Five Tech Trends Worth WatchingBy Don Reisinger | Posted 07-19-2010
Five Tech Trends Worth Watching
For CIOs, the bottom line in every technology decision (whether personal or for the enterprise) lies in determining the ROI with criteria such as hard dollars saved, improved productivity, or overall business benefits. In light of that, we have gathered the five hot tech trends you need to watch because they could have a direct impact on your business. Several of these trends are centered around smartphone developments, most notably the engineering miracle-turned-fiasco that is the iPhone 4's antenna design. But there has also been notable news from Microsoft Windows that no CIO can afford to ignore. For instance, did you know the company has stopped supporting Windows XP Service Pack 2? Oh, and they're planning to launch a tablet to rival the Apple iPad. Read on for the five hot tech trends you need to watch.
Steve Jobs on iPhone 4 Antenna Woes
When Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage July 16, 2010, in Cupertino, CA, for an impromptu press conference to discuss iPhone 4, some wondered if he would apologize to customers for an antenna flaw. Others wondered if he would recall the beleaguered smartphone. Jobs did neither. Instead, he spent nearly an hour showing statistics to try and prove that iPhone 4 antenna problems aren't as bad as users are saying. He then offered a free case to any iPhone 4 owner through September 30. If the user is still unsatisfied, they can bring the iPhone 4 back for a full refund.
A free case might be enough to satisfy consumers. But if you are a CIO who was planning to use the iPhone 4 for mission-critical purposes, Jobs' presentation highlighted one key point: There really is an issue with the iPhone 4's antenna. It drops calls more frequently than the iPhone 3GS. In our always-on corporate world governed by productivity and instant access, dropped calls are nothing but trouble. CIOs would be smart to stay away from iPhone 4 for now.
Motorola Droid X has Corporate Potential
Verizon launched the Motorola Droid X on July 15, 2010, the newest and most viable competitor to the iPhone. The device, which boasts Google Android OS and a 4.3-inch display, is already sold out. At first glance, the Droid X might not seem like the most ideal solution for corporate customers. After all, Motorola is marketing it as an entertainment-focused product. But it includes one extremely viable feature that CIOs who have employees working in teams will like: Droid X Wi-Fi hotspot capability. Up to five computers can connect wirelessly to Verizon's 3G network through the smartphone. It provides an always-connected experience that the iPhone and BlackBerry devices cannot match. CIOs will be smart to keep a close eye on the Droid X.
Windows XP Service Pack 2 Loses Microsoft Support
Microsoft has discontinued support for Windows XP Service Pack 2. The company said that it will continue supporting Windows XP Service Pack 3 through 2014. For the enterprise, this could be a troublesome issue. According to research firm Softchoice, about 45 percent of all PCs still run Windows XP Service Pack 2. That means that nearly half of all the Windows-based computers in the world are running a software version that Microsoft will no longer support. This can cause significant security problems in the XP ecosystem. Holler all you want, Microsoft isn't turning back from this decision. The prudent CIO will get your IT staff to fully migrate to Service Pack 3 as soon as possible, and plan ahead for how you'll handle things in 2014, when Microsoft stands to re-consider its support for Service Pack 3.
Microsoft Focuses on Windows Phone 7
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reiterated that his company will be delivering Windows Phone 7 devices starting later this year during his opening presentation at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, D.C., on July 12, 2010. How nice to hear. Microsoft has been losing consumer market share at a rapid rate as Windows Mobile has been trumped by other operating systems. For CIOs, that has meant moving Windows Mobile users to RIM's BlackBerry, or in some cases, the iPhone. Going forward, CIOs will have more choices to make. Windows Phone 7 looks to be a fine alternative to currently available smartphone operating systems. And since it is made by Microsoft, it will integrate nicely into current operations. Keep a watchful eye on Windows Phone 7. It might just be the best BlackBerry alternative on the market when it hits store shelves.
One note of caution: if you're a CIO with an enterprise-wide deployment of line-of-business solutions built around Windows Mobile 6.5 or earlier, Windows Phone 7 will not be backward compatible. So, while the new OS could be big news for users in the "carpeted halls" of enterprise mobility, it is a different story altogether for those field service, supply chain and logistics apps built on previous Windows Mobile platforms. Thanks, Microsoft.
Windows-Based Tablets Will Be Here Soon
Also revealed at its Worldwide Partner Conference was the news that several Microsoft Windows-based tablets -- made for consumers and enterprise customers alike -- will be released in the coming months. There is a real business benefit for CIOs in the potential for Windows-based tablets in the enterprise. With the exception of the Cisco Cius, the other so-called "media" tablets -- such as iPad and future Android-based devices -- in no way target corporate customers. Several Windows-based tablets will. And, since they will run Windows 7, it will (in theory anyway) lend them to smooth integration with Microsoft applications in use in your organization. With many pundits touting these lightweight tablets as the future of the mobile enterprise, CIOs can expect to find something to like in the Microsoft lineup.