Tell Clyde I’m on the road to Floyd with a Droid

It was a tough decision, but having an excuse to write that headline made it all worthwhile.

My first “smartphone” was a Handspring Treo 180, almost 10 years ago. When I moved to Knoxville a few years later, the lack of T-Mobile service disabled most of the smartness, so I regressed to a Palm TX paired to a Cingular Razr Bluetooth phone, a semi-smart setup.

Last weekend, I wrestled the “iPhone vs. Droid” decision to a conclusion. With a Droid, I get Floyd: Verizon covers the neighboring county, AT&T doesn’t, and Floyd has some of my favorite folks and music stops on the crooked road. (I made the decision despite this horrible Droid website.)

Now I just have to convince my friend Clyde that I ordered the new smartphone (smart new phone?) before reading his blog saying that news folks should get smartphone-savvy right away. “Honest, Clyde, I got the Droid because of Floyd” sounds like one of those 1940s novelty songs.

Maybe I’ll get an iPad next month.

Anyhow, I’ll point AEJMC Newspaper readers to Clyde Bentley at the University of Missouri for a timeline for “Mobile Newspaper Success”…  The road to 2013: A timeline for newspapers.

Responding to a Gartner Research study that forecast  mobile devices would  replace PCs in Web access by 2013, Bentley built a timeline from the endpoint to the present.

If you’re a “key editor” at a newspaper, you should get a smartphone this month, or you’re already playing catch-up.

By August-September, Clyde says, newspapers should be training their news and ad staff on “mobile potential,” if they want to stay on track with the Gartner deadline. Within a year, mobile reporters should be producing niche-market features for mobile customers. Clyde’s examples: “Smoke-break wraps, during-game scores, pre-commute weather.”

He doesn’t mention one  crossover: Twitter (or Facebook status updates), whether Twitter’s  140-character limit is really enough for a “nugget of news” or not. Newspapers, broadcasters and online-only newsies are already tweeting away to anyone with a smartphone Twitter app, including Clyde’s own blog. So obvious it went without saying, I guess.

(I’m @bobstep on Twitter.)

(Note: If anyone from Verizon offers me a “referrer” bonus check for the slogan “Get Floyd with a Droid,” I’ll take it.)

mild-mannered reporter who fell deeper into computers and the Web during three trips through graduate school in the 1980s and 1990s, then began teaching journalism, media studies and Web production, most recently as a faculty member at Radford University.

Posted in Business, Digital Culture, Future of news, Internet, Journalism, Newspapers, Tablets & eBook Readers, Technology

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