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Infographic: Enterprise Mobility in Asia/Pacific

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 Infographic: Enterprise Mobility in Asia/Pacific

Improving employee productivity, business agility and customer experiences are the top three reasons companies are supporting enterprise mobility. However, despite the relatively low increase in cost, IDC sees that more organizations testing mobility management are opting for Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions rather than more holistic Mobile Enterprise Management (MEM) ones. IDC examines the state of place in Asia/Pacific.

For more IDC infographics, click here

APAC enterprise mobility infographic1 Infographic: Enterprise Mobility in Asia/Pacific

 

Android One: Google’s push to rule the smartphone world

CNET

Google just took an important step toward cementing its dominance over the world with its Android mobile operating system.

In the wee hours of the morning on Monday, almost 8,000 miles away from its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Google launched its Android One initiative in New Delhi, India. The project, originally announced at the company’s I/O conference in June, is essentially a way for Google to guide handset manufacturers in bringing affordable smartphones to emerging markets.

The initiative is designed both to reduce the ultimate price tag of Android smartphones, giving more budget-conscious consumers a chance to try out the devices, and to bring a more consistent Android experience, ensuring that those consumers are using Google services. That the Internet giant is making so much noise out of Android One underscores the importance of those markets, which are a critical source of future user growth — and where Google isn’t the only company looking to plant its flag.

Android One is first rolling out in India, then in Indonesia, the Philippines and South Asia by the end of the year. For the launch, Google has partnered with three Indian device makers — Micromax, Karbonn and Spice — to create three $100 smartphones, as well as teamed up with the wireless provider Bharti Airtel, the largest mobile carrier in India, with 40 percent of smartphone users in the country on that network.

Phones made under the Android One rubric will also run “stock” Android, an unmodified version of the software, without the technical and user interface flourishes that manufacturers such as Samsung or HTC typically add to make their smartphones stand out from the competition. The company has already designed its most current version of Android, called KitKat, to run on low-cost hardware.

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IFA September 2014: World Tech Update

IDG News Service

From Samsung’s new curved Note Edge to the flurry of Google Android Wear watches from LG, Sony and Asus, we’ve got you covered on the hottest products launched at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin.

Mobile users focus on just a few apps

Warc

American smartphone owners use their favourite app for 42% of all the time they spend accessing apps, a new report into iPhone and Android behaviour has revealed.

According to the US Mobile App Report from comScore, the internet technology research firm, app usage now accounts for over half (52%) of all digital time in the US, but only a few well-known app brands dominate overall usage.

As reported by MediaPost, six big tech brands – Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo, Amazon and eBay – account for nine of the top 10 most-used apps, 16 of the top 25, and 24 of the top 50, with Facebook leading for both the largest base of users and the most time spent.

Nearly three-quarters of the time US smartphone users spend with apps is concentrated on just four apps, the report also found, while more than half (57%) access apps every day.

While Facebook and some other brands remain dominant, smaller apps can still achieve success, said Adam Lella, a marketing insights analyst at comScore.

“It certainly means there might be some challenges for smaller players on this medium, but success is also very possible,” he said in comments reported by AdExchanger.

He explained: “We have seen some standalone apps achieve huge audiences on mobile, for example SnapChat and Pandora, while others have found ways to monetise through non-advertising business models that don’t require competing with the larger companies on audience size, like Uber and certain gaming apps.”

The report also noted some behavioural and demographic differences between iPhone and Android users with the former being younger and wealthier.

The median iPhone user earns $85,000 a year compared to $61,000 for Android users, and 43% of iPhone users are aged 18 to 34 versus 39% of Android users.

iPhone users are more likely to use apps to consume media, such as general news and social networks, while Android users focus more on apps for search and email, which comScore attributed to the strong presence of Google Search and Gmail on the platform.

Why I’m Already Giving Up on Android Wear

Mashable

I believe in wearable technology. From Google Glass to smartwatches, the idea that you can have access to useful and essential information right when you need it — without digging a smartphone out of your pocket — is compelling. Once you have that convenience, you don’t want to go back.

That’s why it’s so jarring when that ability disappears after you’ve grown used to it. Ever since Google I/O in late June I’ve been wearing an Android Wear smartwatch, the Samsung Gear Live, fairly regularly. But too often I’ve picked up the watch from my desk or nightstand only to be greeted with a dead screen where my faux-sophisticated digital watchface is supposed to be.

It’s technically my own fault. This happens whenever I take off the watch and forget to put it back in its charging cradle. Android Wear smartwatches are designed to provide “all-day” battery life; the device expects — in fact, depends upon — me to remember to recharge it every single night, or else it reverts to what I like to call bracelet mode.

This is why Android Wear stumbles so badly right out of the gate. Although it feels logical to expect users to simply mirror their nightly smartphone recharge habit with another gadget, as I’ve discovered, that’s a wrongheaded assumption.

While a smartphone is easy to keep in a pocket in almost all situations, I often find the watch inconvenient to wear while playing with my kids (who are still young enough to be picked up) or, say, cooking. In those cases, off it goes to the coffee table, kitchen counter or nightstand — usually for the night.

That habit is deadly to an “all day” smartwatch because of its secondary role. For my smartphone, I will almost always remember to charge it because it’s my primary window into my digital life; if I forget to juice it up, I’ll be cut off from what’s now a fundamental part of the way I (and millions of others) live.

Smartwatch habits

For a smartwatch, though, things are different. While its notifications are convenient, they’re not always essential. I really only “need” the notifications when I’m working and tend to mute them at home. Add to that the expectation created by decades of wristwatches that a watch can be put down for days, weeks and even months and still just work (“Take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’,” etc.), and you practically guarantee that all but the most anally retentive will occasionally forget to charge their smartwatch.

Android Wear does give you warnings when the battery is running low, but given the poor battery life you probably won’t see them in the case of a forgotten overnight charge. If you’re at, say, 30% when you go to bed, the 20% alarm won’t trigger until a little later, and by morning the watch will probably be completely dead — especially if you have the watch face permanently displaying the time.

It certainly doesn’t help that most smartwatches require a cradle to charge, which usually means there’s no way to quickly recharge it with any cable you have conveniently lying around the office.

Pebble Chief Evangelist Myriam Joire recently said battery life was the biggest challenge facing wearables, and she’s dead right. Wisely Pebble built its smartwatch to run for several days at a time, which I now regard as table stakes for any device in the market.

Battery futures

There are more than a few positives about Android Wear — the gesture-based UI is quite good and setup is nice and simple — but the poor battery life is such an issue that the platform should never have been released in its current form. I have high hopes that future models (including the beautiful Moto 360) will last longer, but the first two products hint that that’s probably unlikely. After all, if it were possible to create a lightweight smartwatch with four- or five-day battery life using Android Wear, why didn’t Samsung and LG do that in the first place?

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But really — what IS the point of Windows Phone?

CITEworld

Tech blogger and former Microsoft employee Robert Scoble drew some attention today for suggesting that Microsoft should abandon Windows Phone.

Scoble is an easy target — he’ll never live down the Google Glass shower thing — but in this case he’s making a pretty rational point.

Windows Phone was Microsoft’s attempt, four years ago, to grab a profitable chunk of the smartphone market from Apple and Google before it was too late.

It didn’t work. Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market is still well under 5%– as it’s been since Windows Phone launched in November 2010. Windows Phone shipments are growing overall, and it’s the number-two platform in some countries like Italy, but overall, worldwide, its market share makes it insignificant to most developers, users, and companies.

(I don’t always subscribe to the church of market share, as installed base is more important for drawing developers, but every year that Windows Phone stays a bit player means it will have to take even more market share in the future to make a dent in the installed base. Also, I know that Android isn’t really a single platform but has multiple versions and forks and runs on all kinds of devices with different screen sizes and specs, but in general the various Android platforms are closer together than Android and Windows Phone are — and in most cases, an app maker starting from scratch will get more users with an Android app than a Windows Phone app.)

Microsoft’s dreams of achieving 10 or 15 or 20 percent market share with Windows Phone look to be just that — dreams. It could happen, but based on all evidence so far, there’s zero reason to assume it will.

So if it’s doomed to be a perennial also-ran, what is the point of Windows Phone? Why should Microsoft keep investing in it? If Microsoft under Satya Nadella is really serious about making the cloud the platform for the next generation of the company, why not just build cloud services and clients that work equally well on competing client operating system platforms?

Here are a few possible reasons.

The developer argument. PC sales are flat. Most of the growth in computing platforms over the last few years has been in mobile devices, particularly smartphones. As Microsoft pursues its “One Windows” vision, in which the various versions of Windows — desktop, tablet, and phone — get closer to the “write once, reuse most of the code and tweak slightly to run everywhere” ideal, it must have a feature-competitive mobile platform to keep developers engaged. If Microsoft were only to focus on the PC and tablet, it would lose all those developers who believe the future of apps is mobile-first.

Yeah, but: With insignificant market share, Microsoft is basically irrelevant in smartphones anyway. It’s hard to imagine a mobile-first developer investing in Microsoft before iOS and Android, unless they already have a big Windows app business or a ton of Microsoft-platform experience anyway and want to leverage that into mobile platforms, perhaps via Xamarin.

The lock-out argument. Microsoft’s biggest business today is selling productivity and back-end infrastructure servers and the client apps that go with them. Its most promising business is selling cloud services that replace or augment those servers — and still work with the same client apps. If Microsoft allows Apple and Google to control the smartphone market, those companies could make arbitrary, secret, and/or difficult-to-reverse-engineer changes to their platforms that block these Microsoft apps and services from working properly. Having Windows Phone gives Microsoft a trump card — at least for enterprises who rely on Microsoft’s productivity servers, services, and software and want to enable a mobile workforce. (Consumers may not care as much, or at all, given the well-developed ecosystem of apps and services on iOS and Android for every imaginable personal productivity function.)

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Report: Samsung and Google Butt Heads Over Smartwatches

Mashable

Are Google and Samsung fighting over Tizen’s role in wearables? According to a new report, the answer is yes.

According to The Information, Google CEO Larry Page met with Samsung Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee at the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley. The purpose of the meeting? To discuss Samsung’s plans for wearables.

Evidently, the meeting wasn’t a success. The report reveals Page was unhappy to hear that Samsung still plans to focus most of its wearable efforts on its own Tizen operating system rather than giving more support to Android Wear.

Although Samsung has made a smartwatch that runs Android Wear — the Gear Live — the bulk of its smartwatch efforts are focused on Tizen.

Google and Samsung have a decidedly complicated relationship. Samsung is the most successful Android OEM by a large margin. As a result, Samsung wants to be able to differentiate and customize its experience. Sometimes, however, things go too far. In January, Samsung agreed totone down the extent to which it customizes Android’s user interface. Still, that hasn’t stopped Samsung from creating its own app store and doing its part to maintain the Galaxy branding.

With wearables, the situation becomes even more complex, because Samsung is essentially selling two competing devices. The Gear 2 smartwatch runs Samsung’s own software and works only with Galaxy smartphones. The Gear Live, on the other hand, has to follow Google’s rules and will work with any Android 4.3 or higher device — even if it’s made by someone other than Samsung.

The wearable market — especially the smartwatch part of it — is still new enough to allow Samsung to support both platforms. Assuming the smartwatch truly does go mainstream, however, Samsung may have to choose a platform and commit to it. For Google, the question then becomes, what does it need to do to keep its most important partner committed, without ceding control of its platform.

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The Australian Mobile Phone Market Hit Seasonal Low In Q1 2014, says IDC Australia

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 The Australian Mobile Phone Market Hit Seasonal Low In Q1 2014, says IDC Australia

A total of 2.05 million mobile phones were shipped in Q1 2014, recording -22% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) and -17% year-on-year (YoY) decline as the market rationalised following a peak Christmas season last quarter.

The general migration from feature phone to smartphone continued on into the first quarter of 2014 as expected, resulting in a -38% decline in feature phone shipments. Smartphone shipments, however, declined as well by -20% QoQ, caused by a seasonal lull resulting from the transition period between two major product launches in the market.

“The smartphone market in Q1 was subdued when the initial hype over Apple’s new iPhone 5s and 5c tapered off from last quarter. Consumers were also holding off their purchases in anticipation for the next wave of Galaxy S smartphones from Samsung, then rumoured to be in Q2,” says IDC’s Senior Market Analyst, Amy Cheah.

Android continue to hold the largest share of the overall market with Samsung leading the pack. The vendor took to reducing prices of older generation Galaxy S phones ahead of a highly anticipated Galaxy S5 launch, regaining share from Apple as demand for iPhone 5s and 5c normalises.

IDC expects 4G LTE adoption and migration from feature phones to remain key drivers of smartphone adoption, with a forecasted growth of 5% in smartphone shipments by 2014. Smartphone screen sizes are also expected to be larger as economies of scale drive cost of display panel downwards. “While still niche now given the high price points, phones with screens larger than 5 inches, or more commonly known as Phablets, will become mainstream as lower display cost opens up greater opportunities for affordable low-end Phablets in the long run,” says Cheah.

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Screen Shot 2014 07 02 at 12.46.27 PM The Australian Mobile Phone Market Hit Seasonal Low In Q1 2014, says IDC Australia

The great tech lull of 2014

CITEworld

One of the things that really struck me about Google I/O this year was how much of it felt like a retread of old ideas.

Android TV? That sounds like the resurrection of Google TV, which wasannounced at the 2010 show. Android Wear and Nest? Recall the connected-everywhere vision of Android @Home, the big deal of the 2011 show. Android “L” is just the next version of Android — it’s got a lot of important new design elements and promised enterprise security features, but it’s an incremental release of an already immensely successful product. Google’s new attention to providing cloud infrastructure to third-party developers, while useful, is simply following down the same path Amazon pioneered with AWS a few years back.

I had a similar sense watching Apple’s developers’ conference earlier this month. Our writer Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry drew a lot of flak for his criticism of WWDCand how he thought it reflected on Tim Cook’s leadership as operations guy rather than visionary. I have a lot more admiration for Cook — his reorganization of Apple to be more open and less controlling, and able to concentrate on multiple huge complicated projects at once, are remarkable changes that bode well for the company’s future.

But I understand what Gobry was getting at. What’s the big vision? How does Apple see the future, and what products will it create or enable to help bring us into that future? This is the company whose last three hit products revolutionized the recorded music industry, created the smartphone industry, and threatened the consumer PC industry with irrelevance. (Not to mention, Apple was arguably the inventor, or at least the great popularizer, of the personal computer in the first place.) Instead we got a bunch of disparate ideas and some connective tissue that may or may not be used to construct products that we may or may not want.

Part of the “meh” comes from a misunderstanding of what these conferences actually are. Because Apple and Google have done so much to revolutionize technology for everybody, we sometimes forget that these are conferences for developers — the people who build the next generation of products that will wow and delight us. They’re not for the rest of us, really.

But still. There’s a sense right now that big technology companies and startups alike are casting around for the next big thing.

Everybody seems to agree that the next wave of computing will involve a bunch of previously dumb devices becoming smarter with new kinds of sensors and processing power provided largely by cloud services, and getting connected up in some fashion. This data will be collected and compiled and used to provide custom-tailored services, even to the point of anticipating your desires before you have them.

This is what’s behind Apple’s HomeKit and CarPlay, Google’s acquisitions of Nest and Dropcam its new connected car and TV initiatives, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s talk of “ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence,” and Internet of Things and big data efforts by enterprise giants from Cisco to SAP to Salesforce. Not to mention hundreds of startups.

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What Google Understands: Context Is King

Mashable

If Google I/O 2014 were a military campaign, it would have been called Operation: Android Everywhere. From wristwatches to TVs to cars, Google extended the reach of its mobile operating system far beyond the smartphone, deploying new Androids to conquer territory that will determine who controls our connected future.

Android WearAndroid AutoAndroid TV — each one puts Google software into devices that we use every day. Surprisingly there was no talk about Android Home, but no doubt that’s coming — just as soon as Google works out exactly its acquisition of Nest Labs will fit into that picture.

The presence of Android on these platforms wasn’t new in itself. After all, there have already been plenty of third-party cars, TV sets and wearables that run Android. But what Google brings to the picture is a greater vision than just having a device that’s “smart.”

As the owner of the platform, it is in the perfect place to deliver a unified experience — the same way Apple does.

What Google was really selling at I/O was context, or more precisely contextual awareness of devices. A watch that runs Android is good; a watch that’s aware of where your phone is and which apps are on it is better. When the two devices are aware of each other, new functionality is created.

The upshot for the consumer: a whole new level of convenience.

“The integration between the different platforms is more important than any of the platforms themselves,” says Kelly Merrell, director of Android development for Mercury, which builds the TED app. “The watch itself is interesting, but what the watch can do when connected to the phone — like the lock screen using the wearable to say, ‘This is the right person that’s holding the phone.’

“The phone by itself can’t do it. The watch by itself can’t do it. It’s only when the two exist, there’s now new functionality unveiled just because of that connectivity.”

Android where?

Android Wear is fundamentally different from the Android smartwatches that came before it. Other models typically require the user to download separate software for each individual app that works with the watch — a tedious process at best.

With Android Wear, app notifications simply start appearing on the watch the moment you link it with your phone. To borrow a phrase that’s often associated with Apple products: It just works.

“You can pretty much put Android on everything already, but the level of integration you’re going to get is pretty limited,”says Ken Kyger, a developer for Cloudspace. “How many smartwatches are out there? And they all run Android or some fork of Android, but none of them really give that full, immersive rich experience.”

Part of context is knowing what data to share and what not to. Credit where it’s due here: Google learned a lot about how to do this properly with Glass. Android Wear watches, for example, don’t show you every single Foursquare check-in Twitter @reply but instead they’re grouped, prompting you to go to the phone for the full experience.

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