Oh, Me So Mobile

I’ll gladly confess that I have an interest in gadgets which might be deemed above average. Two weeks ago this manifested itself when I bought a “netbook”. It’s a snazzy little thing called Asus S101 – the “design” member of the eee family:

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Now why am I telling you this? Apart from the fact that’s it entertaining to veer off-topic every now and then, and it feels good to tell other people you’ve got new toys to show off?

Arguably those are good reasons, but I don’t throw money into the hands of e-merchants based on those reasons alone. I have been thinking about getting a netbook for a while now. I have a laptop (13.3″ Dell XPS), and although I’m happy with it it still feels a little bulky from time to time. And you certainly don’t want to sit in bed watching dvds on it unless you have asbestos thighs.

I’ve never seen a computer hibernate as quickly (technically it’s something between sleep and hibernate). The SSD means it just doesn’t make any noise at all. The battery easily lets you work a couple of hours. And even though the LCD is only 10.2″ it doesn’t feel cramped. It runs XP Home, but when Windows 7 hits RC I might do an upgrade. I’ve installed OneNote, and I really get the notebook (as in the analog kind) feel with this application on this hardware. One of the better things to come along since sliced bread indeed 🙂

Up until now one of my favourite sub-laptop devices has been the HTC X7510. While still a great device, my netbook almost matches it in portability. (And as much as I love Windows Mobile desktop Windows has some advantages.)

A funny thing, and the reason I decided to turn this into a blog post was an article I came across yesterday:
http://www.pcworld.com/…/cheap_netbooks_inspire_more_wireless_gadgets.html

Now apparently the carriers are readying up for a new round of “let’s try to fool unsuspecting customers to believe there is a thing called free lunch”. I can recall those 1$ mobile phones hitting the stores years back. Turned out they didn’t really cost 1$ all in all… It did turn out to be a great way to increase the number of people running around with mobile phones though. Do you remember how everyone wanted the Nokia they were using in “The Matrix”? If all of these netbooks are equipped with a SIM card I sense a couple of potential changes in the mobility space.

Here in Norway stores are required to print the total price of the device including the cost of the plan you subscribe to. So the ad doesn’t say 1$ anymore…

Oh, yeah. Forgot to mention it; the Asus was 33% off as a weekend special. I would never have bought it at full price 🙂

Windows Marketplace – Enterprise-Ready?

Marco beat me to it when it came to putting up a screenshot of the as-yet-to-be-unveiled “Windows ® Marketplace for Mobile”
(Microsoft Windows® Marketplace for Mobile for the Corp Enterprise?)

Now, it has been known for a while that Microsoft would be putting up some application purchase/download portal. No doubt being spurred on by the efforts from the makers of the iPhone and the Android, but the time was ripe for something like this regardless of the competition. When you have one of the largest developer communities for a mobile platform it’s only natural to be an enabler for this community in reaching the user base.

Just like Marco I’d like to know what the impact is for enterprise deployments of Windows Mobile. Having users download and install what they like? Don’t think so… Granted you do already have different options for blocking user-initiated installs, and they will most likely still apply. If it’s based on connecting to a web site you can perform tricks like blocking the address as well.

But what I’d really like is an enterprise version of the marketplace. You probably don’t need a payment mechanism, and all the same aspects of the portal, but there is great value in offering pre-approved utilities and applications that the user can selectively choose to install. (In fact I’m working on a concept like this currently.) If you’re running SCMDM you already have WSUS so the infrastructure is in place. And the available applications would preferably be based on group membership in Active Directory. Interesting indeed.

These thoughts must surely have crossed the mind of a Microsoft employee or two as well (at least I hope so). So while we do not know much at the moment we’ll see in a couple of months time what the Marketplace turns out to provide.

On a side note – I am also looking to learn more about this offering from the developer side of things as well. I hope to be able to do an experiment by uploading an application to this “cloud”. Don’t know what kind of application it will be yet, or if it will be a free offering. It’s just as interesting just to learn how large a crowd one is able to reach. (Media tells of all these successful tales of young coders making it big on the iPhone, but I’m unsure of this concept.)