Chen Calls for Legislation Forcing Blackberry App Development

by Istvan Fekete on January 23, 2015

The App Store and Google Play both have more than 1.4 million apps available for download, while Windows Phone and BlackBerry owners are used to a much smaller selection of apps. That’s exactly what BlackBerry CEO John Chen finds discriminatory, so he wants US legislators to force developers to create apps for the failed BlackBerry platform. That’s weird.

In other words, Chen says that if a developer makes an app for iOS and/or Android, they should create one for BlackBerry and other platforms as well. Or: If you open a store in Toronto, you should open a store in Québec as well. But why? When I read Chen’s blog post, I honestly couldn’t decide whether I should laugh or cry.

The post was adapted from a letter sent Wednesday, January 21, 2015, to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, John Thune; to the Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Fred Upton; and to Ranking Committee Members US Senator Bill Nelson and US Representative Frank Pallone Jr.
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Facebook at Work, a Recipe for Disaster

by Matt Klassen on January 23, 2015

I doubt I’m exaggerating when I say that Facebook is likely the most used piece of software across the entire business world, a wonderful piece of time-wasting banality that has already cost companies so much in lost revenue by hampering employee productivity that many businesses are employing draconian anti-Facebook rules to curb its negative influence. With such a warm relationship already existing between the social network and the enterprise world, perhaps it makes perfect sense that Facebook is attempting to infiltrate the business world by creating a new enterprise oriented version of its social network, Facebook at Work.

Facebook at Work will mirror the regular version of the social network in appearance and functionality, featuring news feeds, profiles, messaging, and groups that Facebook hopes will eventually replace current inter-office email and messaging systems. The benefit of Facebook at Work is, of course, that we all know how to use it already (well, sort of), which could conceivably help companies save money on training and implementation costs.

But given that Facebook plays such a disruptive role in our lives and more often than not gives us a forum for social awkwardness instead of social networking, it seems a manifestly horrible idea that Facebook should be allowed in the workplace under the guise of being a helpful productivity tool. I mean, with a service that is plagued by privacy issues, handles user data like a commodity, cares nothing for security, and provides a platform for users to say things to others they never would in real life, what could possibly go wrong?  [click to continue…]

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Google Signs Deal with Sprint and T-Mobile to Step Out as Wireless Carrier

by Istvan Fekete on January 22, 2015

Google has inked deals with Sprint and T-Mobile to become a wireless service reseller (or mobile virtual network operator – MVNO) in the US, reports the Wall Street Journal and The Information. At this point, it isn’t clear how much the search giant will charge for wireless services or how wide its coverage will be. Rumour has it that Google will limit the service to certain US cities or users of its Google Fiber broadband Internet service.

Sprint and T-Mobile are major players in the US mobile landscape, ranking third and fourth, respectively. Under the separate deals inked with these carriers, Google will resell services on the Sprint and T-Mobile networks under their own brand names, sources familiar with the matter have revealed.

After T-Mobile’s Un-carrier plans disrupted the mobile industry, Google has come in with ambitious plans that point beyond the popular YouTube and Gmail services. By stepping into the wireless industry, Google will definitively cause a headache for many players.
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Imitation Replaces Innovation: A Mobile Industry Defined by Copycats

by Matt Klassen on January 22, 2015

Earlier this month Xiaomi, the company dubbed “China’s Apple,” unveiled its latest smartphones, two larger phablet devices designed to directly compete with Apple’s latest iPhone 6 Plus. Foregoing any marketing subtleties, Xiaomi has made no secret out of the fact that its latest products are Apple killers, noting that each is lighter, thinner, and less expensive than Apple’s phablet offering, adding fuel to the growing criticism that Xiaomi is little more than a Apple copycat, an imitator that is garnering market attention because it is giving the market more of what it really wants (Apple-like products), at a cheaper price.

In fact, it was such imitation that got Android its start several years ago, with Google and its Android partners mirroring the Apple experience as closely as legally possible, with Samsung going on to grow an Android empire on the backs of phones that looked an awful lot like their Apple rivals. Now with Samsung fading from view, Xiaomi may be the next company to take a shot at the top of the mobile kingdom by copying the perennial contender.

But before you feel sorry for Apple, decrying the fact that the only response its rivals have to the Cupertino tech giant is to imitate its success rather than innovate and create their own, Apple is doing its fair share of mimicking as well, with rumours that the company is creating a stylus to accompany its next iPad Pro series, a shameless copycat of Samsung that Apple is hoping will help boost the iPad’s productivity credentials and make it more appealing to the enterprise sector.

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Average Smartphone Price under $100 by 2020, Gartner Predicts

by Istvan Fekete on January 21, 2015

Gartner has looked into its crystal ball, and predicts changes in network infrastructure, smartphone pricing, rapid mobile development, and end-user services. The market research company says IT leaders should plan to make Wi-Fi a strategic initiative, deploying it with at least 802.11n technology and evaluating it for network device connectivity, including telephony (via ITWorld Canada).

Removing cables has become a top priority for enterprise: By 2018, 40% of enterprises will specify Wi-Fi as the default connection for desktops, desk phones, projectors, and conference rooms.

Also, more than half of users will use a mobile device as their primary tool for online activities, by 2018, predicts Gartner. Of course, the smartphone will be the first device carried by users, followed by a tablet, which will be used for longer sessions. Users will boot up a PC only when they need to solve a more complex task, and as voice, gesture, and other modalities grow in popularity with consumers, and content consumption tasks become more frequent compared to content creation tasks, users will tend to move further away from the PC.
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Is Samsung Courting Blackberry? Possibility Still Exists Amidst Denials

by Jeff Wiener on January 21, 2015

Last week Reuters news agency broke the story that Samsung had offered to purchase struggling Canadian mobile firm Blackberry for $7.5 billion, a report that sent Blackberry’s shares temporarily skyrocketing and the mobile industry into a frenzy of speculation about what the future might look like with a Samsung-Blackberry merger. But the following days were filled with subsequent denials that saw the fervour of speculation diminish and Blackberry’s stock value deflate back to normal, leaving me to wonder that if amidst the denials of such a merger, whether there could actually be some thing of merit here.

Let me start by saying that both sides have denied this rumour vehemently, with Samsung going on record to say that it could “confirm media reports of the acquisition are groundless,” with Blackberry adding it had “not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase”. Further, Samsung has gone on record saying that while it would like to “enhance its partnership with BlackBerry… [It] has no intention of acquiring the Canadian handset maker.”

You’ll have to excuse me though if I’m not overly convinced by this torrent of denial, as this entire story is quickly shaping up to be another Microsoft-Nokia saga, you know, the kind that starts with a desired partnership and denials of acquisition, only to culminate later in the merger we all predicted to begin with. But that’s not what’s happening here, is it?

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Build Your Own Smartphone: Google’s “Project Ara” Embraces Unique Modular Design

by Matt KlassenJanuary 21, 2015

With one pilot project barely out the door, Google has unveiled its next significant mobile beta test, announcing that its unique modular smartphone device, dubbed “Project Ara”, will be released in Puerto Rico later this year. In case you don’t remember, Project Ara was conceived as a Motorola research project in late 2013, the once [...]

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Dirk Wössner Leaves Deutsche Telecom to Lead Rogers’ Consumer Business Unit

by Istvan FeketeJanuary 20, 2015

Rogers will have a new president of its Consumer Business Unit from April 6, 2015, in the person of Dirk Wössner, the carrier’s CEO, Guy Laurence, announced yesterday. Wössner has vast experience in the telecom field as the employee of Deutsche Telecom, where he was responsible for all of their sales and distribution in Germany. [...]

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Google Glass is Gone…For Now

by Matt KlassenJanuary 20, 2015

For some it was the best of geek chic, for others the birth of a new kind of mobile monster, but regardless of what you may have thought of Google’s controversial Glass eyewear project, there’s no question that for the last few years it has had all of us talking. But despite the fact that [...]

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Security Products Waste IT Professionals’ Time, Survey Says

by Istvan FeketeJanuary 19, 2015

If you have ever freaked out when an antivirus alert appeared on your computer screen and started researching only to find that it was false alarm, this survey will hit home, reports Ars Technica. The average large organization has to go through nearly 17,000 malware alerts on a weekly basis, just to find that only 19% [...]

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