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Posts Tagged ‘android’

Thanks to Muppalla Sridhar, one of the organizers for Tech Symposium, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel entitled “ Enterprise Mobility – Challenges and Opportunities”. This is a summary from this session which will give a quick overview of various issues in this sector.

Thanks to my following fellow panelists who helped me with various questions including some from the audience

  • Sanjeev Gupta (General Manager, Avaya)
  • Ashwin Krishnan (Director, Product Management,Juniper Networks)
  • Indranil Chatterjee (VP Product Management, Openwave Mobility)
  • Toby Rush (CEO,EyeVerify)

The issues discussed can be split into the following main heading

  • BYOD – Bring your own device
  • Type of Device – Android, iOS or Windows
  • Making a Business Case
  • Security & Authentication
  • Applications and App Stores
  • Connectivity and Service Provider Issues

BYOD

With the consumerization of IT, consumers are more in control of what mobile devices they use. So rather than employees having multiple phones and tablets, enterprises have decided to allow employees to bring their own device or as someone put it more aptly as LYOD – lease your own device to the enterprise.

 Type of Device

Some discussions reaffirmed that RIM’s Blackberry failed to deliver to market expectation and is losing market share constantly. Apple iOS is very popular and almost the only tablet device in the corporate world. Android is important and with some new advancements like from Samsung in virtualization, it may become more enterprise ready. Microsoft Windows8 is great on paper but it is not clear if users will adopt it as fast as IT and/or Microsoft may like to see. Bottom line, any device that wins users will become the choice of enterprise as well.

 Making a Business Case

Sanjay Gupta, both in his session and at the panel, offered many examples of companies in healthcare and government who have justified use of iPad due to increased productivity like saving of 15 minutes per day of nurse time. May be we can share some of those slides in Slideshare at a later time.

 Security & Authentication

Security is paramount but focus of securing device needs to shift to securing enterprise data. VPN systems may not an ideal solution for securing mobile devices unlike PCs due to various reasons including power issues of mobile device. Toby Rush feels time for biometric security has now come with new cameras and additional capabilities on mobile devices and their software.

 Applications & App Stores

First and foremost, users need access to everyday files on their mobile devices something DocSync.Net offers. Then there is the issue of porting and running enterprise apps and with the fragmentation of so many devices this task is not easy. To know whether a particular app is secure or not is a challenge for which there are no clear answers but user education and enterprise authorized app stores were offered as possible solutions without any conclusion.

 Connectivity and Service Provider Issues

Ideally enterprises would like to get data only plans and family calling type plans for data services. The service provider billing systems will take some time to get there even if they are ready to offer such services. It was also felt that large operators like Verizon and AT&T have less incentive to offer these services and these services may initially come from regional operators.

 Conclusion

Enterprise mobility is a new frontier with many issues and so there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs and enterprising vendors in the eco systems to take advantage of it.

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Mobile Computing, Social Networking and Cloud Computing have been driving tech industry for 2010 and will likely continue to be the driver for this year. What differences, if any, will be felt in evolution of these trends this year. Here are some of my opinions and I sure would like to hear yours on these topics. Part-I of this blog deals with Mobile issues while Part-II will deal with Social Networking issues while Part-III will deal with Cloud Computing.

Mobile Computing Trends

The three big trends in Mobile Computing are:

  • Android and Mobile Phones
  • Tablets and iPad
  • Apps Apps

Android and Mobile Phones

Android was the big news of 2010 and will continue its march into mobile dominance. However, as Android moves more into the mainstream, battery life, fragmentation, usability and app store issues will come in its way of total domination. Apple will innovate again this time improving speech interface and competing with Google on replacing our remotes, wallets and keys with mobile phone. In the mobile industry, the dominance for No.3 spot will be fought hard between Microsoft, Nokia and RIM. Who do you think will be the winner in the end?

Tablets and iPad

Tablet was the big news of 2010 but competition to iPad only arrives this year. Android may take the second spot and battle for third spot will be fought between HP’s Palmtop, RIM’s Playbook and a player we don’t know about yet? Having used iPad for the last few months, I think Tablets have the potential to replace laptops for many users. What are your experiences?

Apps Apps

Apps was the big news of 2010 with limited monetization but new business models will emerge making monetization easier. HTML5 will become viable for many content applications and start to become the trend of 2011. In fact, that is the only way Microsoft, Nokia and RIM can neutralize some of the momentum of Android and iOS applications. You can see over 70 conversations on Linkedin at http://linkd.in/h7hhr5 about this topic

Conclusion

Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS will continue its dominance for mobile phone and tablets but battle for No.3 spot will be fought between HP, Microsoft, Nokia and RIM.

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Like many of you, I have a large selection of music and podcasts that has been purchased/downloaded over the years – running into 30GB.  I used to sync with my iPod using the cable and lot of patience until I got a message that all of my music doesn’t fit anymore on my iPod.  Over time, Android phone, Blackberry, iPhone and iPad have been added to our family’s collection of PCs and Macs.

With my music spread amongst two computers and limited available storage capacity of my mobile devices, I decided to look for alternatives and here is what I found when I evaluated the following:

  • Syncing my Music to the SD card/internal memory of the phone
  • Radios like Pandora
  • Monthly Music services like MOG and Spotify
  • Streaming my own music using services like Jam11

Syncing my Music to the SD card/internal memory of the phone

Apple offers an ability to sync iPhone and iPad with iTunes  and many third party alternatives exist on Android and Blackberry phones to sync your library on iTunes as well. If your music library is any larger than 5GB (1,000 songs), Syncing is a bad alternative as there is never enough space left on these devices after leaving room for apps, pictures, videos and other data.  Yes you can pay $99 extra for each 8GB of storage on Apple’s iPod and iPhone or buy a larger SD card but it is unlikely that you can sync all of your music library on it for ever.

Radios like Pandora & Slacker

Internet Radios like Pandora and Slacker are great alternatives and offer a great selection. It is a great way to discover new music. However, if you are in a mood to listen to your Beatles album, Pandora will offer one of the songs from Beatles and then offer you similar songs due to Radio licensing restrictions. There are other Internet radios like SHOUTcast wherein I found a large selection of music, news and talkshows.

Monthly Music Services

There are many alternatives like MOG, Spotify and Rhapsody and cost between $5 to $10/month. The selection varies but I couldn’t find majority of the music that I like in most of these services. Also, I do have problem in paying to listen to the music I already own and hence these choices are not for me.

Streaming my Own Music using services like Jam11

With ubiquitous 3G/Wifi data connectivity, it is now easy to stream all of your music off your computer. Yes it needs your computer to be on but with streaming services like Jam11, I can now listen to my music anywhere from any phone. I can search for my music on my Android or Blackberry phone and listen instantly and make sure I don’t buy yet another song I already own. You can download Jam11 from Android Market or Blackberry App World and give it a try.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is no one solution for everyone. I settled on using Jam11, have some local music on my SD card and listen to SHOUTcast radios on my Jam11 application. Let me know if you are still not syncing the old fashioned way and buying more iPods.

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I was planning to go on vacation to the UK for about 10 days and so looked for various articles to point me to the most economical way to roam in the UK for three of our family phones running on Android, Blackberry and iPhone. I didn’t find a lot of useful information before going there but learnt some useful information on my trip that I want to share in this blog and hope anyone traveling from the USA to UK will find it useful. I also think the same information will apply to other European countries as well.

So, here are various considerations in making the right decision on selecting your roaming service provider.

  • US Mobile Operator’s Roaming Pricing
  • Is your handset capable of Roaming?
  • Is your handset Carrier Locked?
  • Duration of trip
  • Voice Roaming
  • Data Roaming – Android and iPhone
  • Data Roaming – Blackberry

US Mobile Operator’s Roaming Pricing

AT&T, Sprint , T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless all offer international voice roaming and their rates vary from $1 to $2/minute.  Additionally, data roaming charges are in the range of $1-$1.50/MB. AT&T used to offer $69/Month unlimited data roaming for Blackberry but it not available anymore on its web site.

Is your handset capable of Roaming?

Most of handsets sold by AT&T and T-Mobile are capable of roaming on most of the networks in the UK and the rest of Europe. For handsets sold by Sprint and Verizon, only quadband 3G handsets are capable of roaming on the European networks.  Both Sprint and Verizon offer some Blackberry handsets that are quadband but none of the Android handsets on Sprint and Verizon websites are quadband and so unlikely to be suitable for roaming on GSM networks in Europe.

Is your handset Carrier Locked?

Most US mobile operators lock handsets in such a way that these subsidized handsets only work on their network. However, many operators offer unlock codes with AT&T and T-Mobile providing it free after 3 months of service except on iPhone. The good news for iPhone users is the availability of many public domain and paid tools to do carrier unlock which is not the same as jailbreak. In London, we could get this service from any of the  shops selling SIM cards for less than $10.

Duration of trip

If you are going on a business trip for a couple of days and not likely to visit the same country anytime soon, go with the plan offered by your mobile operator as the hassle of going on a pre paid plan is not worth the trouble unless you are going to be on the phone constantly.

Voice Roaming

If you only care about voice roaming then the best thing to do is to buy any local SIM card. Insert it into your unlocked GSM phone and you are in business. There are many voice plans with calls within UK costing over 25cents/min but offering less than 5cents/min calls to any international location including the US. The only downside is that you will have a new number but for the savings offered, it was worth taking the chance.

Data Roaming – Android and iPhone

I found T-Mobile SIM cards offering data services at a very reasonable price and configured automatically on all three phones I tried it on. On the other hand, O2 card didn’t work on my Android or Blackberry and every time I called the O2 operator, more money was taken out of my pre-paid account.The pre-paid T-Mobile SIM offered almost unlimited weekly data plan for less than $7.

Data Roaming – Blackberry

Most operators in the UK don’t support Blackberry on prepaid and if Blackberry/Outlook integrated email is needed, you have no choice but to stick with your US SIM card and pay for data roaming. However, I could get Internet connectivity on Blackberry and was able to access my Gmail and do browsing on it with T-Mobile SIM card.

Conclusion

If you are going to be roaming in the UK for more than couple of days, it is much more economical to use pre paid SIM than to pay large roaming fees to the US operators with only disadvantage being a new number. For Blackberry users, you can get voice and data roaming but not Blackberry messaging connectivity on a pre-paid SIM. For Android and iPhone users, pre paid SIM is the best economical option and gives you full connectivity at a very reasonable price.

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This week NPD released a report which had some encouraging report for Google’s Android which had 28% market share this quarter with iPhone’s 21% and Google’s Nexus One with 10% in the US. Finally, Android powered phones like Droid from Motorola and Droid Incredible from HTC are making inroads into Apple’s iPhone market because of the combined effect of good phones and a good network. Many iPhone enthusiasts will argue that these comparisons are not real since one phone is being pitted against 18 Android phones but that is the topic for a different blog.  The topic that I want to tackle in this blog is  – Can Android do even better and if so what should Google do before it is too late? I have owned and played with Nokia N series phones, Blackberry, Google’s G1, N1, Droid Incredible and iPhone.

Here are things I think Google should do if it wants to be a true leader in this space

1)   Reduce Fragmentation of Android

2)   Build phone for the masses and not just for tech savvy consumers

3)   Improve App Store Experience

4)   Leave hardware sales to OEMs

Reduce Fragmentation

Fragmentation = Too many versions, no defined minimum hardware spec, no defined minimum app set and incompatibilities across versions and vendors. Nokia is a prime example of a vendor whose customers and developers suffer everyday because of this issue while Apple enjoys almost zero fragmentation. Yes there is Linux but even that was organized by Redhat and couple of other vendors.

So, Google, please take a leadership role and put some discipline into various licensees, define and force some standards for the OEMs but maintain its open source, freely available advantages.

Build phone for the masses and not just for tech savvy consumers

I have used three generations of Android phones – G1, N1 and now HTC’s Incredible. Yes these phones are getting better with every release but Google needs to be improve Android’s usability for everyone. For doing most tasks, Android requires at least 2-3 times the number of clicks compared to an iPhone.  Being a tech savvy consumer, it didn’t take me long to get used to Android phone and get almost spoiled by the customization it offers.

So, Google, please hire some great UI folks who can mask the complexity for average user while keeping the customization advantages.

Improve App Store Experience

With the sales of Android going up, developers are happy and ready to look over many of the disadvantages of App Store. Monetization possibilities brings developers but actual easy monetization will keep them there. There are many forums just discussing issues after issues like mobile only availability, currency issues, poor discovery, lack of ability to send app links in blogs and others.

So, Google, please improve usability of App Store and make it easier to discover content and monetize while keeping control to the minimum.

Leave hardware sales to OEMs

After looking at what amazing additions HTC has done with its new Incredible phone and how OEMs have managed to make Android phones available through all operators in the US and abroad, it is high time Google abandons its own hardware sales and instead concentrate on doing the best in software that it is capable of. Yes, it should promote all OEMs and especially ones that are most innovative.

So, Google, please leave the hardware sales and manufacturing to your OEMs while you promote them and help them be successful.

Conclusion

Google has built an incredible software platform in Android which can be exploited fully by various handset manufacturers. Google should exercise some control in reducing fragmentation, improving usability, improving App store experience and leave hardware innovation to the handset vendors.

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We all know what Twitter is but I couldn’t find a clear cut definition of Twitterization – a phenomena that is permeating cultures everywhere especially among the younger population. Twitterization, like Twitter, is real time but rather than just being limited to 140 characters (VoIP pioneer Jeff Pulver even has a conference dedicated to that), I would call it a byte sized communication whether it is 140 words or a short message or a picture or a video. Most dieticians recommend smaller but more frequent meals for weight loss kind of like what happens in twitter land.

Therefore, Twitterization is

  • Real Time Communication
  • Byte Sized Communication
  • More frequent Communication
  • Communication whose purpose is to build & support community

So let us see its impact on various segments of business and share your opinions:

  • Twitterization of Media
  • Twitterization of Marketing
  • Twitterization of Customer Support
  • Twitterization of Software Development

Twitterization of Media – Getting to news is fast and seeing the same article many times in your twitter feeds in a matter of seconds is common. We are well informed at least on the headlines, if not on the details. Media has adopted that culture very fast but in a race to be real time, the quality of communication has suffered. Grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and lack of fact checking have become commonplace; these problems are sometimes corrected but often aggravated by crowd sourcing. How has this affected our consumption of different types of media?

Twitterization of Marketing – Product development for companies can be done much more efficiently, but the down side is that people participating in your twitterization efforts will be self-selected. Therefore, one has to apply the right filters in selecting the right group in order to attract the most intended audiences. A product or company can rise fast but can easily fall faster too. So what are your experiences in twitterization of marketing at your companies?

Twitterization of Customer Support – This is one area that can be revolutionized for good if the companies are honest and supportive of these efforts; Comcast and Southwest serve as good examples. I have seen many a company fail at it or adopt it too late in the game. What is your experience with twitterization of customer support at places you used to call for support?

Twitterization of Software Development – The rise of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android apps stores is creating a culture of software development that calls for churning out quick applications with ephemeral popularity. Just as developers are quick to churn out new applications, users are just as quick to use and toss them as well. Vivek Wadhwa wrote an article on “What’s better – Saving the world or Building another facebook app” and this may provide one of the answers to his questions.

While Twitterization undoubtedly has its benefits, one of the main concerns I have about it is the current and future impacts on the younger generation. The new byte-sized real-time culture that they are embracing with increasing frequency may have the effect of upsetting advancements in science and research, as these are avenues that require extended focus and concentration (the antithesis of twitterization).  Tell me what you think?

R. Paul Singh

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It is no secret that Google’s launch of Nexus One phone was less than stellar. Google had so many opportunities to become a game changer in the mobile phone market but missed most of it either because it was in a hurry to launch or just didn’t think hard enough to be different from Apple’s iPhone and others. Here is a list of my Top5 opportunities they missed. Let me know what do you think?

1)   New Data only Phone – Google was Industry’s only hope for creating a data only phone i.e. a mobile phone that worked exclusively on the data network wherein voice was just a data service running on VOIP (voice over Internet protocol). With Google Voice it had a chance to do so but failed to deliver a new experience and instead chose to just add Google Voice this as another application something Skype has been doing on many phones for a long time.

2)   Worldwide Launch – No mobile phone manufacturer, except RIM in a limited way, has ever succeeded in launching a phone globally on the same day. Google came very close with availability on its web site but missed a part of US, China, India and Korea by not having all GSM and CDMA support at the same time.

3)   Pricing Model – Google had a great opportunity to create a low price smart phone and break the mobile operator’s hold on multi-year contracts in the western world where mobile phone is subsidized by the operator. It could have subsidized the phone for a while and create a new pricing model. It could have become an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) if that is what it took to pay for the phone. Instead Google did whatever everyone else did but settled on taking smaller margin between itself and its partner HTC.

4)   Speech as a New Interface – Google came close but only got to a beta or alpha stage for using Speech as a new interface on Mobile. Another missed opportunity!

5)   Getting rid of Bluetooth Headsets – Despite various new styles, very few people like their Bluetooth headset but are forced to use it due to various handsfree driving laws. Google seems to be getting close to eliminating them with a better audio design but wait –  it does need a Car Kit that according to Google is still not available. Again in a hurry to launch!

Bottomline, Google missed an opportunity to change the mobile industry and just became a me too player challenging Apple’s iPhone. What do you think?

R. Paul Singh

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