Lucas Mearian

About the Author Lucas Mearian


FinTech builds on blockchain for international mobile payments

IBM has partnered with a Polynesian payments system provider and an open-source FinTech payment network to implement a new international exchange based on a blockchain electronic ledger.

The new payment network uses IBM’s Blockchain Platform, a cloud service, to enable the electronic exchange of 12 different currencies across Pacific Islands as well as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

KlickEx Group, a United Nations-funded, Pacific-region financial services company, and Stellar.org, a nonprofit organization that supports an open-source blockchain network for financial services, are backing the new cross-border payments service.

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Yes, Windows Phone is dead. Here’s why

To the surprise of few, if any, a Microsoft executive has confirmed the inevitable: The Windows Phone is effectively dead.

While the company will continue to support existing iterations, Joe Belfiore, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Windows, spelled out in a series of tweets why it has no plans to release new versions of phone hardware or the Windows Mobile OS.

When asked by a user whether it is “time to leave Windows Mobile platform,” Belfiore tweeted back, “Depends who you are. Many companies still deploy to their employees and we will support them!”

Microsoft Joe Belfiore Windows PhoneTwitter

Belfiore went on to state that Microsoft will continue to service Windows 10 Mobile with bug fixes and software patches, but “building new features/hw aren’t the focus.” He even disclosed he had personally chosen to switch platforms for the “app/hw diversity.”

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Machine learning-based threat detection is coming to your smartphone

Part of a growing trend, MobileIron announced today that it is adding machine learning-based threat-detection software to its enterprise mobility management (EMM) client, which it said will help address an increase in mobile attacks.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said it has partnered with Zimperium, a maker of machine learning-based behavioral analysis and threat detection software that monitors mobile devices for nefarious activity and apps.

MobileIron said it will integrate Zimperium’s z9 Engine software with its security and compliance client. The software will reside on users’ iOS or Android smartphones or tablets, and it will also become a part of IT administrators’ EMM control consoles. That upgrade to MobileIron’s EMM client will “automate the process of detecting and responding to mobile threats,” MobileIron stated.

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How to develop a mobile device repair or replace strategy

As mobile devices become a primary computing platform for many enterprise employees, repairing or replacing smartphones and tablets at the local Apple or Microsoft store isn’t a viable option for large enterprises.

While managed mobility services (MMS) have been around as long as mobile devices, until recently such services tailored to repairing and replacing mobile devices were immature. The consumerization of IT and the growth of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies as well as corporate-issued smartphones and tablets had left them unable to scale at an enterprise level.

At the same time, the myriad of mobile devices and mobile operating systems has made it difficult for IT shops to address issues associated with them. For example, Android fragmentation — both hardware and software — has led organizations to farm out device management in order to free up corporate IT resources for business projects.

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Is wireless charging bad for your smartphone?

With Apple finally bringing native wireless charging to its iPhone lineup, the technology will become far more widely adopted, both among consumers and within corporations.

Apple chose to use the Qi specification, which uses inductive charging technology, for its iPhone 8 and iPhone X lineup of smartphones. Samsung committed to the same specification for its flagship Galaxy smartphones; in all, about 90 smartphone models use Qi today, making it the industry’s most popular among three standards. In addition to desktop charging stations (typically in the form of small charging pads), the automotive marketplace has also adopted in-cabin wireless charging.

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Google’s HTC move borrows from Apple’s playbook

Google’s $1.1 billion acquisition of HTC’s smartphone engineering arm is not a direct assault against its chief rival, Apple. But it is a recognition of Apple’s successful strategy.

It is also an acknowledgement that an ecosystem dominated by hardware manufacturers and telecom providers – each with a set of priorities and plans that doesn’t dovetail with Google’s – results in a myriad of devices that run the gamut of quality.

With that in mind, Google’s buyout of HTC’s engineering IP will enable it to create a pure Android play by marrying hardware and software in a move that could eventually reduce fragmentation in the Android ecosystem.

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Coming soon to the office: iOS 11’s augmented reality

With the official launch of iOS 11 this week, Apple has introduced more PC-like capabilities to its mobile devices – especially the iPad – so workers can more often use them for daily tasks.

While that’s good news for companies focused on a mobile-first strategy, what could be an even greater boon for business is iOS’s native augmented reality (AR) play, via its ARKit SDK.

While Apple’s AR move may appear at first blush to be focused on consumers with animated emojis and masks, native AR toolkits open up a world of possibilities for business users and app developers, according to IDC analyst Bryan Bassett.

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Microsoft moves fast to offer zero-day EMM support for iOS 11

Wasting no time, Microsoft has announced its online enterprise mobility management (EMM) suite, InTune, supports Apple’s new iOS 11 mobile platform.

Apple announced on tuesday that  iOS 11 will be available be available on Sept. 19. It has been in public beta since mid-summer.

Microsoft began releasing developer and beta builds of its EMM cloud service a few months ago, and said  its Intune development team has been working to ensure that all of its mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) tools will work seamlessly on iOS 11.

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Wireless charging pads for iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X are already available

As expected, Apple’s new iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X will be able to be joined with a new wireless charging accessory based on the Qi standard – the most popular among three main industry specifications.

The new phones, unveiled during a special event at Apple’s new headquarters, had been rumored to include wireless charging, a first for the iPhone line-up.

An Apple-designed charging pad, called AirPower, will be available in 2018; it will offer a large charging area that will allow up to three devices, including Apple Watch Series 3 and a new optional wireless charging case for AirPods, to power up simultaneously.

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Apple in the enterprise? It’s already there

For decades, Apple tried to push into the enterprise market through the data center back door. In the 1990s, it rolled out its Apple Network Server, which quickly failed. In the early 2000s, it introduced its Xserve line – a data center server that lasted in various iterations through 2011, but never gained traction.

More recently, it has pinned its hopes on partnerships with leading software and service providers, hoping to capture more of the seemingly elusive, but lucrative, enterprise market.

In truth, Apple has already won.

To be certain, Microsoft still dominates the workplace desktop and laptop space. But Apple – which tomorrow will unveil new iPhones – recognizes who it is and who it isn’t.  As Sun Tzu wrote in the Art of War, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

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MobileIron adds Apple security along with support for iOS 11

Enterprise mobility management (EMM) software vendor MobileIron today announced its Apple release, aimed at the growing need for enterprises to provide IT managers with more robust management and security features for Macs.

While Windows and even Chrome-based laptops are already included in EMM consoles, macOS hardware has traditionally been treated as an outlier in the office, according to Nick McGuire, vice president of Enterprise Research at CCS Insight.

While MobileIron’s software suite already supported macOS for basic functions, including device configuration, millennials entering the workforce favor Apple’s line of laptops – driving the need for a unified endpoint management strategy that includes security and bulk licensing, according to Ojas Rege, MobileIron’s chief strategy officer.

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New SanDisk microSD card enables an app speed boost for Android users

SanDisk this week introduced the 400GB Ultra microSDXC UHS-I card, which is not only the world’s highest capacity microSD card but one from which smartphones, tablets or laptops can run applications.

According to SanDisk, the micro SDcard achieves UHS Speed Class 1 – the best performance available for a microSD card and one that enables the speedy loading and running of apps.

“What this means for users is that, in theory, they will no longer be limited to only having apps on the main memory in the device,” said Jack Gold, principal analyst with J. Gold Associates. “Many users fill up that memory and now they have an option, if the device supports it, to greatly expand the amount of apps they can use on the device. This is pretty much equivalent to putting a USB drive on your computer and running apps from that.”

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Apple and Accenture partner to boost iPhone, iPad use at work

Global consultancy and business services firm Accenture unveiled a partnership with Apple designed to help businesses develop new applications and use cases for iPhones and iPads.

Accenture, which helps companies develop and deploy custom business apps, announced a new dedicated iOS practice within its Digital Studios in select locations around the world. Experts from Apple, including software and hardware developers, data architects and data scientists, will also be co-located in Accenture’s iOS practice offices.

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As Apple preps for the iPhone 8, wireless charging option seems more likely

A simple upgrade that Android smartphone users have enjoyed for years may finally be coming to the iPhone: wireless charging.

The technology would allow iPhone owners to simply lay their devices on a charging pad – something that’s also been embedded in furniture and vehicles – to recharge. Wireless charging hardware possibly related to the next iPhone has been shown in a series of photographs published by Chinese blog site Weibo.

While add-on, external iPhone covers have allowed wireless charging for some time , if the photos and a leaked document are genuine, the “iPhone 8” could contain the technology natively.

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VMware partners with Google to manage Chrome devices

VMware’s AirWatch subsidiary has partnered with Google to enable unified end-point management (UEM) of all Chrome OS devices in an enterprise.

Through VMware Workspace ONE’s cloud portal, IT admins will be able to manage Chrome devices in their company alongside all other endpoints from a single console.

Among other things, IT managers will be able to perform a number of tasks including  on-boarding employees; provisioning, auditing and tracking hardware; device wiping; and securing access to personalized enterprise app catalogs.

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Slack moves to integrate with EMM for enterprise security

Slack has enabled integration with more than a dozen enterprise mobility management (EMM) platforms in order to offer security and policy management features to its four-year old, cloud-based messaging application.

The messaging platform provider worked with AppConfig, an open standards group, which allowed Slack to integrate through a set of APIs with 21 EMM vendors.

Slack said it also worked more closely with three EMM providers – VMware Airwatch, MobileIron, and Blackberry Good – “to ensure a smooth experience for our joint customers.

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Is Google Glass really ready for the enterprise?

After working for two years on an enterprise version of its smart glasses — Glass Enterprise Edition — Google says its head-mounted display is now “fully available” for business use.

There’s still no way to buy the device online, and the question remains whether businesses can benefit from using Glass as a collaboration and workflow tool.

Glass Project Lead Jay Kothari wrote in a blog post July 18 that Google Glass Enterprise Edition had evolved from a two-year limited program to being available now to more businesses through a network of development partners, such as EyeSucceed or Proceedix.

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Your next company computer may be a 2-in-1 laptop

While consumer adoption of tablets is decreasing, business adoption is going the other way, powered by corporate fondness for Apple’s iPad Pro and 2-in-1 devices running Windows.

The number of consumer-owned tablets is expected to decline about 3.3% annually even as the number of business-owned tablets grows at a combined annual growth rate of 6.9% by 2022, according to Forrester Research.

Global mobile device usage is expected to reach more than 5.5 billion users by 2022,  almost double the total number of users (2.8 billion) in 2008, according a Forrester  report released last week.

Large-screen smartphones are contributing to the decline in tablet sales among consumers, while the diverse use cases for a 2-in-1s is driving that segment’s growth, Forrester stated.

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