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Mobile & Wireless News

UC and Video Conferencing Apps Arrive On iOS, Android

ShoreTel, Vidyo and Radvision have launched Unified Communications and video collaboration for iOS and Android

Unified communications and video collaboration technology vendors are bringing their products to smartphones and tablets as enterprises increase their demand for high-end communications capabilities while dealing with employees looking to bring their mobile device into the corporate environment.

ShoreTel on 10 October is expanding the reach of its ShoreTel Mobility solution – which enables the integration of mobile devices with IP PBX systems – to smartphones and tablets running Google’s Android operating systems and Research In Motions BlackBerry OS 6 platform. ShoreTel will continue its ongoing support for devices running Apple’s iOS operating system, including iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches.

BYOD

ShoreTel made its announcement less than a week after video collaboration software vendors Vidyo and Radvision separately unveiled plans to bring apps for their technologies to the iOS and Android platforms. At the same time, as part of a larger WAN optimisation announcement, Cisco Systems officials said that later this month they are making their Show and Share solution for searching, watching, recording and uploading videos available to iPad and iPhone users through a free app in the Apple App Store.

The moves come amid the dual trends of greater enterprise demand for communications tools – including for remote workers – to improve employee productivity and reduce corporate costs and address the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) push, with workers looking to access corporate data and applications through their personal mobile products.

ShoreTel’s mobile technology comes from its acquisition of Agito Networks last year. Agito’s RoamAnywhere Mobility Router enables users to use their mobile devices as they would their PBX phones. Pejman Roshan was an executive with Agito when it was bought by ShoreTel. Now ShoreTel’s vice president of mobility, Roshan said in an interview with eWEEK that until a couple of years ago, Agito sold its technology primarily for RIM’s BlackBerry devices, which were the mobile phones that businesses typically issued their customers.

That changed when Apple introduced its iPhone smartphone, he said.

“When the iPhone came out, there was a surge of customers who wanted to migrate to that smartphone, and then later [customers started migrating] to Android,” Roshan said.

Radvision officials noted a recent study by Nemertes Research that said 86 percent of enterprises are seeing an increase in the number of employees who are telecommuting, and that 43 percent say their mobility budgets are growing by double digits.

Now ShoreTel, Vidyo, Radvision and other communication technology vendors are bringing their solutions to mobile platforms to address those issues.

Video conferencing

ShoreTel’s updated ShoreTel Mobility solution enables employees to access corporate communications applications on their own smartphones and tablets while making it easier on IT staffs by reducing support costs and securing the corporate network by separating the personal and professional environments on the mobile device. The solution is available on devices running Android 2.1 and above, including offerings from Motorola, HTC, Samsung and Cisco’s Cius business tablet. There also now is support for such BlackBerry devices as the Torch 9800, Bold 9700 and Bold 9780.

For their part, Vidyo officials on 6 October announced that their VidyoMobile for iOS 4.x is available on iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches through an app in the Apple App Store. With the app, enterprises can enable their mobile workers to participate in corporate video conferences from their iOS devices. Vidyo’s software solutions already enable video collaboration on laptops, desktops, telepresence and high-definition room system, and are interoperable with endpoints from such competitors likes Polycom and Cisco – including endpoints that Cisco acquired when it bought Tandberg last year.

Vidyo is aggressively rolling out offerings to challenge such players as Cisco and Polycom in the burgeoning video collaboration space. The company initially targeted its software at desktops and laptops. In June, the vendor unveiled its VidyoPanorama offering, which is designed to compete with immersive telepresence systems from Cisco and Polycom by offering high-quality video collaboration for significantly less money.

VidyoMobile is another solution that enterprises can leverage to increase collaboration among employees and increase worker productivity, according to Asish Gupta, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of corporate development.

“The business applications of VidyoMobile are compelling,” Gupta said in an interview with eWEEK.

VidyoMobile enables users to participate in conferences with more than 100 participants, according to Vidyo. The solution on the iPad 2 can display up to four participants at a time, and users can customise their view and select presentation materials. VidyoMobile for iOS 4.x is available now, and will support the latest versions of the iPhone. VidyoMobile for Android smartphones and tablets is in beta and will be available to select devices in November.

Data collaboration

Radvision announced on 3 October that its Scopia Mobile v3 application is available in the Apple App Store. The app will offer HD video conferencing, data collaboration with review capabilities, conference call control and an intuitive user interface.

“[Enterprises] want people to be able to join the

on any device at any time,” Robert Romano, vice president of enterprise marketing, said in an interview with eWEEK. “And it’s not just video and voice, but data also.”

Radvision officials want to make joining and navigating through a video conference easy, with the ability to participate through a single click, full two-way video and the capability of seeing up to 28 participants simultaneously. Users also can easily connect with a wide range of telepresence, standards-based HD video conferencing systems and unified communications applications, including Microsoft Lync.

They can view presentations, documents and images, and review previously shared materials, and can manage aspects of the meeting such as starting and stopping recording or streaming, end a meeting, mute background noises, stop cameras or disconnect people. They also can access video conferences through mobile broadband or WiFi.

The mobile devices become “so much more than just an endpoint”, Romano said.

Scopia Mobility v3 is available now from the Apple App Store. Romano said v3.1, which will include support for Android-based devices, will be available during the winter.

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Mobile & Wireless News

US Demand Delays UK iPad Launch

Apple has sold so many iPads in the US, there aren’t any left for us

Apple has delayed the UK launch of the iPad by one month, because of high demand for the tablet device in the US.

The international launch of the iPad has been delayed by one month, because stocks are low after Apple sold 450,000 tablets in the first few days after its US launch – a figure that went up to half a million during the first week of sales.

UK users can buy online

Rumours that the iPad would be launched in the UK on 24 April can now be put to one side, although UK uses do have the option of buying tablets from online shops – which have been imported from the US at a premium – or entering eWEEK Europe’s prize draw for a chance to win one of the coveted devices free.

“Demand will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks as more people see and touch an iPad,” said an Apple spokesman in a statement. “Faced with this surprisingly strong US demand, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the international launch of iPad by one month.”

Apple will announce international pricing and start taking pre-orders on May 10, with the device expected to show up in the UK online Apple store by the end of April.

Since the US launch, some users have reported problems connecting to Wi-Fi, and other nay-sayers have warned that the size and shape of the device will lead to accidents, but thus far, these considerations have shown no sign of denting initial enthusiasm for the iPad.

The iPad has turned out to be surprisingly costly for Apple to make – a “teardown” has revealed that Apple is paying around £171 for the basic components in each iPad which is considerably more than had been expected.

Apple is also reported to be working on a smaller version of the iPad, which would replace the iPod Touch.

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Cloud Mobile & Wireless Networking News

Users Less Loyal To BlackBerry Than iPhone, Android

Big brand loyalty kudos go to Apple iPhone and Google Android OS smartphone users, says a new report, while BlackBerry users are a less content bunch

Apple iPhone and Google Android operating system (OS) smartphone users are a smitten bunch, but owners of Research in Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry devices have a wandering eye for other smartphones, a brand loyalty survey released today from market research firm Crowd Science revealed.

The survey, which polled over 1,100 respondents, found an overall curiosity regarding the Android OS and a “restlessness” among BlackBerry users.

Nearly 40 percent of BlackBerry users said they’d like to make the Apple iPhone their next smartphone purchase and, when asked if they’d swap their present phone for the Android-based Google Nexus One, 32 percent of BlackBerry users said yes, compared to 9 percent of iPhone users.

Among users with smartphones not made by RIM or Apple, 60 percent said they’d swap for the Nexus One.

“These results show that the restlessness of BlackBerry users with their current brand hasn’t just been driven by the allure of iPhone,” said John Martin, chief executive of Crowd Science. “Rather, BlackBerry as a brand just isn’t garnering the loyalty seen with other mobile operating systems.”

In keeping with such loyalty, 97 percent of iPhone users surveyed would recommend the iPhone to others. When asked about Android, 17 percent said they’d recommend it to others, and regarding “other smartphones,” 18 percent said the same.

When Android users were posed the same questions, 100 percent said they’d recommend an Android device. Regarding the iPhone, 41 percent would recommend it, and 36 percent were positive toward other smartphones. Among BlackBerry users, however, only 64 percent said they’d recommend non-iPhone and Android models, while 52 percent would recommend the iPhone and 28 percent would recommend an Android phone.

Google introduced the Nexus One early this year, nearly midway through the survey’s span from Christmas Eve last year, through to 21 January. Rather than disrupt the results, Crows Science said in a statement that it was able to measure the changing attitudes of respondents.

Following the launch, awareness of the Andorid OS was said to be 91 percent among iPhone users, 75 percent among BlackBerry users and 73 percent among users of other smartphones.

As AdMob similarly related in a late-February report, Crowd Science found Android users, on average, to be younger than iPhone or BlackBerry users, with 29 percent of users falling between 18 and 24 years of age, compared to 11 percent of BlackBerry and 15 percent of iPhone users.

Android users additionally had lower incomes than iPhone or BlackBerry users, while BlackBerry users had the highest incomes of the three.

BlackBerry users, hitting on device’s strength, also use their device more for business than the other phone owners — while the percentage of BlackBerry, iPhone and Android users who said they used their smartphones for both business and personal use was nearly identical, 7 percent of BlackBerry users said they used their device strictly for business purposes, while only 1 percent of iPhone users, and even fewer, if any, Android users said the same.

The most unusual, and perhaps contestable, finding in the survey, however, may be regarding gender. While it’s been reported that Android users are predominantly male, the Crowd Science survey found the same to be even more true of iPhone users. Among iPhone survey respondents, 88 percent were male and 12 percent female — bucking the earlier AdMob results, which found iPhone users to be more or less equally split between the sexes.

The Android users surveyed were 84 percent male and 16 percent female, and BlackBerry users were 82 percent male, 18 percent female.

Women were most strongly represented in the “other smartphone” category, representing 25 percent of those surveyed, while men comprised 75 percent of the group.

Crowd Science reports that respondents were randomly recruited from “Websites serving more than 20 million unique visitors.”

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News

Xoom Sale Concerns Aired Due To Price And New iPad

Despite good reviews, analysts are warning the Xoom will likely be impeded by the arrival of the iPad 2

The public outing of the Motorola Xoom at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show 6 January impressed the crowd thanks to its 3D and other GUI capabilities associated with Android 3.0 (Honeycomb).

It was even dubbed by the press as the Apple iPad “killer,” but then the Xoom saw some bumps as rumours swirled that Motorola and Verizon would price the tablet at $800 (£496).

And then Apple deflated nearly two months of excitement surrounding Motorola’s Xoom tablet 23 February when it announced an iPad-related media event scheduled for 2 March, one day before Verizon launched the Xoom 24 February for $599 (£371) with a two-year deal, or $799 (£495) for an unlocked LTE (Long-Term Evolution) version.

iPad 2 Arrival

The announcement of the event, expected to be the coming out party for the iPad 2, will likely freeze consumers from buying the Xoom. The iPad 2, some believe, may match the Xoom most in functionality and in price.

Analysts agreed the move was coldly calculated to paralyse tablet shoppers from snapping up the Xoom, which is upgradeable to Verizon’s 4G LTE network.

Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart said Apple’s freezing the market goes beyond just clever timing. “Apple is the clear market leader, and everyone is waiting to see what the next generation iPads look like and how much they cost,” Greengart said.

Enderle Group founder Rob Enderle said it’s all par for Apple’s calculated course.

“Apple keeps what they are doing quiet so they can react to what their competitors do and out-game them with launch timing and provide launch marketing that showcases competitive strengths,” Enderle told eWEEK. “Apple enters the market knowing more about their competitors than those competitors know about Apple, and as long as this continues, it will be nearly impossible to beat them.”

With 15 million first-generation iPads sold and counting, and an iPad on the way that adds features the first iPad lacked, the best strategy for the army of Android tablet suppliers might be to try to distinguish their offerings from the iPad instead of trying to beat it.

No Flash Support

Enderle, who is testing the Xoom, found his model unfinished and cautioned against the fact that consumers will have to send their current Xoom models back to Motorola for a 4G LTE upgrade later this year. He also noted the lack of Flash support, which is coming next month, and said Netflix won’t work on it at all.

Also, while the Xoom does run many of the existing Android Apps, finding one that really showcases this device has been elusive, he said, echoing a complaint made by Robert Scoble and others.

Google is increasingly reminding me of some of Microsoft’s historic problems in that they don’t seem to finish things and the folks using their platform don’t seem to be able to apply finishing touches before shipping,” Enderle said. “In the end, the iPad will likely come off as far more polished and complete and at a very competitive price.”

Lack Of Polish

Greengart tested his Xoom review unit against the first-gen iPad and found:

“Honeycomb’s multitasking is more efficient than iOS’ task switching, but still significantly lags webOS in utility and polish. Active widgets and Android’s generally high level of customisation favour people willing to invest time to make the device their own. The iPad is considerably simpler to navigate and offers less customisation – it’s Steve Jobs’ tablet, he just lets you use it.”

Greengart cautioned that while the Xoom does appear to be faster launching and switching among applications than the current iPad, it remains to be seen what the iPad 2 will be like, which is the real competition.

That measure of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) was the whole point of Apple’s little pre-announcement earlier this week.