Thursday, February 28, 2008

iPhone finds favor with business users

Wireless carriers offering the iPhone may be concentrating their efforts on consumers, but research suggests they shouldn't neglect business users, who apparently love the touch-screen interface.

The Apple device beats the competition hands down when it comes to user-satisfaction rates, according to a survey of enterprise smartphone users in the U.K.

More than half (59 percent) of iPhone-owning business customers said they are "very satisfied" with the device, according to the survey, by emerging-technology research company ChangeWave Research.

Research In Motion's BlackBerry--which has the lion's share of the enterprise market--ranked second, with just under half (47 percent) of those surveyed being "very satisfied" with the device. Nokia came third (with 40 percent), followed by Samsung Electronics (30 percent), Motorola (25 percent), and Palm (10 percent).

"It is a very interesting launch product and, once it has settled into use, the price should become more realistic," said Alastair Behenna, chief information officer at IT-management specialist Harvey Nash. "If nothing else, it will act as a catalyst to other manufacturers, and the competitive evolution of the iPhone will definitely be worth keeping a watching brief on."

In the U.K., wireless carrier O2 UK recently told ZDNet UK that it is working with Apple on hammering out rates for business users. O2 said it is hopeful the fee schedule will launch at some point this year.

IE 8 Launch Soon...

A number of Microsoft enthusiasts this week received invitations to a “limited technical beta program” for Internet Explorer (IE) 8 Beta 1.

According to the invitation, Microsoft is planning to make IE 8 Beta 1 available to the general public, as well. But before that happens, an invitation-only tet program will be conducted. The invitation describes IE 8 Beta 1 being focused on developers.

(ActiveWin is running the full text of the note Microsoft sent to some IE 8 beta invitees this past week.)

Microsoft officials have said they plan to show off IE 8 at Microsoft’s Mix ‘08 conference in early March in Las Vegas. Officials also have said they are planning to add a developer-selectable “super-standards” mode to IE 8 that would enable the browser to qualify as more standards-compliant.

Microsoft still has not offered a final-delivery target date for IE 8. Microsoft released IE 7 in 2006. Microsoft officials have said they are shooting to deliver more frequent, regular builds of IE. from CNET

Adobe to launch AIR 1.0

Adobe Systems on Monday is set to finally release Adobe Integrated Environment software, which is on the leading edge of a movement to make Web applications act more like traditional desktop applications.

At the company's Engage event in San Francisco on rich Internet application design, executives will announce the availability of AIR 1.0, a free download for Windows and Macintosh.

Also on Monday, Adobe will release Flex 3.0, its application development tool that is now free and open-source. Another development tool, called BlazeDS, for linking Flex applications to back-end business applications, will also be released into open source as planned.

Adobe has been working on AIR for at least two years, when Kevin Lynch, now Adobe's chief technology officer, first publicly spoke about it. The company plans to build AIR versions of many of its Web applications, including photo-imaging application Photoshop Express and Premier Express for editing video, he said.

AIR is software for making Web applications appear like more like desktop programs. Applications can run offline, access data on a person's hard drive, have a desktop icon, and run without the need of a browser.

Developers can use any Web development kit, such as Ajax frameworks, to write applications that will run on AIR or they can use Flex.

These Web-native desktop applications have become an active area of software development--Adobe says that there are over 100 AIR applications--and alternatives to AIR are starting to appear.

The Mozilla Foundation, makers of the Firefox Web browser, launched a project called Prism that brings offline access to Web applications.

Lynch said that AIR is far ahead of what Prism offers but he expects many other platforms that bridge the Web with desktops to emerge.

"We're just getting back the lost treasures of the desktop that we lost when we went to the Web," Lynch said.

He said AIR is not competitive with Microsoft Windows or other operating systems; it's a layer above operating systems that enables people to use Web development techniques and toolkits.

A version of AIR for Linux is expected later this year, he said. Adobe will also create versions that run on mobile devices in the future. more>>HERE