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October 18th, 2013

Supercell soars to success

Supercell soars to success

We were excited to hear the news about Supercell, the Finnish video game developer.

This week, Supercell made headline news as it was valued at $3bn following Japan’s Softbank acquisition of a 51% stake. The purchase places Supercell firmly at the top of the table as Europe’s fastest growing technology company.

Fans of our newsletter will be familiar with our regular ‘Go Figure’ column, but with so many exciting numbers to crunch, we just couldn’t wait until next week:

£3 bn – Current market value of Supercell

1.5bn – The amount paid by Softbank of Japan to acquire a 51% stake in the Finnish video game developer

2 – Current number of games in its inventory – Clash of Clans and Hay Day (Battle Buddies was pulled due to poor revenue figures, whilst online game Gunshine.net stopped running in November 2012)

2010 – The year Supercell was founded. Based in Helsinki, the company’s debut game was Gunshine.net which could be played in any browser and on any operating system

122 – Number of countries Clash of Clans is the top grossing iPad game in

78 – Number of countries Hay Day is the top grossing iPad game in

100 – Current number of staff employed at Supercell

Enjoyed our breakdown? Why not sign up for our bi-weekly Impromptu newsletter and read our next Go Figure column and all the other tech happenings:

Sources: Supercell, BBC News, Financial Times, Wikipedia

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Posted in News, Tech news, Technology | Comments Off on Supercell soars to success

 

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August 9th, 2013

Why crisis PR can improve more than just your company’s reputation

Why crisis PR can improve more than just your company’s reputation

Crisis PR is often associated with one thing – a major screw up and a subsequent clean up. And as many of us have learned, the best crisis PR can actually land the company that screwed up in a better position than it was beforehand (the Tylenol crisis of 1982, anyone?).

Well, now it seems crisis PR must live up to another standard: increasing revenue. And the recent announcement of Apple’s trade-in program, targeted at customers using third party or counterfeit iPhone, iPad and iPod chargers, may be doing just that.

An Apple charger, courtesy of Apple.com

An Apple charger, courtesy of Apple.com

The program, which was launched in response to the electrocution and coma of two individuals in China, allows all Apple customers to trade in their existing USB power adapters for an Apple-certified adapter for only $10 (or local currency equivalent) – almost 50 percent less than the adapter’s regular retail cost. The usually mum tech company said in a statement: “Recent reports have suggested that some counterfeit and third party adapters may not be designed properly and could result in safety issues. While not all third party adapters have issues, we are announcing a USB Power Adapter Takeback Program to enable customers to acquire properly designed adapters…”

But how will this increase revenue you may ask, if Apple is discounting its product? The program requires that the trade-ins must be made at an Apple store or an authorized Apple provider, and as Adam Pasick from Quartz points out, the take-back program is bound to generate some extra foot traffic – meaning the $57.60 in revenue that Apple pockets per store visit is looking pretty good.

So while Apple saves its reputation and racks in more cash, weigh in – what do you think of Apple’s crisis PR? Brilliant or just rotten? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Posted in Apple, PR Practices, Technology | Comments Off on Why crisis PR can improve more than just your company’s reputation

 

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December 6th, 2012

Which tablets do you take? And is the mouse a squeak away from extinction?

Which tablets do you take? And is the mouse a squeak away from extinction?

Prompt Communications Tech SurveyRegular market research is essential to ensure that you are still tapping the correct markets for your products and services. At Prompt, we undertake all aspects of research, data collection and statistical analysis. Perhaps the easiest and quickest way to take a rapid snapshot of market opinions, is to conduct a survey.

One recent survey we conducted across US and UK tech consumers proved to be a great example of rapid opinion gathering. The survey was conducted online and in-person. It revealed that Apple is still far more sought after than its competitors in the tablet world, and remains better thought of than its competitors in terms of innovation, design, usability, retail and marketing effort.

Perhaps most tellingly, despite significant launches from Microsoft, Samsung, Google and Amazon in 2012, more survey respondents are hoping for iPads, iPad minis and iPhones in their stockings this year, over other tablet-like devices!

In the tablet and smartphone market, companies are constantly looking for ways to become more innovative and to aggressively increase their market share. A responsibility lies with these vendors to be clearer about specs, features and benefits, and to help consumers to navigate the maze of new mobile devices. Clarity, common English and transparency are crucial. Meanwhile consumers are becoming increasingly aware of what products are available and the features they are looking for, while gaining a deeper understanding of comparable benefits.

In the same survey, we also found that although losing popularity with the rise of tablets, the computer mouse isn’t headed for extinction just yet.  That finding probably surprised me the most – personally I work at a touchscreen computer, a laptop with a touchpad, a tablet and a smartphone – all without a mouse in sight. I still carry one around in my handbag though, so perhaps I’m just sentimental…

Would you like to weigh in with your own opinions? Perhaps you’d like to add your own support for Apple, provide some vocal backing for other tablet brands, or just stick up for the mouse? We’d love to hear from you. The survey is still open. Please just click here to share views on tablets, mice and your holiday wish-list.

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Posted in Apple, Media, Microsoft, Prompt locations, Survey, Technology | Comments Off on Which tablets do you take? And is the mouse a squeak away from extinction?

 

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October 30th, 2012

Poll: Which tablet is most innovative?

Poll: Which tablet is most innovative?

Yesterday, we wrote a blog post on innovation in Massachusetts.  As a high-tech media relations and copywriting agency, we are constantly interested in learning about the latest tech gadgets.  This poll below highlights some of today’s top tablets on the market.  Which do you think is most innovative?

Which tablet is most innovative?
Amazon Kindle Fire
Apple iPad
Apple iPad mini
Barnes & Nobles Nook
Google Nexus 7
RIM BlackBerry PlayBook
Samsung Galaxy Note
View Result
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Posted in Apple, Boston, Google, Innovation, Microsoft, Polls | Comments Off on Poll: Which tablet is most innovative?

 

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August 30th, 2012

Laughing all the way to the digital newsstand

Laughing all the way to the digital newsstand

After a 75-year run in print publication, The Dandy comic has finally been pressed to the limit. Publisher DC Thomson has announced that the comic will be evolving from a print edition to an online, tablet-ready format.  The last printed edition will appear on 4 December 2012, coinciding with the comic’s 75th anniversary.

I grew up reading Desperate Dan and Bananaman in The Dandy. I was also an avid reader of The Beano). And now that I work as a PR and digital communications professional (and not as the veterinarian or paleontologist that the eight year-old me had planned) I have cause to pause and reflect on the state of modern media consumption.

In the 1950s The Dandy had a circulation of over two million, but that has now plummeted to a distinctly unfunny 8,000. So how can publishers and media producers adapt to such change?  Well, by exploring and innovating, by trying new formats, and by testing digital campaigns to see how brands, advertisers and consumers want to interact over the web, mobile media and tablets.

As consumers we have all changed.  For example, from my viewpoint in media relations and PR, I have witnessed huge changes in what clients think of print coverage compared to digital coverage. Far from being the poorer cousin of print, digital coverage is now regarded as easier to share, to use across different  channels, and to drive more immediate calls to action.

To me, DC Thomson’s announcement is not so much about The Dandy’s demise but more about a new beginning.  The Dandy already introduced its iPad app earlier this year, no doubt due to internal anticipation of the printing press closing shop, as well as in response to the exponential growth of mobile device media consumption among youth and young adults. Just like its legions of readers, the comic is looking forward, not back.

So here’s to The Dandy – being alive and well on the digital newsstand for another 75 years to come.

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Posted in Communications consultancy opinion, Hazel Butters: Opinion, Innovation, Media, PR Practices, Technology | Comments Off on Laughing all the way to the digital newsstand

 

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March 16th, 2012

The new iPad: upgrade, or keep your iPad2?

The new iPad: upgrade, or keep your iPad2?

Yes, I am daring to doubt the luminosity of the new release of Apple’s boy genius iPad. But actually it seems like Apple has indeed done it again, releasing a newer and much more shiny (and heavy, from what I’m hearing in the wind) version of its famed iPad. And by golly does it mean business!

This new release is actually meant to be more of an upgrade for Apple techies looking for something more from their iPad 2s. This model has an improved screen, better gaming performance, a higher quality camera, and it runs on 4G data (a must-have for those who need ‘more’). It’s also worth pointing out that this new version does have a longer operating battery life, which owners of all Apple devices would benefit from. Basically, everything that your iPad2 did that was considered spectacular in its heyday, the ‘new iPad’ simply does better. Prompt reports on the new Apple iPad in the Impromptu newsletter

Everything? Unfortunately, this newer version apparently doesn’t support FaceTime chat over 4G data space. Sorry to sound slightly miffed, but wasn’t one of the aims of the latest iOS update to be able to conduct FaceTime on all of Apple’s devices, whether they run on Wi-Fi or a cell network? I would be devastated if I didn’t already have an iPhone 4 that I’m completely satisfied with (no Siri necessary).

Overall, I see this latest iPad a loyal ‘techie treat’ meant for the massive family of Apple addicts. Those are the folks that live among us and who have the funds to consistently upgrade their Apple product every year whenever a new release is handed down to the masses. Yes, the new Retina display is impressive, the 5 megapixel camera will take snaps that look great on that screen, and the ultra-fast wireless option will benefit some, but there really isn’t anything all that flashy to convince me to stand in a crowded line for ‘forever’ to spend $500 on what is essentially a shinier version of Apple’s last tablet. Of course I am forgetting the all-important bragging rights I would gain in the kingdom of the tech nerd (of which, by the way, I am a seasoned member).

Before the year end, there will be a guaranteed update of this ‘new iPad’ with the entire first round of bugs removed. If you are a confirmed addict to tech and an Apple loyalist, this new iPad release is undeniable a great gadget, and will be just the thing for you. But the rest of us should probably just keep the iPads and iPhones that we have for now, or dare I say it, even go over to the dark side of Android?

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Posted in Apple, Boston, Events, Impromptu weekly, Prompt locations, Technology | Comments Off on The new iPad: upgrade, or keep your iPad2?

 

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August 3rd, 2011

Apple worth more than the US government

Apple worth more than the US government

It says something when a technology company is worth more than the richest country in the world, doesn’t it? Apple apparently has more available cash than the US government. Apple’s latest figures show that it has reserves of $76.4 billion whereas the US treasury department revealed an operating cash balance of $73.7 billion. The legislation to prevent the US defaulting on its loans has just been pushed through the House of Representatives, mere hours before Washington was due to run out of cash. The US still faces a possible downgrade of its AAA credit rating. Meanwhile, Credit Suisse recently rated Apple with an ‘outperform’ rating, predicting huge growth for the company in the next two years; 50 percent annual growth at the top line, with 46 percent growth in profits.

The US has been spending around $200 billion more than it collects in revenue every month whereas Apple’s net income is currently 125 percent higher than last year, with the firm reporting record quarterly profits. Sales of the iPhone and iPad have more than doubled; Apple sold more than 20 million iPhones and 9.25 million iPads in this past quarter alone.

It seems fitting then, that we could recently add one more name to the growing list of iPad fanatics: President Barack Obama. Speaking at a town hall in Washington back in March, Obama disclosed that he owned an iPad but also remained very attached to his BlackBerry. “I took my BlackBerry off for this show, because I didn’t want it going off. That would be really embarrassing,” Obama said at the Washington meeting. News anchor Jorge Ramos (no relation to our own Rob Ramos), then asked the president if he had an iPad. “I do have an iPad,” Obama replied, but would not disclose which model he uses or what he uses it for.

Supporting their commander-in-chief, reports also claim that the US military has now begun testing field use of iPads, in addition to both the US House of Representatives and the British House of Lords opening each of their respective floors to iPad use. It looks like Apple’s plans for world domination haven’t only accrued sizeable funding, they’ve also secured some extremely powerful territory! Let’s hope those plans also have some provision for boosting the prospects of the rest of the global business landscape, which continues to struggle with debt and slow economic growth (and that’s despite touchscreen access to Adele and Angry Birds…)

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Posted in Apple, Technology | 1 Comment »

 

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June 3rd, 2010

Full of Apples? Time for a Streak!

Full of Apples? Time for a Streak!

If all the media hype, advertising frenzy and newsstand promotions are anything to go by, the only place you’re likely to be reading this newsletter in the UK  is on your iPhone while queuing for your new iPad.

But what if the interminable delay between the US launch of Apple’s new toy and its eventual emergence this side of the pond has given you time to get over your original excitement and allowed iPad fatigue to set in?

Fear not! Dell is at the ready to try and tempt you with its very own sexy tablet touch-screen thingamajig. They call it the Streak, and it’s not really a tablet at all, but instead would sit between a smartphone and a netbook on your goody shelf. It’s a five inch Android device, or ‘MID’, that Dell promises will keep you connected during your business day as an efficient phone and productivity tool, while cheering you up as a superb media player and web browser by night.

Unlike the iPad (fantastic screen for media, not so great on a rare sunny day in Blighty) we’ve yet to get our hands on a Streak (happy to help), but hope Brits aren’t kept waiting quite so long by Dell as we were by Apple…

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January 29th, 2010

So will you be queuing up to buy an iPad?

So will you be queuing up to buy an iPad?

Considering the frenzy of excitement that preceded Wednesday’s launch of the Apple iPad — you couldn’t move on Twitter, Facebook or tech blogs for rumour, speculation and general pant-wetting anticipation — it was somewhat surprising to wake up on the morning-after-the-night-before to find the huddled online masses shrugging and underwhelmed.

A prolonged news conference spearheaded by Apple supremo Steve Jobs and his magical assistant Jonathan Ive was precisely scripted to reveal the wonders of the iPad feature by feature – hyping the innovation and revolutionary claims, pushing the lifestyle benefits and dropping the odd price-bomb along the way. We got to see a stylish device twirled around, and to preview that stunning display streaming multimedia marvels and handling productivity apps with aplomb. So why exactly are so many potential customers now seemingly feeling deflated and dismayed?

It’s hard to pinpoint really as there’s not really anything wrong with the iPad, but the hype cycle would suggest the market is merely experiencing ‘the trough of disillusionment’. I believe we were basically spoilt by the huge sea change brought about with the launch of the iPhone/iTouch design. Apps, screen-pinching, accelerometers, GPS, Wi-Fi, 3G, HD… …it was all massively impressive the first time round and now the iPad is giving us more of the same, pretty much. Yes the SDK is a leap forward, the browser experience is better, the screen is sharper, mail is better integrated, eBooks will look terrific and so on. But to many observers the overall impression was much the same as it was to a five year-old who saw me streaming the launch: “Hey it’s just like your phone, only for giants!”

Whatever your own personal reaction has been to the unveiling of the iPad, you have to admit that Mr Ive has conjured up a gorgeous chunk of techy eye-candy, and that this is likely yet another launch pad device for Apple to take off from, taking millions of followers along for the journey. No doubt it will work hard to earn its place in the Apple product stack and in the affections of many customers throughout 2010 and beyond.

What did you think of the unveiling? Please let us know.

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