Posts tagged ‘Mobile’

May 2, 2011

Motorola EX130 feature phone packs in dual screens [Tech]

by Avinash Saxena

TECH  For the most part, geeks overlook the feature phone category altogether in favor of the smartphones which don’t generally cost that much more. A new feature phone from Motorola has turned up today the phone has one interesting feature that will have some taking a closer look at the EX130. This phone hasn’t gone official yet. It runs the Qualcomm Brew MP operating system that has been running on feature phones for a while now.

The EX130 has a main screen that is 2.8-inches and has a screen resolution of 320 x 240. It has 128MB of memory and 64MB of RAM. The thing that has captured the interest of some people perusing the specs of the phone is that it has a thin little OLED screen at the bottom of the device with a resolution of 96 x 16. That little screen would presumably allow the user to have scrolling feeds of important data that they can access while doing other things on the phone.

What I mentioned above are all the features that we know right now. There are key items that are a mystery, such as what network the EX130 will run on. Whether it runs on GSM or CDMA networks is unknown. The price is also unknown, but considering it is a feature phone, it can’t be particularly expensive.

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April 27, 2011

Mobile application management without the heavy hand [Infographic]

by Avinash Saxena

Mobile application management without the heavy hand

IT concerns are fast moving from mobile device management (MDM) to mobile application management (MAM) as part of a shift in thinking from whether to allow mobile devices in to how to best take advantage of them. At IT conferences, I hear more and more questions about how to manage those applications. For organizations used to controlling the software on a user’s PC via tools such as IBM’s Tivoli and Microsoft’s SMS, the iPhones, iPads, and Androids now becoming commonplace herald a Wild West environment.

The heterogeneity of those devices is daunting enough — most desktop application management tools can’t even do a decent job of handling Mac OS X applications, so no one expects them to go near the mobile devices. But mobile OSes veer even more dramatically from the desktop, making app management less suitable for IT’s traditional approach. The use of app stores means IT isn’t the central distributor of apps in mobile, while the mix of HTML and native apps raises another level of complexity. Sure, IT can put together its own mobile app “store,” but it’s often a glorified website or intranet site with links to approved or recommended apps, both internal and external.

[ Learn how to manage iPhones, Androids, BlackBerrys, and other smartphones in InfoWorld’s 20-page Mobile Management Deep Dive PDF special report. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights via Twitter and with the Mobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter. ]

Even as IT has given up the notion of ruling over mobile devices and instead has come to view them as a device jointly “owned” with the user, IT rightfully wants to manage the business-oriented apps on those devices. That way, when an employee leaves the company or a device is lost, the application and its data can be removed from the device. IT also rightfully wants to be able to manage updates and licenses, as well as track usage — especially in the messy context of apps used by employees, contractors, and business partners, in which even a control-oriented organization simply can’t seize the traditional control over all the devices.

The first wave: Managing HTML app containers via policies
What’s evolved in the device management space is a policy-oriented approach. In this scenario, a tool such as BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), Microsoft Exchange (via Exchange ActiveSync protocol), or a third-party MDM utility, such as those from Good Technology, MobileIron, and Trellia, manages the data it provisions, including mail, contacts, and so on. It can also impose devicewide access policies, such as password requirements, remote lock, and more. Some of these tools can even manage applications they provision, essentially allowing or disallowing access, as well as pushing updates.

The same is beginning to happen in mobile application management. A few weeks back, I profiled the approach used by Antenna Software, whose MAM essentially puts HTML apps in a virtual box on the iPhone or Android device. IT can then control and monitor the apps in that box. The approach is very similar to how many MDM tools work, providing their own clients, managing the email, and so on, apart from the rest of the device; it’s akin to the VDI approach used in Citrix Systems’ Receiver app for mobile devices.

That box approach provides a clear separation between work and personal apps and data, but it’s a bit heavy-handed, forcing users (in the case of Antenna’s Volt) to open a container app to access business-provisioned HTML apps. That’s acceptable for HTML apps, as users typically first launch a browser before running a Web app, and you can think of the Volt client as a browser for enterprise apps. Plus, IT directly controls those apps because they run on IT’s servers just like a desktop Web app.

April 15, 2011

Flash on Android: Look but don’t touch [Infographic]

by Avinash Saxena

Flash on Android: Look but don't touch

With their larger screens, long-lasting batteries, and powerful CPUs, tablets seem well suited for the kinds of rich multimedia applications that confound ordinary smartphones. But Apple famouslywon’t allow Adobe Flash on its iOS mobile devices, including the iPad. This fued creates an ideal opportunity for competing tablet makers to step in and fill the void.

Right now, the iPad’s top competitor is the Motorola Xoom, which has been available in the United States from Verizon since February. The Xoom is the first device to ship with Google’s Android 3.0 OS, code-named “Honeycomb,” which features a new UI “designed from the ground up for tablets.”

[ Also on InfoWorld: Your website might be gorgeous, but is it really cross-platform? See 7 Web UI mistakes to avoid for smartphones and tablets. | Updated for Android 3.0: Learn how to manage iPhones, Androids, BlackBerrys, and other smartphones in InfoWorld’s 20-pageMobile Management Deep Dive PDF special report. ]

When InfoWorld compared the Xoom to the original iPad, we found Motorola’s tablet to be a credible yet inferior competitor, and it paled still further when pitted against the newer iPad 2. But both reviews were conducted back when neither platform supported Flash. Adobe has since released a beta Flash Player 10.2 for Android 3.0, making Honeycomb the first tablet-centric platform to support Flash content.

Would Flash be a game-changer for Android, giving Honeycomb tablets a clear advantage over the iPad at last? I wanted to find out, so I grabbed InfoWorld’s demo Xoom and set off on a journey through the Flash-enabled Web. Unfortunately, my results weren’t particularly encouraging.

April 15, 2011

Flash on Android: Look but don't touch [Infographic]

by Avinash Saxena

Flash on Android: Look but don't touch

With their larger screens, long-lasting batteries, and powerful CPUs, tablets seem well suited for the kinds of rich multimedia applications that confound ordinary smartphones. But Apple famouslywon’t allow Adobe Flash on its iOS mobile devices, including the iPad. This fued creates an ideal opportunity for competing tablet makers to step in and fill the void.

Right now, the iPad’s top competitor is the Motorola Xoom, which has been available in the United States from Verizon since February. The Xoom is the first device to ship with Google’s Android 3.0 OS, code-named “Honeycomb,” which features a new UI “designed from the ground up for tablets.”

[ Also on InfoWorld: Your website might be gorgeous, but is it really cross-platform? See 7 Web UI mistakes to avoid for smartphones and tablets. | Updated for Android 3.0: Learn how to manage iPhones, Androids, BlackBerrys, and other smartphones in InfoWorld’s 20-pageMobile Management Deep Dive PDF special report. ]

When InfoWorld compared the Xoom to the original iPad, we found Motorola’s tablet to be a credible yet inferior competitor, and it paled still further when pitted against the newer iPad 2. But both reviews were conducted back when neither platform supported Flash. Adobe has since released a beta Flash Player 10.2 for Android 3.0, making Honeycomb the first tablet-centric platform to support Flash content.

Would Flash be a game-changer for Android, giving Honeycomb tablets a clear advantage over the iPad at last? I wanted to find out, so I grabbed InfoWorld’s demo Xoom and set off on a journey through the Flash-enabled Web. Unfortunately, my results weren’t particularly encouraging.

April 12, 2011

Nokia X7 Coming To Three UK [Video-Today]

by Avinash Saxena
Tags: , ,
April 12, 2011

The new addiction about ipads and android at the work [Infographic]

by Avinash Saxena

Forget the fear: Learning to love iPads and Androids at workThe news of infographic from the bucket of Apple ipads and Android at the time of workthe new addiction from there viewers. The style of ipads and android work are the according to this reporting.”

I’ve been talking to many IT executives in recent weeks at various conferences, and I’m finding a curious bifurcation among them when it comes to how they handle newfangled mobile devicessuch a iPhones, iPads, and Android smartphones and tablets. Some have the attitude “people can bring whatever they want, so long as the devices support our security policies,” while others take the “I’m very leery of how these will compromise my organization’s security if I let them in” position.

Yes, people in IT — many of them, in fact — still register the fear reaction to the new smartphone and tablets whose usage has exploded in recent years. I’m shocked at one level, but not at another.

I’m shocked because any organization that truly has its security threatened because there are iPhones in the building have much bigger problems than any single device: They have fundamentally insecure IT operations that haven’t acknowledged the idea of a physical perimeter is long gone in this era of wireless communications and high usage of outsourced services and contract employees. No device should have unchallenged access to sensitive information just because it’s in the building, and the notion that security measures would let newfangled devices right in is an absurd one.

I don’t believe most of these companies have any basis for their fears. After all, they use virtual LANs, VPNs, permissions-based access, and the like already, and iOS and Android devices have no secret ways to blast through those. If a file server or database requires a password or other credential to gain access, that applies to mobile devices just as it does to PCs and remote computers.

April 5, 2011

Pandora gets subpoena in grand jury app probe [News Report]

by Avinash Saxena

Online music provider Pandora Media disclosed in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission today that it has received a subpoena related to a federal grand jury investigation about sharing customer information in its smartphone app.

The company, which filed for an initial public offering with the SEC earlier this year, added the latest tidbit of information regarding the grand jury subpoena to its S-1 today. The disclosure was listed under potential risk factors for investors interested in participating in the IPO.

Pandora said in the filing that it believes it is one of several Internet publishing companies with mobile apps to receive the federal grand jury subpoena. The company didn’t disclose the location of the grand jury or any other specific information related to the grand jury investigation.

“In early 2011, we were served with a subpoena to produce documents in connection with a federal grand jury, which we believe was convened to investigate the information sharing processes of certain popular applications that run on the Apple and Android mobile platforms. While we were informed that we are not a specific target of the investigation, and we believe that similar subpoenas were issued on an industry-wide basis to the publishers of numerous other smartphone applications, we will likely incur legal costs related to compliance with the subpoena, management’s attention could be diverted and there is no guarantee that we will avoid costly litigation. Any claims or allegations that we have violated laws and regulations relating to privacy and data security could result in negative publicity and a loss of confidence in us by our listeners and our advertisers, and may subject us to fines by credit card companies and loss of our ability to accept credit and debit card payments.”

Several smartphone applications, including Pandora, monitor consumers’ behavior to get more information that helps advertisers target individuals. For example, Pandora collects information such as gender, ZIP code, music preferences, and other information contributed to a user’s profile to provide more targeted advertising.

These applications have recently come under fire as officials question whether these apps violate consumers’ privacy. Several civil lawsuits have been filed against application companies, such as Pandora. And Apple, which certifies mobile applications for its App Store that provides mobile applications to the iPhoneiPad, and iPod Touch, has also been named in several class action lawsuits.

The subpoena that Pandora disclosed in its filing is an indication that the government is now looking into the case as a criminal matter. The Wall Street Journal reported late Monday that an unnamed source said that federal prosecutors in New Jersey are investigating whether smartphone applications illegally obtain or transmit information about their users without proper disclosures.

The newspaper reports that the investigation is looking into whether the application makers disclosed to users that their data was being collected and why that data needed to be collected. Collecting information about a user without proper notice or authorization could violate a federal computer-fraud law, the paper reports.

The criminal investigation and class action lawsuits were likely prompted by an article by the Wall Street Journal published in December. In that story, the paper examined 101 mobile applications and found that many were sending information to marketers without the consent of users.

The article highlighted privacy concerns and since then class action lawsuits have been filed against Apple and other companies, including Pandora, Paper Toss, Weather Channel, Dictionary.com, Yelp, NPR, and WebMD. Mobile advertising and analytics providers Flurry, Medialets and Pinch Media, have also been named in a lawsuit filed in February in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose.

The lawsuits allege that Apple and the other defendants have violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

In the suit filed in February, the plaintiffs claim these companies had gained unauthorized access to mobile devices Apple, including the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch to “access, collect, monitor, and remotely store, electronic data,” including the user’s unique device identifier (UDID). This is similar to a serial number in that it belongs to each specific iOS device. Furthermore, the suit alleges that Apple is at fault for not making it clear that this information was being passed along to the makers of these apps and services, thus giving the companies an easier way to track user activity.

Along with the privacy implications, the lawsuit alleges that the underlying technology, which is transmitting this information elsewhere, is actually slowing devices down. This is something made worse, the plaintiffs say, because said services could not be disabled.

Pandora was specifically mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article in December. In that article, the newspaper said it found that the app sends age and gender information to marketers to target advertising.

The Mobile Marketing Association, an industry association for marketers, has also begun calling for best practices to be used among its members to help protect consumer privacy. The group has asked marketers and app developers to provide consumers with a more transparent view of the process of how they gather information and what they do with that information. The MMA has also called on more companies join its privacy committee, which sets up certain guidelines for online data collection.

The government is also getting involved in the issue. In January, the Federal Trade Commission released a report on online privacy in which it discussed the idea of a “do not track” for the Web policy, similar to the current “do not call” list that bans telemarketers from calling people.

 

April 5, 2011

Google's Full Focus over Android is Good and Friendly [Review]

by Avinash Saxena

Last week, Google said it would not release the source for its Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” tablet to developers and would limit the OS to select hardware makers, at least initially. Now there are rumors reported by Bloomberg Businessweek that Google is requiring Android device makers to get UI changes approved by Google.

As my colleague Savio Rodrigues has written, limiting the Honeycomb code is not going to hurt the Android market. I believe reining in the custom UIs imposed on Android is a good thing. Let’s be honest: They exist only so companies like Motorola, HTC, and Samsung can pretend to have any technology involvement in the Android products they sell and claim they have some differentiating feature that should make customers want their model of an Android smartphone versus the umpteenth otherwise-identical Android smartphones out there.

[ Compare mobile devices using your own criteria with InfoWorld’s smartphone calculator andtablet calculator. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights via Twitter and with theMobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter. ]

The reality of Android is that it is the new Windows: an operating system used by multiple hardware vendors to create essentially identical products, save for the company name printed on it. That of course is what the device makers fear — both those like Acer that already live in the race-to-the-bottom PC market and those like Motorola and HTC that don’t want to.

But these cosmetic UI differences cause confusion among users, sending the message that Android is a collection of devices, not a platform like Apple’s iOS. As Android’s image becomes fragmented, so does the excitement that powers adoption. Anyone who’s followed the cell phone industry has seen how that plays out: There are 1 billion Java-based cell phones out there, but no one knows it, and no one cares, as each works so differently that the Java underpinnings offer no value to anyone but Oracle, which licenses the technology.

Google initially seemed to want to play the same game as Oracle (and before it Sun), providing an under-the-hood platform for manufacturers to use as they saw fit. But a couple curious things happened:

  • Vendors such as Best Buy started selling the Android brand, to help create a sense of a unified alternative to BlackBerry and iOS, as well as to help prevent customers from feeling overwhelmed by all the “different” phones available. Too much choice confuses people, and salespeople know that.
  • Several mobile device makers shipped terrible tablets based on the Android 2.2 smartphone OS — despite Google’s warnings not to — because they were impatient with Google’s slow progress in releasing Honeycomb. These tablets, such as the Galaxy Tab, were terrible products and clear hack jobs that only demonstrated the iPad’s superiority. I believe they also finally got the kids at Google to understand that most device makers have no respect for the Android OS and will create the same banal products for it as they do for Windows. The kids at Google have a mission, and enabling white-box smartphones isn’t it.

I’ve argued before that Android’s fragmentation, encouraged by its open source model, was a mistake. Google should drive the platform forward and ride herd on those who use it in their devices. If it wants to make the OS available free to stmulate adoption, fine. But don’t let that approach devolve into the kind of crappy results that many device makers are so clueless (or eager — take your pick) to deliver.

So far, Google’s been lucky in that the fragmentation has been largely in cosmetic UI areas, which doesn’t affect most Android apps and only annoys customers when they switch to a new device. The fragmentation of Android OS versions across devices is driving many Android developers away, as are fears over a fractured set of app stores. Along these lines, Google has to break the carriers’ update monopoly, as Apple did, so all Android devices can be on the same OS page.

It is true that HTC’s Eris brought some useful additions to the stock Android UI, serving as a model for future improvements. But the HTC example is the exception, and Google’s apparent new policy would allow such enhancements if Google judges them to be so.

More to the point is what the tablet makers such as ViewSonic, Dell, and Samsung did with their first Android tablets. Their half-baked products showed how comfortable they are soiling the Android platform. For them, Android is just another OS to throw on hardware designed for something else in a cynical attempt to capture a market wave. The consistently low sales should provide a clue that users aren’t buying the junk. But do they blame the hardware makers or Google? When so many Android devices are junk, it’ll be Google whose reputation suffers.

Let’s not forget Google’s competition, and why Google can’t patiently teach these companies about user experience: Apple, a company that knows how to nurture, defend, and evangelize a platform. Let’s also not forget the fate of Microsoft and Nokia, who let their Windows Mobile and Symbian OSes fragment into oblivion. And let’s remember that the one company that knows how the vanilla-PC game is played, Hewlett-Packard, has decided to move away from the plain-vanilla Windows OS and stake its future on its own platform, WebOS, for both PCs and mobile devices. In that world, a fragmented, confused, soiled Android platform would have no market at all.

If Google finally understands that Android is a platform to be nurtured and defended, it has a chance of remaining a strong presence in the mobile market for more than a few faddish years. If not, it’s just throwing its baby into the woods, where it will find cruel exploitation, not nurturing or defense.

 

April 5, 2011

Google’s Full Focus over Android is Good and Friendly [Review]

by Avinash Saxena

Last week, Google said it would not release the source for its Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” tablet to developers and would limit the OS to select hardware makers, at least initially. Now there are rumors reported by Bloomberg Businessweek that Google is requiring Android device makers to get UI changes approved by Google.

As my colleague Savio Rodrigues has written, limiting the Honeycomb code is not going to hurt the Android market. I believe reining in the custom UIs imposed on Android is a good thing. Let’s be honest: They exist only so companies like Motorola, HTC, and Samsung can pretend to have any technology involvement in the Android products they sell and claim they have some differentiating feature that should make customers want their model of an Android smartphone versus the umpteenth otherwise-identical Android smartphones out there.

[ Compare mobile devices using your own criteria with InfoWorld’s smartphone calculator andtablet calculator. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights via Twitter and with theMobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter. ]

The reality of Android is that it is the new Windows: an operating system used by multiple hardware vendors to create essentially identical products, save for the company name printed on it. That of course is what the device makers fear — both those like Acer that already live in the race-to-the-bottom PC market and those like Motorola and HTC that don’t want to.

But these cosmetic UI differences cause confusion among users, sending the message that Android is a collection of devices, not a platform like Apple’s iOS. As Android’s image becomes fragmented, so does the excitement that powers adoption. Anyone who’s followed the cell phone industry has seen how that plays out: There are 1 billion Java-based cell phones out there, but no one knows it, and no one cares, as each works so differently that the Java underpinnings offer no value to anyone but Oracle, which licenses the technology.

Google initially seemed to want to play the same game as Oracle (and before it Sun), providing an under-the-hood platform for manufacturers to use as they saw fit. But a couple curious things happened:

  • Vendors such as Best Buy started selling the Android brand, to help create a sense of a unified alternative to BlackBerry and iOS, as well as to help prevent customers from feeling overwhelmed by all the “different” phones available. Too much choice confuses people, and salespeople know that.
  • Several mobile device makers shipped terrible tablets based on the Android 2.2 smartphone OS — despite Google’s warnings not to — because they were impatient with Google’s slow progress in releasing Honeycomb. These tablets, such as the Galaxy Tab, were terrible products and clear hack jobs that only demonstrated the iPad’s superiority. I believe they also finally got the kids at Google to understand that most device makers have no respect for the Android OS and will create the same banal products for it as they do for Windows. The kids at Google have a mission, and enabling white-box smartphones isn’t it.

I’ve argued before that Android’s fragmentation, encouraged by its open source model, was a mistake. Google should drive the platform forward and ride herd on those who use it in their devices. If it wants to make the OS available free to stmulate adoption, fine. But don’t let that approach devolve into the kind of crappy results that many device makers are so clueless (or eager — take your pick) to deliver.

So far, Google’s been lucky in that the fragmentation has been largely in cosmetic UI areas, which doesn’t affect most Android apps and only annoys customers when they switch to a new device. The fragmentation of Android OS versions across devices is driving many Android developers away, as are fears over a fractured set of app stores. Along these lines, Google has to break the carriers’ update monopoly, as Apple did, so all Android devices can be on the same OS page.

It is true that HTC’s Eris brought some useful additions to the stock Android UI, serving as a model for future improvements. But the HTC example is the exception, and Google’s apparent new policy would allow such enhancements if Google judges them to be so.

More to the point is what the tablet makers such as ViewSonic, Dell, and Samsung did with their first Android tablets. Their half-baked products showed how comfortable they are soiling the Android platform. For them, Android is just another OS to throw on hardware designed for something else in a cynical attempt to capture a market wave. The consistently low sales should provide a clue that users aren’t buying the junk. But do they blame the hardware makers or Google? When so many Android devices are junk, it’ll be Google whose reputation suffers.

Let’s not forget Google’s competition, and why Google can’t patiently teach these companies about user experience: Apple, a company that knows how to nurture, defend, and evangelize a platform. Let’s also not forget the fate of Microsoft and Nokia, who let their Windows Mobile and Symbian OSes fragment into oblivion. And let’s remember that the one company that knows how the vanilla-PC game is played, Hewlett-Packard, has decided to move away from the plain-vanilla Windows OS and stake its future on its own platform, WebOS, for both PCs and mobile devices. In that world, a fragmented, confused, soiled Android platform would have no market at all.

If Google finally understands that Android is a platform to be nurtured and defended, it has a chance of remaining a strong presence in the mobile market for more than a few faddish years. If not, it’s just throwing its baby into the woods, where it will find cruel exploitation, not nurturing or defense.

 

March 29, 2011

New Intel solid-state drive hits 600GB

by Avinash Saxena
Intel has entered the high-capacity big leagues with a new series of solid-state drives that offer up to 600 gigabytes in capacity.
Intel solid-state drive 320 Series. Intel solid-state drive 320 Series

The world’s largest chipmaker is tapping into its most cutting-edge manufacturing technology to get the larger capacities–with chip geometries shrinking to a mere 25 nanometers. Those geometries are a step ahead of its newest Core i series processors, which are built on a slightly “fatter” 32-nanometer manufacturing process.

Intel’s third-generation SSD 320 Series comes in 40, 80, 120, 160, 300, and 600GB options.

And, of course, they’re faster. The new SSDs deliver up to 39,500 input/output operations per second (IOPS) random reads and 23,000 IOPS random writes on its highest-capacity drives. Maximum sequential write speeds have doubled from its second-generation SSDs to 220 megabytes-per-second (MB/s) sequential writes. Read throughputs have been boosted to 270 MB/s sequential reads. These numbers are comparable to–and in some cases exceed–published numbers from Samsung, a leading SSD manufacturer and supplier.

 

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