Archive for August 2011
Smartphones, our addiction to mobile apps, and broadband gluttony are all putting us on a path to wireless broadband scarcity. We’ve all experienced it on our Smartphones: long waits for buffering videos, apps that hiccup when your Net connection cuts out, and WebPages that take forever to load. According to experts, what we are experiencing are hints of an impending wireless broadband drought.
Can we avoid that?
In my opinion, No. Spectrum is a finite resource, and there seems to be an infinite demand.
There are also limits to how much data we can cram into a given amount of spectrum, which are based on laws of physics. Current technologies are approaching those theoretical limits, so any gains there will be incremental, at most.
Barring any unexpected breakthroughs, we are pretty close to maxing out.
Yes, we can kill off a few more older technologies to free up spectrum (like we did with analog TV), but still, there’s not much left to kill off. For example, we can do the same with AM & FM radio, but there isn’t much spectrum there to grab.
The next real opportunity is the expensive route – creating more capacity with existing wireless networks by building smaller cells and lots more base stations. That’s expensive, and the NIMBY factor only makes it more so. There are practical limits in THAT direction, too. There’s a bit of satellite spectrum that might be used for terrestrial networks, but again, there’s not much, and it’s not really very good spectrum for that purpose.
Things are going to get interesting, and “unlimited data” for consumers is very much on the endangered species list.
We’d better get used to it.
We live in interesting times! We have assumed that bigger & better is always possible, that there are no limits to what we can do. Well, there are, and we’re pushing them. People are going to have to adjust their expectations.
Google buying Motorola Mobility is destined to cause a major shake-up in the Android ecosystem, but it’s also going to reverberate across the entire mobile space. In light of Apple’s success in vertical integration and Hewlett-Packard buying Palm, the Google-Motorola deal could now force Microsoft to buy out one of its hardware partners in order to keep pace with its rivals.
The deal is a big win for Motorola Mobility, which has produced some of 2011’s most innovative Android devices — the Motorola Xoom tablet and the Motorola Atrix and Motorola Photon Smartphones — but its products have suffered from tepid sales, been a little bit ahead of the market, and have sometimes gotten lost in the shuffle of the burgeoning market of Android devices. Putting the Google brand name on these Motorola devices would immediately give them a lot more marketing punch and consumer appeal.
But, Google is also going to have to deal with fallout from other Android partners. A lot of companies have been rallying around Android over the past 24 months — Samsung, HTC, LG, Lenovo, ASUS, and many more. Google just made all of them feel like second-class citizens in the Android ecosystem. They will start worrying that Google is going to keep its best Android innovations close to the vest, release them on their own Google-branded devices (made by Motorola), and then let the rest of their hardware partners scramble to find a niche to innovate on.
The biggest potential loser in the Motorola deal is HTC, a much smaller company that’s focused primarily on Smartphones. HTC is all about design, innovation, and being first to market with cutting-edge devices like the HTC ThunderBolt, which was the first Smartphone to run on Verizon’s next-generation LTE network. You have to think that in the future, companies are now going to partner directly with Google for leading-edge Android devices.
This could push HTC toward Microsoft. HTC was originally focused on Windows Mobile devices, but Android arrived on the scene at a time when Microsoft’s mobile strategy was unclear, so HTC shifted most of its effort to Google and delivered excellent designs, such as the Nexus One and popular devices like the HTC EVO. Still, HTC has retained its ties with Microsoft. When Microsoft pulled off its mobile reboot with Windows Phone 7, HTC jumped on board as a partner and has produced two of the best WP7 designs — the HTC HD7 and HTC Trophy.
There is still a lot more sales potential in the Android ecosystem than the WP7 ecosystem, so I wouldn’t expect HTC to abandon its Google partnership in favor of Microsoft. But I wouldn’t be surprised if HTC was suddenly a lot more willing to listen if Microsoft come calling with a buyout offer. With all of its main rivals — Apple, Google, and HP — now vertically integrated in mobile, Microsoft is going to have to seriously consider whether it has to go the same route. If it sticks to the third-party model alone, it will have a hard time keeping up, since it takes a lot more time to release software and coordinate with vendors than to have hardware and software divisions working hand-in-hand throughout the entire product development life cycle.
There’s also one other issue Microsoft has to consider: Nokia. Earlier this year, the two companies signed a huge deal to get Nokia to ditch Symbian in favor of Windows Phone 7 as its primary Smartphone platform. If Microsoft bought HTC and started releasing Microsoft-branded WP7 devices, it could sour the Nokia deal and push Nokia to pursue Android devices in addition to WP7 phones. With a Nokia partnership and joint development already in progress, it may simply be more likely that Microsoft would purchase Nokia over HTC — although if Microsoft wanted to get really serious about vertical integration in mobile, it could potentially purchase them both.
Posted August 24, 2011on:
Times are tough for BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion (RIM). But maybe there are some reasons why it’s still too early to count RIM out?
LI professionals have different opinions on this point:
«I’ve lost faith in them – look to be a “one-hit wonder”. They dominated the business device market for over a decade with their one trick of really effective email to a handheld device, but they have failed to really move forward with the rest of the Smartphone market, and I think they are done as a major player.»
Programmer, Project & Change expert
«I think that RIM will eventually focus on the enterprise market and the consumer space will not be a priority. Many corporations have a huge investment in BB tech and I do not believe there is a solid interface between Lotus Notes and iPhone. They will no longer lead the market but will have an emphasis on security etc. as we have seen with the Playbook being the first tablet certified for use by US government. So keeping the faith depends on what markets you are in…»
Government Solutions Executive
«Blackberry is number one in the business market, what I do see at the moment is people with a work Blackberry and a personal iPhone (or every now and than an Android device).
Will that change fast? Not if the other come up with security of the BB.»
Ronald van de Meent
Financial Systems specialist
«In terms of a company they are not listening to the shareholders. They are keeping the same management staff that is not viewing Google/Apple as a competition and altering their model to compete. Right now RIM is laying off workers thinking that will solve the issue. RIM is headed down the toilet until someone can rescue them soon or they are going to be irrelevant just like Palm was before it got bought out.»
Associate 2 at State Street
«There are two viewpoints to consider here, business and consumer.
First, from the business viewpoint. Blackberry is historically (and still is, according to the latest comparisons), far more secure than any other Smartphone available. For some businesses, that is sufficient reason to stick with Blackberry. However, business that aren’t as concerned with security can consider other options. Then, other factors, such as application availability, network integration capability, and employee happiness, come into play. Other phones can easily compete in these areas, giving serious market competition to the Blackberry.
Now, from the consumer viewpoint. For most consumers, security is a minimal factor when selecting a phone. That puts Blackberry at a serious disadvantage in the consumer market.
My opinion is that the two markets will slowly merge, as we move slowly towards a society that sees the phone as an extension of the person. The consumer viewpoint will infiltrate the business viewpoint, and more businesses will either give their employees a choice of Smartphones or allow them to integrate their personal Smartphone. Whether this will be good or bad is difficult to say.»
Engineer at Software and Engineering Associates, Inc.
And what are your reasons for still believing in BlackBerry?
In the beginning there was SharePoint, a platform for collaboration and content management. It allows people to work together. It’s an easy task to set up a site where people can share information and manage documents from start to finish.
SharePoint 2007 was already good, but SharePoint 2010 is even better. New features such as taxonomy, document sets, content organizers, and better record management make it to an attractive platform. The user interface on the other side is not that attractive. But with a little bit of branding you can create a new look.
And here enters Silverlight. Silverlight is a powerful development technology for creating attractive and interactive user interfaces.
A Silverlight application can be more than a pretty user interface created by designers; you can also add code to it to give it a more functional aspect. Because Silverlight classes are a subset of the .NET Framework, it makes it easy for .NET programmers to add the necessary functionality. Moreover, a designer can create the user interface with a tool like Microsoft Expression Blend and hand it over to the developer, who can open it in Microsoft Visual Studio and complete the application.
In April 2010, Silverlight 4 was released with yet another new set of features.
There is a belief that Silverlight can play a powerful role in the branding of SharePoint sites. Silverlight applications can communicate with a SharePoint site and thus render SharePoint data in an attractive way.
The first versions of Silverlight were hard to integrate with SharePoint, asking for a number of modifications in the web.config file of each SharePoint web application. It drove a lot of SharePoint developers (and even a number of well-known SharePoint gurus) mad. As of Silverlight 3, this hurdle has disappeared.
In SharePoint 2007, communication was possible only through the SharePoint web services or through custom WCF services. But SharePoint 2010 comes with a set of client object models that makes it easier for developers to have a Silverlight application communicate with SharePoint.
In SharePoint 2010, Silverlight is already integrated out of the box: if you want to create a list or a site, you are presented with a Silverlight wizard. SharePoint 2010 also comes with a Silverlight web part that lets you render a Silverlight application that you uploaded to a document library or deployed to the SharePoint hive. There is also the out-of-the-box Silverlight media player. This is a Silverlight application that you can host within the Silverlight web part and that displays your media files.
A View on the Future
In December 2010, Silverlight 5 was announced. This version of Silverlight will add some great new features and capabilities for premium media solutions across browsers, desktops, and devices. The first beta version of Silverlight 5 became available in April, 2011.
Silverlight for Windows Phone is the application development platform for Windows Phone 7. Silverlight uses the XNA framework for audio capture and playback and can even access Xbox Live. This XNA framework is provided by Microsoft for high-performance gaming, used on Xbox.
In 2010 we entered the mobile phone era. We use our mobile phones for calling people or sending short messages, but more and more we are also using the Internet from our phones. Many companies see the hole in the market and start developing mobile phone applications. The banking sector, for example, will offer its services through mobile phone.
When talking about Silverlight integration in SharePoint, most developers think primarily about web parts. But this integration can reach far beyond that. You can host Silverlight applications from within most SharePoint artifacts such as custom fields, custom list forms, list views, application pages, master pages, navigation, search, and so on.
In that light, there is definitely a future for SharePoint-based applications running on mobile phones. Don’t you think so? What other future predictions can you make for SharePoint and Silverlight? Do you think these technologies are a good choice?