I’ll admit it, I’m a fan of product announcements streamed over the Internet. If there’s a live stream of something I’m even remotely interested in I’ll watch it if I’m able. And I was especially stoked for Google’s announcement of the Galaxy Nexus running Ice Cream Sandwich last night in Hong Kong.
Apple fans will surely tell you that the late Steve Jobs set the standard for such events, and being a Mac user myself in a former life it struck me how slick an affair Google’s presentation was, while at the same time being very different from your typical Steve-note.
I thought Google did three things especially well:
1. Drama (or lack thereof)
We all know how Apple would handle this in days of old. The audience would sit patiently through an hour-plus of sales metrics and software demos just to get to that magical “and one more thing…”
I found it quite refreshing that the agenda for last night boiled down to (1) “here’s our new phone”, and (2) “here’s the software running on that phone”. Though the event was almost an hour long, it didn’t feel like it.
Also, the leaks the came out yesterday didn’t quell any enthusiasm for last night, near as I can tell. And nobody was arrested.
Yes, most of the presenters were reading from cue cards. But there was also some humour that I think was largely lost on the Hong Kong audience.
There was the geeky charm of Matias Duarte taking the stage in a bold (if a bit ill-fitting) white suit, and a fairly accurate dramatization of the effects of jet lag in a demo of the new voicemail app. But what completely caught me off-guard was the camera demo and the near-dismissive mention of “hipster filters”. As an amateur camera buff there’s certainly no argument here.
3. Video Quality
Does anyone even remember the early 2000s when Apple used to videostream their MacWorld keynotes? It was crap.
Whether it was a failing of QuickTime or an idea that was just ahead of its time it was simply too frustrating an experience to endure — squinting at tiny 170×120-pixel video that would inevitably freeze up and make you restart your browser, then wait for an agonizing few minutes while the stream buffered then (hopefully) resumed.
It could be Google or more a general sign of progress, but my video stream of last night’s event was flawless. And I bet the next one will be in HD.
… Now granted, there was also a major hiccup in one of the Nexus Prime demos — specifically the facial non-recognition to unlock the screen — but it didn’t look like anyone would be immediately fired as a result.
Indeed, on this, the morning after Google’s announcement, all signs point to it being a rousing success. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of showmanship, but it’s also nice to let the products speak for themselves now and again.