Wi-Fi Alliance publishes LTE/WiFi coexistence test plan

Richard Chirgwin, The Register, 9/22/16

Would-be LTE-U carriers told to take these tests, or just leave off

The Wi-Fi Alliance’s long-awaited – and controversial – LTE-U Coexistence Test plan has landed.

The reg-walled test plan is supposed to help work out if LTE-U – the mobile carriers’ plan to use unlicensed spectrum if nobody else is talking – can coexist with Wi-Fi.

Carriers, already under a spectrum squeeze, are hoping they can pitch their tents on Wi-Fi’s campground, promising that LTE-U won’t disrupt Wi-Fi. will play nice if there are Wi-Fi users around.

Negotiations between the groups and America’s Federal Communications Commission have been tense, and at one point, Qualcomm complained its input to the test plan had been ignored.

In particular, Qualcomm had complained that the proposal to use -82 dBm as the threshold LTE-U would treat as “vacant” was too loose, and would leave a lot of Wi-Fi users out in the cold. That, however, is the lowest test threshold in the test plan.

Qualcomm is already conducting LTE-U field trials with T-Mobile, and early this week it asked the FCCfor a 12-month extension to the authorisation it first received in May of this year.

Reading between the lines of the Wi-Fi Alliance’s love-in-media-release, The Register gets the impression the arguments remained unresolved. The document says “Early agreement on foundational principles, such as a commitment to maintaining the typical connectivity experience for Wi-Fi users and a clear definition of fairness, allowed completion of the work on an aggressive timeline and guided development of test plan specifics.”

“These same, shared principles augmented by robust technical data were instrumental in finalizing aspects of the test plan where consensus was unachievable. Coming to an industry-agreed solution required compromises from all sides. Therefore, the test plan is designed to be used as an unedited whole. Alternate test approaches, such as selectively omitting or modifying portions of the test plan would not have been acceptable in this cross-industry effort since those tactics will not provide assurances of fair coexistence.”

Which sounds a lot like “take it or leave it”, a sentiment re-enforced with the further pronouncement that ““the test plan is designed to be used as an unedited whole” and an accompanying warning against carriers cherry-picking the document in their tests.

The test plan itself is a 51-page thicket of densely technical procedures. If you can find something of interest in it, let us know.

Share
Posted on September 22, 2016 at 1:03 pm by lesliemanzara · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Mobile Technology · Tagged with: , ,

T-Mobile’s 5G speed is mind-bogglingly faster than Verizon

, CNET, 9/22/16

The nation’s third-largest carrier gets into 5G in a big way.

T-Mobile has mocked the other carriers for making ridiculous promises and hyping up 5G, or the next generation of wireless technology.

So what does it do on Tuesday? Hype up 5G.

T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray laid out his vision for the carrier’s move into 5G, which it’s making in a big way. Working with Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung, T-Mobile was able to show off speeds of 12 gigabits per second. That’s more than three times as fast as the trials Verizon conducted back in February.

Just to put these speeds into perspective, Verizon’s 5G trials alone represented a connection that was several hundred times faster than today’s LTE and three and a half times faster than Google’s superfast Fiber internet service.

Those kinds of speeds are key to driving a whole new generation of applications, whether its virtual reality, self-driving cars or the ability for you to download the entire library of Seinfeld episodes in minutes. But don’t hold your breath for 5G to show up anytime soon. The wireless industry hasn’t come to an agreement on the underlying standards, and most experts believe the real ball will get rolling in 2018.

As a result, these speed games don’t matter much to what the service will actually look like down the line. AT&T, for instance, claims it has hit 14 gigabits per second in its own lab tests.

Still, Ray said T-Mobile is already working on the transition.

“5G is something we are building now,” he said, noting that the investment pouring into its LTE network will serve as the foundation.

Verizon was the first to sound the 5G horn, last year, when it jumped out with its intention to test the technology, partially as a way to influence the international wireless community. AT&T followed suit and now has two test locations. Both plan to use a 5G-like wireless ability to test out an alternative version of home broadband service.

T-Mobile, meanwhile, said it is working with the Federal Communications Commission, its majority owner Deutsche Telekom and standards bodies in its preparation for 5G

Share
Posted on September 22, 2016 at 1:00 pm by lesliemanzara · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Mobile Technology · Tagged with: , , , , ,

Look out cell phone carriers, Comcast is launching its own mobile service in 2017

Lulu Chang, Yahoo!, 9/22/16

Look out Verizon, your competitive pool is about to get a bit deeper. On Tuesday, Comcast revealed that after years of delays, it is finally ready to make its official debut. Well, almost.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference in New York, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts told an audience that a new Wi-Fi-based wireless service will be made available “somewhere in the middle of next year, maybe a little sooner, but not at the beginning of next year.” Curiously enough, the service will depend upon the Verizon Wireless network, as it will use leased airwaves from Verizon’s network in conjunction with Comcast’s 15 million Wi-Fi locations.

Roberts remained tight-lipped on further details regarding the new service and said only that the new mobile solution will be geared toward Comcast’s existing cable customer base. As The Verge points out, this new offering allows the cable company to compete with the AT&T and DirecTV partnership, which currently allows DirecTV subscribers to sign up for an exclusive AT&T unlimited data plan.

While it may seem strange for a company that has long been known for its broadcast and cable television services to enter the mobile services game, Craig Moffett, of MoffettNathanson Research told Fortune that it is just good sense.

“The lines between wired and wireless networks are blurring,” he said. “For Comcast … being a wireless operator isn’t optional. All network operators are going to be in the wireless business whether they like it or not.”

When Comcast does ultimately unveil its mobile phone service, it will become the first cable mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which refers to a situation in which “one company buys capacity on other wireless carriers’ networks and resells services under its own brand,” Bloomberg explains. It could ultimately pave the way for Comcast to acquire a carrier so that they can stop renting and just buy instead.

“Most investors wouldn’t be surprised to see Comcast pursue a multi-pronged strategy of developing an MVNO, acquiring additional spectrum, and pursuing an acquisition of an existing network provider,” said Paul Sweeney, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst.

So look out cell phone carriers — your slice of the pie may be getting smaller pretty soon.

Share
Posted on September 22, 2016 at 12:57 pm by lesliemanzara · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Mobile Technology · Tagged with: , ,

Malicious smartphone apps turn your phone into tracking device

, CNET, 9/16/16

Researchers find apps spying on their users available for download in the Android play store.

Be careful what you download.

Four apps available on the Google Play Store were spying on users in secret, according to research released Friday by Mobile security company Lookout. Running a malicious code that Lookout has dubbed Overseer, the apps could track your latitude and longitude and collect information on who you were emailing when.

“That information is incredibly valuable to an attacker who wants to find out where a person is and who they’re talking with,” said Kristy Edwards, product manager for security research at Lookout.

One of the apps, called Embassy, functioned as advertised in the Play Store, letting users look up their nation’s embassy in foreign cities. In the meantime, it turned users’ phones into homing devices and sent out email contact lists to accounts hosted on servers run by Facebook and Amazon. The other apps advertised themselves as news apps but didn’t actually work. Nonetheless, they also contained Overseer.

Google has since removed the apps from the Play Store, according to a Lookout spokesperson. Google confirmed that apps’ removal but declined further comment.

Edwards said she can’t speculate on who created Overseer. She said the malicious software, which hasn’t been identified in any other mobile apps so far, uses a novel technique to avoid detection.

Often, malicious software shows its hand by sending data to a random server in a foreign country. The fact that Overseer was sending user information to an account hosted by a Facebook server makes everything look above board.

That’s useful for bad guys, because these days, companies are monitoring their employees’ work phones for problems just like Overseer. Tricks like these make it hard to see “weird traffic,” Edwards said.

Share
Posted on September 16, 2016 at 9:01 am by lesliemanzara · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Mobile Technology

Android is slowly sliding back into old bad habits

, ComputerWorld, 9/16/16

Android has a lot of good things going for it, but not all of Google’s recent progress has been positive.

Those of us who watch Android closely know that Google has a history of flipping and flopping — of firmly getting behind one idea or way of doing things, then casually changing its mind and doing a complete 180 a while later.

Sometimes, these U-turns work out well in the end. Other times, they’re baffling and frustrating for us as users. And other times yet, they’re so subtle and evolutionary — more of broad philosophical shifts than surface-level alterations — that you almost don’t even notice them until you really stop and think.

This latest instance falls into that final category. I’m talking about the apparent move back toward out-of-sight, difficult-to-discover actions in the operating system — something Google explicitly made an effort to avoid starting with 2011’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich release.

With this year’s Android 7.0 Nougat software, the regression has become enough of a trend to make me worry.

Out of sight, out of mind

First, a quick step back in time for perspective: Much of Google’s focus with Android 4.0 was on making the operating system more polished, intuitive, and user-friendly. (Astute observers may remember that Ice Cream Sandwich was the first release fully guided by then-new-Android-design-chief Matias Duarte, who joined Google midway through Honeycomb’s development and has since moved onto a broader role overseeing Material Design across all of Google’s products.) A large part of that effort involved taking the platform’s many hidden elements and bringing them out into the open. That way, they’d be more visible and thus more likely to be discovered and used.

It was that goal that led to the elimination of Android’s system-level Menu key, which had caused commands to be tucked away off the screen — with no indication of their presence. Having elements of the interface hidden, Google realized, did not make for an ideal user experience; without any visual cues, such elements were difficult for people to discover and unnatural for them to use.

I don’t know if something changed or if that lesson was simply deprioritized over time, but Android has been inching increasingly back into the realm of buried commands as of late. The slideback actually started with 2013’s Android 4.4 KitKat release — albeit in a relatively small way: With Android 4.0, as you may recall, Google moved the option to add home screen widgets from a hidden long-press menu into the main app drawer, where it’d be plainly in sight and accessible. The idea was to create a single place for finding everything that could be added onto your home screen. From a discoverability and usability perspective, it seemed to make an awful lot of sense.

But then, without explanation, KitKat did an about-face: The release quietly pulled widgets out of the app drawer and put them back into their former long-press-menu hiding spot. Out of sight once again — and that was just the start.

“There’s a lot of good stuff in Android that people aren’t even aware exists”

2012’s Android 4.1 release introduced Google Now, which made the hidden long-press command a core part of Android’s user interface. Last year’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow software took things a step further and brought the also-cue-lacking Now On Tap into the equation. (Even I constantly forget it’s there, and I pay attention to this stuff for a living.)

And with this year’s Android 7.0 Nougat update, a whole host of similarly concealed commands has been added into the mix — things like long-pressing the Overview key (or, more inconspicuous yet, tapping it and then long-pressing an app’s card from there) to initiate split-screen mode; long-pressing notifications to customize their behavior; and long-pressing icons in the Share list to change the order in which they appear.

All of these commands are significant additions to the operating system and have the potential to be quite useful — and all of them are equally out of sight and difficult to discover. I was reminded of this when I asked my wife, who has a reasonably good grasp on technology but is much more of a “normal user” than an enthusiast, what she thought about the new Nougat software that arrived on her Nexus 5X earlier this week.

Her answer? “It’s fine, I guess. I haven’t really noticed anything different. I know there’s that split-screen thing you showed me, but I haven’t figured out how to do it yet.”

And remember: She’s someone who has the advantage of at least hearing about these things (via my incessant blabbing) and knowing that they’re there. Most typical users are going into this completely blind. And that’s precisely the type of situation where a lack of intuitiveness really becomes an issue.

An important nit to pick

Don’t get me wrong: At this point, Android is pretty, polished, and packed with power. But increasingly, a fair portion of that power is out of sight and thus out of mind to users — particularly the more common casual users who don’t carefully follow the platform’s development. And that’s a shame, because there’s a lot of good stuff here that regular people aren’t even aware exists.

Part of it may just be that as the platform expands, the software inevitably grows more dense with features and options — and Google’s running out of obvious places to squeeze all of that within the current Android framework. (There are only so many places for top-level buttons and commands, after all.) Maybe the answer, then, is something that requires more sweeping changes to the operating system’s interface — something that allows these features to be incorporated in an intuitive and visible way rather than being crammed awkwardly into a corner.

One way or another, I hope Google regains its focus on maintaining a simple and visual-guided UI for Android before the complexity seeps in much further. It took the company years to transform Android from a power-user-centric mishmosh of possibilities into an intuitive and inviting (though no less powerful) platform for the masses. If these current trends continue, it’ll take far less time for all of that progress to be undone.

 

Share
Posted on September 16, 2016 at 8:53 am by lesliemanzara · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Android, Mobile Technology

Malware has never been so mobile

AFP Relax News, 9/9/16

Smartphone and tablets have become the new cyberwar battleground for hackers and high-tech miscreants according to new data from Nokia.

Nokia’s Threat Intelligence Report for the first half of 2016, published Thursday, shows that mobile device malware infections jumped by 96% between January and June.

The report, which draws data from over 100 million mobile devices around the world and which examines both fixed and mobile connections, reveals that smartphones now account for 78% of all mobile network infections and that it’s Android handsets that are being targeted the most — accounting for 74% of all mobile infections noted during the course of the study, compared with 4% for iOS devices.

“Today attackers are targeting a broader range of applications and platforms, including popular mobile games and new IoT devices, and developing more sophisticated and destructive forms of malware,” said Kevin McNamee, head of the Nokia Threat Intelligence Lab.

For example, attackers are increasingly hiding malicious code in Android apps — Nokia’s infected Android app database now tops 8.9 million apps, up from 5.1 million at the end of 2015.

And while we should expect suspect code to shift its focus from the PC to mobile devices as smartphones become truly ubiquitous, though rapidly climbing in incidence, mobile device owners are still comparatively safe, compared with Windows PC owners.

Although there was a 96% jump in infected handsets, as a percentage of all smartphones in use, it is still less than one in 100, in fact, it’s just one in every 120. And even when all infections discovered in the report are added up, mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones only account for 0.49% of all infections found across all device and across fixed and mobile networks.

But while there’s no need to panic, yet, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t heed Nokia’s warnings. Never download an app that isn’t from the Google Play store if you’re an Android handset owner. And regardless of operating system, never use a public wi-fi hotspot for anything other than browsing.

Share
Posted on September 9, 2016 at 8:33 am by lesliemanzara · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Android, iOS, Mobile Technology, WinPhone · Tagged with: 

T-Mobile One Plus with Unlimited LTE Tethering and HD Video Streaming Announced

Rajesh Pandey, iPhoneHacks, 8/29/16

Less than a couple of weeks after T-Mobile announced T-Mobile One with unlimited data and voice with a lot of hidden conditions, the carrier has unveiled a new plan: T-Mobile One Plus.

The release of T-Mobile One led the carrier to face a lot of criticism since it was only providing unlimited video streaming in 480p resolution, and tethering speeds were limited to 2G. The carrier has now tweaked its One plan by offering tethering speeds of up to 512kbps. And for subscribers who are not happy with this limitation as well, the carrier is offering a new T-Mobile One Plus plan for an additional 25$ per month per line.

This new plan will entitle users to unlimited video streaming in HD as well as unlimited LTE tethering. Another benefit of T-Mobile One Plus is that subscribers will get speeds of up to 256kbps while roaming internationally. As always, there is a slight catch here: the “unlimited” LTE tethering has a cap of 26GB. In case, you only want unlimited video streaming and not unlimited LTE tethering, T-Mobile is offering daily passes for 3$ per day that will let you stream unlimited videos in HD.

T-Mobile One Plus plan will be available to subscribers from September 1, while the daily unlimited streaming video passes will be available from October.

Share
Posted on August 29, 2016 at 9:56 am by lesliemanzara · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Mobile Technology · Tagged with: , , ,

LTE-U’s window is closing and bigger 5G disputes may be coming

The Register, 8/22/16

Verizon and Qualcomm slam Wi-Fi Alliance’s proposed test framework

One of the presumed outcomes of the 5G process is full convergence of licensed and unlicensed spectrum, with one or more air interface standards which can span both, using frequencies entirely flexibly according to requirement. This is a very long way off, if the current quarrels over extending LTE into licence-exempt bands are anything to go by.

Coexistence of Wi-Fi and LTE in the 5 GHz band is beset by political and commercial agendas, but there are also genuine technical problems in the way of being good neighbors. This is unsurprising, given that the two technologies started from very different places and have evolved separately, under the auspices of different standards bodies. Is converged, evolutionary 5G really practical?

Will this situation improve in the 5G era? The 3GPP is in control of the air interface standards process again and there seems to be little input from Wi-Fi’s IEEE body, though most Wi-Fi players expect their technology to evolve into a 5G component too. Operators want 5G to be an evolution of LTE, not a rip-and-replace new start, but the dream of a fully converged licensed/unlicensed solution might be more achievable with a new platform, avoiding the issues LTE-Unlicensed is now facing – many arising from the difficulties of forcing two such different wireless standards to play nicely together.

And that’s before the regulatory and ownership issues of convergence are aired, and the impact on the value of spectrum. Again, a clean slate would be desirable, to usher in a new approach to spectrum holdings, based around flexible access and doing away with outdated auctions and multi-decade, multi-million-dollar licences. But treasuries and spectrum owners alike will protest and the result, like LTE-U itself, is likely to be an uneasy compromise between the entrenched positions and the radical vision.

It is sadly easy to see, in the current 5 GHz rows, glimpses of the likely debates which will risk delaying or derailing full 5G platforms in the 2020s. The latest outbreak of hostility over LTE-U enters on a testing plan, proposed by the Wi-Fi Alliance, and more specifically over signal strength thresholds. LTE-U is, of course, particularly controversial because it does not have to support listen before talk (LBT), which is required for coexistence in the 5 GHz band in many parts of the world, but not in the US. LTE-U uses carrier sensing adaptive transmission (CSAT) instead.

Other unlicensed LTE solutions, such as LTE-LAA (licensed assisted access) and Qualcomm’s MuLTEfire, do implement LBT (so could be used worldwide if regulators agree) and have other safeguards for Wi-Fi. But those are yet to be commercialized (LTE-LAA is part of the current 3GPP Release 13 but will not be readily available until 2017), while LTE-U was part of Releases 10 to 12 and so could be rolled out now in the US and some other countries, if it can get the regulatory green light.

The Wi-Fi Alliance’s test regime draws backlash:

Hence the urgency with which the Wi-Fi community has claimed interference risks to try to block LTE-U, while also insisting on taking the lead in devising a coexistence framework, should the blocking effort fail. Meanwhile, many cellular players are concerned about the behaviour of Wi-Fi near their LTE signals – LTE-U adapts its duty cycle to coexist with Wi-Fi, and treats Wi-Fi devices as slaves, while Wi-Fi devices occupy the whole airtime, for instance.

The Wi-Fi Alliance has published its proposed test plan, but received a furious response from Qualcomm and others (even though Qualcomm is a prominent Wi-Fi player since its acquisition of Atheros, it is a cellular organization at heart, and its leadership of several 5 GHz LTE initiatives, from LTE-U commercialization to MuLTEfire, show how the chip giant continues to assert engineering and IPR dominance in the cellular platform, in a way it has never achieved in Wi-Fi.

The main issue around acceptable testing parameters concerns Wi-Fi received signal strength (RSSI) values. The Alliance has specified -82 dBm, but Verizon and Qualcomm, among others, believe the value should be -72 dBm. The Qualcomm camp believes the -82 dBm test is too rigorous, since Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ZigBee only back off at levels of -62 dBm. LAA has already settled on a compromise level of -72 dBm for testing (but, of course, supports LBT, making the issue less divisive). But Broadcom and other Wi-Fi players say the tests should ideally be more demanding, testing signal sensitivity scenarios as low as -89 dBm.

“The latest version of the test plan released by the Wi-Fi Alliance lacks technical merit, is fundamentally biased against LTE-U, and rejects virtually all the input that Qualcomm provided for the last year,” Dean Brenner, Qualcomm’s SVP of government affairs, said in a statement earlier this month. “The latest version of the plan would require LTE-U to protect Wi-Fi 100 times more than Wi-Fi would protect LTE-U in all environments under criteria that ignore data submitted to the Wi-Fi Alliance, including data from Wi-Fi vendors.”

He expressed anger that the Alliance had rejected a compromise proposal submitted by Qualcomm and claimed the new plan had “the clear purpose of trying to keep the benefits of LTE-U away from consumers and off the unlicensed spectrum, which is supposed to be for all of us”. He added: “The watchword for unlicensed spectrum is supposed to be permissionless innovation, not incumbent protection,” a conclusion which had a certain irony, coming from the camp whose key interest is to defend the position of incumbents like Verizon.

Brenner urged the FCC to “disregard” the Alliance’s proposal, hinting that the regulator may have to intervene to move things forward – something it has been reluctant to do in unlicensed spectrum.

Share
Posted on August 22, 2016 at 4:43 pm by lesliemanzara · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Mobile Technology · Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Google’s brand new OS could replace Android

Andrew Orlowski, The Register, 8/18/16

webOS, BeOS and Android heritage

The source code of Google’s latest operating system has emerged, and it looks like all new code from the ground up.

The Fuchsia project can be found here, and uses an entirely new kernel, “Magenta.” It boots on ARM and x86, and the authors say they’ve managed to boot it on a Raspberry Pi. The IPC part is Mojo and higher up the stack is support for Google’s Flutter graphics.

Involved in the project are two Be Inc veterans, Brian Swetland and Travis Geiselbrecht, who moved to Danger Inc, where they developed the Danger Hiptop OS. Swetland then joined Danger founder Andy Rubin’s startup Android Inc, which Google acquired in 2005. Swetland was “Systems / Kernel Lead for the Android Project” between 2005 and 2012 according to his LinkedIn page.

Geiselbrecht took a slightly different route after Danger, spending 18 months at Apple as it developed the iPhone, then developed the webOS kernel at Palm, and was the architect of the Jawbone embedded OS.

Also involved is former head of OS at Palm, Chris McKillop, whose CV indicates he joined the project in March 2015.

These are highly skilled, serious practitioners of the art, and just who would want to create a future OS, rather than some whimsical side project. In addition, the presence of a compositor suggests the potential for Fuchsia reaches far beyond embedded systems.

Google is believed to be working on a “proprietary Android” that doesn’t require the Linux kernel, allowing them to speed up development and pass updates directly to end users. Fuchsia could allow them to break their dependencies and achieve the same goal.

Swetland has made a few comments on Hacker News, confirming that the OS is in its infancy. And kindly providing a photo of the OS booting.

Swetland explains:

The Magenta kernel is maybe a bit more of a minikernel (97% of drivers and services live in userspace, but the syscall surface provides a wider variety of primitives than just send/recv/exit that a hardcore microkernel design might embrace).

It inherits from LK, which was written in C, but the new surfaces in the Magenta kernel are written in C++ (a restrained, limited C++, intended to take advantage of nice things C++ brings without getting us in too much trouble in the controlled kernel environment).

The core Magenta userspace drivers and services are mostly C at the moment, some will shift to C++ over time, and provided they use the same RPC protocols, there’s nothing preventing one from building such components in other languages once those other languages are building suitable binaries for Magenta.

You can download Fuchsia here

Share
Posted on August 18, 2016 at 4:17 pm by lesliemanzara · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Android, iOS, Mobile Technology

HP turns to Windows 10 for mobile devices, cuts reliance on Android

, ComputerWorld, 8/15/16

The company has no interest in selling low-cost Android mobile devices

HP has dabbled in many operating systems over the last few years, but the company always seems to come back to Windows.

The company is building a mobile device strategy around Windows 10 Mobile and is slowly cutting its reliance on Android, once high on the company’s list for tablets and PCs.

HP has discontinued low-cost Android tablets, and two remaining enterprise tablets feature aging hardware and an old version of the OS. Company executives have said future mobile devices will be built around Windows 10 unless there’s significant new demand for Android.

HP is following the lead of Dell, which has cut Android devices to focus on Windows. Lenovo, meanwhile, still sells Android tablets and smartphones but is cutting its number of Android tablets and increasing its number of Windows 2-in-1s.

The goal for HP is simple: to unify products around one OS, much like Apple. That’s a challenge facing Samsung, with its PCs on Windows, tablets and smartphones on Android, and wearables and smart TVs on Tizen. Samsung is still working to put the pieces together to ensure all devices communicate flawlessly, but the company claimed progress during the recent launch of Galaxy Note 7.

HP is re-entering the smartphone market its Elite X3 handset, which runs Windows 10 Mobile. The company is building its smartphone strategy around Windows 10 Mobile, which had just a 0.7 percent market share in the first quarter, according to Gartner.

In an ideal world, HP could have made Windows 10 Mobile and Android smartphones, but Windows aligns better with the company’s PC, virtual reality, and augmented reality strategy, said Michael Park, vice president and general manager of mobility at HP, in an interview.

Park recognizes Windows 10 Mobile doesn’t have a giant market share, which could make smartphone sales a challenge. But HP wants to provide a high-margin, premium product for office workers already running Windows PC apps.

HP says Elite X3 can be a PC replacement with help from cloud services and accessories. Users will be able to run Universal Windows apps on PCs and smartphones. HP also plans to bring augmented reality apps on HoloLens to the Elite X3.

“We’re not trying to hit the volumes and scales of Android,” Park said. “We’re going after IT shops. There are a lot of people in the commercial domain who are not using Pokemon Go.”

HP has said it doesn’t want to sell low-cost devices and has cut many Android devices in the process. But the same strategy doesn’t apply to Windows — this week it announced low-cost Stream notebooks running Windows 10 starting at US$199.

Windows 10 is also at the center of HP’s tablet and PC strategy as the OS glues together all product lines, said Mike Nash, vice president of customer experience and portfolio strategy at HP, in a recent interview.

“It’s very difficult to build differentiated $99 Android tablets,” Nash said.

If there’s an interest in Android, it’s through Chromebooks. HP offers a handful of Chromebooks — which run Chrome OS — and those devices will be able to run Android apps.

As customers “upgrade the OS on Chromebooks over time, they will run those [Android] applications on that device,” Nash said.

HP has dabbled with Android in PCs under the Slate product line. In 2014, the company shipped an Android laptop/tablet hybrid called Slatebook. That year, the company also shipped the Slate 21, an Android all-in-one desktop PC. The company has even put Android in printers.

HP has worked on mobile printing for Android and iOS devices, and those efforts should continue. Wireless printing is becoming a standard feature in HP’s printers, and mobile printing is growing.

While Android seems to be off HP’s map for now, it has an open-door policy for software and technologies. If a customer needs an Android device, HP will offer the OS, Nash said.

Share
Posted on August 15, 2016 at 9:06 am by lesliemanzara · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Android, Mobile Technology, WinPhone