snydeq writes: "Ubuntu, Firefox, Tizen, Sailfish, WebOS, Nokia Series 40, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone want a piece of the pie, but it won't be a cakewalk. 'With iOS and Android dominating the mobile ecosystem so thoroughly, the other eight — yes, eight — wannabe players are seeking ways to stand out. Most are targeting what they hope are niches that iOS and Android won't take over, though a couple still have dreams of displacing Android or iOS, or at least becoming a significant No. 3. Realistic? No — most will fail, though we won't know which for a while. In the meantime, here's who else is vying for your attention as a user or developer and how they hope to convince you they're worth adopting.'"
snydeq writes: "Tech giants Apple, Google, and Microsoft were no-shows at CES this week in Las Vegas, which worked out just fine for Chinese vendors looking to establish a name for themselves with U.S. consumers, InfoWorld reports. 'Telecom suppliers Huawei and ZTE, in particular, have set their sights on breaking into the U.S. market for smartphones and tablets.... Whether these Chinese imports can take on the likes of Apple and Samsung remains to be seen, but as Wired quotes Jeff Lotman, the CEO of Global Icons, an agency that helps companies build and license their brands: "The thing that's amazing is these are huge companies, and they have a lot of power, but in the United States nobody has heard of them and they're having trouble gaining traction, but it's not impossible. Samsung was once known for making crappy, low-end phones and cheap TVs. Now they're seen as a top TV and smartphone brand."'"
snydeq writes: "Native, Web, or hybrid — choosing the right path for mobile business app development can be tricky business, as no one tool offers the trifecta of fast, cheap, feature-rich app delivery, writes Mel Beckman in a primer for IT organizations in choosing the right mobile development kit for your needs. 'Carefully assessing your prospective app's current and future requirements is key, as is balancing those requirements with the time it takes to get your app to market. Don't feel you have to choose a single platform for every app. It's reasonable to employ multiple development platforms to meet a variety of delivery requirements.'"
snydeq writes: "As the iPhone 5 nears, six major defects in iOS really need to finally get addressed — especially for iPad users. From mail filtering, to file uploading, to groups creation, those are just a few of the shortcomings Apple needs to address as 'meeting higher standards often comes as a price of success, especially when your basic value proposition is that you set that higher bar. That's where Apple stands as it prepares to unveil the sixth major version of iOS, the power behind the iPhone and iPad. Apple has succeeded in making the iPhone the standard-bearer for smartphones, displacing the BlackBerry as the corporate go-to and providing the model that Google tries to copy in Android.'"
snydeq writes: "Microsoft's best hope on mobile may be to re-brand Windows, as Microsoft's biggest marketing problem with its smartphones and tablets may be the name 'Windows,' which consumers equate with 'hassles,' writes Woody Leonhard. 'It certainly seems to me that moving the "Windows" brand to smartphones hasn't bought Microsoft one iota of market traction. Quite the opposite.... The impending mass confusion about Windows RT and Windows 8 won't work in Microsoft's favor, either. In fact, it looks like the "Windows RT" name alone will draw fire and brimstone.'"
snydeq writes: "Microsoft's isolationist tack toward Apple's iPad will only make Windows, Office, and SharePoint less relevant to users, predicts Mobile Edge's Galen Gruman. 'Microsoft's strategy to isolate the iPad from its Office and SharePoint technologies could easily backfire and instead sequester Office and SharePoint from the greater mobile market, where the growth actually is.... To prevent that fate, Microsoft should untie Office and SharePoint from Windows. Doing so would give Microsoft productivity platform dominance across most of the computing market. In other words, the iPad could be a new platform for Microsoft's historic strategy of "embrace and extend" to win in markets where it had little presence, as it did in the Internet and in the server realm.'"
snydeq writes: "When employees use personal devices for business purposes, too much security can create more risk than it prevents, writes Advice Line's Bob Lewis. 'Risk comes in two forms. Some risks are possibilities of increased costs; the remainder are risks of decreased revenue. The former gets the most attention because those are the ones that happen in big bites — and are the most visible,' Lewis writes. 'But risks that lead to less revenue are arguably more important. They come in such forms as customer dissatisfaction, reduced innovation, poor collaboration among employees and with business partners and customers, and employee apathy. Information security has, for the most part, focused its attention on the pitfalls of increased cost, which has led to its being one of the biggest sources of revenue risk. It doesn't have to be that way, but it will be unless and until business leaders insist on alternatives to the traditional lock-'em-down-and tie-'em-up so-called best practices'"
snydeq writes: "Dan Bricklin, the co-creator of the PC revolution's killer app, weighs in on the opportunities and oversights of the tablet revolution. 'In some sense, for tablets the browser is a killer app. Maps is a killer app to some extent. Being able to share the screen with other people — that it's a social device — also might fit the bill. I think that for tablets, there isn't and won't be one killer app for everyone. It's more that there are apps that are killers for individual people. It's the sum of all those that is the killer app. This has been true since the original Palm Pilot.'"
snydeq writes: "Heavy-duty mobile IT apps for the iPad, iPhone, and Android devices have many IT departments embracing mobile technology for IT admins and support staff, InfoWorld reports. 'Want remote desktop access from your Android? Need to initiate a terminal session from your iPad or build a virtual machine from your BlackBerry? Thanks to a rising tide of applications that provide (at a minimum) meaningful access to the Web interfaces of your favorite administrative and troubleshooting programs, you can do all this and more. Although full-featured applications that match the true power and ease of use of their PC or Mac counterparts remain harder to find, smartphones and tablets with bigger screens and more power have many IT departments eyeing the long-term possibilities of an increasingly mobile IT work force.'"
snydeq writes: "Advice Line's Bob Lewis sees ripe opportunity for Microsoft in the tablet market: Forget about outdoing Apple's iPad and give us the features that finally improve the way we work. 'The game isn't beating Apple at its own game. The magic buzzword is to "differentiate" and show what your technology will do that Apple won't even care about, let alone beat you at. One possible answer: Help individual employees be more effective at their jobs,' Lewis writes, outlining four business features to target, not the least of which would be to provide UI variance, enabling serious tablet users to expose the OS complexity necessary to do real work."
snydeq writes: "InfoWorld's Peter Wayner provides a tour of 12 worthwhile programming tools to ease the pain of developing apps for the mobile Web. 'Sure, a single stack of code that performs optimally on a variety of platforms and form factors would be the dream, but the reality is a fragmented mobile market in which rudimentary programming tasks can be a challenge. Thankfully, a talented crop of developers are building worthwhile mobile tools and libraries to aid mobile developers — especially those who are targeting the mobile Web.'"
snydeq writes: "Increased emphasis on distinctive smartphone UIs means even more headaches for cross-platform mobile developers, writes Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister, especially as users continue to favor native over Web-based apps on mobile devices. 'Google and Microsoft are both placing renewed emphasis on their platforms' user experience. That means not just increased competition among smartphone and tablet platforms, but also new challenges for mobile application developers.... The more the leading smartphone platform UIs differ from one another, the more effort is required to write apps that function comparably across all of them. Dialog boxes, screen transitions, and gestures that are appropriate for one platform might be all wrong for another. Coding the same app for three or four different sets of user interface guidelines adds yet another layer of cost and complexity to cross-platform app development — as if it wasn't already hard enough."
snydeq writes: "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister sees a glaring omission among the proposed plans for the new Application Developers Alliance for mobile app developers: any clear focus on easing cross-platform mobile development. 'Currently, the leading mobile operating systems are all vertically integrated "walled gardens," and developing versions of the same app for multiple platforms is both challenging and costly,' McAllister writes. 'That's where an organization like the Application Developers Alliance could help. By organizing app developers from all across the mobile OS market, it could act as a unified voice to put pressure on Apple, Google, and others to lower barriers to entry for their platforms.... But as long as it's being underwritten by leading proponents of the status quo, it seems unlikely that the Application Developers Alliance would rock the boat by taking a stand against walled-garden-style mobile platforms.'"
snydeq writes: "Two massive industry shakeups, a reworked Android ecosystem, and more are on the mobile tech horizon for 2012, writes Mobile Edge's Galen Gruman. 'Android smartphones will continue to grow in adoption, becoming the new cellphone for everyday users. I believe, however, that Android's reach into corporate environments will lag, as the chaos of the Android marketplace simply makes the cost too high for IT and users alike to let Android devices gain more than basic access to enterprise resources,' Gruman writes. 'Three stalwarts — RIM, Microsoft, and Nokia — will break through or fail this year. All three have been failing for several years, and they're all at the make-or-break point.... Also to be shaken out is the mobile device management industry, which has dozens of vendors chasing the same businesses.... At the same time, we'll see attempts to introduce the concept of mobile application management, which conceptually plays nicely into IT's fears and control desires.'"