While some had expected Google to come out with an iPhone-killing G-Phone, the company’s announcement in November of the Android mobile platform is something far more sweeping, and it has ramifications for IT.
To show that Android is no pipe dream, Google trotted out scores of partners in the initiative, including handset vendors, carriers and software providers. What’s most interesting is that the Linux-based platform will be open source (under the Apache license) and free of charge.
So, why is Google doing this? It aspires to get its applications into the mobile sphere, but right now there’s just too much platform fragmentation. Even Java on one handset is not like Java on another. Lacking a single, strong platform to build on, Google wants to create one. That’s why it isn’t coming out with its own hardware or tying Android to one carrier.
The cost of Android (there is none!) is going to make it attractive to both handset vendors and carriers. And there are no strings attached other than a very important agreement not to fragment the platform. Google will offer a suite of mobile applications for Android, but it won’t require that the apps be used. In theory, you could see Android handsets with Yahoo Mail and Live Search, but no Google services at all.
If Google delivers on its vision, the impact to consumers could be huge. The mass market is finally embracing more functionality in mobile devices, but at the same time, carriers and handset vendors are looking to cut costs. Android might bridge that gap. And Google has the corporate heft to prevent the market from fragmenting, so it could succeed where other Linux implementations have failed.
Is Google making a smart move? To answer that, consider a bit of alternative history. Suppose that Linux had been available at the time that Microsoft came out with Windows NT. Now suppose that IBM decided to offer Linux for free to PC vendors along with a core suite of applications. How different would the PC business be today? Oh, and there are a lot more phones out there than there are PCs.
But, of course, business users are not consumers, and corporate IT will have a different take on Android. Google will need to articulate why business users should embrace this platform. At the moment, a lot is missing for business deployment. There was no announcement that Android would support Exchange synchronization, be compatible with Office applications or allow central device management. Google’s mobile competitors already have solutions for these things that work well. Enterprise developers will want to keep an eye on Android, but it’s not something they’ll embrace in the short term.
Still, IT cannot ignore last year’s big developments in the mobile market. A year ago, neither Google nor Apple was a player, and today they are two of the most relevant and talked-about companies in the mobile world. Things are moving fast, and IT has to pay attention as the combatants fire one salvo after another.
The Samsung F490 has been launched a wek ago, but not at CES. As expected, the touch-based phone from Samsung looks pretty. The cellphone has a 3.2-inch 262,000 color touchscreen, 5 megapixel camera and supports HSDPA at 3.6Mbps. No release date yet for the US, but it looks like it will reach Europe first for a whopping $734 without contract.
Tri band GSM (900/1800/1900), UMTS 2100, HSDPA 3.6 Mbps 3.2&Prime 262K Color 16:9 Wide Full Touch Display with Haptics feedback Croix interface 5 mpx camera, video recording (MPEG4, QVGA at 15 fps) Front camera for video calls Video playback at 30 fps 130 MB of Internal memory Built-in mobile Google apps microSD card slot standard 3.5 mm headphone jack Bluetooth 2.0 (A2DP+AVRCP), USB 2.0 Dimensions: 115 x53.5 x11.8 mm Weight: 102g
Before you recycle your old computer, cell phone or smart phone, make sure that you wipe it clean of data. If you don’t, your personal life could be laid bare. Worse, you could become a victim of identity theft.
But wiping your device clean of data may be harder than you think. Here are details about how to do it for cell phones and PCs.
Cleaning up cell phones and smart phones
With cell phones and smart phones like BlackBerries, you need to worry about more than your data — make sure that your account has been terminated. If not, others will be able to make phone calls from your device, and you’ll be footing the bill. So double-check with your carrier that the account has been terminated before you donate or sell your phone. If you’ve switched your account over to a new device and deactivated the old device on that account, check your bill carefully to make sure that the old phone isn’t somehow still using that account.
Next, erase all of your stored information, including your phone book, any stored incoming or outgoing text messages, and memory of incoming and outgoing phone numbers, e-mails and so on. You can do this manually, one by one, of course, but if you do, there’s a good chance you might miss some. And it can also be exceedingly time-consuming. So check your phone’s manual for how to do a complete reset. A reset will wipe your phone of data and restore it to its factory settings.
A superb resource for figuring out how to reset cell phone data is put together by ReCellular, which buys, recycles and refurbishes wireless devices. Its cell phone data eraser site gives detailed instructions on how to erase data from many different makes and models of cell phones. Just choose your make and model, and you’ll be able to download specific instructions for resetting it.
Just deleting files isn’t good enough when you are going to recycle your computer. It’s quite simple for anyone to restore those deleted files, even if they’re no longer in the Recycle Bin. In fact, even deleting files and reformatting your hard disk won’t completely do the trick. Someone knowledgeable enough and dedicated to the task will be able to restore your files, even from a reformatted disk.
Think there’s nothing to worry about? You couldn’t be more wrong. In 2003, two graduate students at MIT’s Laboratory for Computer Science bought 158 used hard disks on eBay and other places. From those hard disks, they were able to discover 5,000 credit card numbers, personal and corporate financial records, medical records and personal e-mails.
Only 12 of the 158 hard disks had been properly cleaned of their data. Approximately 60% of the hard drives had been reformatted, and about 45% of the drives had no files on them (the drives couldn’t even be mounted on a computer) — yet the students were still able to recover data from them, using a variety of special tools. For details, see the news story from MIT.
What can you do? Get a disk-wiping program, preferably one that meets the U.S. Department of Defense’s standards for disk sanitation. These programs will overwrite your entire hard disk with data multiple times, ensuring that the original data can’t be retrieved. If you use them, be patient, because it can take several hours to wipe the hard disk.
Computerworld features editor Valerie Potter vouches for the free Darik’s Boot and Nuke, which, unlike some competing programs, worked smoothly on the old Windows 98 machine that she recently put out to pasture. Download the software, which then creates a boot disk that wipes everything on the hard drive. It can be used with floppy disks (remember those?), USB flash drives, CDs and DVDs. A similar program that has gotten good reviews is Eraser.
If you’ve got a Mac, you can use Apple‘s built-in Disk Utility or download a third-party application like Mireth Technology’s ShredIt X 5.8 ($25, free trial), which lets you shred single files as well as wipe your local hard drive, network hard drives and CD-RWs.
On the surface, the mobile Web is a happening place. There’s the iPhone in all its glory. More than 30 companies have signed up for the Open Handset Alliance from Google, which aims to bring the wide-open development environment of the Internet to mobile devices. Nokia, which owns nearly 40 percent of the world market for cell phones, is snapping up Web technology companies and has made an eye-popping $8.1 billion bid for Navteq, a digital mapping service. There are also the requisite start-ups chasing the market.
In 2000, the wireless application protocol was supposed to bring the Internet to the cell phone. Our hero turned out to be a flash in the pan. That was attributed to a lack of high-speed cellular data networks, so a frenzied and costly effort to build third-generation, or 3G, networks ensued. But at a recent conference, 3G was called “a failure” by Caroline Gabriel, an analyst at Rethink Research. She said data would make up only 12 percent of average revenue per user in 2007, far below the expected 50 percent. (The 12 percent figure does not include text messaging, but you don’t need a 3G network to send a text message.)
Similarly, surveys by Yankee Group, a Boston research firm, show that only 13 percent of cell phone users in North America use their phones to surf the Web more than once a month, while 70 percent of computer users view Web sites every day.
“The user experience has been a disaster,” says Tony Davis, managing partner of Brightspark, a Toronto venture capital firm that has invested in two mobile Web companies.
While many phones have some form of Web access, most are hard to use–just finding a place to type in a Web address can be a challenge. And once you find it, most Web content doesn’t look very good on cell phone screens.
Even the iPhone’s browser can disappoint. It has a version of the Apple Safari browser that doesn’t support Flash, a programming language widely used on Web sites, so users are limited in what they can see on the Web. And, you pay a lot to experience the pain of surfing the mobile Web. Lewis Ward, an analyst at the International Data Corporation, compares the mobile Web today to AOL before it went with flat-rate pricing in the early 1990s. Most people surf on a pay-per-kilobyte model, which encourages them to surf as fast as they can, he says.
The carriers, however, seem to be having a change of heart about the mobile Web. AT&T has allowed Apple unusual control over the network in the iPhone, and Sprint and T-Mobile have signed on to the Android development platform of the Open Handset Alliance.
Industry watchers think that having started, the mobile Web will inexorably open over the next five years, solving many current problems.
For instance, there’s the challenge of finding things on the Web from a mobile phone. John SanGiovanni, founder and vice president for products and services at Zumobi (formerly ZenZui), which was spun out of Microsoft Research, says his company hopes to make it easier for phone users to find phone-ready versions of sites they want. On December 14, it plans to introduce the beta, or test, version of its slick-looking software. It will include colorful “tiles” that phone users can “zoom” into and out of quickly as they move from site to site. (The tiles resemble the iPhone’s widgets, or icons on a desktop computer.)
Zumobi hopes that cell phone users will adopt tiles as their entry point to the Web; the company offers a scrolling interface of 16 such tiles that provide information with mass appeal, but users can set their own preferences. Software developers will be able to build a tile–in fact, Amazon.com has 12 ready to go–and put it on Zumobi’s platform. Tiles can carry ads as well, creating revenue potential for carriers and developers.
The chairman of Zumobi’s board is Tom Huseby, a longtime entrepreneur and investor in the mobile business and now managing partner at SeaPoint Ventures. Mr. Huseby says the mobile Web is going through a predictable cycle involving the development of handsets, networks, and markets. Now it is in the last phase of innovation: figuring out how customers want to see the Web from their phones. He says the answer will be to give people what they want, when they want it.
“You got to have open systems, to allow the vast creativity of people to take place,” he says. Zumobi, Android, and other developments, he says, will help create such openness.
Other approaches to solving this problem include Yahoo Go, a mobile Internet product certified to display Web pages correctly on more than 300 handsets, and another from InfoGIN, an Israeli company whose product automatically adapts Web pages to work on cell phones.
The plot has plenty of time to twist yet again. Nathan Eagle an M.I.T. researcher, is working on mobile phone programming in Kenya, where he’s teaching computer science students how to build mobile Web applications that don’t use a browser. Instead, they rely on voice commands and speech-to-text translation to surf the Web
“People talk about the mobile Web, and it’s just assumed that it’ll be a replica of the desktop experience,” Eagle said. “But they’re fundamentally different devices.” He says he thinks that the basic Web experience for most of the world’s three billion cell phones will never involve trying to thumb-type Web addresses or squint at e-mail messages. Instead, he says, it will be voice-driven. “People want to use their phone as a phone,” he says.
For now, widespread use of the mobile Web remains both far off and inevitable.
Source: The New York Times
The new Voyager phone that is hosted by Verizon is a sleek brilliant phone. Some of the features include:
Most call this phone, Verizon’s iPhone. It features a large front touch screen, Mobile TV, and many other neat, awesome features, for general use, and on the go. This phone is exclusively for Verizon Wireless.
Find Out How to Get a new Voyager by LG! Participation Required.
If you’ve ever made or received a call using a calling card, you’ve probably noticed one of the side effects of these payment systems: instead of your number showing up on the recipient’s Caller ID screen, a number owned by the card’s issuer appears. Now a company called SpoofCard has decided to capitalize on this discrepancy by selling calling cards that are specifically designed to spoof Caller ID systems.
So far, there isn’t too much news on the topic and no specs have been announced, but definitely look for more information as it becomes available.
While Nokia will be launching the N81 in London tomorrow, here are some images of what the future looks like. The N81 certainly looks extremely sweet, bringing 8GB of flash memory to truly make this a portable entertainment device in addition to voice call capabilities. Word on the street has it that the 8GB N95 along with a slew of XpressMusic handsets will also be paraded at the London event.
More at Ubergizmo
IT Administrator Kevin Miller has decided not to support the iPhone on his company’s network. Find out why and what Apple could do to change his mind.
I know you’re a consumer-oriented company, but when you make products so cool my users just can’t help themselves, you make problems for me. My users love the look, the features and of course the bragging rights that come with an iPhone, so it was inevitable that they were going to come to IT and ask the dreaded question, “Can I use this at work?”
Well Apple, you’ve made me do something I don’t like to do — I said no. It didn’t have to be this way; I could have said yes to your iPhone if only you’d done a few simple things:
1. We don’t use IMAP or POP3, so users have no way to check their corporate e-mail through Exchange. IMAP would leave out some of the best functions of Exchange in regard to calendaring and contacts, which users now rely on to sync when they’re on the road. You’ve got all the components set up with Mail and Address Book—now we just need to get them to sync directly to our Exchange server.
2. What happens when a user’s pretty new toy gets lost or stolen — along with heaps of sensitive corporate data? What do you think the incidence of iPhone theft is going to be like? I need to know I can remotely wipe or kill the device to keep it out of the hands of evildoers.
3. What’s up with the aging wireless technology? Today when every smartphone is EVDO and 3G, why is the iPhone is stuck with 2.5G? Downloading attachments over 1MB shouldn’t be a hassle anymore. You’re missing out on a huge market by cutting out critical business features every other smartphone has already.
While we’re at it, I’ve got some other issues too, of a less technical nature.