Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘android

Google’s New “Jelly Bean”

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So did anybody else watch that Google I/O keynote earlier today from the Moscone Center in San Francisco?

Apparently, so, because at one point there were nearly 100,000 concurrent viewings on YouTube.

Yes, I said, 100,000.  Pretty impressive for a developer’s conference.

I’ll get to some of the key Android announcements momentarily…first, the show stealer, which for my money (and of which there’s not a whole lot), one-upped Apple’s keynotes in a way they’ll likely never be able to match.

As the team was preparing to introduce the much-discussed Google Glasses (which I hope, one day, I’ll be able to wear on the golf course and announce to my technophobe father exactly how many yards his shot is to the pin without missing a beat), Sergey Brin cut away to an airplane flying high over the skies of San Francisco, all featured in a Google Events Hangout.

I presumed the cutaway was Memorex, but soon found out differently.

The skydivers jumped from the plane, flew in their birdsuits a little ways, then opened their chutes and landed safely on a roof by or at the Moscone Center.

They delivered the Google Glasses to some manic BMX mountain bikers, who jumped a couple of roofs before handing them over to some dudes who were hanging by some ropes.

Before too long, they all came busting into the live keynote and up on the stage to deliver the glasses.

I’ll never think of my FedEx delivery guy the same again.

I guess everyone at Google Marketing and PR was pretty confident all their skydivers’ chutes would open and no Google Glasses were going to go splat along with their mules.  That, or they had a contingency plan to cutaway to poor voice-challenged CEO Larry Page trying to pick up the slack via ASL.

Like I said, the whole stunt got my attention.

There were a range of interesting announcements, including the Glasses (available to developers attending I/O sometime next year), the new Google streaming media player (Yawn), and Google’s own Nexus 7 (is that one step behind Windows8?) tablet.

But the new Android, 4.1, AKA “Jelly Bean,” was the storyline I found most interesting.

Google announced “Project Butter” as the new innovation in 4.1, which helps make transitions and animations in the Android OS run more smoothly (at a cool 60 frames per second).

Googlers also demonstrated more responsive widgets (I hate to wait on any mobile device app!), which users can drag and drop and move around on their home screen.

Android Heavens, open up and save me from thith mobile lag!

The Google voice recognition engine is now going offline, which means you can transcribe to your heart’s content without being connected to the Interwebs.

“Android, go beat up Siri and then send me some funny pics of such that I can view on my newfangled Android 4.1 home screen and share them via my non-lagging new Facebook app on Jelly Bean!”

The new “Google Now” was also a cool new feature, which allows you tor bring up new “cards” that contain relevant and timely information (“How tall is the Empire State Building?”).

If Trivial Pursuit ever makes a comeback, I want to play the Google Now-assisted edition!

Google Now also takes advantage of temporal and physical data it knows to make friendly suggestions to you.  For example, when it’s lunchtime, Google Now could suggest some local restaurants nearby and let you easily make reservations to go there.

I’d suggest you view the video below to learn more about Google Now, but despite my preference to stick with the Apple iPlatforms, me likey the new “Jelly Bean” and hope Apple responds with some similar features in a future iOS release.

Get Real With Your Mobile Strategy

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As someone who regularly monitors and communicates key trends in the digital marketing environment with IBM, I obviously have to keep pace (as best I can!) with those emerging arenas that I think are going to have an impact in our (IBM’s), and the industry’s, ability to communicate effectively, efficiently, and to the right audience.

The emerging mobile space is a good example of one of those trends.  With the advent of the iPhone in 2007, and later the Android platform and, more recently, the rapid adoption of tablet computers like the iPad and now Microsoft’s “Surface,” the opportunity to market and communicate through these devices is enormous.

But the opportunity doesn’t just end with marketing. Companies around the globe are also realizing mobile computing can change business in fundamental ways.

Enterprise Mobility: A Top Strategic Priority

In our recent CIO study of more than 3,000 CIOs, IBM discovered that 75 percent of respondents asserted that mobility is a top priority in their business strategy.

But, there are significant challenges.  New platforms and operating systems are emerging all the time, security and privacy are critical issues of concern to business leaders, and there’s a need to maximize development investments for the mobile platform.

IBM has been communicating more aggressively about this opportunity, and our own Bob Sutor has been a critical thought leader for IBM in this space.

As some of you may remember, Scott Laningham and I interviewed Bob recently about IBM’s mobile strategy at the Impact 2012 event back in May.  You can find that interview below:

Bob’s blog is a must read for you mobile adherents, and you may also be interested in a specific post in which Bob articulated IBM’s mobile strategy.

Continuing IBM’s mobile drumbeat, we most recently partnered with eWeek to produce a short slide show that articulates some best practices in mobile deployment that Bob and his team developed, best practices based on extensive experience with real (and recent) customer engagements.

I’ll hit the wave tops for you below, but to read all the details, you’ll need to visit the full slideshow over at eWeek.

  1. Don’t Compromise on User Experience. Good apps are engaging. They are designed for performance and customized to deliver the functionality your users need in a simple and easy-to-use manner.
  2. Support Different Development Approaches. Mobile apps are no longer an experiment. Companies are quickly realizing their value to different lines of business, both as productivity tools for employees and engagement channels facing customers.  Choosing a development approach for these apps entails many parameters such as budget, project timeframe, target audience and application functionality.
  3. Build for Performance. Recent reports show that already today, mobile users are spending more time using apps than mobile browsers. Combined with projections that more than 50 percent of users will access the Web through mobile devices by the end of 2013, application performance has never been more crucial for your mobile initiative.
  4. Enable Collaboration, Efficiency. Modern business applications are constantly changing, and they are rarely developed by a single person anymore.
  5. Ensure Proper Authentication and Address Security Concerns. Whether employee- or customer-facing, mobile applications are quickly assuming the roles of many mission-critical systems in the enterprise. It is no wonder that authentication and security have become the top concerns of the mobile enterprise.
  6. Close the HTML5 Gap. Commitment from all major mobile vendors, active standardization efforts and a growing ecosystem of third-party tools has been fueling recent success and adoption of HTML5.
  7. Connect With Back-End and Cloud-Based Systems. Mobile business apps are not independent entities. They should be tightly connected to a variety of existing back-end and cloud-based systems.
  8. Manage Mobile Apps, Devices, Data. Managing applications after they are downloaded and installed on devices has become critical, with the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend specifically challenging IT departments. A growing number of organizations are starting to adopt a combination of management approaches, both on the application level and the device level.
  9. Evaluate Supporting Services. The mobile channel is transforming the way companies are doing business, and with that transformation, new challenges arise on both the business and the IT levels.
  10. Protect Your Investment. As the mobile landscape develops, success lies in the ability to adapt to change.

IBM: Goin’ Mobile…and Then Some

IBM has been steadily investing in the mobile space over the past decade — not as a device manufacturer, but as a provider of mobile enterprise application and platform technologies, including tools for developing software in the mobile realm, and also to provide endpoint management (management of all those various and sundry devices your employees are now bringing to the office and expecting you in IT to support!).

We acquired Worklight in February to help more quickly deliver mobile application management capabilities across a range of industries, and as eWeek observes, Worklight’s software “enables organizations to efficiently create and run HTML5, hybrid and native applications for smartphones and tablets with industry-standard technologies and tools.”

If you’re looking to get into the mobile game, a good place to start is our webcast, “Harnessing the Power of Mobile in the Enterprise.” (Registration required)

Live @ Pulse 2012: IBM VP Bob Sutor On The Mobile Lifecycle

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Earlier today at IBM Pulse 2012, Scott and I had a far-ranging interview on the mobile ecosystem with IBM Mobile Platform vice president, Bob Sutor.

Our discussion ranged from the mobile “lifecycle,” which Bob recently presented to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, to privacy and security in the mobile realm, to Android v. iOS v. some stalking horse mobile OS being written in some kid’s garage nobody yet knows about.

It was one of our favorites of the event, and we hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed doing the interview. We could have spoken with Bob for another half hour and not covered everything we would have liked.

Check it out here.

Written by turbotodd

March 6, 2012 at 5:23 am

The Turbo Android

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A few weeks ago I blogged about breaking up with AT&T, which meant my iPhone would become an expensive and glorified iPod.

Turbo debriefs on his recent transition from iPhone to Android...and buys the most expensive product he's ever acquired from a vending machine.

That’s okay, you can never have too many iPods lying around.

But, I also promised to come back and tell, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.”

So after AT&T couldn’t or wouldn’t offer me any relief for my cracked iPhone (which also froze for a full 24 hours), I broke up and decided to try something new.

Not because I didn’t like my iPhone…there were lots of things to like about it…except for the bill I got every month, one at an average of $90/month that yet had a cap for both phone and data usage.

I ended up heading out to Best Buy after first doing a little online research, and I decided that a no-contract phone was my best option, but there were several providers. At the Best Buy, a sales associate explained that he thought Virgin Mobile had the best deal, because for only $35 a month, I could get unlimited data (and 300 voice minutes), and if I so desired, could upgrade to $45/month with 1200 minutes and unlimited data, and $55/month for unlimited of both.

Where do I sign?

My fatal mistake, however, was to accept his first recommendation on the device, a Samsung Intercept that looked great, but was not less filling.  It was an early Android release, it seemed to have the RAM of a 1986 386 box, and I couldn’t even take phone calls on it reliably.

After two weeks of trial usage, I went back to the same Best Buy and explained what a piece of junk phone they had sold me, and that I wanted something better.  A new clerk helped me settle on a Motorola Triumph, which I’ve been very happy with (save for the anemic battery life — I have to charge it twice a day if I talk on it with any frequency).

No doubt, I was an irresponsible consumer when I decided so quickly and without much research on the new phone.  However, the shift to Android has been a blessing in disguise.

Let me explain: As much as I liked the tightness of the iPhone/iTunes platform, and the quality of the apps, I could feel myself becoming more and more confined. This isn’t about the device anymore: It’s about access to information and services in the cloud.

For as long as I can remember, mobile phones, smart or otherwise, have become a real pain when it comes to contact management.  With both Androids, that problem was solved on setup: I simply synched with my Gmail contacts, and I was done.  Now, I can add a contact to my phone and have it synched up with the Google cloud and not worry about where I’m going to enter the information.

Similarly, my Google calendar is now pervasive across all my computers, tablets, and, now, my phone.  Why? Simple, because of that cloud connection.  Yes, iCloud may NOW be providing some of these capabilities, but at the price, and with the promise of being in a more open operating ecosystem, I would argue I’ve become much more productive because these simple but often confounding necessities like contact management have become so much easier via Android.

Of course, that includes the synergy I have between my MacBook Air and the Google cloud as well.

As for Virgin Mobile, so far, I don’t have enough good things to say.  I’m able to “top off” my service using a credit card on a monthly basis, and, depending on my schedule, decide whether or not I want to spend $35, $45, or $55 for a month’s worth of service, as opposed to the $90+ my AT&T service was costing.

Furthermore, the Virgin Mobile web site makes it easy for self-service provisioning and account management.  I always liked the way Richard Branson did business — now I have proof why. From his airlines to his mobile phone service, he focuses on the consumers’ needs.

I was so pleased with Android, I stopped and purchased the single most expensive item I’ve ever acquired from a vending machine (this one from Best Buy), an HTC Flyer tablet.  Though it, too, has some battery issues, I’m finding it to be an also very useful and productivity-enhancing tablet experience. Not necessarily as “clean” as the iPad experience, but easy enough to master and use for everything from my corporate email to blogging to reading books to watching Netflix…And it’s only 7″, as opposed to my original iPad.

Geek that I am, I will likely continue using devices across both platforms — you’ll pry my MacBook Air out of my cold, dead hands.  But the Android smartphone experience is proving quite useful, and in the process I’m becoming more familiar with an increasingly relevant platform that, until a month ago, I was only vaguely familiar with.

And did I mention Madden NFL 2011 plays beautifully on the HTC Flyer???

Don’t Do Windows…Yet

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More Christmas analytics tidings to share.

Apps metrics provider Localytics shared a lengthy blog post earlier which suggested that plenty of good boys and girls around the globe got Apple iOS and Android devices in their stockings.

Their first hint? The number of new devices that appeared on Localytics dashboard was 12 times higher than previous weekends.

They also reported that there was some interesting geographical diversity, although the two platforms were mostly tied.

Apple took the top growth spurt for the U.S., Germany and the UK, while the ‘Droid grew the most in South Korea, Sweden, and Spain.

Source: Localytics. Among the top 20 countries for mobile devices, Localytics saw a huge increase in both Apple iOS and Android devices over the December 23 – 26 weekend compared to previous weekends since November 25. The US and Germany registered the highest growth rates for iOS, while South Korea and Sweden had the highest growth rates for Android.

I’ve believed (and even expressed) for some time this will be a largely two-horse horse race, and that Android will inevitably take victory.

But, the i-Juggernaut lingers on, both with the iPad and iPhone, and Google’s victory may not be as inevitable as it once seemed.

Of course, these are still early days, and if you’re looking for a deeper analysis of the mobile market, and also wondering why Windows Phone 7 isn’t one of those lead horses, check out Charlie Kindel’s analysis.

Having been at the scene of the Windows and OS/2 operating systems war crime, I would suggest you ought never rule Redmond out of the equation.  All About Windows Phone just posted that the new Windows Phone Marketplace has now passed the 50,000 app mark, and is generating some 256 items per day.

That means the Windows Phone App pace has picked up some serious steam in recent weeks, and I suspect many of those Windows Phone Apps could fit elegantly into the Windows Azure and overall Microsoft cloud/desktop landscape, particularly with respect to a lot of business applications.

So, the net of it all is, the iPlatform enjoys continued momentum with some nice Christmas pick-up, but Android enjoys a device diversity that should keep it gaining mobile share for some time to come.

And Windows?  Well, a lot of folks don’t do them yet on mobile devices…the key word being “yet.”

Vacation Over, Or Getting Over Vacation

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Well, I’m back from vacation, and (mostly) no worse for the wear.  Ironic though it may be, I went from being somewhat Internet challenged to extremely Internet challenged when I returned home to Austin last evening.

I’ve been using AT&T U-Verse for the better part of this year for my Internet, phone, and digital cable access, and have had little-to-no issues (as opposed to frequent outages Time Warner Internet, my prior provider)…that is, until arriving home, when I discovered I’d been completely cut off from the world.  This, just as I was trying to get back into the saddle and catch up on the voluminous emails that had streamed into my in-box the past week.

After an hour of troubleshooting, I finally found a support number to call, and helpful though the AT&T support rep was on the other end of the line (my iPhone line, that is…remembering my landline no longer worked!), she couldn’t get me up and running.

Fortunately, they were able to get an AT&T truck roll to my house this morning, and I was back up and running in no time.

Thanks a million, AT&T.  I know people like to give you a hard time, but you moved as quickly as could reasonably be expected, and I very much appreciated the quick response, considering that otherwise I was going to be dead in the water my first day back in the home office.

Lots happened in the past few days on the IBM front, so I’ll be playing some blogging catchup.  But I did want to highlight one piece of news that came through during my absence: On Wednesday, IBM unveiled seven new social networking and collaboration mobile apps designed to address enterprise-class requirements.

The new software is available for download from the most popular app stores, and takes IBM social networking, real-time collaboration, and online meeting capabilities from behind the company firewall and into the hands of tablet users.

The new offerings span the widest range of tablets, including the iPad, and allow employees to more effectively collaborate and share data, images, and conduct meetings more securely as part of their everyday work experience.

The business card feature allows an IBM Sametime user to launch an announcement or chat to an individual or group using an iPad.

Here’s the rundown:

  • Social networking for iPad: Available from the Apple app store at no charge for existing IBM Connections users, the new app includes a new interface ideal for tablet devices allowing for unique document editing capabilities.
  • Attend Online Meetings: Employees can attend on-line meetings from their tablets anytime, anyplace. Available on Android, BlackBerry, iPad, and iPhone devices, LotusLive Meeting users can view shared presentations, chat with meeting participants, and virtually raise and lower hands from tablets and other mobile devices. IBM Sametime software users can also lead, participate in and manage browser-based meetings from their iPad or Android tablets.
  • Instant messaging: New mobile apps for iPad and Android enable IBM Sametime users to use tablets to take immediate action on urgent business tasks by providing one-on-one or group instant messaging, background notifications, and the ability to send photos through the chat window.
  • Access business documents: Available now in the Android Marketplace, IBM Lotus Symphony Viewers allow users to view any ODF-based document, spreadsheet and presentation on their Android devices. The viewers will be available for other devices soon.
  • Reduce calling costs: IBM Sametime Unified Telephony on tablets allows a user to initiate calls to whatever phone happens to be nearby by controlling call routing preferences and device selection as well as have his one unified number appear in caller ID.
  • Easier access to mail and calendar: IBM Lotus Notes Traveler now allows IBM mail users to easily add widgets to their Android home screens for quick, convenient access to mail and calendar, and allows users to call people listed in their calendar views with just one click.

According to IDC France, the tablet market is forecast to reach over 4.1 million in 2012, representing a 48% growth compared to 2011. A recent IBM study revealed that 73 percent of business leaders surveyed currently allow mobile devices or tablets to connect to their corporate networks.

IBM is also advancing the use of business analytics by delivering expanded native mobile device support with IBM Cognos Mobile on the iPad. Available to try out in Apple’s iTunes store, the software enables mobile workers to take their business analytics on the road whether offline or online, allowing for uninterrupted productivity.

Speaking of productivity, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to trimming down my burgeoning post-vacation in-box!

IBM Mobile Security: Protecting Your Data On The Go

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If you’ve been concerned about the security of your corporate data with respect to the ever-burgeoning number of mobile devices, IBM may have a solution to your problem.

Increasingly, businesses want to provide employees the option of using a personal device as a way to reduce cost and allow them to work wherever or whenever they need to, but doing so requires diligence in protecting corporate data.

In this era of “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD), with employees using their own mobile devices for business and personal activity, organizations are now tasked with supporting the new social, virtual, and mobile employee and the applications they access. With mobile threats on the rise, complex IT environments, security risks, maintaining policies, and helping companies control cost are top of mind concerns for many CIOs and security and risk professionals.

Today, IBM unveiled a new service to help businesses secure the exploding number of mobile devices with access to corporate data, the IBM Hosted Mobile Device Security Management service.

This solution extends a company’s existing mobility portfolio to include a security application for smartphones and tablets, along with managed services including policy management and user compliance monitoring.

It helps organizations protect against data loss and other risks caused by device theft, unauthorized access, malware, spyware, and inappropriate applications.

The solution is designed to help mitigate security risks associated with the increasing number of employee-owned and corporate-liable mobile devices accessing sensitive business data. Delivered as a hosted, managed service, clients can put these controls into action without the need to deploy and manage systems or to make a major investment of in-house personnel and technology.

With this new service, IBM provides security controls and ongoing monitoring for each device as a managed service, allowing IT departments to support a broad range of personal devices. Unlike other services focused on device management or unmanaged technology, IBM is focused on the protection of the device, regardless of the business applications used by employees today or in the future.

Capabilities in the new mobile device security management service include:

  • Configuring employee devices to comply with security policies and actively monitoring to help ensure compliance over time
  • Securing data in the event that a device is lost or stolen
  • Helping to find a lost or stolen device – wherever it is
  • Protecting against spyware and viruses
  • Detecting and removing malicious and unapproved applications
  • Monitoring and tracking user activity
  • Enabling more secure connectivity

The company is working with Juniper Networks on this mobile security service for the underlying protection and device management technology for leading platforms such as Apple iOS, Google Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Microsoft Windows Mobile through the Juniper Networks Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite.

IBM operates the world’s broadest security research and development organization, comprising nine security operations centers, nine IBM Research centers, 11 software security development labs and an Institute for Advanced Security, with chapters in the United States, Europe and Asia Pacific. It employs thousands of security experts globally such as security operations analysts, consultants, sales and tech specialists, and strategic outsourcing delivery professionals.

IBM monitors 13 billion security events per day in more than 130 countries and holds 3,000 security patents. It has been in the security business for nearly 50 years dating back to the security innovation in its mainframe systems.

You can learn more about this new solution here.

Written by turbotodd

November 11, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Flash In The Pan

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I started reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs the other day.

No, I’m not reading it on the iPad.  This one, I picked up the actual pulp edition. The weight of the book (it’s some 600+ pages) feels suited to the task of conveying Jobs’ complicated and complex and marvelous life.

And after Adobe’s announcement yesterday that Adobe would no longer use Flash for the browser programs used for smartphones and tablets, you could hear Jobs laughing from his grave.

Surely you remember when Jobs purposely prevented Flash from working on iPhones and iPads — I certainly couldn’t forget, as I have both devices, and the Flash gap on the iPad became obvious very quick.

But there was a lot of history behind this strategy, and Jobs had a long memory. In the book, he recounts the story of asking Adobe to make a Mac version of Premiere back in 1999, and Adobe refused.

Jobs was more than ever convinced he needed to build a strategy that would allow him to tie the hardware and software together, and control the entire ecosystem.

The next thing you know, we had the iPod, iTunes, the iTunes store, the iPhone, the iPad…you get the picture.

But Adobe’s sudden detour, in which they announced they’re instead going to embrace HTML5, could signal a new kind of platform war, one led by programming excellence rather than proprietary regimes.

As more and more of the once open-standards Web starts to see the return of walled (or, at least, semi-walled) gardens, it’s refreshing to see an expanded embrace of HTML5. I believe this will drive innovation and force the mobile and web experiences to compete on usability, merit, and utility, as opposed to plug-in dominance and proprietary lock-in battles.

Of course, there are significant economic benefits this move as well, as Adobe can help its clients develop once to run applications across multiple platforms, eliminating the need for costly platform adjustments and tuning, and freeing up time and energy to focus on innovation.

It’s too bad Steve Jobs wasn’t around to witness this firsthand.

But something tells me he would probably have approved…even if might have done so wearing a big, wide smirk on his face.

Written by turbotodd

November 10, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Google Motorola: The Razr’s Edge?

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I’m back from vacation, but judging from news the last week, I should have stayed at the beach!

Actually, returning home over the weekend wasn’t all bad, as I had the opportunity to see the PGA Championship play out in real time, and the final major of the year was a golfing feast. 

Tiger Woods missed the cut (one of the rare times) on Friday, and through the weekend PGA Tour newbie Keegan Bradley outplayed Jason Duffner in a three-hole playoff to win his first PGA tournament AND major.  It was some breathtaking stuff at the Atlanta Athletic Club, the last four holes of which would terrify even the most seasoned of golfers.

There was little such drama in other sports news, as the English Premier League kicked off its season over the weekend in spite of the recent riots in London. 

Last year’s EPL winner Manchester United came out roaring with a 2-1 win over West Bromwich (with striker Wayne Rooney making the first goal of the season for Man U…but not likely his last). I’m very happy to have English football back in action, even as American football season is around the corner.

But now it’s Monday, and it’s back to business –- particularly if you’re the Google, which this morning did some headline terrorizing of its own as it announced its $12+ billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility.

We’ll get to the substance of the deal in a moment, but let’s concentrate, for a moment, shall we, on form: Google CEO Larry Page made the announcement via a blog post in “The Official Google Blog.”

That’s what I love about Google.  No big fanfare or fancy hotels. 

Just a simple blog post from the CEO: Oh yeah, by the way, we’re making the largest acquisition we’ve made to date (nearly four times as large as their acquisition of DoubleClick), and we’re making it in a blog post and on a conference call.

No need for fancy hotel conference rooms and F2F hobnobbing with the press -– I’ve got a company to run and a major deal to oversee, and other bloggers will do the job for me in getting the word out!

So, what’s the general spin thus far?

  • This deal gives Google its own hardware play for the smartphone set, even as it strengthens Google’s ability to fend of patent wars by its competition by giving it control of the Motorola Android patent portfolio
  • Google gains some enterprise credibility as it works to marginalize RIM and Windows Phone 7, and Microsoft is left without a hardware partner at the mobility dance (and could be compelled to outright buy Nokia)
  • Google gets the added juice of Motorola’s cable TV platform, which considering the recent plight of Google TV, could be an added boost to help Google with its CATV advertising platform (although content licensing will continue to be an issue)

Questions inevitably arise as to whether or not the deal will past regulatory muster, but ReadWriteWeb’s Dan Rowinski suggests it will, mainly due to Apple’s incredibly strong position in the smartphone space. 

He writes:

There is no way that regulators can look at what Google makes from Android, the worldwide smartphone market and the juggernaut that Apple has become and say that Google’s acquisition of Motorola is in any way anti-competitive.

Will the deal be good for consumers?  In the short-term position, and strictly from a competitive standpoint, probably so.

But I sense another platform war heating up, one which is reminiscent of the OS wars of the late 1990s. 

Only this time, due to the proprietary nature of mobile smartphone and handset providers –- combined with the fact that the only viable options are iOS and Android (Windows Phone 7 and RIM QNX are way behind in smartphone share, by comparison) -– consumers may soon face a kind of Hobson’s choice, albeit with two choices as opposed to one.

In that scenario, consumers ultimately lose, because four choices would be better than two. 

But, the marketplace has spoken, and the race is on: iOS v. Android.  May the best platform win…but not by too much!

Singin’ In The Amazon Cloud

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If the sun doesn’t come back out in Austin soon, I’m going to have to move closer to the equator.

But for some, cloudy skies are just what the doctor ordered.

Amazon’s new Cloud Drive, Cloud Player for Web, and Cloud Player for Android was announced overnight and tees up some big guns pointed directly at Google and Apple in the online music marketplace.

According to the Amazon press release, “these services enable customers to securely store music in the cloud and play it on any Android phone, Android tablet, Mac or PC, wherever they are.

“Customers can easily upload their music library to Amazon Cloud Drive and can save any new Amazon MP3 purchases directly to their Amazon Cloud drive for free.”

Music in the clouds?  Or in too many Amazon executive’s heads?

Only time, and perhaps a few gazillion Amazonian music streams, will tell the tale.

The good news is, the streaming service from the Amazon cloud is free.

The bad news is, how do I get all those countless hours of my life back that I spent burning CDs into iTunes?

What do you mean, there’s no rebate for that??

Don’t pay any attention to me, I’m obviously biased (although I’ve never been a big fan of iTunes, either.  Come to think of it, I really just don’t like DRM!)

Engadget deconstructs the new service and explains that it works something like this: Existing Amazon customers in the US can upload their MP3 purchases from Amazon to their own 5GB cloud space (I’ve always wanted to have my own place in the clouds!).

This is then upgradable to a one-year 20GB plan for free upon purchasing an MP3 album, with additional plans then starting at $20 a year.

My two cents: It’s one heckuva lot easier to just subscribe to Slacker or Pandora for a year.

But maybe that’s just me: I gave up moving all those digital files around about the moment I figured out how I was spending way much more time moving music files around that I was actually listening to music.

But, I’m a forever Amazon customer, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and see how this plays out.

Pun intended.

Written by turbotodd

March 29, 2011 at 2:59 pm

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