This week’s technology news – 6th June 2014

Microsoft excluded from Gartner’s Magic Quadrant
Gartner’s newly released report has failed to include Microsoft this year for Enterprise Mobility Management (“EMM”). Gartner say this is strictly based on Microsoft not meeting their business metrics and technical capabilities. Microsoft acknowledge it was a matter of timing as they only launched Windows InTune in Autumn 2013 and the window to the EMM Magic Quadrant in January 2014 was too short a proving space. With an Enterprise Mobility Suite combination of Windows Intune (for MDM and mobile application management), Microsoft Azure Rights Management and Microsoft Azure Active Directory Premium, Microsoft were confident it presented quite a strong offering. Gartner commented: “”The offering has promise, but Microsoft must drive adoption and demonstrate that it can meet enterprise requirements.” Microsoft remains confident it will be firmly in the “zone” next year.

Vodafone reveals it is vulnerable to government wire taps
Mobile network giant Vodafone currently operates across 29 countries worldwide. Despite the majority of countries having legal process requirements for warrants to be submitted should law enforcers or intelligence agencies wish to intercept communications, the BBC has established there are six governments which have a permanent link to monitor their communications.

Vodafone will not name the six countries, but the disclosure has emerged as new transparency efforts are being made by telecoms companies between their customers and governments. Data privacy is a theme regularly in the news following US whistleblower Edward Snowden’s leaks and his influence in causing telecoms and governments to offer more transparency. Liberty director, Shami Chakrabarti described news of the ease of access “unprecedented and terrifying”. However, the main difficulty in making meaningful comparisons are the different laws operating in each country and a lack of willingness to discuss the issue. Whatever the outcome, the net effect is to reinforce broad customer distrust against government and major corporates wherever personal data is held.

Samsung – without the Android
Samsung is the TOP Android manufacturer, pushing out more Android smartphones than anyone else. No-one else comes close. In fact with Android leading the Smartphone OS race, Samsung jumping ship would stir up the whole industry. Samsung has been developing its own smartphone OS called “Tizen” over the last few years and is finally ready to put it on their next Smartphone, the Samsung “Z”.

Samsung with its Galaxy line has been building up huge brand recognition, arguable more than the Android name itself, if they were to put Tizen on their next flagship Galaxy phone and tablet instead of Android, Tizen would likely get the stab in the arm needed to make it a viable platform going forwards. How hard Samsung pushes their own Tizen over Google’s Android on their devices will be interesting to watch going forwards.

As tempting as it must be for them to switch everything over to Tizen – they would likely frustrate users if the software didn’t match Android’s feature set, so they will have to walk a careful tightrope act between the two until Tizen reaches feature parity. If however Samsung does play its card’s right, it not impossible to imagine a future where Samsung can beat Google at their own game.

Gravel driving a greener power in the renewables market
The mission to find an alternative power source for storing electrical energy created by wind and solar power on windless and cloudy days, may just have got a step nearer. British company Isentropic has developed a system using a gravel-filled silo with Argon gas. Using a heat-exchange pump it drives an engine to create the power needed for the grid. Despite a 75% efficiency for the system, this energy solution may be a very intelligent one as it is low cost, easy to install and argon gas is highly available (being the third most abundant gas in the planet and 23 times more abundant than carbon dioxide). More ideas like this are desperately needed if we are to successfully service an increasingly power-hungry world – and all the better when sometimes it is not a high tech solution that captures headlines.

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