Future Dated: October 15, 2017
With the 2013 launch of the Facebook phone, Zuck and crew started a trend of social startups and branded phones. While surprisingly, the Facebook phone has gone on to be the dominant version of the much-splintered Android platform, what was even more surprising was the cacophony of companies joining the fray. Some reasonably successful versions like the Zynga Gaming Phone and the Amazon Smoke phones and the Evernote Watch Phone are far outnumbered by absolute failures like the Groupon Phone, the cobranded Foursquare/Tumblr Phone and our favorite disaster, the Angry Birds Phone.
Today brings us the much talked about and highly anticipated release of the first ever Klout Phone, named the K+. Building on its meteoric rise over the past five years from a highly controversial service to the must-have tool for marketers and connected consumers, what the K+ lacks in cool new looks it more than makes up for in surprisingly tight integration of Klout’s services.
The K+ brings its own split to the Android line — they seem to have followed the path first trodden by Amazon, which is to bury a stripped-down version of Android in the background and present their own interface over the top. Klout gives you the option of using the Facebook App Store or Google Play. And like the Facebook Phone, all of Klout’s features are broken out on the home screen as their own apps.
Along with the ability to access all of Klout’s stats and notifications, all of the features you’ve come to love in the new Klout app are there:
- Facial recognition so you can take a picture of someone and see their Klout score and relevant social features.
- Discount/coupon notification for locations offering perks, depending on your score.
- Notification when your Klout friends are nearby.
- The ability to alert you when you’re near someone with a high Klout score.
- Tracking and geospatial comparison of your offline and online influence relationships.
They’ve even integrated their affiliate URL service, but the mobile application of this never made sense to us. Sure, their affiliate service and API were ground-breaking at the time, as it allowed them to extend their revenue far beyond perks, especially when powerhouse services like Pinterest and Bitly integrated their API, but the mobile utility of this just doesn’t work (although we love having access to the stats on our phone).
As with everything Klout does, their newest features are sure to set the critics spewing bile again. But love them or hate them, you have to admire Klout’s ingenuity.
The phone is pretty standard fare; in fact the specs are almost identical to the latest Facebook and Amazon phones. But we have heard rumors of a K+ Perks model that will have an illuminated Klout emblem on the back to dynamically update your score. We suspect these will only be offered to people with a certain score.
If you use any of the Klout web browser, Outlook or Gmail extensions, then you’ll love the mobile integration. Emails are prioritized by the sender’s score and for people who don’t have a score you can assign a level of importance to them. When your calendar gets too full on any one day, Klout recommends low-scoring people you could cancel on. Although the “We recommend you blow this meeting off” Pop-up is sure to anger plenty of people — especially if you’re already with the unlucky person when it pops up.
Integration with your normal email settings are automatically applied once you log in, but you can’t do some things on the K+ that you can do online, like set different auto-reply messages or different signatures based on the recipient’s score. However, those are tasks that are probably better done on Klout.kom.
We’ve heard some people still make voice phone calls, if so — and if you love Klout as much as us — then you’ll love their new voice phone integration. You can set up different auto-responses like in email, based on a person’s Klout score, and set up different voice messages for people with different scores. And just like the K+’s email prioritization of inbound messages, you have the ability to set different ring tones for different scores and can even set it to send low-scorers directly to voicemail or even block them completely. This feature alone could finally solve the problem the do-not-call lists have failed to clear up.
This is only a little thing, but we love seeing our friends’ Klout scores next to their incoming text messages. Although we wish they would allow you to set up auto-replies, prioritization and blocking like they do with phone calls and email.
Social Network Integration
You have the option to download separate Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other apps, but we by far prefer Klout’s People app. For Windows Phone users out there this will look familiar to their Klout WP7 app. By opening the People app, you’ll be presented with updates from your friends based on their score. Who wants to see pictures from unimportant people?
If you’re a hater, I think it’s obvious that this is not your phone. Also, if you’re an Apple or Windows fanboy or an Android purist then here’s hoping Klout finds a way to bring more of these services to your platform via their app.
However, if you split your social networking between multiple services and the Facebook Phone isn’t cutting it for you, and if you love Klout, then this is the phone for you. If you’re an Amazon or Evernote power user but are looking for a second (or third) phone to fulfill your social networking addiction then you can’t beat the K+.
Please feel free to comment below — but only if your Klout score is high enough to clear our Klout comment plugin.