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(Updated June 18, 2012) Without question, more enterprises are rolling out iPads and iPhones than their Android counterparts today. But there's finally some large-scale Android deployments to talk about.


Here's my small but growing list. <---Click here to see the Google spreadsheet or view below:



As of June 2012early September, there are 39 fewer than 20 deployments. If you know of one, please e-mail me (ericyolai@gmail.com) or send me a tweet @ericylai.


In the meantime, here's some highlights, up-to-date as of Sept. 6, 2011:


- Largest deployment - American Airlines, which plans to roll out 6,000 Samsung Galaxy Tabs (10.1-inch) as in-flight entertainment devices to first and business-class passengers. American Airlines is jumping head-first into tablets - it is also rolling out thousands iPads to its pilots. American's rollout ismore impressive than other airlines like Alaska. Not only will American pilots use iPads serve as flight manuals, but the FAA has approved their use as interactive maps and navigation charts.


- Most impressive rollout to-date - University of Southern Mississippi, for its just-started pilot to roll out 1,000 tablets - also Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1s - to honor students. The Tabs come loaded with theBlackboard Mobile Learn, the mobile version of the well-known learning management system of the same name. Blackboard supports Android, iOS and BlackBerry devices today. It enables students and teachers to communicate, access assignments and grades, write blogs and comments, etc.


So you have to applaud the University for deploying proven educational software that help the students take full advantage of the Tabs. On the other hand, Blackboard emerged before social media and smartphones did. Its interface and platform reflects it. Some startup competitors, such as ePals (full disclosure: my brother works here), say they offer a more flexible, Facebook-like platform.


- Most widely-deployed device - by number of confirmed devices, that would be the Galaxy Tab. But in terms of number of customers, the Cisco Cius narrowly edges the Tab today. When Cisco released its enterprise tablet in July, it touted five organizations across various industries that were piloting or already using the Cius. By ROI, the most impressive is Nottingham University Hospitals, which claims the use of the Cius along with portable IP phones lets doctors access information outside of work and then make diagnoses and treatment changes. This has sped up treatments and shortened hospital stays, generating an estimated 292,000 pounds in annual savings. ROI was achieved in just 4 months.


- Most ambitious deployment - the owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News newspapers is ripping a page out of the mobile operator model. It plans to sell 2,000 Android tablets to consumers at an upfront discount, but bundled with a digital newspaper subscription. “No one in the U.S. has bundled the device with content,” Greg Osberg, the newspapers' CEO, told AdWeek. “We want to gain significant market share in this area, and we want to learn about consumer behavior. Our goal is to be the most innovative media company in the United States.” Pricing hasn't been revealed, except that subscriptions will likely cost less than $75/year. Rivals aren't standing still. The Tribune Company, publisher of the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune, is thinking of offering the same bundle, using the Samsung Galaxy Tab as its device.


- Most diversity - that would be my parent company, SAP AG. Led by CIO Oliver Bussmann, SAP is rolling out iPads (8,946 as of September), iPhones, Samsung Galaxy Tabs, and BlackBerry Playbooks. Not bad for a company that a 18 months ago was still an all-BlackBerry shop. The company is also drinking its own champagne, deploying the mobile apps it is building with its Sybase subsidiary.


- Biggest long-term impact - Considering the glacial speed at which U.S. government agencies normally operate, the embrace of mobile devices by various agencies is downright speedy. Besides iPad deployments that you can see at my other list, the Coast Guard has approved the use of iPhones and Android-based smartphones, while the Navy and Marine Corps are close to the same approval (click on the aforementioned links for excellent coverage in InformationWeek by my former IDG-colleague-turned-foreign-expat, Elizabeth Montalbano). The Army is already testing a wide variety of mobile devices for classroom and battlefield use, including a mobile battlefield network app running on Android.


Outside of the military, there is also interest in Android. The Department of Veterans Affairs has added procurement of tablets such as iPads and Android models to its existing enterprise contract. And theBlackBerry Playbook has been certified as compliant with Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS), a key prerequisite before agency procurement. The Playbook is reportedly the first tablet to gain FIPS certification.



Heard of any other large-scale Android deployments? Drop me a line or comment below!

Microsoft's Surface Tablets won't join the Zune in the Redmond Hardware Deadpool anytime soon for the simple reason that won't be released until the kids are already back in school.


Is this just delaying the inevitable? Or will the Surface absorb all of the summer heat and propel itself to Xbox-like heights?


I thought I'd consider that simile with another, by comparing the Surface with the most notable tablet failure to date, the Cisco Cius.


As much as Cisco tried to avoid a specs war with other vendors, the perception was that the Cisco Cius was an underpowered, over-priced Android tablet.


Sure, Cisco offered some IT-friendly features such as a proprietary enterprise app store and high-end video and networking features (though they came at an additional price).


The problem was that the market for tablets then, and even today, primarily remains driven by consumers and enterprise workers buying to BYOD.


The Good


Microsoft is doing some things better with the Surface:


- Unlike the bland Cius, the Surface is a striking piece of hardware. It won't be to every consumer's taste, but the Surface should genuinely appeal to a good chunk of consumers. That's key in the BYOD era.


- Microsoft won't use the words, but the Surface is essentially a tablet/PC hybrid, or what others called aconvertible laptop (albeit a very skinny one). Convertibles and hybrids have never done particularly well, only appealing to a few niches. So it's wise that Microsoft is avoiding tho terms 'hybrid' and 'convertible'.


Still, I don't think it matters much. Pundit types like myself may have long memories, but consumers won't remember or care. The Surface is thin and attractive enough that people will automatically compare it other tablets (which is a good thing), while adding in its Windows smarts (mostly a positive, due to the application selection that entails). Call it a Tablet Plus?


- At least one of the Surface tablets, the ARM version running Windows RT, will likely be competitive price-wise with other ARM tablets. By that, I expect Surface RT to start at $500, not the $200 of Amazon's Kindle Fire.


- The Windows 8 Professional version of the Surface will run a fairly-fast Intel Core i5 quad-core CPU, not the under-powered Atom chip that helped doom the Cius as well as netbooks.


The Bad


But in other ways, the Surface uncomfortably repeats the problems that the Cius as well as other tablets like the Motorola Xoom, BlackBerry PlayBook and Samsung Galaxy Tab have had:


- The Windows 8 Pro Surface will cost about the price of an Ultrabook, or close to $1,000. Even with the Windows app ecosystem, including the one killer app, Microsoft Office, many consumers will balk at the price of a Windows 8 Pro tablet/laptop.


If that's the case, Microsoft then has to count on IT departments stepping up to deploy Windows 8 Pro Surfaces. That's what RIM and Cisco counted on, much to their regret. Microsoft may hope that IT departments view the Windows 8 Pro Surface as a laptop replacement. In that case, the Windows 8 Pro looks cheaper than most business-class laptops, including the MacBook Air, by several hundred bucks. There's no guarantee, however, that IT departments will see it that way.


- The less-expensive Windows RT tablet will have a very sparse selection of apps upon release, due to itslack of backward compatibility with current Windows apps. A dearth of apps is the problem that faced the BlackBerry PlayBook when it launched. That did not go well.


- The Surface's multi-touch, pressure-sensitive keyboard looks very cool. Its low profile is key to keeping the Surface sleek. But looks aren't everything. First of all, they remind me of the Atari 400's membrane keyboard. That was also a pressure-sensitive keyboard that happened to have been ranked one of theten worst PC keyboards of all time.



Credit: Wikimedia


Granted, this was 30+ years ago. But Moore's Law doesn't apply to keyboards. Change is slow. There have only been two innovations in the last two decades worth speaking of: backlit, island-style keyboards, and wireless connectivity.


The Surface keyboard doesn't incorporate either of those. The best case scenario is if the Surface's keyboard works as well as the best spill-proof, silicone keyboard. But few touch typists will consider that much of an upgrade over touchscreen keyboards.


And the Ugly


- The Surface shows that Microsoft, when it adopts Apple's vertically-integrated manufacturing model, can make snazzy, high-quality hardware, too. The problem is that it runs the risk of angering Microsoft's hardware OEM partners, such as HTC, HP, Lenovo, Dell, Asus, and many many others.


Tweeted Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart: "It’s not like Windows OEMs thought that there’d be no Win 8 competition, it’s just who’s competing that galls."


This uncomfortable state of co-optition didn't exist when Microsoft launched the XBox. The only partner whose turf it invaded was Sony.


But doesn't Google face the same problem? Yes and no. While Google's Nexus tablet will annoy its partners, Google doesn't make any money directly from Android. So there aren't billions in licensing revenue at stake.


In the end, I remain unsure whether the Surface will end up more like the XBox or the Zune. What say you?

While iPhones dominate the post-BlackBerry era of enterprise smartphones, analysts such as IDC expect Android to catch up by next year.


If that comes to pass, I am guessing that Samsung will be both on top in Android, but also challenging Apple overall.


I spoke late last week with Tim Wagner, the Dallas-based vice-president and general manager of enterprise sales for Samsung Mobile. I came away very impressed by Samsung's pincer movementstrategy in the enterprise, which both tackles the concerns of CIOs around Android - security, fragmentation, usability - as well as wooing the corporate workers that are Bringing Their Own Devices into the office.


(Full disclosure: SAP is a close partner of Samsung on mobile device management technology which I'll discuss later.)


Let's start with the consumer/worker side. Besides being the top smartphone vendor (by shipments) and the only other vendor besides Apple to reap substantial profits, Samsung has been successful with high-end, professional devices. Its Galaxy family of Android smartphones and tablets has been a huge hit, with more than 50 million sold, including 7 million Galaxy Note "phablets" and 28 million of its flagship Galaxy S II smartphone.


(Read more about the 260 enterprises that are doing large-scale deployments of Samsung Galaxy Tab tablets and smartphones.)


Its successor, the Galaxy S III, looks set to top the S II. The newer model already has 10 million pre-orders in advance of its U.S. availability in July.


Consumers and reviewers are drawn to the Galaxy S III's specs: 4.8-inch AMOLED touchscreen, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, 8 megapixel, 1080p camera, and more.


Credit: Samsung


Cash for Clunkers


But Samsung isn't resting on those laurels. Its trade-in program, called SAFE2SWITCH, lets people exchange their current smartphones for an S III at very competitive prices.


The prices are as good or better than the ones offered by popular used electronics sites likeGazelle.com, and includes devices with little or no resale value.


For instance, a good condition 16 GB iPhone 4 with AT&T that fetches $160 from Gazelle will get $165 from Samsung.


While Gazelle won't buy a Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T, Samsung will pay $225.


Even the discontinued Dell Streak tablet on AT&T, Samsung will buy for $55 (Gazelle won't buy).


You can scan the QR code below and get an immediate quote for your smartphone:



This trade-in program applies to both consumers and enterprises with thousands of devices.


A trade-in program is only good if it's convenient for users. Samsung has that covered. The Galaxy S III will be available on five U.S. carriers - AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and US Cellular - whocollectively have 95% of the market (see slide 14).


Samsung also seems to have learned that pricing as aggressively as Apple and betting on volume is key. The 16 GB model that costs $199 will match the iPhone 4S, while the $249 32 GB model beats its iPhone counterpart.


All of these moves are smart because BYOD and CoIT means that enterprises are lifting device restrictions and giving workers choice over their mobile gear.


The other part of Samsung's strategy is to woo CIOs. To start with, the S III features a major upgrade in Samsung's SAFE (Samsung Approved For the Enterprise) program.


Launched last year, SAFE is Samsung's attempt to create an enterprise-class offshoot of Android that addresses the very legitimate fears that IT has about Android today.


This is less about directly hardening Android, though there is some of that, such as AES-256 bit encryption. But it's more about giving IT administrators using Mobile Device Management (MDM) software the ability to mange and secure the devices themselves.


Using MDM software from one of five vendors - MobileIron, Juniper, SOTI, AirWatch and SAP (Afaria) - IT administrators already could control the Galaxy S II using 95 policies. That's far more policies and features than are available on other Android devices.


Quadrupling its Manageability


With the S III, IT administrators now have access to 338 IT policies, said Wagner, or nearly four times the Galaxy S II.


338 policies doesn't match the number of policies offered on BlackBerry devices (reportedly 500+ on the latest version of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server). But it appears to top the number of policies available to iPhone and iPad administrators by a healthy margin.


Another new feature of SAFE: Samsung is now testing all third-party software as working properly and bug-free at the launch of major Samsung Android upgrades such as the version of ICS running on the Galaxy S III.


Before, Samsung would only require partners like VPN providers Cisco and Citrix test the software themselves. That didn't reassure the CIOs that Samsung heard from, Wagner said.


The Galaxy S III also has some content sharing features tailored to on-the-go businessfolks. AllShare Group Cast lets co-workers share and collaborate on documents, presentations and more.


Finally, the 338 policies and Samsung certification will be available on older Galaxy devices like the S II that are upgraded to Samsung's newest version of of Android.


Not Perfect


As impressive as SAFE is, it's not perfect.


Samsung has been criticized for the slowness of its Android updates to make their way down to older devices. It's unclear whether that's improving or not.


Wagner also admits that Samsung won't be testing third-party apps every time they release an update - something CIOs won't be overjoyed to hear.


Still, apart from the incumbent RIM, Samsung has made the strongest reply to What a CIO Wants.


Also, if IDC is right that Android smartphones in the enterprise are set to explode, than Samsung's moves are well-timed. SAFE's technical merits combined with the sexiness of the Galaxy line could help it become the de facto standard for Android in business, and the only credible rival to the iPhone.


Samsung already has 44 large-scale enterprise pre-orders for the S III in the U.S., according to Wagner.


"The only real way to bring Android to the enterprise is to bring the entire platform to a high level of IT compliance," he said. In this regard, "we have a 6-12 month headstart over other Android OEMs."

Spending money to save money may sound like a retail gimmick, like BOGO.


But if you work for a medium to large-sized company that is embracing mobile, than there may be a way for you to save hundreds of dollars a year on your phone bill.


I know because I am. Or to be precise, my wife is.


My wife was anxious to upgrade from her Verizon LG Env3. It's a decent-looking, texting-capable WinMophone that kinda sucks in the app department. Really, Verizon, $3.99 a month for Tetris?!??


At least she was getting a good deal on her plan - $40/month (she was on the low-minutes senior plan). But to upgrade to iPhone would've more than doubled her bill. And while my bill is kindly picked up by my employer as part of a BYOD program, hers wouldn't be.


(By the way, it's not just Starship Enterprises, but Corporate Enterprises, that need To Boldly Go Beyond BYOD.)


Paying an extra $500 a year so she could play Scramble with Friends with her mom pals didn't sit right with us (ok, mainly me. Sorry Tina!).


The Solution


Many corporate plans with carriers let employees purchase new phones at 2-year contract prices after just one year. In my case, I bought a 32 GB iPhone 4S for $299, and handed my iPhone 4 to my wife.


Until two months ago, my wife would've had two options with that iPhone 4: 1) Sign up with AT&T for $80/month; 2) Download software on the Internet to unlock and jailbreak the phone in order to bring it to a prepaid, AT&T-compatible carrier.



Credit: Shutterstock.com


Now, unlocking and/or jailbreaking phones has been legal in the United States for several years. But few retail stores, especially those closely tied to the Big Three carriers, would do it for you.


But then two months ago AT&T changed its policy. It began openly unlocking old, off-contract iPhones so you can take them to any carrier you want (note: AT&T will only unlock the older phone, not your newer phone).


I don't know if this was a favor by AT&T, which got first dibs to the iPhone, to help Apple make inroads against Android among mainstream consumers.


All I know is that suddenly you didn't have to fiddle with scary-sounding software or go to eBay and pay $440 to get a jailbroken iPhone that you could take to cheaper, prepaid carriers.


The next part - choosing a prepaid carrier - took some research.


The prepaid carriers that I kept hearing about supporting unlocked iPhones were all new to me: Jolt, Red Pocket, Simple Mobile, H2O.


Besides sounding the least like an energy drink, I chose Straight Talk for four reasons: 1) its straight-shooting plan ($45/month for unlimited voice, text and data); 2) its promised speed (3G using AT&T's network, and no throttling for heavy data users); 3) endorsements from users in various phone forums; 4) its' partnership with Wal-Mart.


I followed the easy instructions here and soon my wife was up and running on Straight Talk.


How has the experience been?


Initially, there were some problems. I had already upgraded to iOS 5.1 by the time I gave my iPhone to my wife. The problem? No jailbreak for iOS 5.1. Without it, my wife couldn't send MMSes, or picture texts, via Straight Talk (though with other iPhone users, she was able to send picture texts via Apple's own iMessage network). My wife was also unable to send and receive group text messages, which resulted in some ribbing from her mom friends trying to arrange meet-ups.


Fortunately, a jailbreak for iOS 5.1 arrived in late May. After installing it, my wife now has full service.


Voice quality and data speed has been generally good, with moments of spotty connectivity. It's unclear if Straight Talk is worse than AT&T or not.

On the other hand, we're only paying $540 a year for her unlimited plan. How does that compare with other carriers over two years? Check it out:



Straight Talk: $1,080 for unlimited voice/data/texting at 3G speeds


Sprint: $2,119 for 450 voice minutes and unlimited data and texting $1,039 more than Straight Talk

AT&T: $2,359 for 450 voice minutes, 3 GB of data and unlimited texting $1,279 more than Straight Talk

Verizon: $2,359 for 450 voice minutes, 2GB of data and unlimited texting $1,279 morethan Straight Talk


Straight Talk also beats two other recently-launched, better-publicized prepaid services, both of which require you to buy their iPhones from them at unsubsidized prices.


Virgin Mobile: $1,369 for 300 voice minutes, unlimited texting and 2.5 GB of data (Virgin only charges $30/month (with autopay) for 2-year contract, but a 16 GB iPhone 4S costs $649) $289 more than Straight Talk

Cricket: $1,819 for unlimited voice/texting, with throttling starting at 2.3 GB of data (based on $499 16 GB iPhone 4S) $739 more than Straight Talk



To be fair, I should probably add $100 to the cost of Straight Talk. I had to buy a new iPhone to have one to pass along to my wife, after all.


Virgin may be the way to go if you want to get the latest-gen iPhone 4S or don't worry about hitting its 2.5 GB limit. I personally wouldn't - in the last two months, I only used 850 MB of cellular data. That's effectively just one-sixth of Virgin's limit.


Both services are also potential options if you work for a company with a liberal BYOD plan that grants you a monthly stipend to cover service charges at a carrier of your own choosing.


Bottom line: both Straight Talk and Virgin Mobile stand out as groundbreakingly inexpensive options for iPhone users. And while we'll have to wait until after Virgin starts offering iPhones at the end of this month to learn about its service quality, I can testify that Straight Talk offers a highly-competent service at a great price.

Whether it's forward thinking or sheeple behavior, but 13 groups applied to manage Web addresses ending in .app, revealed ICANN today.


According to the Uber-Registrar, .app was actually the most popular domain name (aka generic Top-Level Domain name, aka gTLD) sought after in this round, beating out .home and .inc, which had 11 applications each, and .art with 10 applications.


Companies that paid $185,000 for the potential right to hand out .app domains included Amazon.com, and Google Inc., which applied for more than 100 domains under the nom-de-Web of Charleston Road Registry Inc., and a bunch of other firms that sound more like your regular domain-name speculator type.


Other mobile-related URL endings that were sought after included .and and .android (Charleston, err, Google, again on both counts), .immobilien (German?), .kindle (Amazon), .mobile (3 firms, including Amazon, Dish TV and the intriguingly-named Pixie North LLC), and .mobiliy.


I can't figure out if .mobiliy is a non-English spelling of "mobility" or an attempt to catch fat-fingered people misspelling things on their tiny touchscreen keyboards.


The whole typing issue brings me to my skepticism about the auction of these domain names in general.


In this age of Extreme Information Overload, I only remember the URLs of a few Web sites that I regularly visit. The rest I find via Google. That's especially true when I'm using my iPhone or even iPad. Typing on a touchscreen is clumsy enough that I'll go out of my way to Google a site rather than type out its entire name. And, of course, if it's a site I really like, I'll either subscribe to its RSS feed in Google Reader or download the native App version to save myself extra keystrokes.


New domain names haven't really taken off. According to this CNN chart, about 90% of all domain namesend in .com, .net or .org. 73% of them alone are .com (note: this doesn't include country-level domains).


There are 1.04 million domain names ending .mobi, or less than 0.7%. .mobi was created in 2005 for mobile Web sites. Personally, I can't recall the last time I visited a site ending in .mobi. All of the mobile-optimized sites I visit seem to begin "m." rather than end in .mobi.


Now, domain names are a separate issue from IP addresses. We sorely needed more of the latter, in part due to the explosion of mobile devices. So yay to IPv6 and IP address expansion. But nay to domain name expansion, which seems wholly unnecessary.


The bottom line to me is: URLs seem to have lost both their necessity and branding power in the post-PC age, due to Google search, touchscreens and native apps. And in the future, voice interfaces and "wetware" (neural connections between brain and computer) would seem to make discrete domain names totally redundant. Which is why I think the release of these domain names, while raising much-needed funds for ICANN, was an exploitation of sheeple behavior at its unfinest.




Despite its name, Bring Your Own Device doesn't absolve corporate IT of responsibility around this influx of mobile devices. Managed BYOD through the use of the right policies and software is the right way forward. SAP's new BYOD microsite offers some in-depth advice and tools to get you started.

Of technologies sporting the largest gaps between vision and reality, I'd rank talking car computers up there with videophones, laser pistols and flying cars.


Who wouldn't want to be zooming down I-5 while telling your personal KITT to book a reservation for two at the nearest four-star restaurant serving gazpacho? Or drilling into real-time sales pipeline data on a desktop-monitor-sized LCD touchscreen?


So I was shocked by Sam Grobart's article in the Sunday New York Times, "Touch, Tap, Speak: Taking 5 Connected Cars for a Spin," as it showed me how much state-of-the-art connected cars remain glorified GPS/stereo systems, and how much they lag their smaller mobile brethren, smartphones and tablets.


1) Voice control remains, for the most part, "comically bad" and rarely used, according to Grobart. That's because making the software smart enough to figure out what to do when you say "Call home" without having to navigate verbally through a series of menus and sub-menus (i.e. saying "phone," "call contact," "home,", "line 1," and "yes") is apparently pretty darn hard for most car computers. It's not just because Siri is so awesome and car computers suck. Road noise, blaring stereos and the distance of the microphones from drivers' mouths make accurate voice recognition very hard and costly in terms of processing power.


2) Alternate user interfaces are unsatisfactory in their own way. My visit last fall to the Tesla factory where I drooled at the Model S's 17-inch computing-based infotainment system got me excited about touchscreens in cars. There are several issues that keep touchscreens from cars from being as useful as they are on tablets like the iPad. Multi-touch capacitive touchscreens that allow you to swipe and pinch don't work with glove-encased fingers. A bigger problem is that touchscreens require users to look at them while they swipe. That's not practical while driving.


As a result, car makers have tried to augment or replace plain old touchscreens with touchscreens that vibrate and/or buzz to provide yes/no feedback (Cadillac's XTS sedan), joysticks that do the same (Lexus's GS 350), or a series of rotary knobs and buttons (the approach of German carmakers like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz). And nearly all automakers with in-car computers offer buttons on their steering wheels. While handy in the midst of driving, it strikes me as being as crude as computers in 60s sci-fi shows that had no screens or keyboards, just switchboards with various one-control buttons and levers.


3) Think Android is fragmented? Think again. I don't know any developers at ISVs serving the connected car market, but I'm guessing they are a depressed bunch. There is one popular multi-car platform called QNX CAR that is reportedly in use by 200 vehicle models, giving it 50% of the market. The problem is that many apps need to connect to the real-time sensors and controls of the car. How one does that varies a lot by car, and probably requires a ton of fussy, low-level programming that would sap any developer's patience. Also, car makers like to customize the screen UI to fit their brand or the car model. And don't forget the idiosyncrasies of each car's physical UI, i.e. the vibrating buttons, knobs and joysticks. The net effect is that each carmaker effectively has its own platform.


Besides having too many slices, the pie itself is tiny. According to ABI Research, only 8.2 million connected cars will ship this year worldwide, growing to 39.5 million in 2016. Contrast that to the 1.8 billion smartphones that will ship this year, growing to 2.3 billion in 2016, according to IDC. Not a profitable scenario for would-be ISVs.


4) Innovation is excruciatingly slow. The lifecycle of a car is far longer than your typical smartphone or tablet (2 years). Os Grobart puts it:


"Automakers have a problem — the companies that make those smartphones and tablets are faster and nimbler, making significant updates almost every year. A car model may be in dealerships five years or more. If tech is Ferrari, the auto industry is Peterbilt."


What Siri and iOS 6 Offer


The slow pace of innovation is one big reason I really like what General Motors is doing. Rather than try to create another marginal, proprietary platform, GM wants to let you leverage your smartphone and/or tablet while driving. In its Chevy cars, it is building 7-inch in-dash touchscreens that give you control of your connected mobile device.


This is not only less expensive for GM, but it also lets it ride on the much faster innovation happening in the mobile space.


Take the iOS 6 update announced Monday at Apple's World-Wide Developers Conference, which will integrate Siri's voice control into an upgraded Maps and GPS app (the latter courtesy of TomTom). Drivers will be able to say "Take me to the nearest sushi place with 4 stars on Yelp" and have Siri find and automatically create the route to take you there.


You could argue most of these carmakers already get it. BMW, Mercedes, GM, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler, and Honda have all agreed to integrate a new feature called 'Eyes Free Siri' into their vehicles. This allows drivers to press a button on their steering wheels or dashboards to prime Siri to accept commands, such as search for destinations, accept dictation, write Tweets, etc.


Again, the uncertainty is how smart Siri will be able to understand what you want in these expanded contexts, and how well it will simply be able to recognize your voice in a noisy car cabin. Mounting a Bluetooth microphone above the windshield in front of the driver's seat would be the solution to the latter.



...speaking of things that go fast, SAP has a slew of Rapid Deployment Solutions that allow companies to deploy mobility within a matter of months or weeks. You can learn more from these videos.

Without a new iPhone 5, iOS 6 became the mobile star of Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference keynote today.

Over 200 new features are in iOS 6, due in the fall. Here are the ones that stand out as being important for businesses.


Facetime over Cellular has the most obvious impact, in the area of field service. Now, live video isn't used much. But that's more due to the inadequacies of today's ruggedized devices - which tend to be expensive, underpowered AND ugly - than video's lack of usefulness.


Imagine a repairman at a remote utility substation who wants to get his boss or co-worker's help in diagnosing problems with a malfunctioning machine. Or an emergency medical technician treating a bleeding patient who needs immediate advice from a physician before arriving at the ER. Or a property inspector at the site of a foreclosed home who wants help evaluating damages to the property from someone back at corporate.


In all of these scenarios, live, interactive video could be extremely helpful - certainly far more so than static images or even video clips embedded into reports after the fact. The big question is how well Facetime will perform in remote areas when 4G LTE is unavailable and 3G is spotty. But that may be an edge scenario. I expect field service app vendors like my employer SAP to start leveraging Facetime in their offerings. This could accelerate the move away from ruggedized devices to consumer ones fitted with an Otterbox or similar tough case.


More detailed, intelligent Maps in iOS 6 is also an enterprise-worthy feature. Companies will be encouraged to stop equipping their delivery drivers or their vehicles with dedicated GPS devices in favor of iPhones and iPads that will now have real-time traffic capabilities, spoken turn-by-turn navigation and courtesy of Siri integration, the ability to find and route destinations using your own voice.


Speaking of Siri, Apple didn't open up the Siri API, much to the disappointment of developers, including enterprise ones. Instead of swiping through multiple pages of a massive spreadsheet on a tiny iPhone screen, imagine being able to ask your iPhone to find exactly the data you want? Or crunch a new result for you? Or build a dashboard for you on the fly? Obviously, that's sophisticated stuff that, considering Siri's less-than-perfect abilities today, will take awhile to work flawlessly. But as with Apple's other ecosystem-creating moves, expect this to be a big push forwards to the future of the talking computer - including the car computer.


The 'Lost' mode lets users immediately lock a missing iPhone or iPad with a 4-digit passcode and send a message displaying a contact number. It will also track the device geographically. That won't deter a hardened, determined thief, but it will make it easier for good Samaritans to get you back your iPhone or iPad without having to potentially snoop at your private or corporate data.


Passbook isn't an enterprise feature, exactly. But anything that makes the life of business travelers - who are the main adopters of enterprise mobility today - easier is important in that sense.


Stay tuned for more technical info, especially around APIs aimed at third-party developers and makers of Mobile Device Management (MDM) software, to trickle out from Apple via posts to Apple.com and elsewhere.

It would seem foolhardy and stupid to try and guess the final league standings for a sports season four years from now (though the continued embrace of Big Data-based predictive analytics by pro sports teams may change that someday).


Yet, here we have good ol' IDC stepping up this week with their latest predictions for smartphone operating system market share til 2016.


To be fair, IDC's (and Gartner's, and Forrester's, etc.) forecasts do have more than stats-o-tainment value for those of us who check Techmeme five times daily.


For developers, it helps decide where to invest their time and skills in, and could mean the difference between a healthy income and unemployment several years down the road.


For app makers, it can mean the difference between breaking even and breakaway profits.


Ditto for hardware vendors.


And for enterprises, forecasts like this guide CIOs in making their long-range infrastructure and hiring plans.



And just to refresh your memory, here is IDC's predictions from 15 months ago, for comparison.



Here are my takeaways with the enterprise in mind:


1) Multiple platforms are here to stay. Companies that are supporting 3-4 platforms today - BlackBerry, iOS, Android, and maybe Windows Mobile if they're heavy into field service - but wish they weren't will find no relief, according to IDC's forecasts. Four years from today, they'll be supporting Android, iOS, Windows Phone and (probably) BlackBerries.


Enterprises must not only seek out MDM tools that strongly manage all platforms, but also Mobile Application Development Platforms (MADPs) that allow you to write once, run anywhere on the OSes you want to use, with minimum rewrite. Even better would be an overarching platform that synchronizes MDM with MADP to give enterprises maximum control over their mobile infrastructure. Bottom line, you need to adapt as the days of the Windows/BlackBerry duopoly are over.


2) Forget IDC's wording, Android isn't "peaking." According to IDC's own figures, Android shipments this year will be 1.1 billion phones. That will grow to 1.22 billion Android smartphones in 2016. In other words, Android has neither stalled nor flattened out.


3) Even if Windows Phone has caught up to iOS by 2016, iOS will still be ahead. Even as Windows Phone matches iOS in 2016 shipments, its overall installed base of users will still lag for several smartphone refresh cycles (each of which is about two years). Also, IDC expects most of Windows Phone's gains to come in emerging markets with Nokia's help. Nothing wrong with that, except that mobile developers and apps still come from and cater to the developed markets - iOS's core strength.


4) The big loser in IDC's revised predictions isn't iOS (or Symbian), it's RIM. Whereas IDC once saw RIM still holding 13.7% share of the market by 2015, it now sees it only holding 6% this year, and 5.9% in 2016. "The gulf between the BlackBerry OS and its primary competition will widen over the forecast as the mobile phone market becomes increasingly software/app-oriented and the 'bring your own device' enterprise trend proliferates," says IDC.


5) The forecasts, ultimately, don't matter to CIOs as much as they would've 5-10 years ago. I see a trio of reasons: 1) the short tenure of today's CIO means many won't be around when 2016 rolls around; 2) the emergence of BYOD lets organizations avoid having to budget tens of millions of dollars in capital expenditures for mobile hardware; 3) long-range forecasts are less reliable due to the dynamicism of the mobile market. Think of tablets, which have only been around 2.5 years old. Not to be nihilistic, but any forecast today need to be taken with a handful, not a pinch of salt.




If you want to hear more about where enterprise mobility might be in four years, I'd suggest checking out the Breakfast with Gamechangers Internet radio show next Wednesday June 13 at 11 am ET/8 am PT. SAP President and Corporate Officer Sanjay Poonen will be interviewed by host Bonnie D. Graham.

In last year's Mobility Manifesto, I called for workers to rise up and demand that their bosses empower them with the mobile devices and apps that would make them more productive and happier at work.


After all, the evidence is clear that we're moving into a post-PC era. Yet, so many CIOs and IT leaders were in complete denial about that last year.


Things have changed, and the call above has generated a response from the many CIOs and CTOs who are starting to understand the potential of mobile to actually improve the lives of People and make them happier, whether at work or at play, whether in their guise of worker or customer.


Take Bangladesh's Dutch-Bangla Bank Ltd. Powered by its garment-making industry, Bangaldesh's standard of living and wages have risen quickly in the past decade.


Still, only 13% of the 160 million citizens have bank accounts because of the lack of branch offices in rural areas where most live.


However, about half of the 87% of Bangladeshis that are "unbanked" do have mobile phones, said Abul Kashem Shirin, Deputy Managing Director at Dutch-Bangla Bank, during a Mobile Innovation & Customer Panel at SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando last month.


Seeing the opportunity, the bank launched a mobile banking service (that happens to rely on Sybase 365).


"Today, our customers, many of whom lived too far from banks to open accounts, can now conduct all types of banking transactions," he said. This will allow tens of millions of Bangladeshis to open banks and save money for the very first time.


It's tangible proof that businesses can do well by doing good, for customers or employees. And it's not restricted to the developing world.


Most Bangladeshis can't build savings because they live in villages that lack banks. Mobile banking services are bridging that gap.


Most Bangladeshis can't build savings because they live in villages that lack banks. Mobile banking services are bridging that gap.


Credit: Shutterstock.com


Take watchmaker, Fossil. It has dramatically cut down on paper printed for internal meetings and reports by storing content on iPad-accessible portals, according to vice-president for IT infrastructure, Mark Reynolds. That is greener, and saves money from lower paper, storage and network costs, as many large reports no longer clog employee e-mail in-boxes. Fossil is building these portals and apps using SUP, and securing corporate-liable and employee BYOD devices using SAP Afaria.


"We’re not just B2B or B2C any longer. We’re business to people, or 'B2P'," said SAP President and Corporate Officer, Sanjay Poonen. "It’s about people: More people today access underlying data on a mobile device, it’s a way of life, and these users expect a consumer-grade experience to run their business processes on device – simply put, they want 'Beautiful Software.'"


Also, "workers want the same experience they have at home in the workplace," said Keith Moody, CIO of printer maker Lexmark. The company has rolled out a managed BYOD program including a monthly stipend for employees along with a mobile CRM app to empower its salespeople, and a similar status/dashboard app for its repairmen out in the field. And it has a whole slew of productivity apps planned that would apply to its field and office-bound workers alike, said Moody.


Mobile Running Man


Of the many tributes to the late gameshow host Richard Dawson I read recently, the one that piqued my interest the most honed in his role as the villain in the 80s sci-fi flick, The Running Man.


Now, The Running Man is only my 4th-favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger flick from the 80s. Ahead of it, I rate Predator, Terminator, and Total Recall (can't wait to watch the reboot!) That is testimony to the richness of the Ah-nold back catalog, not disrespect to Running Man, which I remember being enthralled with as a teenager growing up in the frozen suburb of Burnsville, Minnesota (the Running Man dance I can still pull off on a freshly waxed kitchen floor).


Getting back on track, the writer at Gawker says Dawson got to deliver far better - and by better, I mean cheesier - lines and catchphrases than Arnold. He knows because he can still recall all of them to this day. That's because:

It is important to remember that when VCRs first starting hitting every home in the United States—including those in small Illinois farmtowns like mine—the gimmick was not that you could watch a movie at home, but that you could watch itagain. You could pause it; you could rewind it; you could fast-forward past the boring parts...This meant that certain movies, you watched over and over and over. I vividly remember watching movies with my little sister that, as soon as they were over, we would rewind just to watch again. We didn't have cell phones or computers or even video games, not yet, to keep us interested. So we'd just watch the movie we just watched again...The Leitch family's regulars? Superman II. Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Clue. Adventures in Babysitting. Revenge of the Nerds. But all told, I bet the movie I've seen more than any other, one I haven't seen at least 20 years, is The Running Man.

Of course, thanks to the Internet and tablets, there's literally too much that you can watch, and you can watch it any time you want.

It's a shame because lots of valuable stuff can fall through the cracks. Which is why I'm here, to be your guide - your Rabbi - to good stuff, mobile-related.


For instance, if you're a technologist at an organization large or small and thinking about how to deploy mobile the right way, I'd suggest taking a look at the video replays from the SAPPHIRE NOW conference in Orlando last month.


There are more than 45 demos of cutting-edge enterprise apps, presentations by senior executives, and panels with SAP customers. A back catalog even more extensive than the Governator's. One of the few things missing is the panel I've written about above moderated by Poonen. Still, check them out...

Eric Lai

To Boldly Go Beyond BYOD

Posted by Eric Lai Jun 4, 2012

Every enterprise has a Chief Information Officer. How about (groan) the Starship Enterprise?


While there was no actual CIO on-board the NCS-1701, the choices from The Original Series are  obvious: Chief Science Officer Spock or Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott.


Spock may have green-blooded logic on his side. But my vote goes to Scotty. Not only does Mr. Scott manage all of the Enterprise's technical infrastructure, but he's got the trademark pessimism of someone in that position.


How many times did we hear Kirk demand, "Scotty! We. Need. More. POWER!" and hear Scotty admonish him, "Captain - the Dilithium Chamber is already at maximum! She cannae hold much longer!"


Considering Scotty's Zero-for-347 record at predicting the Enterprise's imminent self-destruction, I've concluded that Scotty was, perhaps, just maybe, I don't know, just a wee bit overdramatic.


A Debbie Downer in a Glaswegian accent. In other words, a lot like your traditional CIO.


Worrying about network failures, hackers and budgets isn't as stressful as watching your ship potentially disintegrate week after week. But it still tends to put a furrow in the brow and streak the hair fifty shades of gray.


The problem is when that reflexive glass-half-empty 'tude starts to color everything you see. Take, for example, the trepidation with which many CIOs treat the twin trends of Consumerization of IT and Bring Your Own Device.


CIOs may rightfully worry about the security/infrastructure implications of allowing a sudden influx of employee-owned mobile devices onto their networks. But they also forget about all of the real-time business they can start to do without having to invest a single dime in new hardware.


Heck, they even forget about all of the unsuccessful begging that many of them were doing a decade ago when they tried to introduce mobile devices in the workplace.


Not IT consultant Steve Romero. "It used to be a struggle to get users to adopt mobile devices," he reminded listeners during the Coffee Break with Gamechangers Radio show last week. "Today, half of the battle is already won for them [CIOs]. Workers now have the physical asset [their own smartphone or tablet] and a willingness to learn. But organizations don't look at it that way."


To borrow a metaphor from another Universe Far Far Away, it's as if someone had Jedi Mind-Tricked these CIOs to look only at Dark Side of Mobility.


But the Force is strong with Mobile. Even with the roadblocks thrown up by IT departments, workers are getting their way. Forrester analyst George Lawrie said during the SAP-sponsored radio show last week that 74% of corporate information workers use two or more devices for work, with 52% using three or more.


Based on history, he sees mobile's rise in the work world as inevitable.


"Why did client/server take off in companies? Because people already had a PC at home," said Lawrie.


The Final Frontier


And BYOD will be the way forward for most companies. But enterprises need to stop using Impulse Power and start operating at the Warp Speed of the consumer market.


"To be a business frontrunner, it's unacceptable to be a year or even six months behind consumer trends," said SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann during the same radio program.


Bussmann is an example of an IT leader who has shifted out of the traditional defensive mode of thinking for a CIO, i.e. minimizing problems and keeping TCO down, to thinking offensively, such as how can I deliver new technologies that empower workers and deliver ROI.


That's why Bussmann himself, not someone working for him, has been personally testing the Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone for the past several weeks.


This Android device - released in Europe today, and the U.S. later this month - is widely expected to be a hit. Bussmann has high praise for it.


"It's the perfect smartphone. I expect huge demand from my internal users," he said.


Besides keeping pace with the consumer market, companies need to move beyond simply tolerating BYOD to actively encouraging it.


This is why SAP - which has deployed more than 14,000 iPads, 8,000 iPhones and 1,000 Android Samsung devices to employees - is setting up centers to help employees test drive new smartphones and tablets and technical help with devices and apps when needed.


"They'll be just like Genius Bars," Bussmann said, referring to the Service centers inside Apple Stores.


Bussmann is setting up these 'Genius Bars' in three SAP offices - Mumbai, India, the U.S. headquarters in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania and the global headquarters in Walldorf, Germany.


Details are scarce today, but I hope to hear a lot more about SAP's "Genius Bars" within a month and share that with you. But this is the sort of best practice that progressive companies led by forward-thinking CIOs should consider adopting, not just as a way to boost employee satisfaction but also the corporate bottom line. I'd like to think even the dour Mr. Scott would approve.

Ah, June. The beginning of summer, when the kids are finally released from school, and Gadgets are finally released from the Purgatory between Digitimes Taiwan rumor and Midwestern Best Buy store shelf.


The hottest gadget rumor, lately even hotter than the iPhone 5, and wayyy hotter than the quickly-dismissed Facebook phone, is the Google Nexus tablet. This would be Google's second attempt at mobile hardware - its Google Nexus smartphone was a non-starter. It will allegedly be built by Asus, not Google's recently-swallowed Motorola Mobility, and run Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 chipset. It will be 7 inches, cost a Kindle-matching $200 and be the debut of the latest Android update, version 5.0, aka Jelly Bean.


For consumers, Jelly Bean should indeed be sweet. Rumors say goodies include a Siri-like voice assistant, Google's suddenly market-leading Chrome Web browser, better touch keyboard, more integration with Google services and more tablet-specific features.


For enterprises, rumored features they would care about include the ability to run on laptops (and possibly even dual-boot with Microsoft Windows), a file system, increased protection from malware, including the dumping of Adobe's already-dying mobile Flash player.


The other good news for enterprises is that Jelly Bean heralds a new era wherein Google will only release one major Android update per year.



How sweet will Android Jelly Bean be for enterprises?

Credit: Shutterstock.com


Google started off frenetically, taking the 'ship early, ship often' mantra literally. In 2009, Google released three updates to Android (Cupcake, Donut and Eclair).


After complaints, it slowed the pace to bi-annual updates in the last two years.


The problem is that Google's hardware partners still haven't caught up. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is only running on about 5% of devices today. Almost two-thirds of devices are still running Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Even Android 2.1 Eclair, released 2.5 years ago, has more users than ICS.


The Samsungs and HTCs of this world remain slow about releasing their newest hardware with the latest Android update installed (though the vendors would retort that Google's processes are to blame). They are also excruciatingly slow about making Android updates available to devices already out in the field (if at all).


By going to one update a year, providing better previews to key hardware and software partners, and clamping down on roadmap rumors, Cupertino-style, Google can go a long way towards turning a negative (fragmentation) into a positive (sustained, regular innovation).


I am also hoping that the lack of leaks about hard-core enterprise features in Jelly Bean are only because these kinds of features aren't sexy enough for the Rumor Mill.


Broadly speaking, Android remains the least secure and manageable of the major mobile platforms, partly because it lacks those features itself, but mostly because it doesn't allow third-party developers to easily implement them.


If Google opens up a significant number of Android APIs related to securing and managing devices, this would improve its reputation immensely, and overnight turn it into a true enterprise and BYOD contender versus iOS.


In the meantime, enterprises wanting to deploy Android should consider emulating companies like my employer, SAP. SAP has more than 1,000 workers using Android devices. But not just any devices: it has only approved Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets. Samsung has done special engineering work on Android to grant IT departments running selected Mobile Device Management (MDM) software, including SAP Afaria, stronger manageability and security than they would have over other Android devices.

TigerText doesn't count down when your text messages will disappear, Mission Impossible-style. Nor, thankfully, does it blow up your smartphone.


But in every other way, this 2-year-old app can make your text messages go Ghost Protocol nearly any way you want them to.


The free consumer version of TigerText was introduced in February 2010, just after Tiger Woods' adulterous text messages had been made public (TigerText's founders claimed they just liked the alliteration, and that they'd chosen the name well before the whole scandal blew up).


Judging by the 1.5 million downloads since then, there are plenty of spies and lovers on the down low...


Available for iPhone/iPad, Android devices, BlackBerries and Mac and Windows PCs, TigerText lets users set expiration dates for messages sent via its secure private network, delete message/chat histories - even recall mis-sent messages that could cause reactions like the ones below.


Credit: ShutterStock.com


TigerText's founders' story, and they're sticking with it, is that they created the app in response to an European Union law that all phone and Internet providers had to keep cellphone and e-mail data for a certain period of time. "This just seems wrong and an invasion of privacy," TIgerText founder Jeffrey Evans told Time magazine at the time.


Turns out that TigerText has plenty of use in the business world, too.


Most of TigerText's 50+ enterprise customers are hospitals, who not only must comply with strict HIPAA rules around patient data, but, at least in America, must now prevent their doctors from communicating with patients via regular text messages (a ban that TigerTexts, because they are over a private network with automatically-deletable messages, are exempt from).


And according to an unverified comment on my blog post at Forbes, "At the hospital I work at, we have the burden of meeting HIPAA requirements, particularly since many doctors send and receive patient info via text messaging on thier BYOD phones," wrote 'Joshua Jericho'. "We got the doctors to use Tigertext, which deletes the text messages after a period of time, making it HIPAA compliant. I don't know if this is the best solution for everyone, but it was an easy and cost effective way to deal with this issue. It was added to the IT departments responsbilities, but once the departments business objectives where (sp) redefined on this issue, they were able to handle it better."


TigerText, which just closed an $8.2 million round of VC funding, also has customers like banks who must comply with Sarbanes-Oxley rules.


TigerText isn't the only provider of secure enterprise text messaging. Others include DocBookMD and MobileStorm.


But the Santa Monica, Calif.-based just introduced a new version of its app, with improvements such as: instant-messenger-like speed of delivery, PIN protection of the app, image sharing and remote wipe of the app for network administrators.


I spoke with CTO Sumeet Bhatia of TigerText Wednesday to learn more about the app's guts.


(Warning: this is the part of the post where it gets a bit nerdytechnical.)


TigerText messages reside inside a sandbox created by the TigerText app. As a result, they can't be copy-and-pasted to other apps, or forwarded to another person, Bhatia said.


TigerText integrates with Active Directory and other LDAP technology, meaning that users can start typing a co-worker's name and have the rest auto-filled by the corporate address book. Future versions will let users send messages to those without the TigerText app like those outside the company.


Bhatia says that TigerText is a targeted solution that can accommodate the devices that doctors and other workers want to use, and is also far less expensive than large-scale Hospital Information Management System software or integrated tablet-software solutions from vendors like Cisco or Alcatel.


Though TigerText has some mobile device management-like features, the company has no major MDM aspirations, Bhatia said. Instead, TigerText has an open API and alliances with several MDM vendors including MobileIron, Airwatch and Manage Mobility. It is working with one of those MDM vendors to enable its app to be managed via that software's console and policies, Bhatia said.


"We're not focused on becoming an MDM vendor, we just want to be the hands-down best secure real-time messaging platform. There's so much opportunity in that," he said.

It's the strategies, stupid.


Even smart CIOs and well-managed enterprises are having problems as they embrace mobility. And while mobile devices and apps are new and complicated in ways far different from PCs and server applications, the challenges confounding IT leaders tend to be less technical and more business and strategic.


That's according to an IDG Research survey of 140 CIOs and IT managers that are members of the private CIO Forum on LinkedIn.


The survey, sponsored by SAP, shows a gulf between vision and the plans to make those visions reality. For instance, while 71% of CIOs see mobile as transformational or strategic, only 18% have a strategy to enable mobile to achieve those lofty goals.


There's also a disturbing lack of faith in mobile. 56% say they are unclear on how to present the business case for mobile. That may be due to a lack of time or resources (39%) or a lack of processes or know-how to measure the hard and soft benefits of mobile (34%). Not every company has got it together as ADT, which has been able to show that some of its salespeople have doubled their sales as the result of deploying field service apps on tablets.


There's also naivete. Half of enterprises admit they lack mobile developers even while 62% say they expect to roll out mobile apps that are either custom-built or need heavy tweaking. That work can be done by outside developers, for sure, though CIOs may be shocked at the cost.


You can download an in-depth whitepaper with more survey results and expert interpretation at www.sap.com/mobileCIO or by taking a picture of the QR code at the bottom of the below infographic.


But you can skim the findings via the Infographic below. You can pass it along by right-clicking and saving, or giving them the no-registration required permalink for the Infographic http://bit.ly/Ld2wJ5 perfect for Twitter or Facebook.


Here are a handful of partnerships, launches and momentum updates that show SAP's seriousness about building a vibrant mobile ecosystem.


1) Large developers Cap Gemini and Mobiquity agreed to build apps using the SAP Mobile Platform.


(The SAP Mobile Platform was recently awarded the top spot in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms.)


2) SAP launched a Mobile Apps Partner Program aimed at making it easier for smaller developers to get access to the Sybase Unwired Platform quickly and at a reasonable cost. It also helps those developers start to sell packaged apps via the SAP Store for Mobile Apps.



As you can see, the basic subscription is 1,990 euros a year, which gives access to up to 10 developer editions of SUP. That's a huge discount from before. And the whole process should be far more streamlined than before.


3) Speaking of streamlining access...the SUP development platform is now available as a free trial in the cloud. This is a new feature at the SAP Developer Center (go there and click on Mobility).



According to David Brutman, senior director of developer relations at SAP, developers can quickly connect their SUP app to a real SAP ERP back-end system so that they "can run through exercises and get their hands dirty."


The trial edition, alas, is limited to 30 days. But moves are afoot to expand that length of time and make it otherwise more flexible for developers.


4) Even before those moves, SAP was successfully wooing mobile partners and customers.


At SAPPHIRE NOW, there are 90+ partner apps on the show floor. These include Liquid Analytics, which has built a slick supply chain management app, and Smartsoft Mobile Solutions, with its field sales app. Check out video demos here.


Watch more videos featuring SAP mobile partner apps.


Also, SAP announced this week some uptake figures for its SAP Store for Mobile Apps, which only launched last fall: 1.2 million registered users, 1,200 companies, 81 apps on sale, 40,000 downloads.


(Watch this interview with SAP vice-president, Usman Sheikh, about the Store.)


And from CRN:

Systech  Integrators, a San Jose, Calif.-based solution provider, has  built an  extensive mobility business by developing turnkey systems and  services  around SAP's technology, including mobile applications based on  the SAP  Business Suite and mobile business intelligence software based  on SAP  BusinessObjects.

"Mobility is a very big market," said Rajeev  Tyagi, Systech's COO, in an  interview at Sapphire Now. "That's where  we're spending all of our  strategic dollars."


5) The SAP Store for Mobile Apps' interface was also refreshed. See this screenshot:



Australian developer and SAP mentor, John Moy, who took this screenshot, praised it. "I must say, the new look #SAP Mobile App Store on iOS looks great. Big improvement on the earlier version."

I stalked the Mobile Campus of SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando on Monday, looking to shoot video of some of the most interesting enterprise apps on display.

There was no shortage of candidates. SAP announced nine new mobile apps on Monday. View the screenshots here and let us know if we're achieving our goal of making beautiful/gamified user interfaces.  And there were 90+ apps on display by SAP partners - evidence that we're wooing developers and on track to meet our stretch goal of having 80% SAP mobile apps built by those in the ecosystem.   


At the Test Drive Tables on the Mobile Campus, I captured videos of six apps.



This was the coolest-looking app I saw. The topic is mundane - helping factory and plant warehouses prevent parts shortages. But the UI had a colorful, cartoony feel that reminded me of 70s kids shows like Sesame Street. That's intentional, said mobility architect David Parker of Liquid Analytics, which created the app. The simplicity but directness of the UI - there are traffic lights that turn red when parts are in extremely short supply - drives the point home to time-pressed supply chain managers. 



Sybase 365 is the market leader in mobile messaging that is also pushing strongly into m-commerce. For SAPPHIRENOW, SAP and Sybase 365 engineers built native app front-ends connecting to Sybase 365 services. Achim Hebestreit, telecom solutions manager for SAP, showed me two of those apps. The first is a mobile banking app for telcos that turns your iPhone into a debit card. Perfect for parents who want to parcel out cash to teens, not unlimited credit card/bank account access. The second app is basically a turnkey solution for telcos that want to offer a Groupon or LivingSocial-type coupon service.   


Lots of workers can't do perform work until they've passed industry or governmental certifications. Think medical workers or field service technicians in regulated industries. This E-learning app from SAP shown to me by Jason Palmer, director for Oil and Gas solutions at SAP, could help workers take their courses and pass necessary tests 15-20% faster.   



Outages are the bane of power companies, whether they operate in the Hurricane Belt or the Earthquake Zone. Lisa Dalesandro DiCristofer, a principal in the utilities industry solutions group at SAP, gave me a demo of a new app running on iPad that could help field techs fix problems faster.   



SAP's Value Engineering consultants advise companies on how they can wring process improvements out of their use of enterprise software. Smartsoft Mobile Solutions built an app to help these consultants better show relevant data to enterprise IT, including generating and e-mailing a PDF immediately after the wrap-up of a meeting with potential customers, according to Edward Krufka, senior vice-president for product management at SmartSoft.