UberMedia, an independent maker of apps for Twitter, continues to go Hollywood. On Tuesday, the company launched Uber50 for iPhone, a customized UberSocial iPhone app designed by rapper 50 Cent. Uber50 for BlackBerry was launched in April.
Uber50 for iPhone will be available in a free version or a $1.99 premium version with “exclusive art” and sounds “recorded or selected by 50 Cent,” the company said in a press release. The Uber50 iPhone launch comes on the heels of the May 23 debut of A.plus, an UberMedia-powered desktop application custom designed by actor Ashton Kutcher.
Celebrity endorsements are an age-old strategy for consumer product companies, but they have not historically been de rigueur for technology companies– at least not in such a straightforward fashion. Many Silicon Valley companies seemed to have put the kibosh on overtly courting the entertainment industry years ago, when former Yahoo CEO Terry Semel caught flack for hob-nobbing with Tom Cruise and Ellen DeGeneres as the more geeky Google took the market lead. Google, which for years didn’t even advertise on television, inspired other tech companies to stick to their knitting and leave the entertainment industry’s glitz and glam alone.
But all that has shifted in recent years, as the Internet becomes less and less the domain of the tech-savvy minority, and more of a mass-appeal extension of traditional media such as television and magazines. Twitter, with its verified celebrity accounts, has in a way reopened the floodgates for tech firms to associate with stars as a legitimate business strategy. And now, even Google has jumped onto the bandwagon, with television commercials featuring Lady Gaga and a rumored new strategy to feature stars on their own YouTube channels.
How UberMedia and the larger tech industry’s new Hollywood push will pan out remains to be seen, but it will almost certainly be entertaining to watch.