Thursday, March 11, 2010

It Was All About Smartphones, Wi-Fi, Enterprise, And Security In Barcelona

by Elias Shams

Not sure how many of you made it to the 2010 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month. I had a chance to meet up with many companies and learned more about their new gadgets during my three days trip there. I meant to write this a week after my return, but got bombard by ton of other articles that required more immediate attention, iPad was certainly one of them. Finally got a chance last night to sit down in my favorite local coffee shop Tryst to summarize my report.

There were indeed several noteworthy product announcements with significant enterprise implications. In addition to Android and Windows Phone 7, there was big emphasis on new mobile security solutions for enterprises. Referring to my last article about the rise of smartphones for enterprise, this was expected.

With the help from a few colleagues who were also in Barcelona with me, here is the list:

Pocket-Sized Wi-Fi

ConnectOne debuted the $99 Wi-Reach Classic battery-operated 3G/4G/WiFi personal hotspot. This wireless broadband device transforms an existing 3G USB modem into a personal Wi-Fi cloud that can be easily shared between as many as 10 Wi-Fi devices. Its built-in rechargeable battery delivers four to five hours in normal use and can be recharged using the  built-in USB connector. With upgradeable software, Wi-REACH Classic is designed to support upcoming networks such as WiMAX and LTE. Users can migrate to 4G networks with a software upgrade by simply plugging their next-generation USB modem into Wi-REACH Classic. Wi-REACH Classic is available from Connect One at a price of $99.

Enterprise Collaboration

Samsung introduced a range of enterprise mobility solutions, in collaboration with partners Cisco, Formotus, Microsoft, Spring Wireless, Sybase, and Wipro. The range of solutions includes enterprise email, enterprise IM, security, Mobile Device Management, Unified Communications, Customer Relationship Management, Sales Force Automation, Business Intelligence and vertical applications. Samsung is actively discussing with major mobile operators to commercially launch the solutions in 2010. Most of the enterprise solutions showcased by Samsung at MWC are expected to be commercially available by the end of 2010. Samsung smartphones will support robust enterprise solutions on Microsoft Windows Mobile, and soon offer enterprise solutions on Android platform. In 2011, Samsung will expand the capability to offer enterprise solutions on LiMo as well as bada, its own platform.

Secure Connections

Juniper Networks unveiled new mobile security software that aims to close a significant security gap for enterprises. Available in 2Q 2010 for popular mobile devices, Junos Pulse is a downloadable client software that provides secure connections across smartphones, notebooks and netbooks to a broad range of corporate applications. Based on the Juniper scalable SSL VPN technology, Junos Pulse delivers built-in mobile security in an extensible software platform.

The solution provides mobile users with location-aware and identity-aware access to enterprise networks — using the same SSL VPN gateway as traditional desktops. The company’s current client software has been licensed broadly to run on more than 20 million PCs and mobile devices worldwide, via networks that can seamlessly upgrade to Junos Pulse. Enterprises can set and enforce sophisticated dynamic and granular security policies that allow them to enable access to specific resources and data by user identity, and restrict access by others.

Wave On

On the smartphone front, Samsung introduced the Wave, the first mobile handset to be released on Samsung’s new, open mobile platform, Samsung bada. The Samsung Wave offers a Super AMOLED 3.3-inch display, a Social Hub to bring you closer to contacts and connections, and TouchWiz 3.0 for an intuitive, customizable user interface. The Wave’s high-speed CPU ensures swift, smooth application experiences and multi-tasking.

Samsung also introduced a 4G LTE N150 netbook PC using the company’s own in-house designed LTE modem chipset, Kalmia. The Samsung netbook N150 is currently available in market with HSPA 3G communications and WiFi access and will become commercially available with LTE according to service schedule and market demand.

Managing BES Express

On the heels of Research In Motion’s introduction of its BES Express BlackBerry server aimed at the SMB market, BoxTone announced that it is in the process of getting its mobility management solution certified for use on the new server.

Onward, Android

Motorola added to its Android portfolio with the new Quench with Motoblur, featuring a full-touch, virtual QWERTY design. QUENCH’s touch-screen design, combined with navigational features such as pinch and zoom and a touch pad, as well as the inclusion of Adobe Flash Lite, are designed to enhance browsing the web on its 3.1-inch, high-resolution display. Motorola QUENCH will be available in 1Q 2010. In the U.S., it’s called CLIQ XT and will be available in March exclusively through T-Mobile USA. Quench is the eighth Android-powered device launched by Motorola around the globe.

AT&T is launching its first Android device, the HSPA 7.2-capable Motorola Backflip, in stores March 7, 2010. The device (which will cost $99 with a two-year smartphone data plan after a mail-in rebate) features the Motoblur social aggregator. This allows users to sync contacts, posts, messages, photos and more from sources such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Gmail, Picasa, work and personal e-mail, and It automatically delivers them to live widgets for immediate reply right from the home screen. BACKFLIP features a unique form-factor with a reverse-flip design, spacious keyboard and BACKTRACK touch panel, allowing the display to be hands-free while your fingers work behind the screen. BACKFLIP comes with a full HTML and makes use of 7.2 HSPA 3G technology. The Motorola BACKFLIP also features WiFi connectivity, and AT&T customers receive AT&T Wi-Fi access at more than 20,000 U.S. hotspots included as part of their unlimited data plan. HTC continues its support of the Android platform even as it moves forward with its Windows Phone 7 offerings.

HTC introduced the Android-based Legend and Desire, both of which feature the latest Android version 2.1. Both feature an enhanced HTC Sense experience designed to improve interactions with your most important people. A new HTC application and widget called HTC Friend Stream aggregates all of your social communication, including Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr, into one organized flow of updates. In addition, people can be organized into specific social circles, such as groups of friends, colleagues, etc.

The HTC Sense experience also introduces broad improvements to applications, including the browser, email client and others. In addition, the new version of HTC Sense includes a new newsreader application and widget, as well as a new seven-screen thumbnail view for quick and easy access to specific screens.

The HTC Legend is designed with a smooth, continuous surface, machined from a single aluminum block into a seamless compact frame. It features a 3.2-inch, AMOLED HVGA display. The traditional trackball has been replaced with an optical joystick, surrounded by a narrow button to improve usability without interrupting its design.

HTC Desire features a 3.7-inch AMOLED WVGA display and is powered by a one gigahertz Snapdragon processor. It’s Adobe Flash 10.1-ready and also includes the optical joystick. The Legend will be available in Europe through Vodafone and in the direct channel beginning in April 2010. It will roll out to other parts of the world, including Asia in early Q2.

HTC Desire will available to customers across major European and Asian markets in early Q2. In Australia, it will be exclusively available through Telstra. The enhanced HTC Sense experience will also be offered as a free upgrade on the HTC Hero in Europe and Asia.

Windows Phone 7 Ahead

HTC is getting ready to roll with a series of Windows Phone 7 smartphones, due out later this year. The HTC HD mini, an HTC Sense-based Windows Phone is a compact version of the company’s HD2. HTC HD mini includes capacitive touch for viewing, zooming and resizing websites, Microsoft Office files, PDF documents and pictures. Leveraging its 3G broadband connectivity, the HTC HD mini offers personal Wi-Fi anywhere for your computer or other devices. The HTC HD mini will be broadly available to customers across major European and Asian markets beginning in April 2010. The smartphone also utilizes the above mentioned HTC Sense.

On the HD2 front, T-Mobile will begin offering that smartphone in the U.S. beginning in March 2010. The HTC HD2 has a high-resolution 4.3-inch capacitive touch display, a blazing-fast 1GHz Snapdragon by Qualcomm processor, and support for T-Mobile’s high-speed 3G network for a fast mobile data experience.

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