Interview: Dermot McCormack, EVP Digital Media, MTV Networks @ CES 2011

Can MTV.com do what many have tried (and failed) to do over the past decade-and-a-half — become the MTV of the internet? MTV Networks’ head of digital media told us that’s exactly what he’s set out to do in 2011. I spoke with EVP of MTV.com Dermot McCormack about iPads, Android tablets and the future of MTV digital and mobile programming at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas during the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.

Originally posted at LAist.com

My Life with the HTC EVO

The HTC EVO 4G is not the best Android mobile phone out there but Sprint is the only carrier that gets reception at my house. Six months ago I began a rather extensive trial of a few different phones and carriers and balked at the EVO after a 30-day trial.

Certainly Verizon would have service in my area, everybody raves about VZW and after all it’s been 5 years since I last did my trials and found that I live in a cell service black hole, in spite of living roughly 3 miles from downtown LA and just over the hill from Dodger Stadium. This was not the case. Verizon service was equally as non-existent for voice calls as was AT&T. The difference being that AT&T offered me a femtocell signal booster (the 3G Microcell) for free whereas Verizon wanted me to pay $250 for their extender. In fact, when I talked to their technical department, I learned that my area is a known trouble zone and that NO TOWER upgrades were scheduled — it would be at least two years before there was any [better] service.

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10 Ways Geolocation is Changing the World

This post was written by Rob Reed. He is the founder of MomentFeed, a location-based marketing, strategy, and technology firm.

Location technologies are transforming how we experience, navigate, and ultimately better our world. From the global to the local, here are #10Ways geolocation is a positive force for good.

Social media has changed the world. It has revolutionized communications on a global scale, and the transformation continues with every status update, blog post, and video stream. The global citizenry has become a global network.

Since becoming widely adopted just a couple years ago, social media has supercharged social action, cause marketing, and social entrepreneurship. Indeed, the true value hasn’t been the technology itself but how we’ve used it. Today, a second wave of innovation is defining a new era and setting the stage for change over the coming decade.

Mobile technologies will extend the global online network to anyone with a mobile device while enabling countless local networks to form in the real world. We’ve decentralized media production and distribution. We’re doing the same for energy. And we’ll continue this trend for social networking, social action, and commerce.

The combined forces of smartphones, mobile broadband, and location-aware applications will connect us in more meaningful ways to the people, organizations, events, information, and companies that matter most to us—namely, those within a physical proximity of where we live and where we are. Can location-based services (LBS) change the world? Here are #10Ways:

1. Checking in for Good: If Gowalla and Foursquare have taught us anything, it’s that people respond to simple incentives. By offering badges, mayorships, and other intangible rewards, millions of people are checking in to the places they go. Apps like Whrrl take this a step further and enable like-minded “societies” to form on a local basis. The next step is for these apps to add greater purpose by encouraging more meaningful checkins and offering corresponding badges and stamps, thus mapping the cause universe. Or for a dedicated app to be developed that rewards conscious consumption, social responsibility, and civic engagement. Yes, the CauseWorld app features a cause element, but it’s not about cause-worthy places.

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The Sprint HTC Evo 4G: Fun Toy; Great Distraction; Much Too Big

htc evo spring 4G android phone mobile cellphoneI was thinking about trying the HTC Evo — Sprint’s latest offering which was rumored to rival iPhone. And I’ve never had iPhone nor do I care much for the platform (not to mention the principle of needing to plug something in to iTunes). So I walked into the Sprint store on June 5th and heard about the Sprint Free Guarantee. 30 days. Try it out. You don’t like – you get everything refunded (new Sprint customers only). We’ll see if this is actually the case – I still have about ten days left to play with this toy — and it really is a toy.

I still have two devices (a Blackberry and a Sierra Wireless Laptop Connect 3G USB card) on AT&T that I would add up to about $200 in ETFs so it’s just not practical to switch. Not for the Evo. The Evo is less than perfect.

1) It is too big to function as a phone. I feel like I’m walking around with a mini-iPad and STILL

2) I can’t type as effectively with a virtual keyboard as I can with the Blackberry Bold’s physical QWERTY.

3) The battery life is unconscionable. Completely unacceptable and unheard of. This is simply not a portable device — it must always be plugged in or on its way to being plugged in. A two battery approach MIGHT get you through the entire day with minimal internet and app use. NOTE: The software update pushed out this week has improved battery life quite a bit (relatively speaking). I was lucky to download it OTA before it was halted.

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Apple iPhone Finally Gets Official $5 Video App

Somehow Steve Jobs always makes it a big deal when he announces something that for some reason or another his company had been holding back on for years. This time, I’d be surprised if many journalists and consumers alike bite on today’s Apple iPhone 4 announcements from WWDC.

So yeah, you get to record video — on Apple’s iMovie software which will run you $4.99. It’s about time. recording video has been a native function of nearly all semi-smart and even some stupid-phones since before the original iPhone was announced in 2007. But somehow, this is a revolution.

The only thing relevant to me — which I demonstrate in the video below (shot and livestreamed via the Qik app on the HTC Evo) — is that AT&T is so desperate to lock customers up for another 2 years that it is offering nearly everyone new contracts on the spot (meaning new, subsidized phones). Dial *639# from your phone wait a couple minutes and you’ll likely get the same plea message from AT&T:

As a valued customer we can offer you an upgrade with a new 2-yr commitment and an $18 upgrade fee.

Yes, I can re-up as well, despite never having owned an iPhone — now if only AT&T has a killer Android phone I might consider extending my contract. Of course — I used to take advantage of this shortcut-to-upgrade for $18 quite frequently, first when it was freely allowed as an employee of USC and later when I worked for WMG. Although Sprint’s service has been very good in the few days that I’ve been testing the Evo — much better than 5 years ago when I tested phones from all carriers and found that not one could make calls from my house. Sprint is also matching the corporate discount I received for years from AT&T.

Anyway, as I typically say about overly dramatic Apple releases: WHATEVER. But there is one more thing: FaceTime?!? WHATEVER 😉 Get yours June 24th. Or get a phone that runs Android, don’t be restricted by Apple, impress your friends, and be happy.