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CES 2011: Get Ready for Twitter-Embedded Phones, TVs & More

Today at the Consumer Electronics Show, All Things Digital's Kara Swisher interviewed Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and started off with the most obvious question - what was Twitter doing at a gadget show? According to Costolo, Twitter had been busy meeting with several device makers to try to make it easier and more consistent to use the microblogging platform across multiple platforms and devices, including becoming an embedded feature of some phones.

"One of the things we're trying to do this year is to become more of a mass consumption environment," said Costolo. "It's more and more important that Twitter become easier and simpler to use across more platforms and devices."
What exactly does that mean? According to Costolo, Twitter has spent a lot of time this week with various companies like Samsung and other device manufacturers discussing the ways that Twitter could become a standard feature on devices.
"It would be great if Twitter could be preloaded as a contact on your phone," said Costolo, explaining that one of Twitter's coolest, most recently added yet most unnoticed features was something called "Fast Follow", which allows people to follow and receive SMS updates to their phone simply by texting "Follow @" and the account name. The texter doesn't even need to be an existing Twitter member for the feature to work.
Costolo went on to say that it would be great to see Twitter available on many devices, perhaps even as a voice-commanded application on Kinect. (Voice commands were just debuted this week at Microsoft's opening keynote address.) Key to this sort of embedding, however, is a consistent experience.
"As long as twitter is a simple piece of communication that can carry content and point to any kind of content, that's success for us," he said. "It's got to be the case that when I pick up this device and tweet something, it has to be the same on another device."
Only a year ago, Twitter mobile usage was at around 20% to 25%, but now this has risen to nearly 40% of all tweets. While Costolo only spoke to stats concerning mobile content creation, we have to wonder what these same stats are in terms of consumption. They are likely much lower, but it seems that this is a primary area of concern for the company. He repeated the same (now expected) mantra that Twitter is for consumers too and device integration could certainly help with this effort.
Imagine, for example, Twitter-embedded TVs that automatically show tweets related to content you're currently watching. Nevermind the idea of one person in the room having Twitter conversations with friends while everyone else tries to watch, but instead think of the potential value addition of displaying relevant tweets.
In the end, Costolo didn't make any specific announcements concerning OEM device integration, but he was clear that Twitter was present at the gadget-centric show with that exact topic in mind. We look forward to seeing how else Twitter plans to make its presence known in the everyday lives of the non-Twitterati.


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