There is sure to be more information coming out of Mobile World Congress (MWC) before it ends this week, but big news tends to happen first. From devices and enterprise solutions to something just for fun, here’s a roundup of some announcements thus far.
Blackberry: Based on feedback from QWERTY customers around the world, BlackBerry unveiled a new "flagship" smartphone designed to deliver its full and distinctive QWERTY experience on BlackBerry 10. The new BlackBerry Q20 smartphone will feature the familiar and classic Menu, Back, Send and End buttons and the integrated trackpad to enable the fast efficient navigation and one-handed use that has endeared the brand to its QWERTY customers.
The company will also extend its BBM platform to Windows Phones and Nokia X customers and unveiled the eBBM Suite, a new family of products and services that work with BlackBerry smartphones and the BlackBerry enterprise solution, BES and BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. BBM Protected will be the first solution offered in the new eBBM Suite, bringing regulated industries secure and reliable real-time mobile messaging in the industry. Employees will be able to use a single app to connect with internal colleagues under this regulated level of enhanced security, while remaining free to message BBM contacts outside the organization simply and easily with the privacy, control and security that is already inherent in BBM. For IT administrators and infrastructure managers, BBM Protected will work across BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry OS smartphones in regulated mode with no OS upgrades required.
There are also plans for BlackBerryEnterprise Service 12 (BES12), a new enterprise mobility solution that is application-enabled and unifies BES10 and BES5 to one platform. A new promotional program will provide free migration to BES10, while a new pricing structure enables customers to simplify their enterprise mobility management (EMM) environment to a single trusted provider
Microsoft: Windows Phones are getting a boost with nine new hardware partners and the provision of direct access to tools that will extend the portfolio of devices and introduce new price points. In addition to existing partners — Nokia, Samsung, HTC and Huawei — Microsoft has announced it is now working with Foxconn, Gionee, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, JSR, Karbonn and ZTE to develop on the Windows Phone platform. A broader array of devices, “from iconic to lower-cost options” should be expected.
Microsoft also unveiled expanded hardware support for more flexibility so Windows Phone partners can build devices to meet the unique needs of their region or customer segments. The company has launched the Windows Hardware Partner Portal, which is designed to speed up device commercialization while minimizing development costs.
The Portal is now open to all smartphone device manufacturers to learn about and begin the process to develop on the Windows Phone platform. Manufacturers will also be able to leverage the Microsoft services, which could include Office Mobile, Skype, Xbox and Bing; a growing app catalog; and features like Live Tiles and People Hub.
The expanded Windows Phone ecosystem will also provide mobile operators and retail partners with additional opportunities to offer white-label Windows Phone devices under their own brands. Mobile operators will also have more options to build custom apps and services for their Windows Phone devices that increase customer satisfaction, retention rates and revenue stream.
Samsung: Samsung’s Galaxy expanded again with the launch of S 5 but that moniker was dropped from the company’s wearables. What’s also missing is the aim for the enterprise, as the company said the S 5 is “designed with the consumer in mind.” Galaxy S 5, Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit will be available in the U.S. this spring across various channels.
Among the Galaxy S 5 new features is adaptive Full HD Super AMOLED; Quick Connect, which locates the nearest devices to share content, files, or screen through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi Direct; built-in fingerprint sensor unlocks and locks the device and provides secure password protection for PayPal payments.
It uses the latest technology for the fastest browsing, streaming, and downloads (4G LTE and 802.11ac). “S Health” enables users can access health info, track and map workouts and make and track healthier eating choices right on the device.
The second generation of Gear has a refined look and customizable experience with a trio of options: Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit. The Gear 2 is the premium wearable with a 2 megapixel camera which has been moved from the strap to the face. New Gear offerings allow users to access and customize their experiences, quickly receiving and responding to a call, text, email or app notification right from the wrist. New shortcuts and additional app support make the device experience easier to navigate and take action.
Sony: The Xperia Z2 Tablet from Sony is slim, light and waterproof, and is dubbed a "true flagship in our premium line" by the company. For business, the tablet can "turn into a laptop" by connectin to the BKC50BT Bluetooth Keyboard and Tablet Cover Stand.
The device includes OfficeSuite Pro 7 to view, edit and share native Microsoft Office files, which provides the flexibility to work where and when you need to. The robust security architecture of the Xperia Z2 Tablet safeguards both corporate and personal data, while at the same time providing support for multiple accounts that are quick and simple to set up. Xperia Transfer seamlessly transfers contacts, photos, bookmarks, apps, messages and more from your existing Android or iOS tablet, swiftly and securely.
AirWatch announced integration with Intel Device Protection Technology (DPT) for enterprise-ready Android deployments was announced. The Intel DPT solution equips both IT managers and consumers with end-to-end security capabilities that extend from the device hardware through the application level.
AirWatch will provide same-day support to enable enhanced manageability for enterprises and government institutions, providing extended management capabilities, including: application whitelisting, blacklisting, silent installation and silent removal; device configuration, inventory and remote management; kiosk mode; network configuration; expense management; and container management. IT administrators will be able to effectively manage Android devices without infringing upon the native user experience.
DMI, a provider of mobile enterprise and big data solutions and services, introduced MovyTM, a mobile enterprise productivity platform that enables businesses to mobilize processes, strengthen customer relationships and increase efficiency. Movy has been successfully deployed by organizations such as Warburtons, O2 Media and Bausch & Lomb. Movy is a features customizable enterprise modules, an intuitive user interface, robust backend integration and enterprise-grade security. The Movy suite includes two customizable pre-built applications: MovySalesTM and MovyDocsTM.
MovySales automates key tasks and integrates with enterprise systems. Sales personnel can schedule and manage meetings, showcase sales collateral, preconfigure meeting agendas, send follow-up emails and post meeting details, notes and documents to Salesforce. MovyDocs is a secure file management system that allows online and offline access to multiple content and file management systems (Box, DropBox, SharePoint, etc.). It also enables users to organize information, collaborate on proposals and legal documents and track and monitor progress on specific tasks.
Good Technology released a new cloud-based secure mobility solution, Good Pro, which enables individuals that source and manage their own mobile technology to have enterprise-grade security, but in a downloadable cloud-based app. The mobile app is optimized for everyday workflows, pulling all business information together, including email, contacts and calendar from Microsoft Exchange and Business Office 365, and integrating with third-party file sharing services, such as Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive. Good Pro was also designed with intuitive smart interactions built in, so users can get work done faster while allowing them to quickly browse recent communications and collaboration history. If lost or stolen, users can wipe business data or the entire device from a simple, self-service portal. Good Pro beta for Android will be available in March at no cost via Google Play, with the iOS beta version to be made available in April.
Good also introduced a new mobile service management (MSM) solution to help organizations prevent business disruption, contain costs and maintain compliance while managing a diverse mix of devices. Features include: End- to-end visibility across all mobile infrastructure from backend servers to device; proactive monitoring and alerting to reduce downtime and optimize performance; automated support diagnostics to fix mobile issues fast; user friendly self-service to enroll, support, migrate and wipe devices with no IT touch; rich analytics for tracking, optimization and audit compliance.
SOTI has expanded its Android OEM partnerships to encompass more than 35 of the leading Android device manufacturers globally. With Android accounting for more than 80% of the global smartphone market share, these devices are making their way into the workplace and enterprises need a way to secure them. Because Android provides limited management and security APIs for EMM vendors to leverage, management and security is inconsistent across device manufacturers. Adding further complexity, OEMs are left on their own to create APIs in order for EMM vendors to build tools to manage the devices. This creates disparity, as each OEM adds functionality in varying degrees and forms.
By providing the ability to detect and block security threats before entering the enterprise network, the solution provides strong security and an additional layer of defense to embedded security mechanisms used by mobile OS vendors. Advanced management features include real-time remote helpdesk, lockdown/kiosk mode functionality, web content filtering, geofencing, anti-virus prevention with multiple remediation options and much more.
Don’t Forget to Brush Your Teeth
Just for fun, and, in case you are not connected enough, Oral-B, from Procter & Gamble, introduced an interactive electric toothbrush. It's been dubbed "an essential element to the well-connected bathroom"— though who knew the bathroom needed to be part of the mobile imperative.
The device is being showcased in the GSMA Connected City exhibition space, a realistic city environment that features cutting-edge mobile products and services for the increasingly [and now, possibly overly] connected life.
The device could set a new standard in personal oral care and connectivity. The interactive electric toothbrush uses Bluetooth 4.0 technology to connect to the Oral-B App that provides real-time guidance while brushing.
It also records brushing activity, likely to be the future dismay of children everywhere who will no longer be able to lie when mom asks: "Did you brush your teeth?" Dentists too, will be able to assess patient credibility, as the data can be charted and shared with them.
Not only does that app receive brushing data and report it back to the user, but it can also be programmed to communicate with the brush for personalized brushing. A smartphone can be used as a "remote control" to customize the brush to the user's needs, including setting a target session length and selecting preferred modes.
If, by some crazy twist of fate, a user forgets to bring the smartphone to the bathroom, there's no need to worry as the toothbrush handle can store up to 20 brushing sessions. The data is transferred the next time the app is connected to the toothbrush, updating the records.
The new toothbrush and App will be available in limited quantities in Germany this spring, with a global rollouts – including the SmartSeries – launching in June 2014. The new Oral-B App will be available in iOS in May, and in Android in August.