 September 2013

Nerd Rant: Google's Android KitKat OS

Can software, or any sort of technology, jump the shark?

It's interesting to think about, especially now that technology has become so ingrained in our everyday lives. There are entire news sites dedicated to technology, troves of early adopters who buy the next best thing, and even certified tech addiction. But, can technology go too far in the name of sales figures? Let's find out.



Where did we go wrong?
You've probably heard the news of Google teaming up with Kit Kat in order to sell their newest Android OS, aptly named KitKat (without the space). There are even promotional Android-shaped Kit Kat bars, which I will admit are pretty darn cute. But, it all seems so ... gimmicky. Google didn't team up with Jelly-Belly to sell Android Jellybean, nor did they team up with Klondike to sell their Icecream Sandwhich OS. So, what gives? Why the sudden pandering to an audience that is more or less indifferent to this sort of PR and advertising?

I'm in the business of advertising technology, particularly software, and understand the stress of trying to one-up the competition. Companies have to get creative when it comes to advertising now that people can easily tune it out or even block it completely online. This is fine and dandy for smaller developers, but we're talking about Google and Android. In most statistics, Android has a staggering 80% worldwide market share for mobile phone shipments, it's used by millions, and it has the brand recognition and money of Google to back it. It certainly had the news sites talking and it even has me doing a Nerd Rant on it, but do the actual consumers feel even more compelled to have KitKat now because there's a gimmick behind it?


Who actually cares, though?
Then, there was the advertising blitz immediately thereafter. In usual fashion, it made fun of Android's biggest competition: Apple. Yawn. Android sure seems hellbent on being the bully on the block. I try not to be a fangirl for any technology company, I use both PC and Apple products, and certain aspects of Android are cool or genuinely intuitive. But, the constant jabbing at your competition just feels like you're the one who is insecure about your brand. Why not focus on your software? What can your technology do that makes it the best? There are definitely spec reports, but they always feel like they're in the backseat and not front and center.

I understand it's big business to pit tech fans against one another (Xbox vs. PlayStation, PC vs. Console, Apple vs. Android), but there are subtle ways to do it without a sucker punch to the company's jaw. Or hey, there are many other approaches to advertising that don't include constantly reminding your customer base about the competition.

Is it really all that of a big deal, though? In the grand scheme of things, probably not. But let's explore the question asked earlier: can technology jump the shark? I sure as hell think so. There is quirky and interesting advertising and then there is doing something completely unnatural because your normal go-to campaigns are growing stale and you need press. The OS could have easily been called Chocolate Bar or Chocolate Wafer, but of course, that doesn't have the same kind of ring to it nor does it guarantee headlines.

What do you think, guys? Lemme know!

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