The BYOD Challenge and BlackBerry’s Answer

7 03 2013

risky-byodBYOD has presented many challenges specifically to the enterprise. Enterprises have a new challenge of managing employee devices that contain external (personal) applications combined with an organizations internal system. Many times an internal CRM app can cause conflicts with outside apps, causing them to not function properly or making them susceptible to security breaches. This puts pressure on IT teams to constantly troubleshoot new issues so that workers can maintain efficiency. While it remains risky (see infograph), employees continue to push the boundaries forcing their organizations to be more efficient and in return making them more effective employees.

Recently, BlackBerry launched their newest device, the Z10 which includes the ability to run enterprise apps and personal apps on the same device while protecting the enterprise’ network at the same time.  Called, “BlackBerry Balance” – it is a feature aimed at corporate users who want to keep their work and personal lives separate – on their phone. It allows users to store apps and data on two distinct profiles – Work and Personal. Users can easily switch between the two profiles and users who bring their device to office can easily format the Work profile when they switch jobs without having to change any setting in the personal one. This is an interesting attempt at trying to address this issue as BlackBerry fights to maintain relevance in the enterprise marketplace.

In addition, the introduction of BYOD has increased existing pain points for internal IT teams and increased the need for solid mobile app performance. IT teams are challenged with meeting the needs of the enterprise and integrating internal systems with personal devices that could have conflicting programming. The ability to testing enterprise applications on real devices to determine bugs and conflicts becomes critical.





Recommendation: Mobility Should Become Fully Integrated into Testing Priorities

29 01 2013

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According to the recent 2012 -13 World Quality Report (WQR) “We were surprised by the relatively low level of proactive structured testing in this increasingly essential area of business connectivity. We believe that mobile testing needs to be a fully integrated element of the QA discipline, so that the mobile strategy of the enterprise takes testing into account right from the start. The strategy should consider the objectives of the business owner, how the mobile app is delivered, and the target user for the app whether that be customers, suppliers, or employees. Organizations need to accept the paradigm shift brought about by mobility and embrace the new notion of quality for mobile apps, which is a departure from traditional standards applied to desktop applications.

… Proliferation of smartphone and mobile devices including the roll-out of 4G and the use of social media continues to exacerbate the issue of fragmentation. As will the need to focus on the user experience and functionality testing as well as performance. If organizations are to turn the mobile opportunity into a business advantage, some will need to ‘skill up’ or ‘skill out’.”

Of course you may expect this from a mobile testing platform, but our customers are continuing to see the value of having a testing strategy as part of their mobility rollouts. This includes planning, testing, automating, and monitoring their apps and services resulting in a shift in their understanding to see it as a need-to-have as opposed to a nice-to-have. Especially enterprise organizations who are investing millions in building out a successful mobile strategy to generate immediate revenue for their bottom line can’t afford to take that risk. There is too much on the line. As the report illustrated the user experience will be king and there’s no better way to test that experience than on a real mobile device.





Flash for mobile is dead, but through its ashes, HTML5 was born

22 11 2011

 The debate around the suitability of Flash on mobile devices came to an abrupt end this week. Adobe formally announced that they will now be focusing their Flash developments on PC browsing and will “aggressively contribute” to HTML5 development for mobile devices.

In doing so, Adobe has in part validated the criticisms of Flash made by the late Steve Jobs in 2010, when he was CEO of Apple. “Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice,” Jobs wrote in an open letter defending his company’s refusal to support Flash in iOS in favour of the HTML5 standard.

Adobe hinted at this move away from Flash for mobile in its acquisition last month of Nitobi, which makes cross-platform mobile development software called PhoneGap. This tool allows developers to create mobile applications using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript and to package that code in a wrapper environment so it will run as a native mobile app.

This effectively means that developers will still be able to take their Flash content, repackage it, and optimize it for mobile devices by turning it into native apps that can be downloaded via the appropriate storefront – including the Apple App Store.

Both Adobe and Flash have long been part of the developer ecosystem and this shift raised some interesting points.

Firstly, Adobe Flash was made for the PC-to-PC era and as a result, when utilizing the technology on mobile, there were some clear challenges both for developers and the end user. Issues such as security, reliability and even its effect on battery life, due to software rather than hardware decoding, were often cited as reasons why Flash wasn’t fit for mobile.

Secondly, by eliminating Flash for mobile, Adobe has cemented the current mindset of developers and organizations the world over – either you make a standalone app, or you develop an HTML5 Web app. I suggest you read my recent post on this topic to learn more about how you can come to a decision on this question.

However, another way to look at it is that Adobe allowed the Web to mature much faster than it would have without Flash. It essentially became the vision for the future of HTML. As HTML5 came about, Flash-like capabilities such as animation and interactivity became the new standard. We should perhaps thank Adobe (and Macromedia who created Flash and was acquired by Adobe) for showing the community the way to make the Web behave in ways that greatly enhanced the user experience.

So, what does the future hold for Adobe Flash? Support for the platform will continue to be available on PC with a focus on those areas where they can have the most impact, such as advanced gaming and premium video. At the same time, with the Adobe team looking to leverage their expertise to progress HTML5, a standard that is built with the connected world in mind and somewhat device agnostic, this could be the end of mobile Flash as we know it. Then again, HTML5 aims to incorporate most of the goodies of Flash so in a sense, Flash for mobile is dead, but through its ashes, HTML5 was born.





Adobe and Apple: The Rivalry Heats Up

22 04 2010

The long-standing rivalry between Apple and Adobe Systems heated up last week following the release of the latest incarnation of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement, particularly changes made to section 3.3.1 which effectively banned the use of the Adobe Creative Suite 5 Flash-to-iPhone converter. Adobe has since announced that they are dropping iPhone development technology after CS5.

Flash support was not included on the iPad

Throughout 2010, Steve Jobs and Apple made it very clear that they do not like Adobe. They prominently left Flash off the iPad, instead promoting HTML5 at every opportunity despite the fact that 75% of all videos on the web are developed with Flash and 70% of online gaming sites support it. By neutering it, Apple deals another blow to Flash. It’s also a major setback for any developers that were building iPhone apps with Flash as a backbone — they will almost certainly have to start back at square one.

Despite research continuing to show the iPhone as the more popular platform for today’s mobile developer, Adobe and Flash have long been part of the developer ecosystem and it will be interesting to see what was previously seen as convenience becoming more significant when choosing which OS to develop for in the future.





Video in a Flash

21 10 2009

Industry tracker comScore recently announced that nearly 82 percent of all US Internet users watched videos online during the month of August.  A large portion of this continues to be down to the success of video sharing websites such as YouTube, but also the introduction of new on-demand television services such as Hulu.

The ability to watch the latest television shows when and where you want is clearly something that the general public is now beginning to embrace, with services like the BBC iPlayer coming pre-installed on the PS3 slim.  But support for this type of service on the mobile handset has been patchy, with most smartphone users encountering the dreaded warning that “You must have Adobe Flash Player installed to view this content.”

With almost 75% of all online video delivered using Flash, the recent announcement from Adobe regarding Flash Player 10.1 changes this.  Able to work on smartphones, smartbooks and netbooks as well as PCs and other internet-connected devices, this announcement has the potential to change the way we consume media on a daily basis.

PreCentral.net has video showing Flash support on the Palm Pre in action, and it looks mighty impressive, with the rep showing off various new features.  This presents a major leap forward in the ability to consume content on the mobile device, however the ability to present that content in a mobile friendly environment, for example a web page, still presents a challenge for the developer and designer community.