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For years Microsoft has been the de facto desktop operating system. Now Apple is using its mobile devices to steal market and mindshare.

Pundits have long expected Apple to integrate its desktop and mobile operating systems; however, recent announcements at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) show that the company is doing far more than borrowing user interface elements. After some tentative starts, Apple has embarked on a full-scale integration between the company’s phone and desktop devices. With new releases of the software powering each, your laptop will soon be answering phone calls, and your phone will share text messages with your desktop, allowing you to fire off a missive from your MacBook to a colleague’s Android smartphone using standard text messaging. While not totally unexpected, the depth of integration is fairly impressive, and doubly so since I couldn’t help wondering during the announcements: why hadn’t Microsoft done this?

A constantly unfinished puzzle

By nearly any metric, Microsoft was years ahead of Apple in the smartphone and tablet space. While Apple was restructuring a fractured business and “playing” with handheld devices in the form of the Newton, Microsoft had produced several generations of its own PDA, and eventually a full-fledged smartphone that was feature rich, but failed to build a compelling user interface around its advanced feature set. Over half a decade before the iPhone launched, a lifetime in mobile technology, Microsoft was introducing tablets, only to be wiped off the face of the map by the iPad. Microsoft’s most obvious advantage in the mobile space was its dominance of the desktop.

If anyone built a mobile device that integrated tightly with the desktop, it should have been Microsoft.

Technology versus usability

While Microsoft may have missed a historic opportunity, more recently the company has been touting its merging of significant portions of its mobile and desktop code. Even user interface elements have begun to cross-pollinate, with the “modern” user interface that first appeared in Windows Phone featuring prominently on desktops and tablets. However, this technical integration is indicative of Microsoft’s larger problem.

As a company, Microsoft’s Achilles’ heel has been an inability to fully integrate different elements of its computing empire, and to present a user experience tailored to the task at hand, not pounded into a contrived, pre-existing Windows metaphor. From the Start button and stylus on a mobile phone, to its most recent technical integration of its environments that completely lacks in end-user benefit, Microsoft is missing the boat on developing a holistic computing experience. Frankly, I don’t care if my desktop and smartphone are running completely incompatible code from totally different vendors, as long as they’ll share information and work seamlessly together.

The Switzerland of computing?

While Microsoft may have missed this opportunity for its own devices, it still represents a key player in the overall computing landscape, and the long-predicted “demise of Windows” is likely several years away, if it occurs at all. An integrated experience between Microsoft smartphones and Windows desktops won’t meet with much excitement, primarily due to the limited market penetration of Windows phones. What would be interesting, however, is if Microsoft were to use its desktop dominance to integrate tightly with devices from Apple, Google, and others.

Such integration might seem far-fetched, but Microsoft already does this to an extent, with its Exchange server happily sharing mail, contacts, and calendars between everything from phones and tablets to laptops and web apps. Microsoft also has decades of experience integrating diverse hardware, and producing operating systems that run well on millions of combinations of hardware is no small feat. Just as Apple’s original iPod hit its stride when the company made it available for PCs, Microsoft could accelerate its cloud services and desktop OS, and ultimately make a compelling case for Windows Phone by providing tight integration with several mobile vendors.

In the mid and long terms, “winning” the mobility wars is not going to be about who sells the most devices, especially as computing transitions away from single devices and into a multi-platform, multi-device world. Microsoft has a chance to regain lost ground by tightly integrating its desktop and cloud services with today’s devices, allowing it to define tomorrow’s computing experience.

 

Kristina Kozlova

Kristina Kozlova
Kristina.Kozlova@altabel.com
Skype ID: kristinakozlova
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

WHY DO YOU NEED A MOBILE FRIENDLY WEBSITE
There is no secret to anyone that people are browsing the web more from their smartphones and tablets rather than from traditional computers. So having a mobile-friendly site for business nowadays is more important than ever. This is both a big problem and a big opportunity for businesses seeking to engage with new customers.

In the end of 2012, Google conducted an independent survey to learn what users want most from mobile sites today. And the numbers are striking! In fact mobile-friendly site can turn users into customers, according to a survey about 67 percent indicated they would be more likely to purchase a product or service from a business that built a mobile-friendly website. On the contrary not having a mobile-friendly site helps your competitors , for example, 61 percent of users indicated that they’d leave a site that’s not optimized for mobile. Actually non-mobile friendly sites can hurt a company’s reputation: about 52% of users said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company and 48% said that if a site didn’t work well on their smartphones, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business

HOW TO MAKE YOUR SITE MOBILE
Just shrinking your text into the device’s screen won’t give good impression about your business to the customer. The development of your mobile site should be determined by the kinds of products and services your business provides.
There are several options how to optimize your website for mobile, free and paid, having their own pros and cons. Here are a few strategies how to make your site mobile friendly:

- Mobile Website Conversion Service

There is a number of services on the web, that will convert your existing website and provide a script that will direct mobile users to your newly created mobile site from the main website. Among these services are Duda Mobile, bMobilized, and Mobify

- Separate Native Mobile Site

Some businesses want to keep their desktop and mobile websites separate. By creating a mobile website, you maintain control: its design, maintenance, hosting, and security. A script will be added to the main website that will determine if the visitor is using a mobile device and if so, it will automatically direct the visitor to the mobile version.

- Responsive Design

Responsive design is becoming more and more popular. It allows having one website that will display correctly on all devices — desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. It takes advantage of CSS “media queries” to style pages based on the width of the device being used. To determine if your website is responsive, just resize the browser window. If it adjusts — so that the images and text are readable with a narrower browser window — it’s responsive.

-Mobile Version from the Main Site

Some e-commerce providers are heading for mobile. For example, Magento has taken its way to mobile commerce! Magento Mobile introduces exciting Free of cost Magento Mobile extension which allows store owners to manage multiple native applications across various mobile devices from a single Magento interface and provides support for iPhone, iPad and Android base mobile devices. The beauty of Magento Mobile is that it integrates just seamlessly with your account management, product catalog and checkout functions and facilitates your users to experience the same functionality of web store on their mobile devices.

In this article I wanted to draw your attention to the importance of optimizing your website to mobile. Is having a mobile friendly website important for you?

Anna Kozik

Anna Kozik
Anna.Kozik@altabel.com
Skype ID: kozik_anna
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Steve Jobs wasn’t a fan of Android. He thought it was a rip-off of the iPhone. He saw the iPhone as a ground-breaker and Android as an attempt by Google and a consortium of device manufacturers to bring a similar product to a wider market. He famously told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he would “spend my last dying breath if I need to” and “every penny of Apple’s $40bn in the bank” to right the perceived wrong done to Apple by Google. “I’m going to destroy Android,” he pronounced, “because it’s a stolen product…” Jobs’ quest led indirectly to the decision of a US court to award Apple $1bn in damages, and to place an injunction on Samsung distributing some of its product in the US.

But Android had been under development since 2003 and was purchased by Google in 2005, two years before the advent of the iPhone. Granted, its later development was undoubtedly influenced by the range of features incorporated in the iPhone, and the potential and scope of Nokia’s Maemo project.

Theft is an emotional concept and technology is a complex proving ground. The iPhone is an elegant synthesis of intricate ideas and technologies that had gone before, many of them originally developed, patented and supplied by companies such as Samsung and Motorola – now owned by Google. Smartphones and touchpads existed before the iPhone.

Samsung says it has spent billions on research into mobile technologies over the past 25 years and noted in its own submissions to the court that “the flash memory, main memory, and application processor for the iPhone” are supplied by Samsung. It said “also manufactures Apple’s A5X processor and is the sole supplier of the Retina display used in the new iPad”. It also initiated many of the wireless standards and technologies that make it possible for an iPhone to talk to other phones.

Apple’s distinctive contribution has been collation and design, derived from an understanding of why and how a Smartphone could and would be useful and attractive to an end user, and which features would enhance that effect. The iPod, iPhone and iPad are instantly recognizable for their cleanliness and simplicity – and the software is focused on simplifying the tasks of the end user.

Apple’s talent has been to transform utility into an art form, to reduce apparent complexity and anticipate the wants of the user. By collating the possibilities of the Smartphone, and pulling together the virtues of design and utility, Apple has lifted the concept of smart devices to browse the web from geek heaven into user space, which makes it all the more surprising how little attention other device and computer manufacturers have paid to the role of design in selling hardware.

But the bigger issue isn’t copying, or imitation, but the broken nature of the patent and so-called intellectual property industries. In an industry where last year’s must-have is already out of date, there is something obscene about a court case that involves, among other things, a dispute about patents and design registrations such as the one “for overall design of the product, including the rectangular shape, the rounded corners, the silver edges, the black face, and the display of 16 colorful icons”. Or the one “for the configuration of a rectangular handheld mobile digital electronic device with rounded corners”. These are not technological or design innovations.

The decision of the court to punish Samsung for its intrusion into the markets Apple considers its own, and in the words of Samsung’s press release “to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies” is symptomatic of the ongoing crisis in the creative and technological industries.

The decision against Samsung is just the latest event in the war. It is bad news for everybody, not least the users and developers of Android and the iPhone, as each of these companies scrambles to buy up the ownership of patents. As Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, put it last year: “A Smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 largely questionable patent claims, and our competitors want to impose a tax for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers. They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices. Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation.”

And what do you think? Are you on Apple side or Samsung?

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

We are now living in the age of the Smartphone, and as Google has recently proved, there are millions of people getting new phones every single week (over 500,000 Android devices are activated every day!). As the number of users increases, so will the security risks that Smartphones bring to us.

Even though Android and the iPhone are pretty secure, they definitely can be broken and used to spy on people, steal data from the device and for other malicious purposes. The recent Carrier IQ scandal has shown that you don’t even need to know about an app on your phone or approve it for it to be running and transmitting every keystroke to a remote server.

With that in mind, below you may find LI members’ advices that help you keep your Smartphone safe and secure:

«Trusting any individual app for security is questionable. If you have a knowledgeable programmer pal (in mobile, network security) and the source code is available then you can tell with certainty that your Smartphone is secure with an app. You can use that in tandem with a trusted Smartphone antivirus, anti malware, anti root kit software. At least you need to use this if you don’t have source unencrypted code at disposal. If you download from market you may not have source code. Most market operators check for security violations. Despite that
some apps send identifiable customer data for marketing purpose.»
Vinodh Sen Ethirajulu
Technical Lead,ING Institutional Plan Services

«I use the mobile security product from the company that makes the phone and I also have my phone locked using a pattern.»
Tim Tymchyshyn
Senior Sales Representative

«I and all my techy friends, have standard phone securities such as passwords and pins, we have a home record of IMEI numbers and sim references.
As for Apps we all use Preyproject. They have a free version which can secure 3 devices, it can allow SMS or Online activation, which sends reports to your email every 10 minutes with GPS location and WIFI tracking, it can also secure you laptop, if it has a camera, will also email you a picture of the next person using it!! Genius!»
Daniel Rose
Systems Administrator at MWL Systems

«I do not own a Smartphone because there is no such thing as security with that particular device.»
Kenneth Larson
MicroMentor Volunteer and Founder “Smalltofeds”

«I always prefer to use security product or protection system provided by the mobile company itself as its always doubtful to trust the various security based mobile applications.»
Shivam Agarwal
Business Analyst at Algoworks

The security risks that a Smartphone brings with it will only grow in number in the following years, and if you have any sensitive data on your phone (especially if you’re using Google Wallet or some sort of credit card number storage app) or don’t want to fall victim to any scam, you should start getting acquainted with the various security apps and tools available for your handset right now.

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

The fact that a Smartphone could act as a card is an inconsequential change. You still have to carry a wallet, and as long as that’s the case, a simple plastic card remains easier to use, given that the technology for reading them is universal and all the proposed mobile alternatives require new, often separate, readers and work only with certain vendors – you’ll still be carrying plastic for the other banks’ and merchants’ systems. Payments can’t get more mobile than they already are.

Replacing credit and debit cards with something embedded in your Smartphone is not worth the bother. But what if you could replace the entire wallet? That would be a worthwhile change. Open your wallet, and what do you have in it? A driver’s license or other government ID. Credit and debit cards. Cash. An insurance identification card or two. Probably some family photos. Perhaps a library card, a store loyalty card, a transit pass, and a company or building ID or access card. Maybe a few other membership cards.

Most of these cards are just information holders, storing an account number or membership number. Those are easily replaced with data on your Smartphone, which could be presented when needed in any of several ways: as a facsimile of the physical card, as a bar code or QR code for scanning (such as already used by many airlines for electronic boarding passes), or as bits in an embedded NFC or RFID chip. One or more apps could easily handle these information cards’ data.

I’d expect Google, Apple, Microsoft, and RIM to each offer such an app as part of the core app collection on their respective mobile OSes. Such an ID app would have a major advantage over physical wallets: if your Smartphone is lost or stolen, you can log in to your account and invalidate those accounts on that device, then transfer them to a new one.

Credit and debit cards are really no different than any other information card. The PIN is not stored on the card, and the card doesn’t do anything active to prove its identity; there are no smarts on the card. But there could be on a Smartphone version, such as alerts when you’ve reached specified balance thresholds.

One last issue: What about power? A physical wallet requires no electricity to work, whereas a Smartphone does. I’m not concerned about that. It’s exceedingly common to have a charger at work, at home, and in the car. Now that the European Union has forced device makers to standardize on USB power, it’s both cheaper and easier to connect a device to a charger, whether yours or someone else’s.

I fully expect that in the not-too-distant future the Smartphone will become your wallet, and that folded leather or cloth contraption will go the way of the wristwatch: abandoned by most, used as a retro fashion accessory by some. Which leads to one more change that will need to occur: Clothing designers will need to rethink the pockets in men’s pants, as the back pocket will not be where you’ll want to carry your Smartphone/e-wallet :)

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

If you’re in the market for a new Smartphone, you’re probably comparing Apple iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy Nexus. But which one is better? Bellow you may find some information that I hope will help you to choose the right one.

Design
Place these handsets next to each other and it immediately becomes obvious that much more thought has gone into the design and execution of iPhone 4S. This phone continues to be one of the very best offerings in terms of appearance and construction. Not only does it look beautiful, but it’s also made from premium materials like glass and steel – no plastic whatsoever.
Meanwhile, Galaxy Nexus is a typical Samsung phone, being made from plastic, and having this characteristic bump on the bottom of its back side. It is pretty light for its size, but this doesn’t make up for the fact that the handset doesn’t have a classy feel when held. Thankfully, it doesn’t feel cheap either. One of the most obvious differentiating factors in terms of design are the dimensions of Galaxy Nexus and iPhone 4S. Honestly, if you don’t like having to carry around a very large Smartphone, iPhone 4S will be the better option due to its significantly more compact body.

Interface
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on the Nexus is of course the livelier software experience thanks to such elements like Live Wallpapers and various 3D transitions and effects, whereas the experience on iPhone 4S’ iOS 5 is much more static and simplified in terms of visual presentation. Until now, Android has been struggling to offer a truly well-made user interface, but with ICS, we’re happy to report that the platform now looks very, very good. However, the differences in the way they operate have remained, with Android allowing the user to place various widgets, which deliver information right on the home screen, while with iOS users will still have to jump between apps in order to gain access to different kinds of info. Speaking of performance, both the Galaxy Nexus and iPhone 4S are exceptionally fast.

Messaging
If you’re used to typing messages with one hand only, you won’t find any difference between the two smartphones. However, due to the larger screen of the Nexus, its landscape QWERTY keyboard is slightly more comfortable for typing out long emails.

Internet
iPhone has been the undisputed kind of mobile browsing ever since its launch due to its incredibly well-performing Safari browser. Android’s browser, on the other hand, has never been as smooth or accurate in its operation, but with Ice Cream Sandwich, it’s closer than ever.

Camera
What matters most is the actual picture quality, and in this respect, iPhone 4S is definitely the better choice. Images from its 8MP camera enjoy more details and better exposure, whereas the 5MP snapper of Galaxy Nexus tends to overexpose certain things at times. Color reproduction however, is slightly more natural on the Nexus, since iPhone 4S’ photos are a bit on the warmer side. Anyways, it’s safe to say that both handsets take good pictures outdoors; however, the situation with indoor shots is very different. While both devices record 1080p video, the one from Apple’s handset is noticeably better.

Performance
As a whole, in-call quality on the receiving end is better with Galaxy Nexus, as it manages to emit some decently-sounding and loud enough tones from its earpiece. On the other hand, iPhone 4S is very loud, but not as clear.

While battery life in stand-by is claimed to be equal on both phones, talk-time should be longer with iPhone 4S. Of course, this will vastly depend on your usage patterns.

Conclusion
Thanks to Google making one giant leap forward with Ice Cream Sandwich, the software experience on Galaxy Nexus can easily rival the one on iPhone 4S. Both handsets are extremely capable and very fast, which makes issuing final verdict a very hard thing to do. If you expect to hear which phone is better overall, – there isn’t a better phone. However, one of these is certainly better for Jerry, and the other will surely be better for Katy. What I mean is that it all boils down to your personal preference :)

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

The next version of Android 4.0 operating system (Ice Cream Sandwich) will combine the best of the previous versions 2.0 and 3.0. Let’s see what innovative features it will include.

Multitasking
This is one of the best improvements Android Smartphone users will appreciate. Instead of long-pressing the home button to bring up a list of most recently used applications, just tap the multitasking button to reveal all currently opened apps and select the app you want to bring to the fore.

Widgets
Another outstanding feature, coming over from the tablet interface, is the ability to resize widgets. In the 2.x version of Android, widgets could not be resized. Yes, some widgets offered various sizes to add to the desktop, but even that could be limiting. Now, however, a widget can be placed on a desktop and then resized to precisely fit the desktop in exactly the way you want it.

Better spell checking
Android 4.0 adds a new spell checker into the mix to attempt to improve this feature. This spell check will work across applications (and is not limited to only SMS messaging).

Screenshots
Finally. No more using the Dalvek Debug tool or rooting a phone just to be able to get screenshots. Now, all you will have to do is press the home button and the volume down button to save a snapshot of your screen.

Camera
With 4.0 the camera response time is instant. The instant reaction is not associated with the amount of time the camera app opens, but how quickly the picture is taken after pressing the shutter button.

Notifications
The notification system on the Smartphone version of 4.0 will get some nice improvements. One of the major improvements is that notifications can be seen without having to unlock the phone. The current iteration allows you to see that you have a notification but not the contents. The upgrade will allow for the viewing of the contents of the notification.

Copy/paste
Finally, copy and paste will be even easier. All you will need to do is highlight the text to be copied and drag the text to where you want it.

Data Tracking Tool
This will come in handy for anyone that needs to keep constant track of their data. The tool will tell you exactly which apps are using how much data. That way, when you’re going beyond your plan’s allotted data, you can easily figure out why!

Update to Android 4.0 will be important for a mere consumer. The new Android will be not only more attractive in appearance; it will be more user-friendly and easier and more flexible. The exact release date of new Android OS is unknown, it will be in 2012

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


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