Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Google's 2015 Nexus phones: Specs, details, and what they mean for the enterprise

On Tuesday, September 29, Google officially unveiled the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. Here's what you need to know about the latest Android flagships.


Dave Burke presenting the new Nexus phones.

With the plethora of versions, options, and features available, it's nearly impossible to pin down what phone provides the ultimate Android experience. Companies like Samsung, Motorola, and LG all have their own top-shelf offerings but, for Google itself, the template for the pure Android experience starts and ends with its Nexus line.

Beginning in 2010 with the release of the Nexus One, the Nexus line has been designed and developed by Google and manufactured by partners such as HTC, Motorola, Samsung, and LG. Although there are now Nexus tablets and media players, the phones have always been the focus.

"A Nexus is Android as we designed it," said Dave Burke, Google's vice president of engineering for Android.

On Tuesday, September 29, Google announced two new Nexus phones — the LG-made Nexus 5X and Huawei-made Nexus 6P. In addition, the company also announced two new Chromecasts. Here are the specs for the two new Nexus phones.

The Nexus 5X
5.2" Screen
Plastic design
Colors: Carbon black, Quartz white, Blue
Storage: 16GB, 32GB
Memory: 2 or 3GB RAM
Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor
2700 mAh battery
Front camera: 5MP, 1.55 micron pixels
Rear camera: 12.3 MP
Fingerprint scanner on back of phone
Starting price: $379

The Nexus 6P
5.7" Screen
Metal unibody design
Colors: Aluminum, Graphite, Frost White
Storage: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Memory: 3GB RAM
Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor
3450 mAh battery
Front camera: 8MP
Rear camera: 12 MP, 1.55 micron pixels
Fingerprint scanner on back of phone
Starting price: $499

Both phones will launch with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the latest iteration of Google's mobile OS. The updates for Marshmallow will be available to the existing Nexus line before becoming generally available to other Android devices. Android 6.0 will roll out to existing devices, including the Nexus 5, 6, 7, 9, and the Nexus player next week.

In referencing the 6P's camera, Burke called it the best camera that Google has put in a phone. The new camera has slow motion video capabilities and 4K resolution at normal rate.

An Android Sensor hub can wake up the device to low-power display and has four key features that help it power the new generation of Nexus phones.

Sensor fusion
Activity recognition
Gesture recognition
Low power

The latest line of Nexus phones also has fingerprint capabilities called Nexus Imprint. It's an added security feature that can benefit business users and those who want to use Android Pay. Additionally, the updated run time permissions could help with security in the enterprise as well.

Business travelers will undoubtedly enjoy the many new features that help extend the life of the battery. For starters, the large batteries in the device charge quickly and hold a charge for a long time. Additionally, the new feature Doze helps conserve power if the phone hasn't moved in a while. This is great if you accidentally forget to charge your phone while you sleep.

From the lock screen, users can tell how fast the phone is charging and approximately how long it will be until the phone is fully charged. Heads up notifications show up at the top of the screen and users can swipe up to dismiss, or down to engage — a very iOS like feature.

With Android 6.0, the phone begins to learn your app use patterns and will prioritize apps at a certain time based on how you interact with the app. It makes apps more easily available based on the time of day you normally open them, or if you normally open them in series. For example, if you normally open Instagram after Twitter, it will automatically recommend Instagram after you have opened Twitter.

One of the biggest features of Android M is the Now on Tap virtual assistant feature. Voice interactions from Now on Tap have been extended to Android developers and can be built into their apps, which could be helpful for internal apps.

Nexus 5X and 6P are available for preorder now in select countries and will ship in late October 2015. As usual, the phones will be unlocked without a contract. All Nexus preorders will come with a 90-day free subscription to Google Music, and all preorders come with $50 Play credit.

Despite the two new phones, it's still not necessarily about the hardware for Google. The phones are simply a platform to showcase the new OS, said Boris Metodiev of 451 Research. The Nexus line is a baseline for what works with the latest and greatest Android features.

The two form factors show that Google wants to hold onto the high end market with devices like the Nexus 6P, while continuing to target the middle and lower end of the market with devices like the Nexus 5X.

"If there is any growth left in the smartphone market, it is more in the low-end and the [middle] of the market," Metodiev said. "The high end of the market is really saturated and the growth is not really there."

The release pattern for Nexus devices is something needed for Android device manufacturers who want to play in the enterprise. Gartner's Ken Dulaney said that businesses are frustrated by the multi-step release process typical of Android devices where it moves from the open source pool, to chip manufacturers, to the OEM, and finally on to the carrier.

"Google needs to have at least an option like Apple does where there are devices that receive updates directly from Google with the stock Android image," Dulaney said. By offering Nexus device directly from Google, that is keeping the market stronger, he said.

In addition to the announcement of the new handsets, Google also announced a new protection plan called Nexus Protect. The plan gives each user an additional year of protection against manufacturer's defects, as well as a two year protection against accidental damage. Claims can be made 24 hrs a day, and there is the possibility you'll receive a replacement phone by the next business day.

Nexus Protect costs $69 for the Nexus 5X and $89 for Nexus 6P. Both are available on the new Google Fi network.

The most surprising announcement was a new tablet called the Pixel C. In this case, "C" stands for convertible. The convertible tablet attaches magnetically to a keyboard and is adjustable to different angles.

The Pixel C has a 10.2" screen and the keyboard attaches to the back of the tablet when you want it out of the way. It's a Bluetooth keyboard that has a small battery, and it is inductively charged by the tablet. It boasts a 2560x1800 resolution with 308 ppi. The Pixel C starts at $499 and keyboard is $149.

The introduction of the Pixel C further heats up the market for convertible tablets as Apple recently announced its iPad Pro to compete with the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

Still, despite the interesting and innovative things that Google is doing with Android devices, Metodiev believes that they will continue to deal with the same fragmentation problems they have dealt with in the past. Google will need to find a way to keep innovating, but get a handle on fragmentation as well.

Google also announced a new Google Play music family plan, updates to Google Photos, and two new Chromecast devices.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Make tech innovation a top IT priority or risk getting left behind

Part of being an IT leader is preparing your organization for the future. Here are three ways to ready your IT shop for whatever the future brings.

We're living in one of the most exciting times of tech change in recent memory, on par or perhaps exceeding the innovation that occurred with the commercialization of the internet in the late 1990s. Not only are technologies evolving at a rapid pace, but a generation of workers who grew up with technology is filling the workforce, and consumers and employees are likely to be tech savvy. Emerging technologies now become commonplace in a year or two, and in some case wane in importance just as quickly.

It can seem overwhelming as an IT leader to build an organization that can embrace, adapt, and implement these rapidly evolving technologies, and it can be tempting to ignore the evolution rather than try to keep up. However, step off the train, and you and your organization will quickly be left behind. Here are three ways to keep yourself and your organization prepared for the future.

1: Adopt an innovation culture

Key to preparing for future technological advancements is to allow for innovation and experimentation in your organization. You simply cannot track and implement these new technologies if innovation is ignored or punished due to your current organizational culture.

To start embracing a culture for innovation, you must allow for intelligent risk taking and acceptable failure. Without these two ingredients, anything new, technological or otherwise, becomes anathema to success. A lack of innovation often manifests itself in a focus on the operational and celebrating fighting yesterday's problems.

If you find your staff bragging about the thousands of unread emails in their inbox, how they spent the last month "firefighting," or the hours of meetings they've attended, innovation is likely nowhere to be found. Shifting culturally needs to start at the top of the organization, so rather than celebrate these behaviors, highlight people who are looking to innovatively address problems rather than those who jump into the breach of the same disaster every month

2: Activate your "future radar"

As technology accelerates, it can be difficult to keep track of what's occurring outside, and even inside your own organization. With consumer technologies leading many sectors, it's become a bit easier to see trends and new technologies in the general media; however, many of these technologies are being implemented in novel ways in the enterprise space.

At a minimum, make forward-thinking a recurring part of your leadership and team meetings. Spend a few hours or a half-day each quarter focused on future trends, be they new technologies or broad market trends that could affect your industry. External analysts, authors, and consultants are often dying to speak with companies about these trends, and are often willing to provide overviews or facilitate discussions with little or no funding. If nothing else, forcing yourself and your staff to consider the future on a regular basis will help engender the cultural shift toward innovation, and get your staff at all levels to consider how the future will impact them and their organization.

3: Build formal innovation projects

While shifting toward a culture that embraces innovation is a great step forward, it's unlikely to prepare your organization for the future if it relies solely on grassroots efforts to implement new technologies. Even in times of scarce budgets, merely sanctioning employees to spend time exploring and experimenting with new technologies can go a long way. Ideally, you'll create a method for employees and external peers to suggest pilot programs to solve organizational problems with new technologies, and fund the best programs that result.

Leverage your partners, whether they're non-IT peers who are trying to make sense of rapid technological change that will fund some experimentation, or a trusted consulting partner who has a track record and process for enabling innovation. Dozens of organizations have innovation labs and "big thinkers" who can help you refine your ideas to actionable pilot programs that may ultimately lead to successful projects.

The bottom line

We've all seen entire industries and business models created and destroyed at a shocking pace, and it's likely this trend will continue. As an IT leader, it's no longer good enough to successfully run what you have today — an ability to observe and react to future trends is critical for success. While this may seem a daunting challenge at first, this is one of the rare times in history when we have a chance to define and implement the future of our industry.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Zuckerberg Pushes for Universal Internet Access by 2020

At the UN, Zuckerberg said that "connecting the world is one of the fundamental challenges of our generation."
Mark Zuckerberg at the UN
Mark Zuckerberg is teaming up with Bono's One organization to push for universal Internet access by 2020.

"I believe Internet access is essential for achieving humanity's #globalgoals," reads the Connectivity Declaration released by One and signed by several high-profile people and philanthrophic organizations, including The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The declaration was released as the United Nations considered the Global Goals, a development blueprint aimed at solving pressing social and economic challenges. Zuckerberg appeared at the UN this week to discuss the Internet component of those goals and explain that "connecting the world is one of the fundamental challenges of our generation."

"Today over half the people on this planet don't have access," Zuckerberg wrote in a joint New York Times op-ed with Bono. "That is not good for anyone — not for the disempowered and disconnected, and not for the other half, whose commerce and security depend on having stable societies."

Zuckerberg and Bono

Zuckerberg pointed to farmers in Africa who use the mobile Web to track inventory and prices, women in South America who use phones to get health information, and refugees who use smartphones to stay in touch with family during their journey to Europe.

A new UN report on global access to broadband finds that 57 percent of the world, or 4 billion people, remains unconnected. In developing countries, only about 35 percent of people have Internet access.

"It's one thing to say we should connect the world. The real trick is how," Zuckerberg acknowledged. "There's no simple solution or silicon bullet."

One of the big challenges, he said, is providing Internet access to areas that don't even have electricity yet.

"Nine out of 10 rural Africans don't have electricity," Zuckerberg said. "Governments can make the difference. This is why we support initiatives like President Obama's Power Africa plan and the bipartisan Electrify Africa Act in Congress, as well as the African Development Bank's investments in renewable energy."

"Where governments lay the foundation, the private sector can build," he said.

Facebook has been working to expand Internet global Internet access via its But Zuckerberg also highlighted Intel Foundation's work in STEM education, Microsoft's use of technology to advance the Millennium Development Goals, and Google's Project Loon. 

But Silicon Valley must "do far more for those most marginalized, those trapped in poverty, and those beyond or on the edge of the network," Zuckerberg and Bono wrote.

Friday, September 25, 2015

SFTA Newsletter/September 24, 2015


South Florida Technology Alliance

Promoting a vibrant South Florida technology community
SFTA Newsletter/September 24, 2015

Click to Visit Our Sponsors' webpages








TechConnect is a collaborative partnership between CareerSource Broward, local tech employers, Broward County educational institutions, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, and technology industry associations that is designed to address the needs of Broward County's employers while creating opportunities for advancement of workers. Through strategic and innovative planning, TechConnect will serve as a catalyst for the continued growth in Broward County's technology-based workforce and economic development.

Want to learn more? Contact Barbara Cevieux - Business Services Manager-Technology Industry at 954-202-3830, ext.3010 or email

Wednesday, September 30th
Embassy Suites, Boca Raton, FL 

A gathering of major angel groups and funds from throughout the state that specialize in seed to series A investing. This is an excellent opportunity for area entrepreneurs to learn which area angel groups and funds are the right ones for them to pursue for funding.  Panelists will provide information about their investment parameters, their process, typical funding size, and contact information, in addition to issues related to raising capital and investing that entrepreneurs and investors alike can learn from.

CNN, September 24, 2015

CIO, September 24, 2015   

The Quint, September 24, 2015

CNet, September 23, 2015

New York Times, September 23, 2015


Thursday, September 24, 2015

The technology of people versus the people of technology

Sometimes it's hard to bridge the divide between the binary world of tech and the less clear cut world of managing people and expectations.

I used to joke with colleagues that the reason I got into the technology space after university was because I was bad at managing people. Actually, I was pretty bad and over years I may have got a bit better, but still consider myself an acquired taste.

So the joke, as most are, is grounded in reality. People are rarely logical and are driven and compelled more by emotion then by purpose.

To me if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is probably a duck. I have no idea why businesses spend so much time trying to make things look different then they are to not be offensive - or honest - about what things are. Our preoccupation with not offending people drives people to not address the real issues.

Let's take performance. Often managers use technology as a reason why they are underperforming and can't get the job done: yet no one questions whether it is the application of technology or the incompetent use of it that is the problem.

When business requirements are being drawn up for new technology projects often discussions end up in a place where, in my view, business owners intentionally make the application more complex than it needs to be to have plausible denial. Then in the same breath they stutter and moan about signing off on these requirements because they are not prepared or even versed in taking accountability.

When the system then doesn't meet the needs or is delayed or is over budget they then politely blame the technology (not the architect) and are quick to distance themselves from any of that blame.

My point is that people are so scared to fail in today's world they remove the possibility of success.

They fail to see any potential reward as they are too risk adverse and cannot fathom putting themselves in a role of accountability.

Furthermore, they are too scared to enter into a healthy debate about what is working or not working that they won't call their colleagues out and are far too gentle in the way they manage relationships. So much so that the real story is never real and the perception is always false.

I know one thing about technology is that if you develop systems and processes on false perceptions the end product will never address the reality you live in. It is time for people in technology and for that matter business to grow up and stand up. Be counted, be convicted, be effective and be real.

I started in a world where bits and bites were the basis of computer systems and operations. That each process or transaction had a 'yes' or a 'no' response and there was no grey area or 'maybe'.

The technology of people is impacting the technology for the people and that bothers me.

The Naked CIO is an anonymous technology executive.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

T-Mobile Expands International Coverage to 20 More Countries

T-Mobile Generic

T-Mobile on Thursday added 20 new countries and destinations to its Simple Global feature.
With the expansion, the program now offers subscribers unlimited data and texting, plus calls for $0.20 a minute in 145 countries and destinations, including all of Europe and South America. The expansion perhaps most notably includes the Bahamas, "where more than 2 million Americas travel each year," T-Mobile said.

Other new additions include Haiti plus nine European countries: Monaco, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia; five European destinations: Guernsey, Alderney, Jersey, Sark, and Isle of Man; and four other countries: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. Check out the full coverage map below.
TMobile Simple Global Map
"We've just made your traveling even easier in 20 more destinations around the world, expanding Simple Global to cover all of Europe and all of South America," T-Mobile President and CEO John Legere said in a statement.  "The carriers have made billions overcharging consumers who just want to stay connected overseas, and we've changed all that! Today, we made it even simpler to text, search or keep up on social media in a total of 145 countries and destinations, all at no extra cost!"
T-Mobile said Simple Global now covers more than 90 percent of the trips Americans take abroad each year. The self-proclaimed "un-carrier" added that Simple Global has been one of its "most loved moves." Since the programlaunched in 2013, customers are using 140 times more data abroad, making more than six times as many voice calls, and global texting is up tenfold.
The Simple Global feature is available at no extra charge with a qualifying Simple Choice Plan.