Posts Tagged ‘mobile internet’
So, tomorrow’s the big day.
Research In Motion is formally introducing its BlackBerry 10 operating system.
Will the industry yawn and wonder what part of the mobile wilderness that RIM the BlackBerry has been wandering, or will it welcome the potential for new innovation with open arms?
We shall see, but there’s been no end of speculation and expectation appearing in the blogosphere.
For IT professionals, The Wall Street Journal’s Clint Boulton indicated CIOs should be prepared to ask (and get answered) a few key questions.
They center around pricing, upgradability of BlackBerry’s Enterprise Server, interoperability with iPhone and Android, and the like.
The broader question is what will drive demand? Will the market be receptive to the new phones and software behind BlackBerry 10, or are iPhones and Androids “good enough?”
Plenty of tech and mobile companies have had their time “in the wilderness,” and there’s nothing to focus innovation and R&D like dwindling market share.
I was a faithful BlackBerry subscriber for several years, before the lure of the more user-friendly environment of the iOS operating system drew me away from my last RIM device, the BlackBerry Bold.
Looking back, there were a few things I especially liked about RIM’s earlier offerings.
Most notably, the real-time, secure email capability. At a time when I was traveling extensively, there was nothing like being able to walk off the plane and crank up my Bold to find out what had happened in my world the prior 10 hours I was in the air.
I also liked the ability to synchronize with my work calendar — nothing like missing a meeting because you didn’t know it was even happening.
What I didn’t like? The inability to easily introduce new applications and content, most notably music and video (vis a vis iTunes), and yes, that all important road warrior time killer, games. I could only take so many bouts of “Bricks” or “Breakout” (It’s been so long, I forgot what the game was called!)
The application universe also always seemed so limited with RIM, so if they are going to “break out” of the wilderness, that app ecosystem is going to be key.
But only if the OS is up to the task.
CNET’s Roger Cheng explains we can expect two new devices at least, the Z10 and X10, a touchscreen and keyboard version, respectively, and that they’ll be available in February.
As far as apps are concerned, Cheng indicates BB 10 will launch with 70,000 apps.
Though that pales compared to the number of iOS and Android apps currently available, it’s a start, and the real key will be are they the RIGHT apps (the ones that help the mobile warrior stay productive, informed, entertained, and sane on the road, and yet have enough attraction to pull in other demographics).
Creating awareness through marketing will also be key to RIM’s renaissance. The “mindspace” for mobile has been increasingly dominated by the Apple and Google juggernauts over these past few years, and we can hardly turn our heads without seeing Samsung’s TV spots suggesting the iPhone is your our parent’s geriatric mobile device.
RIM hasn’t been part of the conversation for…well, years.
But I think RIM’s challenges are much bigger than awareness. The proof is going to be in the pudding, or in their case, in the user experience.
Design of a useful, attractive and compelling user experience may not have been MORE important in a new product launch in eons, because despite having the early advantage in the mobile smartphone space, now every new experience (including the BB 10 is) going to inevitably be compared to another, existing experience like iOS and Android.
Between that, the desire for a rich apps ecosystem, and getting the word out to a skeptical public — well, over the next few months, let’s just say we’re going to find out how much Motion their Research has as they try to convince loyal, “pry this mobile device out of my cold, dead hands” users out of their comfort zone and into the land of the unknown BlackBerry.
It’s that time of year. Google has released its 2012 Zeitgeist, telling us what’s on the minds of the world’s searchers.
Facebook, not to be out done, has released the Facebook Year In Review, “a look back at the people, moments and things that created the most buzz in 2012 among the billion people around the world on Facebook.”
Now, go and ask folks what they think about Facebook’s everchanging privacy controls, and we’ll see if the Facebook Year In Review gets soon revised.
But I’m actually more interested in a big report from a small, but growing networking software and social business upstart located right here in Austin, Texas.
Spiceworks connects 2.2 million IT professionals with more than 1,300 technology brands, and offers its IT management software through a novel ad-supported model. In turn, it claims to “help businesses to discover, buy and manage $405 billion worth of technology products and services each year.”
Spiceworks just released its semi-annual “State of SMB IT Report,” a collection of statistics, trends and opinions from small and medium business technology professionals from amongst their community.
This December’s study is the seventh edition, and claims to “keep the pulse on the happenings of small and medium business IT professionals and IT departments.”
First, I’m just happy to discover they still have a pulse.
The National Federation of Independent Business’ “Small Business Optimism Index,” which is reported monthly, indicated in its November report one of the steepest declines in its history. In fact, it has reported a lower index value only seven times since it first conducted its monthly surveys in 1986.
The Index dropped a full 5.6 points in November, bottoming out at 87.5 (In 2000, by juxtaposition, it was well above 100), indicating something was rotten in November. The Index’s own Web statement suggested “it is very clear that a stunning number of [small business] owners…expect worse business conditions in six months,” and that nearly half are certain things will be worse next year than they are now, with a head nod to the looming fiscal cliff talks, the promise of higher healthcare costs, and the “endless onslaught of new regulations.”
Chicken Little, the SMB sky is falling!
Clouds, Virtualization, And Tablets Are Driving The SMB IT Spending Bus
But fear not, the SMB adoption of new technology is riding to the small business rescue, or so suggests the Spiceworks SMB IT study.
The headlines? Though IT budgets are on the rise in the SMB, hiring new staff is at a standstill. But for those still standing, in the last six months, SMBs adopted tablets and cloud services in fast-growing numbers.
Here are the four key findings:
- Tablet adoption keeps its momentum and nears smartphone levels. Hardware maintains the lion’s share of IT spend in the SMB.
- Adoption of cloud services spikes; desktop virtualization shows strong potential. (Can you say “Go long on VMWare??”)
- IT budgets reached their highest point in the last three years, while hiring freezes are up.
- BYOD is still a hot topic, though IT pros are split on the issue.
Diving down a bit, on the subject of tablets, 53 percent of SMBs now support tablets on their network, making them almost as popular as smartphones at 59 percent.
Cloud services are now used by 62 percent of SMBs, up from 48 percent in the first half of 2012.
With respect to IT budgets, they’re on the rise, averaging $162K, up from $152K in 1H 2012. But only 26 percent plan on hiring IT staff in the second half.
And on BYOD, whlie 14 percent fully embrace the trend, 32 percent say it works well for some devices, but not for others. Digging deeper, I discovered that smartphones led with 81 percent BYOD support, while tablets only garnered 62 percent.
And somewhat ironically, there’s more support for BYOD in much smaller organizations (defined here as less than 20 employees) than larger ones (50 percent in those above 250 employees).
I would encourage you to go here and register to download the full report, but the top line is this: If you’re an IT vendor looking for budget flush at the end of 2012, desktops, laptops, and servers are certainly low-hanging fruit, with tablets bringing on the most growth.
And on the software front, be on the lookout for disaster recovery and storage solutions (an IT mainstay through downturns), cloud-based solutions, and virtualization software.
Whatever you do make, just make sure you make those new purchases with “Gangnam Style” — and if you have no idea of what I’m referring to, see above with regards to the 2012 Google Zeitgeist!
We’re getting down to the wire on these London 2012 Summer Olympic games.
First off, bonne chance to the U.S. Women’s soccer team, who will have another go at the Japan women’s team, a powerful side that beat the U.S. last summer in the Women’s World Cup finals in penalty kicks.
Kick-off should start around 1:45 CST, and can be found on NBCOlympics.com.
I also wanted to send a shoutout to the ThinkPad, which is celebrating its 20th birthday.
Though IBM sold its PC business to Lenovo a few years back, it was 1992 when IBM introduced its first IBM ThinkPad laptop — I remember it well, because I was an early and proud owner of one of those first machines.
To celebrate the ThinkPad’s birthday, Lenovo is introducing some new machines, including a tablet aimed at business professionals and which runs Windows 8, the Thinkpad Tablet 2.
This new machine will have a 10.1-inch screen and is a mere 9.8mm, and it includes a new Intel Atom processor.
Because it will run Windows 8 Pro, it will be able to run those legacy Window apps you can’t afford to be putting in your desktop recycling bin!
And for you news junkies out there who use Pulse on your iOS or Android devices, there’s some new news on that front: Pulse is now available on the web.
The Web version will include most of the features you see on your mobile device, although the list of news sources will now be on your left, with the stories appearing in an elegant grid layout.
Nice way to catch up all the news you can (and cannot) use with a quick glimpse.
I added the “sports” category to my web edition, among others, so let’s hope there’s a nice big picture about the U.S. Women’s soccer team victory over Japan a little later in the day!
You can find your new Pulse here.
IBM’s mobile computing juggernaut continues with a new deal just announced in Saudia Arabia.
Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) and IBM announced today a 5-year agreement worth approximately $280 million to provide comprehensive IT solutions for the Saudi Arabian company.
Saudi Arabia: 870,000 Square Miles
Saudi Arabia is a big place, encompassing some 870,000 square miles with a population approaching 30 million people. Mobily, as the fastest growing telecommunications company in Saudia Arabia, has experienced an explosion in demand from the growing number of subscribers using mobile devices, and so in turn needed to boost its IT capacity and innovation in the market.
This new agreement with IBM will provide Mobily with faster, targeted access to new technologies and expertise so it can build a strong infrastructure to keep up with the company’s business growth.
As Mobily gears up for further expansion, it wanted to improve the quality and speed of its operations using IBM best practices.
As part of the agreement, Mobily and IBM will collaborate on future innovation with the help of IBM Research, for example, using IBM’s Spoken Web solution.
The basic principle of Spoken Web uses speech to create voice sites using the mobile phone network to establish a spoken version of the internet. The opportunity to collaborate with leading IBM researchers has become a key differentiator for IBM.
IBM’s Growth Market Strategy
The agreement highlights IBM’s continued geographic expansion initiative to strategically increase its presence in key growth markets like Saudi Arabia in support of its global growth strategy.
IBM is ramping up its investment across the Middle East and Africa, harnessing the company’s Smarter Planet initiative to help both public and private sector clients do more with fewer resources.
The strategic management of IT remains with Mobily, ensuring continuation of its standards of excellence and cutting-edge architecture, and enabling Mobily to meet the explosion in demand it is seeing from the growing number of subscribers using mobile devices.
“Partnering with one of the largest technology companies in the world offers Mobily a broad portfolio of modern IT solutions that will have a positive impact on our customers in terms of the quality of products and innovative services, in addition to solutions that will enrich their lives. We are pleased to sign with IBM, which has a significant presence in this strategic sector,” said Khalid Al Kaf, CEO, Mobily.
“The agreement is part of our efforts and vision of transforming Mobily into an integrated telecommunications operator. It also supports the Saudi government’s initiative of creating a knowledge-based community, adopting state of the art services and solutions” Al Kaf added.
IBM And Saudi Arabia: Remaking The Kingdom’s Future
IBM is involved in a range of key initiatives in Saudi Arabia, including a joint project with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology using innovative membrane technology and solar power to address the shortage of drinking water.
In another project, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and IBM are collaborating using the most complex, high performance computing system in the region.
The agreement with Mobily was signed in August 2012.