How can you drive consistency across rich-content mobile apps and websites? Adobe thinks the answer lies in integrating its Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) and Experience Manager, part of the Adobe Marketing Cloud. The goal is to create a “unified design and publishing process.”
Adobe announced the integration today.
In a conversation with CMSWire, Adobe’s James Lockman, a senior solutions consultant, and Loni Kao Stark, director of product and industry marketing, described the integration as a way for publishers and brands to create, deliver and measure experiences for customers across content-rich apps like digital magazines and the web — using one set of assets. “We need to bring them together to create a seamless web experience,” Lockman said.
By integrating DPS and Experience Suite, and adding in options like Adobe Analytics, organizations can accelerate application authoring, reduce publishing costs across channels and deliver a consistent brand experience and content marketing strategy on the web and mobile devices. The goal is to make customer experiences seamless across screens of all size, with the focus on mobile.
“We’re making the tablet an equal partner for all kinds of interactive content and experiences,” Lockman said, calling the new integration a “game changer” for publishers and brands.
Stark, who is also a CMSWire contributor, concurred, adding, “I’m really excited.” The new integration is a way for publishers and brands “to effectively and efficiently” publish content-centric apps like digital magazines, sales tools and annual reports for viewing online or offline using tablets and smartphones, she said.
A recent report commissioned by Adobe confirmed what everyone seems to think: namely, that smart companies are embracing mobile. The survey found 78 percent of enterprises with customer-facing apps have seen a year-over-year increase in the size of their mobile app audiences — and more than two thirds think the number of end users for internal apps has also grown.
But until now, cross-channel digital publishing has remained expensive and time-consuming, Stark said. “We want to give everyone in the organization tools and technologies that they can use to deliver relevant, timely branded content.”
Delivering interactive magazines for mobile devices and content for the web used to require separate assets, teams and time. But that’s now a thing of the past, she said.
By combining DPS and Experience Suite, Adobe claims organizations and brands can:
Author compelling app content faster — By using Experience Manager’s drag-and-drop interface, content and creative assets can be added to responsive HTML templates, which are then synched with DPS.
Reduce publishing costs across channels — Creative teams, production staff and business managers can leverage approved creative assets for delivery into content-centric apps, reducing dependence on web production and design staff.
Maintain a consistent brand and user experience — Production staff can ensure brand consistency across web and content-centric apps.
Melissa Webster, an analyst who leads IDC’s Content and Digital Media Technologies research program, was enthusiastic about the integration. “It’s going to be a win-win for customers,” she said.
Every single person I talk to is interested in responsive web design. And when I have discussed an integrated option like this, something that will enable them to have one workflow for publishing content across channels, their eyes light up. I think there is a large market for solutions like this.”
Multiplatform eye tracking software firm, The Eye Tribe, today announced the beta release of the world’s first affordable eye tracking software development kit (SDK) for mass market Android devices.
Previously only offered for Windows computers, laptops and tablets, The Eye Tribe has made this technology available for the world’s most popular mobile operating system.
Once out of beta release the eye tracking software will enable people to interact with their smartphone just by looking at it.
The Eye Tribe are now looking for beta test partners. The software beta release will be provided to select developers and OEMs bundled with an easy to use SDK, allowing for easy integration into Android devices. Potential use cases include eye-activated login, hands free navigation of websites and apps, enhanced gaming experiences and cloud-based user engagement analytics.
“Since we first started The Eye Tribe and rolled out eye tracking SDKs for Windows, we are working towards one ultimate vision; to make eye tracking technology a standard feature of mobile devices,” said Sune Alstrup Johansen, CEO and co-founder of The Eye Tribe.
“We spent lots of time perfecting our eye tracking software to bring it to developers all over the world, and today marks a special milestone in our company’s history of being truly multiplatform. The debut of affordable eye tracking technology for Android is something no one else has been able to do up until now and we’re excited to show it off for the first time at Mobile World Congress.”
This announcement follows a series of key announcements for The Eye Tribe, most recently The Eye Tribe Tracker, its $99 (€72) eye tracking device with full SDK for Windows and Mac OS X, and seed funding of $1 million from existing investors, board members and key individuals in the US, including former semiconductor executive Richard Sanquini.
The Eye Tribe was founded in the European Startup Bootcamp Accelerator programme in September 2011, and has since raised $3.1 million in funding. Tracker is an aftermarket eye tracker that allows users to navigate, interact and actuate software on their Windows 7, 8 or Mac OS X device with a USB 3 interface. With the Tracker, users can manipulate their device purely with eye movement, or with a combination of eye tracking and other inputs like touch, responding to natural eye movements as users interact with their devices.
In what could be a precursor to a full-blown voice-over-LTE service, Sprint is turning on voice-over-Wi-Fi in two Samsung smartphones, with more devices to follow.
In the next few weeks, Sprint customers with a Samsung Galaxy Mega or a Galaxy S4 Mini will get an over-the-air software update that will turn their devices into IP phones – at least when they’re connected to Wi-Fi networks.
In a blog post on Friday Sprint said it has begun introducing Wi-Fi calling, starting with the two Samsung phones and gradually rolling out the capability to other devices throughout 2014. Customers who activate Wi-Fi calling (through an app that will come with the update) will be able to send and receive calls and text messages over their home and business networks and hotspots. Unlike other over-the-top VoIP and messaging services, Wi-Fi calling won’t require customers to create a new account. The service remains attached to your regular phone number.
The service is free-of-charge, and if you happen to be a Sprint customer still on a metered minute or message plan, any Wi-Fi calls or texts won’t be deducted from your monthly buckets. While Sprint is positioning the service as an enhancement for customers that live or work in bad coverage areas, it’s also a nifty service for international travelers, who can continue to make calls to the U.S. without incurring massive roaming charges. The same doesn’t apply to calls made to international numbers. You’ll be charged regular international rates.
The only drawback is that there isn’t any seamless transition between the Wi-Fi and cellular networks. If you leave your home and the range of your Wi-Fi router while in the middle of a call, it will drop, not transfer over to Sprint’s CDMA network.
I suspect Sprint is paving the way for its new voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) service, which will take its traditional communications services off of the 2G network and recreate them on the all-IP 4G network. Sprint has been showing signs that VoLTE is near. Last month, Sprint selected BroadSoft’s IP communication platforms to run enhanced applications on its future VoLTE network. Sprint is probably starting with Wi-Fi because its LTE rollout still has a ways to go before it’s complete.
Platform will be the “open alternative to Android.”
Canonical has announced that the first Ubuntu-powered phones will ship later this year, with devices coming from two manufacturers: BQ in Spain and Meizu in China. According to Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth, both companies have a track record of breaking into new markets with mid-to-high-end phones. Shuttleworth said while Canonical was happy to work with “household names,” the company initially wanted to find partners for whom Canonical can be a “significant part of their story.”
Details of the phones that the companies would build were not on offer—though Canonical said that more information would be available at Mobile World Congress next week. But Shuttleworth pointed to the companies’ existing products as an indication of what the future would hold. BQ has pushed the use of dual-SIM phones, while Meizu has followed a strategy of only having a single hardware model in the market at a time. The latter’s current MX3 is reasonably high-end, with a Samsung Exynos Octo processor and a peculiar 1800×1080 screen resolution.
While both companies have only sold into a few markets with their existing models—BQ focused on Europe and Meizu on China, Hong Kong, Israel, and Russia—the Ubuntu devices will be available globally when bought online.
Shuttleworth described Ubuntu as the “open alternative to Android,” and said that it would be appealing to all those who were attracted by Android’s open source elements. It will support applications built with HTML5, using the Blink rendering engine and Cordova runtime. Google has promoted the same pairing for running Chrome applications on Android, and Shuttleworth said that this should provide a high degree of application compatibility between the platforms. There will also be some native applications, developed with Qt, such as Evernote.
HP announces Color LaserJet Pro MFP M476, which can take in-app mobile print commands over Wi-Fi or NFC connections
Hewlett-Packard wants to make wireless printing of documents from Android mobile devices as easy as tapping one button.
The company on Tuesday announced a new wireless laser printer — the HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M476 — which takes advantage of native printing support on mobile devices running the Android 4.4 operating system, code-named KitKat.
The office printer, priced starting at US$529, is the first printer certified to take advantage of a plug-in developed by the Mopria alliance, which aims to makes wireless printing easier from smartphones and tablets with Android 4.4, said David Laing, director of innovation for LaserJet Enterprise Solutions at HP.
The Mopria alliance has top printer firms such as Xerox, HP, Canon and Samsung as its members. More Mopria-certified devices will roll out in the future, Laing said,
With the Mopria plugin, users can pass a mobile print command to the M476 without having to go through a separate application such as HP’s printer app. Users will be able to punch the print icon inside an app, much like on PCs, and then select a wireless printer of choice.
The HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M476 will be able to print over peer-to-peer Wi-Fi or near-field communication (NFC) connections. Previously, access to a wireless network was needed to print documents on a wireless printer, Laing said.
The new printer has a 3.5-inch display, and can also copy, scan and fax. The product, which is targeted at small offices, also has two-side printing and scanning, and can be managed remotely.
The M476 also prints directly from files in online storage services such as Box.net and Google Drive. The installed black, cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges can yield roughly 1,200 printed pages each.
The printer succeeds the previous M475 model, which was more expensive, Laing said.
Geeks among us can’t wait to try out the upcoming Ubuntu smartphone. Canonical promised to bring us the true convergence, allowing users to run same apps across different devices. This means smartphones, tablets and computers.
The main idea is simple… and sound. All you need is a powerful smartphone that, once docked, can work like a full-blown Linux PC. This in turn would make multiple devices obsolete since your smartphone would be able to replace a PC.
Have hard time imagining this? Canonical’s Community Manager Jono Bacon is there to help. He created a video to show the Reddit client Karma Machine running on a phone, tablet and Ubuntu PC. You’ll see how the UI can adapt to each display… Pretty powerful stuff. Or so we think. Check it out and let us know how you like it…
Before I let you go I must add that this capability likely won’t come before October when Ubuntu 14.10 will be launched, featuring the all-new new Mir display server and Unity 8 UI that make this magic possible.
In the world of mobile platforms, Tizen’s but a new entry that’s been through some tough times since its inception. The circle of 36 companies (aptly called the Tizen Association) backing up the open source OS is putting up a good fight, though — it even just welcomed 15 new members to its number. These include some big names you might recognize, such as Chinese search engine Baidu, Japanese carrier Softbank, hardware manufacturer ZTE and weather app AccuWeather. The most intriguing addition to the list, however, is Sprint, which first joined the association in 2012 before leaving it in 2013… only to join up yet again. We’ll find out later if these companies are in any way connected to the Tizen devices to be previewed at Mobile World Congress — and if they help the OS finally become a legit Android competitor.
Vodafone joined Ubuntu’s Carrier Advisory Group, as Ubuntu demoed progress on a unified desktop/mobile UI. Meanwhile, Ubuntu will comply with a Debian decision and phase out its Upstart init in favor of systemd.
Canonical has yet to sign up any vendors or carriers for upcoming smart phones running Ubuntu, which is not surprising, considering the first Ubuntu phone release appears to have slipped to 2015. However, the company has signed up an impressive roster of mobile providers that are at least intrigued enough to join its Carrier Advisory Group (CAG). Now, leading European carrier Vodafone has joined the pack, which already includes U.S. carriers including Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile.
Vodafone represents 411 million customers and has equity interests in telecom operations in approximately 30 countries and 50 partner networks worldwide, says Canonical. Other CAG members include China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Everything Everywhere, Korea Telecom, LG UPlus, MTM Group, Portugal Telecom, SK Telecom, Smartfren, Telecom Italia, and Telstra.
Progress on Ubuntu Convergence
The Vodadone news was a welcome reprieve from recent reports that the Ubuntu Phone project is being delayed. In mid-January, Ubuntu’s Community Manager went on Reddit to write that he “would be surprised” if the first phone arrived before 2015. In the response to another question about the Ubuntu project’s ambitious “convergence” plans to enable a single application to run on desktop, tablet, and phone devices, he responded that “Currently we are not scoping any fancy integration between Ubuntu devices.”
Apparently, some convergence progress has been made in recent weeks, however, as Bacon has now posted a YouTube video showing a single Reddit client app running on a laptop, phone, and tablet. The latter two are most likely Samsung-built Galaxy Nexus devices, which are supported with the current Ubuntu Touch build. (A Phoronix item alerted us to the video.
Debian splits with Ubuntu over init
Like many Linux distributions, Ubuntu is based on Debian. Yet, in recent years, Ubuntu has been moving away from Debian and other foundational Linux technologies such as GNOME. Now, the Debian technical committee has selected systemd as Debian’s default system management daemon technology to replace the Unix-based init, rather than Ubuntu’s Upstart.
While Canonical’s past decision-making suggested it would likely disregard the ruling and continue with Upstart, the project will apparently transition to systemd. In a Feb. 14 post entitled “Losing graciously”, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth wrote that the Ubuntu project would support the decision and start work on supporting systemd in Ubuntu as an option. He added that he would recommend systemd be made the default “as soon as it offers a credible quality of service to match the existing init.”
According to a Feb. 12 ZDNet report by Chris Duckett, tech committee chairman Bdale Garbee cast the deciding vote for systemd system and service manager to break a 4-4 tie. The vote came after a “fractured and heated debate” that included “two stalled votes and one failed coup,” wrote Duckett.
A Muktware report on the same news was updated with a note saying some members are appealing the decision with calls for a “General Resolution.” However, Shuttlesworth’s capitulation will no doubt moot that effort.
The init daemon has been around forever, to the point that people long ago referred to the technology as an init instead of a system management daemon. The technology is important, as it determines the first process to execute in userland during boot.
Systemd has been growing in popularity after Fedora switched to the technology as its default init in May 2011. Since then, most other major distros have made the switch, including Arch and OpenSUSE, and Red Hat Linux has said it will follow whatever Debian decides to do. The major exceptions are Ubuntu, which has switched to Upstart, and Gentoo, which defaults to OpenRC, but supports systemd as an alternative.
As both stories noted, prior to Shuttleworth’s Valentine’s Day mash note to the Debian community, sticking with Upstart would further isolate Ubuntu, which has already isolated itself enough in recent years. For example, it switched to a new Mir (or XMir) display server to replace the X windowing technology, while the rest of the industry has moved in force to the somewhat similar Wayland. That same XMir is said to be causing some of the delays in pushing out a final Ubuntu Phones release.
This followed previous controversies, including Canonical’s switch from GNOME 2.x to its own homegrown, touch-oriented Unity desktop environment. To be fair the GNOME Foundation made few friends when it switched to the radical new GNOME 3.x. The difference is that it listened to the community and dialed back some of the more controversial changes.
It’s a matter of debate whether Canonical should be censured for thwarting the open source Linux community and grabbing power under a single company, or else applauded for daring to innovate and breaking Linux out of its desktop slumber and into the brave new mobile world. Either way, as Duckett points out, the company is placing a huge burden on the Ubuntu community to maintain and update all these homegrown technologies without the help of the broader community.
“Supporting such a large stack of software on its own could be manageable for Ubuntu with the revenues from mobile handsets,” writes Duckett. “But on the desktop, doing everything on its own when the other Linux players are all moving in opposite directions looks more and more like madness.”
No doubt, the Ubuntu leadership came to the same conclusion. As Shuttleworth noted, the close vote supported his impression that both technologies were perfectly suitable. Assuming Ubuntu goes ahead and implements systemd as a default on a reasonable timetable, it should help heal the rift with the Linux community and give Ubuntu coders a break.
The consolidation of two groups should help the industry standardize — and spread
The agreement announced Tuesday that allows two of the three major wireless-charging consortiums to share their specifications means there’s one less obstacle in the way of a wary mobile device industry looking to adopt the technology.
On its face, the merger between the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) and the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) should allow them to create a consistent wireless charging experience for consumers with enabled devices.
That means consumers would no longer have to worry about whether their smartphone or tablet adheres to the A4WP’s Rezence or the PMA’s Powermat specification when they drop it onto a wireless charging spot in Starbucks, McDonald’s or at an enabled store.
However, the partnership between two specification groups still leaves a horse race, with the winner determining which wireless charging technology will cross the finish line.
Like the Blu-Ray Disc and HD DVD standards (and Betamax and VHS before that), one wireless charging specification will eventually win out. Which one does will be decided by device manufacturers, not industry groups.
But, the partnership has brought together A4WP’s magnetic resonance (loosely coupled) charging and PMA’s inductive (tightly coupled) charging. Basically, resonance allows for multiple devices to charge at once on a pad in any configuration. Inductive charging requires an enabled device to be more precisely placed on a pad before it will charge.
The A4WP already had both inductive and resonant charging as part of its Rezence specification. But, the tie-up between two rivals also strengthens them against an older and larger challenger – the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). The WPC owns the widely adopted Qi specification, which is based on inductive wireless charging, but the group also demonstrated the added ability to do resonant charging at this year’s CES show.
The Qi specification, which also includes resonance and inductive technology, is supported by 200 companies, among them a veritable who’s who of electronics, including LG Electronics, Sony, Nokia and Verizon Wireless. “Qi has been dominant and is way ahead of the game,” said William Stofega, a program director at research firm IDC.
There are now more than 400 Qi-enabled devices today, including mobile phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S3, Nokia Lumia 1020, LG G2, Motorola Droid Maxx and Mini and the Google Nexus 5 phone and Nexus 7 tablet.
“Almost everything [enabled for wireless charging] that shipped last year was compliant with the WPC specification,” said Ryan Sanderson, the associate director Power Supply and Storage Components at research firm IHS.
Even so, the WPC will undoubtedly be concerned about the alliance between the PMA and the A4WP, “just because of their market share,” Sanderson added.
Mobile device makers, such as Samsung and LG Electronics, see wireless charging as a plus, given that consumers would likely prefer a phone with wireless charging over one without.
Consolidation within the wireless charging industry isn’t new. Last year, Duracell’s Powermat Technologies subsidiary announced a merger with its European counterpart, PowerKiss, in a deal that brought two disparate wireless power specifications together under one umbrella. Both companies fall under the PMA consortium.
PMA was born from Powermat, which claims it has more than 1,500 charging spots in the U.S. In Europe, PowerKiss said it has 1,000 charging spots in airports, hotels and some McDonald’s restaurants.
So for the A4WP, which already had both resonant and inductive wireless charging in its specification, the partnership is more about increasing its customer base as well as adding smart technology.
The PMA’s specification includes an API that monitors the power that’s transmitted, and can manage pre-specified policies, such as how much power any device requires before it’s fully charged.
Daniel Schreiber, president of Powermat and a board member of the PMA, said Powermat’s inductive technology is more efficient than resonant charging, making it preferable for places like a coffee shop that doesn’t want to waste power.
Consumers also may be more nervous about having their mobile devices charge next to a stranger’s, Schreiber said, making inductive charging’s single device limitation more attractive.
“They’re highly complimentary implementations, much like WiFi and 4G,” Schreiber said, referring to magnetic induction and resonant charging. “They’re not displacing each other, but complimentary to one anther.”
Not everyone agrees.
The end game will be resonance-only wireless charging with machine-to-machine data transfer, according to Reinier van der Lee, director of product marketing at Broadcom. “We always felt resonant technology was the way to go, but we also feel the [PMA's] inductive install base needs to be offered a transition path to resonant charging,” van der Lee said.
Broadcom, a member of the A4WP, plans to unveil a chipset later this year that will include wireless power management capabilities. Texas Instruments already makes wireless charging chipsets.
John Perzow, the vice president of market development for the WPC, said the rival organizations joined forces after realizing their own products could not address the entire market. But the PMA and A4WP will have to make major tradeoffs to achieve interoperability between their technologies.
“For instance, you can always shoehorn two technologies in one phone, a so-called ‘dual-mode’ approach. But this increases cost and complexity and typically requires tradeoffs like lower efficiency,” Perzow said.
IHS’s Sanderson is hopeful that all three wireless power consortiums can eventually work together on universal standards. Until then, handset, tablet and other electronic device manufacturers will remain wary about choosing one technology over another, fearful they’ll make the wrong bet.
Perzow said the WPC is in talks with the PMA and the A4WP.
“But let’s be clear,” he said. “What PMA and A4WP announced is not one merged group. They both are filling gaps with technology the other didn’t have,” Perzow said.
“When you buy Qi, you know it will work with whatever technology and features evolve down the road,” he continued. “Keeping this compatibility is a top goal, and we’re very interested and eager to cooperate with anyone that shares that goal, Including PMA and A4WP.”
Last year was the last time we had a chance to talk about Wine on Android for running Windows program on Google’s mobile operating system. While it’s not quite mainline yet, Wine on Android has been making much progress and can now run Windows’ Solitaire game on your Android device.
Wine leader Alexandre Julliard provided a status update at FOSDEM last weekend for Wine on Google Android. The Wine on Android project is still focused upon supporting Windows binaries on Android for both Intel and ARM devices.
Julliard shared that they now have working support for Android’s Bionic C library, cross-compilation is supported for Wine on Android with both i686 and ARM architectures, and there’s a basic graphics driver using the desktop mode.
Among the challenges that Wine on Android has yielded comes down to dealing with Android’s Java focus inside Wine, the Android process architecture, missing libraries not readily available, lack of keyboard and mouse, high DPI displays, OpenGL ES only, and packaging restrictions.
While basic Windows applications are running on Android with Wine, the developers are still working on finishing the user driver, Direct3D and OpenGL application support, audio support, and handling of application launchers and MIME types. All of this Wine Android code also still has to be integrated into mainline.
Wine developers are also experimenting with QEMU support for being able to run the x86 binaries on ARM. This is a feature that has yet to be fully realized, but can be sufficient for running the well known Windows Solitaire program on ARM.
Those wishing to learn more can find the FOSDEM 2014 Wine Android slides at WineHQ.org.