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09/29/08

Google, T-Mobile to Launch G1 Cell Phone on October 22; Phone to Cost $179



Google Inc. unveiled its first cell phone, the G1, at a press conference last Tuesday. The mobile was developed in partnership with wireless carrier T-Mobile and Taiwan-based handset maker HTC Corp. The touch-screen phone is powered by Google’s Android operating system, which it developed last year. The G1 will cost $179 with a two-year contract and will go on sale in the US on October 22. The phone incorporates various Google products such as Google Map and Google Talk and also provides a platform for third-party applications. Additionally, the G1 offers its users the option to download music from Amazon’s MP3 store. Currently, Google and T-Mobile are working on TV and in-channel marketing campaigns for the phone, which will debut in October. The two firms claim that this will be the biggest campaign ever for a mobile device.

NYTimes Launches Social Network, Expands Its Online Business Coverage

NYTimes.com announced this week the public beta launch of TimesPeople, an opt-in social network that allows the Times’s audience to share comments about news and articles. With an aim to increase interactivity and reader retention, NYTimes.com now allows readers to share recommendations and comments and create profiles to view the public activities of other members. Members can also share ratings and reviews of movies, shows, restaurants, and hotels.

Additionally, NYTimes.com has made significant changes to expand its online business coverage. The media powerhouse redesigned its Technology section, added an Economy section, introduced a blog on energy and the environment (called Green Inc.), and made enhancements to the Times’s mobile site.

Top 100 Global Brands Hemorrhage $67B in Value

The top 100 global brands had, before the onset of the current Wall Street crisis, already lost 4.2%, or $67 billion worth, of their value through the first nine months of 2008, a new report from Brand Science, London, has found. In terms of brand value, the study ranks Wal-Mart ahead of Coca-Cola, with Microsoft, IBM, and Google filling out the rest of the top five. David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, said that there has been a notable shift in the rankings of a number of brands as consumer priorities readjust in the face of recession. Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retail chain, edged out Coca-Cola for the top slot as the most valuable brand, and Vodafone replaced financial marketer Citi in the top 10. Haigh also said that consumer interests are now more aligned with brands such as Avon, Johnson & Johnson, and McDonald's, while consumers are increasingly tepid towards brands with more expensive or discretionary profiles, such as Starbucks, L'Oréal, and Coca-Cola.
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