Monthly Archives: November 2007

Mobile Software in an Always Connected World

earth_128.pngNo matter how badly some folks hate them, the terms “Web 2.0″ and “Web OS” just won’t go away. For many, these are the holy grail of software development…a multi-platform single language environment that allows instant upgrades with no downloads, making software available to the customer from any connected device. For others, the terms are empty promises or overused marketing phrases that never seem to live up to expectations.

But consider this. A recent survey discovered the following:

“The survey, which polled 2,062 adults in July and October, found that 79 percent of adults — about 178 million — go online, spending an average 11 hours a week on the Internet.”
- Reuters

With numbers like these, the old argument that “not everyone has access” no longer applies. The internet is now an ever present, vital part of American society. And with the proliferation of affordable all-you-can-download data plans, the mobile world is latching onto the web like never before.

As the Senior Product Manager here at Ilium Software, I need to look at things like this and ask myself “What does this mean for us?”, “What is the future for ‘on device’ applications?”, and “How can we keep doing what we do best…helping our customers to stay organized?”

Fortunately, Ilium Software has answers to these and many more questions. We’re excited and very optimistic about the future of our market. What I’d love to hear, however, is what YOU think. What do you see in the future for Mobile Device Software? How are you using the web with your mobile device? What can we offer or do that will help you to stay organized as the world of mobile devices evolves?

Thanksgiving Week

horn.gifWell, it’s Thanksgiving week in Michigan, and I think we’re all pretty thankful that we have jobs – way too many people around here don’t. As well as that people are still buying our software, that we’re still winning awards (we just won 3 Best Software Awards from Smartphone and Pocket PC Magazine, announced today), that the guy who broke in a few weeks ago only took the one laptop, and that our offices aren’t freezing all the time (unlike the last two). And for the internet, which made this all possible, and which has given us all so many new and improved ways to goof off. And of course for our customers, friends and supporters in the mobile world. We couldn’t have made it without you.

Things Always Change

Palmgear v. Pocketgear trafficThings always change. I’m sure it’s true for any tech company, though I think it’s more true for mobile developers than for those who develop desktop apps. I’ve lost count of how many versions of Windows Mobile (formerly Windows CE) and Palm OS we’ve been through, not to mention different screen sizes and shapes, color depths, and even basic interface components like touchscreens and navigation controls. But I think the next few years, with the iPhone and Google announcements, will change the world for mobile software developers even more than any in the past. My guess is that Microsoft and Blackberry will split the business users, while Apple and Google split the consumers, but given that my last 2 predictions (both of which I was fairly confident of) were:

  • Apple will never release or announce an SDK for the iPhone
  • the Broadway stagehands union will never strike

were both wrong, I’m pretty much batting zero for accuracy. (That may qualify me for a paid position at one of the mobile market analysis companies; they’re always wrong too. Maybe I’ll look into that.)

But another big change this week is the announcement that PalmGear is being merged into PocketGear. PalmGear was, if not the first mobile software portal, the first one of any significance. Motricity (formerly Power by Hand) bought them, as well as PocketGear (formerly CEShopper and one other name that I’ve forgotten) and Smartphone.net. For years, PalmGear was their flagship brand, and I’d assumed it still was, but apparently it’s not. Here’s a really interesting graph, courtesy of Alexa:

Palmgear v. Pocketgear traffic

So given that they’re combining the two sites, which makes a lot of sense, I guess they’ve picked the smartest way to do it. But it seems to me like a pretty loud statement of what at least Motricity believes the successful mobile OS’s of the next few years will be.

Information Security

police.jpgI’m thinking a lot about information security lately. Not because we develop and sell eWallet, but because of two things that have happened recently:

Our office was broken into. Nothing but one laptop was taken (and it was just used for testing, so had no valuable info on it, plus was password-protected). We think that our alarm scared the person or people away, and they just took the nearest good-looking piece of equipment. While we’re all feeling a little rattled by the thought that someone was in our office, we’re also very aware it could have been much worse.

We stopped keeping the credit card numbers we get for sales several years ago, and are very careful to protect any confidential info – whether users’ email addresses or our own credit card numbers and passwords – on any of our PCs, so I know that anyone getting any of our equipment wouldn’t be able to get any useful information. And I know we’re good about keeping offsite backups of all the corporate and customer info. I hope we’re also good about keeping offsite backups of our own PCs, but I know at least I don’t do that every day. But we’d lose weeks of work if we all had to get new PCs and set them up. I’m not sure that 5-year-old PCs (mine’s at least that old) are even worth taking, but I hope I never find out.

The other thing that’s happened is that as part of two banks I use being acquired, I’m kicking off a long-postponed personal financial reorganization. Wow – there’s a lot of info to enter and keep with new bank accounts. Online security is a lot better than it used to be, which I’m very glad about. But it’s clear that no matter how excellent my memory is, there’s no way I could be without a good wallet program. And being able to enter free-form info – like my third boyfriend’s pet’s name, or the street my high school was on – is a lot more critical than it was when we first added the Notes fields to eWallet cards.

Anyway, I’m glad the banks are looking out for me, and I’m glad there’s good enough software that I can manage everything I need to. And I’m really glad we got an alarm when we moved into this office (we’d always planned to with the previous one, but never got around to it). It’s too bad we need all that, but since we do, it’s good that it’s there.

And, yes, I’m thinking a lot about mobile technology too, especially with all the new announcements lately. I just don’t have anything to say about it – yet – that hasn’t been said by many other people.

And the Winner Is…

winner.jpg

Halloween is over, but don’t despair, because even though it’s November now, I have one more treat to give out! It’s time for our monthly blog contest, so let me just reach into my goodie bag and see what I can find…

This month the lucky winner is i-bystander, who commented on the post Happy National Identity Fraud Prevention Week. Congratulations! I just sent you an email explaining how to get your prize. If you don’t receive it, reply to this post and let me know.

To everyone else, thanks for all the great comments, and be sure to keep coming back because we’ll have another winner in December!