Last week I had the opportunity of speaking with Game Theory's, Scott Steinberg on the top technology trends for 2011. From the new Verizon iPhone to 3D TV, he's got the scoop on what we'll be seeing this year. "He is the CEO of video game consulting firm TechSavvy Global, and founder of GameExec magazine and Game Industry TV. Hailed as a top technology and video game expert by dozens of publications from USA Today to Forbes and NPR, he’s covered the field for 400+ outlets from Playboy to Rolling Stone. A frequent on-air analyst for networks like ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN, he’s also the author of Video Game Marketing and PR."
Scott Steinberg – image via US Airways
Candace Rose: What's hot for 2011 in the world of technology?
Scott Steinberg: "Better question would be what's NOT hot in 2011 for tech because the Consumer Electronic Show just happened in Vegas, big trade show where you find out there's dozens of tablet PC's coming, they're hoping those are going to replace laptops because they're more intuitive, they have touch screens, they're lighter and get streaming media right to them. You've got 3D everything, there's going to be glasses-free 3D TVs, you're going to have portable digital camcorders that can do 3D, 3D picture frames, of course you've got apps everywhere, 4G smartphones that are higher speed than the 3G models we have at the moment. On top of that, online and cloud-base services getting bigger.
In terms of the online world, I don't suppose you've heard of penny auctions, they're pretty huge. You have sites like bidcactus.com that are really, really cool. Basically what it is it's interactive online auctions where you can actually go online, compete, have fun and score great deals on real world items. It's sort of like a mix of online bargain shopping and an actual auction. And the way you can get things like electronics, housewares, even gift cards is you buy prepackaged packs of bids in different amounts and then then each time you bid on an item the price goes up by one cent. So you've got to stay on it, you're really competing for real world prizes. You actually get hard goods and you get huge deals on iPods and other things, cards for Macy's or whatever and what's crazy is they auction off something like 188,000 high ticket items, so laptops, there was an LCD TV that went for $28, $100 Walmart gift certificate sold for $3 and I'm really sad that I missed that one, it would have come in handy."
Bidcactus – Bidcactus.com
CR: Do you have any tips on winning? My brother has been trying, he bought a few bids but so far no luck. I guess people really cram in there at the last second. So, what are your tips?
SS: "The big tip is of course to be waiting at the last second because anything can change on a dime. You can sit there for a few hours and think you've won something and then at the very last minute you know it'll come through and somebody else will beat you just to the punch, so you've got to stay on top of it. Another one is think about going on at off hours when there's not likely to be a lot of traffic so that you can sneak in that last bid yourself. And also if there's an item you want you can vote it up to the top so it becomes one of the sooner online auctions, so anything you can do to try and time it so that maybe it's a holiday, maybe it's a late night when it ends, so you try and get the item you want, when you want, when everyone else is sleeping, that's a good trick."
The much coveted iPad – Apple.com
CR: Does the iPad have any competition this year?
SS: "Will it have any? Let's just say it's going to have a lot to put it mildly! Part of it's going to come from the iPad 2 that should be coming out soon but realistically you've got tablet PCs coming from Samsung, Sony, Motorola, Toshiba, LG, Sharp, everybody's got one so there's so much. Blackberry's got its Playbook coming soon. The big question is which are really going to live up to the hype and we're going to have to wait and see on that. But the nice part is no matter which tablet that you get you're going to have to have access to online, you're going to have access to apps, cloud-base services, so whether you look for entertainment or productivity, it doesn't matter. Things are going to get easier to access going forward and actually as a small business owner I'm excited about the fact that your workplace or workspace will travel wherever you go which some others aren't so happy about because you should unplug once in a while."
CR: You talked about it (the tablet) replacing the laptop, so this will be a much cheaper version.
SS: A lot of them are selling for about $499 and up is what you can expect to pay. They're a lot more portable, they're lightweight, they have touch screens, they're more intuitive. A lot of the programs are meant to be run on the web. They're apps, they install simply, they're easy to browse and buy and they have most of the functions of a laptop. Many of them are missing a physical keyboard but they add things like gyroscopes so you can tilt them to control things. They add motion controls, they also add of course the ability to get streaming media anytime, anywhere and are a lot easier to tote in your bed with you."
CR: Are prices any different for apps for the iPad than purchasing for a PC or Mac?
SS: "It depends on the company. Apple opened its Mac App store and you can download apps but some of their productivity tools; aperture ranges as high as $80, you never know they may try to use it as an excuse because there's so much competition. The good news is cloud services are going to produce even more competition. There's things like eFax and eVoice that basically you can use to get important calls and documents from anytime or anywhere and really you can do it cost affordably, you can set up local and toll free numbers and they're helping drive competition because you can be working anytime and with eFax you can send and receive important documents, things that need signatures like contracts are right from your email anytime, no fax line needed, no fax machine needed and you can get them right then, you don't even have to print them out. You can actually sign documents online too from your PC or smartphone or eVoice. You know that one's really because you can have single virtual phone number and professional call management system and basically no matter what gadget you're using it will take your calls and can actually transcribe voicemails into text messages and email them to you but you can also have a single number local or toll free where it will ring you on all your numbers- your smartphone, your cell phone, your home, your home office, so you can work from anywhere and nobody has to know where you're doing it. There are a lot of cost affordable tools out there and in fact eVoice is giving 6 months free at its website."
eVoice is offering 6 months free at its website
CR: Word on the street is Verizon will start carrying the iPhone in February. What are your thoughts on that?
SS: "Well, I think it's great because considering the amount of dropped calls I have on AT&T, the problem I have getting reception when it comes to working at different trade shows. It's really tough and more choice will be great because it's going to drive down prices for consumers. A lot of people are not going to be locked into those cumbersome cell phone contracts as before. I thin it's only a bonus and having these devices on more networks works. It lets more people access them. It offers better stability and it offers competition, so hopefully prices are going to come down as well."
Verizon iPhone – Apple.com
CR: Will there be any differences between it and AT&T's current iPhone?
SS: "Well, you're going to see some differences, it can act as a WiFi hotspot for up to five devices which is new. For the most part you're going to get the same sort of functionality, hopefully better reception and less dropped calls."
CR: What are your favorite games for kids?
SS: "Some of my favorite games for kids – there's things like Despicable Me the game, Wizard 101 if you like online games, out for teens now there's DC Universe Online, if you ever wanted to be a Superhero or Supervillain you can go online and do it in a virtual world. You've got all sorts of stuff, there's Super Scribblenauts , there's a Yogi Bear game that's out now, the trick is you just have to make sure that you're aware of the ratings and what's coming up. There's tons of games based on movies, there's Just Dance Kids if you're into dancing, there's Kidz Bop the game (another great dancing one), you can get things like Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, it just depends what you're into but honestly mine are too young to actually enjoy video games so our favorite is Peek-a-boo."
My favorite! Just Dance 2 – Amazon.com
CR: You mentioned Just Dance, I bought that for my mom for Christmas it's the best workout!
SS: "Oh yeah! And that's just a great trend too. You've got active games, motion games, the fact that you've got Microsoft's Connect that makes your body the controller, Sony's PlayStation Move. Dancing games are huge, I think they sold 5 million of Just Dance 2, there's a Michael Jackson game out there now. People like getting up off the couch, moving, burning calories. It's not just about sitting there and wasting time burning IQ cells, it's really a great trend."
CR: How about for Sports Enthusiasts?
SS: "Well for sports enthusiasts there's things like FIFA 11 if you're into soccer, Madden NFL is always popular, NBA Jam made a great comeback, so if you're into arcade style basketball games, Boomshakalaka- that's tons of fun, especially in multiplayer. There's versions of of FIFA and Madden also for facebook as well. There's things like Fighters Uncaged if you're into mixed martial arts, that you can play, they're motion sensing games. EA SPORTS MMA just came out if you're into that kind of stuff, so really a lot of choices there too. There's going to be a new Nascar game for 2011, the sky is the limit."
Email marketing for small businesses – Campaigner.com
CR: Do you have any additional information you'd like to share?
SS: "I think it's important if you want to find out more about a lot of the stuff you can go to lifeminute.tv. You can go to my site gametheoryonline.com and just keep in mind there's so many tools out there whether you want entertainment, productivity, we didn't even talk about campaigner.com if you want to be in the publishing business overnight or start any business overnight, you can send these custom email newsletters. You don't have to have any experience required, it's affordable, it's easy, there's all sorts of great tools out there for both fun and business. It doesn't matter what you're into, there's no escaping tech in 2011."