It was only a matter of time before celebrities jumped on the technology bandwagon that Dr Dre pioneered when he helped developed his successful (and stylish) audio and headphone line ‘Beats by Dr Dre.’ Now the likes of Lady Gaga, Leonardo DiCaprio and Will.i.am are adding to a growing selection of hipster tech gear.
Ashton Kutcher – leader of the tech-star pack
Kutcher is becoming increasingly influential in the technology world, with large investments in Skype, Foursquare, Airbnb, ‘a community marketplace for unique spaces’ and holiday accommodation (anything from flats to castles ), Zaarly, a marketplace that aims to ‘support artisans, experts and entrepreneurs who love their craft’, Flipboard, a ‘social magazine’ service that streamlines the sharing and storing of images, Dwolla, a new mobile phone payment service and Chegg, a student hub that connects learners with people who can help them ‘succeed throughout their high school and college career’ with ‘required and non-required scholastic materials including millions of textbooks in any format, access to online homework help and textbook solutions, course organization and scheduling, as well as college and university matching tools and scholarship connections.’
Beats by Dr Dre
A lot of exposure went a long way for the ‘b’-branded headphones with the highly recognizable logo and edgy, urban undertone that re-ignited the trend for wearing headphones around your neck whether you’re about to use them or not. Since the inception of Beats by Dr Dre in 2006, the product has become synonymous with style and substance, boasting a high quality, premium sound from their range of headphones, earphones, speakers and other audio services. The ‘studio-inspired’ sound is also available on built-in speakers in HTC smartphones, selected HP laptops and ‘ fully integrated in the all-new Chrysler 300 S models and Dodge Charger’.
Will.i.am’s ‘i.am+’ range
Not one to shy away from technological advances (or money), Will.i.am and the Black Eyed Peas performed in Europe via hologram earlier this year. The keen entrepreneur and technological evangelist has now launched his own line of iPhone accessories and applications called ‘i.am+’ including an accessory that attaches to an iPhone transforming the eight megapixel smartphone camera into a 14 megapixel camera. He told the Daily Telegraph, “We have our own sensor and a better flash. You dock your phone into our device and it turns you smartphone into a genius-phone. We take over the camera.” This is only the beginning for the burgeoning tech-star who will release a series of digital products bearing his name as well as online support, apps and online customer user profiles on his tech site.
Lady Gaga invests in tech
A hands-on approach to technology was probably a logical move for the ‘most influential celebrity in social media’ who was the first person to reach 20 million followers on Twitter. Gaga designed ‘Heartbeats’ earphones for Beats by Dr Dre – a slick and sexy, gunmetal studded pair of audio accessories on a leathery cord. She also revealed plans to turn her next album into an app, encompassing her love for fashion and music, she already has her own social media site, ‘Little Monsters’ named for her loyal (obsessed) followers. Gaga has also invested in Turntable.fm – a free music streaming and chat room service that is a Facebook game and music-sharing service all in one. Turntable.fm users can set up different ‘rooms’ and DJ selected songs while listeners vote for tracks they like, earning points for the DJ’s. Kanye West is also an investor. Aside from this, Gaga has invested in celebrity social networking start-up Backplane, where communities are set up to make engaging over social media a more personal experience for like-minded people. ‘Little Monsters’ is the first community on board.
Leonardo DiCaprio goes graphic
DiCaprio bucked the celebrity trend for self-promoting social networking investments to support photo and video sharing company Mobli. The service allows real-time visual media sharing made up of different channels so people with similar interests can ‘see through each other’s eyes’ whether this is at concerts, family occasions or public events of interest. It takes social networking to a new level by sharing experiences as they happen via iPhone, Android and Blackberry. Communities in the user’s network will get to ‘participate’ or rather be a fly on the wall at events that they have a shared interest in so no one has to miss out ever again. Serena Williams, Toby Maguire and Lance Armstrong have also invested.
No doubt there will be countless more celebrity attempts at joining the world of IT. How many of them succeed is a different matter all together.