News You might have missed: Week of February 23, 2018

Google launched Android Enterprise Recommendation Program

Android Enterprise Recommended establishes best practices and common requirements for devices and services, backed by a thorough rigorous testing process conducted by Google. The program addresses the top concerns we’ve heard from customers: a need for frequent security updates, reliable and consistent software experiences, and simplified device selection. Many of the world’s top manufacturers are already involved in the program, including Blackberry, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Nokia, and Sony. Devices within the program meet a demanding set of specifications for organizations with challenging and diverse business requirements. Also, a benefit is the enhanced level of technical support and training enterprises receive from Google through the Android Academy.

Via Android

  • A long time coming, I say! I have been advocating for a long time that Google should take a much more proactive role with Android in the enterprise.
  • Samsung has been doing a lot of work with Knox developing what was initially an MDM solution into a fully fledged platform. This, of course, explains why, at least for now, Samsung has no products on the list of Android recommended products. However, if you are familiar with Knox you know Samsung covers all the requirements Google lists for the recommended smartphones.
  • Yet not all organizations want to standardize on one single vendor but offer employees choice which is where Google should have seen the opportunity long ago. I am guessing this has become more of a priority now that Google is pursuing hardware more aggressively as well as they see some vendors trying to differentiate more at a software/services layer.
  • Being able to pick the phone you want in a corporate world is only half the battle. The other half is in the ability to get updates when they become available which is not always that easy and this is precisely one of the point this new initiative addresses. While the user might care about support for the latest feature, IT managers care about regular security patches.
  • Another aspect that matters to enterprises is easy deployment which will be done in this case through a QR code. This is all about deployment though and not management. Google is making it easier for enterprises to pick phones that are closer to the true Android experience but IT departments will still depend on their own management tools in the same way they do today.
  • The current list of products seem to serve US and Europe quite well but not emerging markets so I am hoping to see more products come into the program below flagship price points.
  • Like I said, this is a good step from Google but they should be doing more. While their claim about Android volumes is correct, it would be very myopic of them not to address the fact that, like in the consumer space, Apple owns the valuable enterprise accounts and more so the decision makers within those accounts.

Apple said to be updating AirPods

Bloomberg reports that Apple is working on a new version for release as soon as this year with an upgraded wireless chip, the people said. A subsequent model for as early as next year is planned to be water resistant. The model coming as early as this year will let people call out for Siri without physically tapping the headphones by saying “Hey Siri.” The function will work similarly to how a user activates Siri on an iPhone or a HomePod speaker hands-free. The headphones, internally known as B288, will include an upgraded Apple-designed wireless chip for managing Bluetooth connections.

Via Bloomberg 

  • It should not come as a surprise that Apple will be updating AirPods, a well-received product that is as iconic as the original wired headphones.
  • Water resistance makes sense not because like the Apple Watch you might want to go swimming or use it in the shower but for accidental water contact due to a splash or in case of rain.
  • What is more interesting to me is being able to activate Siri without physically tapping on the headset. While the current set up works, you are performing an extra step that you might not always want to do. As tapping is more discrete than calling out Hey Siri, you could see why Apple might have thought that was a better option, especially knowing that many consumers still feel uncomfortable talking to a digital assistant in public. That said, as following the tapping you are still talking to Siri, adding that initial Hey Siri does not actually make much difference.
  • Another reason why Apple might be adding this capability going forward might be linked to HomePod and what they learned about how better prioritize devices when you invoke Siri. What would make for a poor experience would be to be calling out Hey Siri when wearing AirPods and having Apple Watch or iPhone respond.
  • While Bloomberg did not mention how Bluetooth connectivity would improve I do wonder if Apple will try and make AirPods better work with non-iOS devices to potentially use them as a hook into the ecosystem.

The Limitations of Windows 10 on ARM

Earlier this week, Microsoft inadvertently released a document that detailed the limitations of Windows on ARM. Among those, we read that 64-bit apps will not work on Windows 10 on Arm. Only 32-bit x86 desktop apps work. Games and apps that use a version of OpenGL later than version 1.1, or require hardware-accelerated OpenGL, don’t work. However, Arm does support x86 apps that use DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11, and DirectX 12. Certain types of apps that customize the Windows experience may not work correctly because native OS components cannot load non-native components, it said. This limitation includes input method editors (IMEs) and assistive technologies. Also, cloud storage apps may not work because they often use shell extensions, such as icons in Explorer, which may fail. It also noted that only Arm64 drivers are supported, so while Windows 10 on Arm can emulate x86 applications, it doesn’t support drivers for other architectures such as x64 or x86. And finally, it said Microsoft’s Hyper-V isn’t supported , meaning any VMs using Microsoft’s hypervisor technology.

Via ZDNet

  • These limitations really should not come as a surprise if you think that the machines coming to market based on the Qualcomm processor will be running Windows 10 S.
  • Windows 10 S already limits apps to those in the store that are optimized for it.
  • For most buyers, these machines are about mobility, battery life and being able to do productivity and light entertainment on the go.
  • These are not meant to be core gaming machines or devices aimed at professionals that might have a lot of legacy apps.
  • All that said, to many this might sound too close to Windows RT to be trusted.
  • Microsoft should really invest more in the store so that consumers will find everything they might need there. It should also stop underlying the option of upgrading to Windows Pro as this only raises doubts in the buyer’s mind that what they are investing in is not capable enough.
  • There is certainly a market for these devices and the list of items that are not supported means nothing to average home PC users. In particular, if you are a PC user who is upgrading from Windows 7 you are already prepared to start fresh not just with your OS but with apps as well.

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Carolina Milanesi

Carolina is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies, Inc, a market intelligence and strategy consulting firm based in Silicon Valley and recognized as one of the premier sources of quantitative and qualitative research and insights in tech. At Creative Strategies, Carolina focuses on consumer tech across the board. From hardware to services, she analyzes today to help predict and shape tomorrow. In her prior role as Chief of Research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, she drove thought leadership research by marrying her deep understanding of global market dynamics with the wealth of data coming from ComTech’s longitudinal studies on smartphones and tablets. Prior to her ComTech role, Carolina spent 14 years at Gartner, most recently as their Consumer Devices Research VP and Agenda Manager. In this role, she led the forecast and market share teams on smartphones, tablets, and PCs. She spent most of her time advising clients from VC firms, to technology providers, to traditional enterprise clients. Carolina is often quoted as an industry expert and commentator in publications such as The Financial Times, Bloomberg, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She regularly appears on BBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox, NBC News and other networks. Her Twitter account was recently listed in the “101 accounts to follow to make Twitter more interesting” by Wired Italy.

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