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Design is more important than technology

CITEworld

It happens every time Apple makes an announcement: “Where’s the really big difference,” shout the haters from the rooftops. “Where’s the innovation?

Well, here’s the thing: When it comes to technology, “innovation” doesn’t mean what you think it means. Almost none of the technology we come to rely on every day for transportation, productivity, and entertainment, is actually a brand new invention. And very much of what we refer to as “innovation” is mainly a product of good design — the smart application of existing technologies to make life better for users.

Let’s go back to Apple for a moment. Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, Apple didn’t invent the personal computing market: Olivetti invented the PC with the Progamma 101 in 1965, when the Steves Wozniak and Jobs were still in school. HP, Xerox, Wang, and IBM all offered personal computer models of their own. But it was the Apple II that made computing affordable and accessible to the home.

Which is exactly the same trick that Apple pulled thirty-some-odd years later with the iPod, and later the iPhone. Apple didn’t invent the MP3 player. It didn’t invent the cell phone. It didn’t invent the touchscreen, or mobile e-mail, or that cool portrait/landscape switching that we now take for granted. What Apple did was combine these technologies in a way that had never been tried before.

The iPhone wasn’t the most technologically robust phone on the market — remember when everyone was up in arms because the first two iPhone models were only on 2G? But it was the first that presented a compelling case for how people could use a smartphone in their everyday lives.

The “innovation” was in optimizing their product to reflect the company’s very specific vision for how people should interact with technology. That vision continues through today: Even the Woz agrees that Apple is plenty innovative, even if its lack of really new products indicates a gap in inventiveness, which is a different topic.

And you see it again and again in all segments.

Uber didn’t invent cabs. It just invented a better way to call and pay for them that took advantage of the smartphone platform.

Tesla didn’t invent electric cars. It just invented a better way to manufacture them that lets them drive further, faster. (Although Tesla holds a bunch of well-deserved patents for their battery and charger technology — patents that theyopened up this week to encourage people to build on their inventions.)

Since CITEworld is an enterprise IT blog, let’s take a look at an enterprise IT company: Okta, the single sign-on cloud identity company which this week raised a hefty $75 million round of funding, today unveils a new user experience (UX).

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India Continues As One Of The Fastest Growing Smartphone Markets In Asia Pacific In 1Q 2014, Says IDC

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 India Continues As One Of The Fastest Growing Smartphone Markets In Asia Pacific In 1Q 2014, Says IDC

India was the highest growing market in Asia Pacific with a year-on-year smartphone shipment growth of over 186% in 1Q 2014.The vast majority of the country’s user base migrated to smartphones from feature phones and as a result Indian smartphone market outshone other emerging markets like China which registered a year-on-year growth of 31% in 1Q 2014.

The smartphone penetration in India still hovers at 10% and it is expected to grow due to a variety of factors including greater availability of low-cost devices and additional sales emphasis by top-flight vendors on less populous parts of the country.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the overall India mobile phone market stood at close to 61.07 million units in 1Q 2014 which is a 10% quarter-on-quarter dip and a mere 1% year-on-year growth. The dip in the overall mobile phone market shipments can be attributed to the 18% decline in the feature phone shipments from 4Q 2013 to 1Q 2014. This was offset by the smartphone market, where units shipped grew by close to 17% in 1Q 2014 compared to 4Q 2013. The consistent growth in the smartphone market is driven by enhanced consumer preference for smart devices and narrowing price differences.

The share of feature phones in the overall market further slipped further to 71% in 1Q 2014 which is a considerable decrease from 90% share in 1Q 2013.

The India smartphone market grew by a whopping 186% year-on-year in 1Q 2014. According to IDC Asia Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker (excluding Japan), vendors shipped a total of 17.59 million smartphones in 1Q 2014 compared to 6.14 million units in the same period of 2013. The shipment contribution of “phablets” (which IDC defines as 5.5 inch-6.99 inch screen size smartphones) in 1Q 2014 was noted to be around 5% of the overall market. The category grew by 125% in 1Q 2014 in terms of sheer volume over 4Q 2013. The primary reason behind this trend is the launch of low-end phablets by international and local vendors alike.

The sub-200 USD category in smartphones contributed to about 78% hinting at the fact that the growth in the India Smartphone market still remains constrained towards the low-end of the spectrum.

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India Continues As One Of The Fastest Growing Smartphone Markets In Asia Pacific In 1Q 2014, Says IDC

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 India Continues As One Of The Fastest Growing Smartphone Markets In Asia Pacific In 1Q 2014, Says IDC

India was the highest growing market in Asia Pacific with a year-on-year smartphone shipment growth of over 186% in 1Q 2014.The vast majority of the country’s user base migrated to smartphones from feature phones and as a result Indian smartphone market outshone other emerging markets like China which registered a year-on-year growth of 31% in 1Q 2014.

The smartphone penetration in India still hovers at 10% and it is expected to grow due to a variety of factors including greater availability of low-cost devices and additional sales emphasis by top-flight vendors on less populous parts of the country.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the overall India mobile phone market stood at close to 61.07 million units in 1Q 2014 which is a 10% quarter-on-quarter dip and a mere 1% year-on-year growth. The dip in the overall mobile phone market shipments can be attributed to the 18% decline in the feature phone shipments from 4Q 2013 to 1Q 2014. This was offset by the smartphone market, where units shipped grew by close to 17% in 1Q 2014 compared to 4Q 2013. The consistent growth in the smartphone market is driven by enhanced consumer preference for smart devices and narrowing price differences.

The share of feature phones in the overall market further slipped further to 71% in 1Q 2014 which is a considerable decrease from 90% share in 1Q 2013.

The India smartphone market grew by a whopping 186% year-on-year in 1Q 2014. According to IDC Asia Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker (excluding Japan), vendors shipped a total of 17.59 million smartphones in 1Q 2014 compared to 6.14 million units in the same period of 2013. The shipment contribution of “phablets” (which IDC defines as 5.5 inch-6.99 inch screen size smartphones) in 1Q 2014 was noted to be around 5% of the overall market. The category grew by 125% in 1Q 2014 in terms of sheer volume over 4Q 2013. The primary reason behind this trend is the launch of low-end phablets by international and local vendors alike.

The sub-200 USD category in smartphones contributed to about 78% hinting at the fact that the growth in the India Smartphone market still remains constrained towards the low-end of the spectrum.

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Screen Shot 2014 06 13 at 9.49.18 AM 1024x714 India Continues As One Of The Fastest Growing Smartphone Markets In Asia Pacific In 1Q 2014, Says IDC

 

Google’s building 7-inch Project Tango tablets that see the world around them, report says

IDG News Service

After releasing a 3D-aware prototype smartphone in February, Google is getting ready to release a similarly equipped Android tablet.

Produced under Google’s “Project Tango,” the prototype tablet will have a 7-inch screen, two cameras, and infrared depth sensors. The tablet’s software will be able to use all that hardware to capture 3D images of the immediate surroundings, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Possible applications for the tablet, and the smartphone before it, include navigation assistance for the visually impaired, augmented reality gaming, and 3D floor plans of your living room. You could use a 3D floor plan, for example, to shop for a new couch and see how it’d look at home right on your mobile display.

Google intends to produce about 4,000 Project Tango prototype tablets in early June to distribute to developers, according to the Journal. The devices could be ready for introduction close to Google I/O. The search giant’s developer conference is scheduled for June 25 and 26; however, it’s not clear if Project Tango will be a featured part of the I/O keynote.

If accurate, Google’s reported 4,000 tablets is a significant boost from the 200 Project Tango smartphones Google planned to distribute to developers earlier this year.
Google says its goal with Project Tango is to “give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.” Similar to Google’s other creative projects, the company is hoping that developers will come up with newer and more interesting uses for Project Tango than Google has itself.

In March, Google and NASA said two Project Tango smartphones would be sent to the International Space Station. The handsets are attached to spherical robotic devices about the size of a volleyball called SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient Experimental Satellites) that can float and move inside the ISS.

The idea is to see if Project Tango can help the device learn and maneuver around its environment. The Tango-ized SPHERES are set to launch on the Orbital 2 resupply mission on June 10, according to NASA.

3D appears to the next great frontier that major technology companies are working on. While Google has its Project Tango, Facebook, Microsoft, and Sony are working on virtual reality headsets focused on gaming.

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The hottest trend in mobile: going offline!

Computerworld

The consumer electronics industry has spent the past 20 years making everything connect wirelessly to the Internet — from PCs to TVs, cameras and speakers.

This includes, of course, the most wireless of wireless devices, the ubiquitous smartphone.

Your average smartphone connects wirelessly in three ways: via mobile broadband, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth — all of which get faster, more reliable and more widely available all the time.

So why is there now a big trend in the industry to make apps work in places where no Internet connection is available?

A dream abandoned

Years ago, the dream was to blanket the world with universal connectivity. Entire cities would be blanketed with Wi-Fi. Continents would be dotted with cell towers. Geosynchronous satellites would provide fast Internet connectivity to everyone, everywhere.

Just look at the grandiose intentions of the Bill Gates-backed company Teledesic in the 1990s: “On day one of service, Teledesic will offer broadband telecommunications access for businesses, schools and individuals everywhere on the planet.” Teledesic went out of business in 2002.

In recent years, reality has set in. We are nowhere near providing Internet connectivity everywhere. So now, companies are wisely starting to do the next best thing: Making their apps and services work offline.

Over the past month, the industry has flooded users with apps and services designed to work without an Internet connection.

Making the world safe for going offline

Google this week rolled out better offline support for its iOS and Android Google Maps apps. It enables you to choose an area and then tap a button to download the mapping data to your phone, saving it for later use. Then when you’re out on the road, you can look at the map without going online. So you don’t have to worry about getting lost if you’re in a mobile broadband dead zone.

The Android version of Google Search has a new offline mode for the Google Now feature as well. Even without a connection, the Google Now cards will keep on coming.

The company has also been working hard to make its cloud-centric laptop platform, the Chromebook, as functional offline as possible. Google publishes a page listing all the things you can do with a Chromebook without an Internet connection — things like using email, adding appointments to the calendar and so on. Any day now, Chromebooks will have the ability to download and play TV shows and movies offline.

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Smartphone Momentum Still Evident with Shipments Expected to Reach 1.2 Billion in 2014 and Growing 23.1% Over 2013, According to IDC

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 Smartphone Momentum Still Evident with Shipments Expected to Reach 1.2 Billion in 2014 and Growing 23.1% Over 2013, According to IDC

According to a recently published mobile phone forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, worldwide smartphone shipments will reach a total of 1.2 billion units in 2014, marking a 23.1% increase from the 1.0 billion units shipped in 2013. From there, total volumes will reach 1.8 billion units in 2018, resulting in a 12.3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2013–2018.

“What makes smartphone growth so amazing is where the growth will be taking place,” said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team. “Smartphone shipments will more than double between now and 2018 within key emerging markets, including India, Indonesia, and Russia. In addition, China will account for nearly a third of all smartphone shipments in 2018. These – and other markets – will offer multiple opportunities to vendors and carriers alike, but the key will be balancing affordability with expectations.”

On a worldwide basis, IDC expects the average selling price (ASP) of smartphones to reach $314 in 2014, down 6.3% from the $335 ASP in 2013. From there, ASPs are expected to reach $267 by 2018.  While these prices point to a definite decline, users still expect top-notch experiences regardless of what smartphone they purchase.

“Until recently, low cost has equaled poor quality in the smartphone space,” said Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “Given the competition at the high end, vendors like Motorola are trying to skate to where the puck is going by offering extremely affordable devices like the Moto E, which offer a ‘good enough’ experience that will suit the needs of many. This goes to show that components that were used 2-3 years back in high-end smartphones are still sufficient in many aspects, and ultimately will allow vendors to come to the table with viable low-cost solutions.”

Operating Systems

Android –Android will undoubtedly remain the clear market leader among smartphone operating systems with share expected to hit 80.2% in 2014. Looking forward, IDC expects Android to lose a minimal amount of share over the forecast period, mainly as a result of Windows Phone growth. Android has been, and will continue to be, the platform driving low-cost devices. ASPs of Android smartphones were well below market average in the first quarter of 2014 and are expected to be $254 for full year 2014, dropping to $215 in 2018. Growth of Android phones is expected to outpace the market in 2014, rising 25.6% with volume just shy of 1 billion units.

iOS – Despite rumors of a larger screen iPhone, IDC expects share of iOS to drop from 14.8% in 2014, to 13.7% in 2018. Apple continues to be strong in mature markets, where devices are heavily subsidized, but emerging markets are expected to drive overall market growth, and appetite for smartphones in these markets is at the sub-$200 level, significantly below Apple’s selling prices. iOS volumes are expected to hit 184.1 million in 2014, growing to 247.4 million in 2018. Growth of 20.0% this year will slowly drop to year-over-year growth of 6.1% in 2018, more in line with overall market growth.

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Smartphones: The silent killer of the Web as you know it

The Next Web

The PC is dyinglong live the PC! These headlines have been thrown around for years, as sales of laptops and desktops have continually dwindled downward.

The tablet has long been pinned as the murderer of the traditional computers and it certainly looked like it was going to be the one to do away with them (perhaps in a few years), with the focus of many companies such as Apple and Microsoft shifting towards a tablet-first world.

It’s obvious from the steadily declining shipments of traditional computers and companies exiting the PC market, that it’s not looking good for PCs, with tablets regularly eating into computer shipments year on year.

That was, until Apple reported in its last earnings call that it had actually sold fewer iPads than the previous quarter for the first time ever. The media is in a frenzy, wondering if the tablet isn’t the savior after all. From stories wondering ifApple’s iPad business is collapsing to others pointing to tablet demand hitting a wall, it seems that the world has suddenly realized that tablets aren’t  all they’re cracked up to be; perhaps they won’t outsell the PC after all.

But that’s not because tablets are dying, it’s because a deeper shift is underway that will fundamentally change the way the internet is used in the future.

Tablets have been on an insane trajectory for the last few years, but the rate of adoption was a little odd, compared with traditional uptake. According to twoseparate Pew Research studies, adoption has thus far been made up of:

16% 15-20 year olds with tablets
18% 20-29 year olds with tablets
25% 30-55 year olds with tablets

A post by Dustin Curtis this week pointed out that this is the exact opposite of how new technology is traditionally adopted, with older people adopting tablets must more rapidly than those that are younger. How can this be? Probably because the older generation ‘gets’ the tablet and “naturally extends” the function of the desktop/laptop computers they’re used to.

Benedict Evans also published a great, in depth look at iPad sales trends which sheds a lot of light on what’s really going on under the surface, which can be seen in the graph below. For example, iPhones are continuing to grow at an exponential rate, but the iPad is hitting a wall.

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BlackBerry plans to renew enterprise focus to lure back customers

IDG News Service

BlackBerry is not going to bail out of the handset business, but needs to return to its enterprise roots to reverse its slide, according to CEO John Chen.

“We’re committed to the handset business and we’ll make it work,” Chen said at a media briefing Thursday in New York.

Chen’s comments about staying in the handset business clarified a statement he made earlier to Reuters, which carried a news report Thursday that quoted him saying, “If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business.”

BlackBerry’s years-long dominance of the enterprise handset market succumbed to the popularity of iOS and Android. Worldwide shipment of devices with the BlackBerry OS totaled 19.2 million in 2013, falling by 40.9 percent compared to 2012, with a market share of just 1.9 percent, according to IDC. BlackBerry was behind Android, which had a 78.6 percent market share, Apple’s iOS at 15.2 percent and Windows Phone with 3.3 percent.

BlackBerry is looking to put recent handset and OS struggles behind it and is increasing focus on enterprise services and premium handsets. Customers want the BlackBerry of old, Chen said.

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Not Android, not iOS: One of these others will win the mobile war

CITEworld

We talk a lot about the platform game in mobile: Is Android winning? Is iOS losing? Does Windows Phone have a chance?

There’s a problem with most of these debates. They mostly focus on the rich world, and that’s increasingly not where the action is.

The smartphone market in the rich world is maturing. The growth is in the emerging markets and, increasingly, as hardware prices go down and connectivity goes up, the growth will be coming from poor countries. Cell phone ownership (albeit of the dumbphone kind) is already very high in sub-Saharan Africa; if Google’s Project Loon doesn’t make cheap wireless high-speed internet ubiquitous some other technology will; and some time soon the equivalent of a second-generation iPhone will be as cheap in poor-country-salary hours as a cell phone is today.

As I argued in a previous column, this actually creates an opportunity for a new platform to emerge. Today, the cheapest smartphones still have limited chip and memory capacity and battery life, which means that a software platform tuned to those limitations is attractive. OEMs like China’s ZTE who are comfortable working at very tight margins and have astonishing expertise making really cheap devices have made a big priority of winning this market, while Samsung and iPhone battle it out for the high-margin segment.

All of this points to an opportunity in the way of the classic disruptive innovation model: Attack an underserved segment of the market with a cheaper, lower-featured product, and gradually eat your way up the value chain as the incumbents spend their time focusing on the premium side of the market.

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All Aspects Of Mobility Now Key Driver Of Digital Growth In Companies

MediaPost

The enterprise “gets” mobile now. Maybe there is no great surprise in that. After all, the smartphone really was adopted first by corporate executives in need of portable computing. The general consumer was not the one buying those clunky and early Windows-driven, antenna-popping bricks of yesteryear. And so mobility is not news to the major corporation. Among these executives, 44% said they already have an enterprise-wide mobility strategy, and another 43% say theirs is directed at specific business units. Only 11% admit they are still working on a strategy, while a mere 2% consider mobility irrelevant to their company.

But what is really interesting about the new Accenture mobility study of 1,475 executives across 10 industries in 14 countries? These guys say their companies are not only “getting mobile,” in that sort of generalized “yeah-we-have-our-eye-on-it way.” This time they are telling researchers that their interest in emerging mobile platforms is detailed and deep. What stands out to me in this report is how mobility in all its aspects, especially technologies that also will be driving mobile marketing, are of keen interest for adoption within the company.

Mobility is bigger than Big Data, that other trending buzzword of the moment, with 77% of respondents saying mobility is among their top five priorities, while analytics follows at 72%. Add to that: connected devices are third with 65%, above cloud computing (62%) and social (61%)

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