Lucas Mearian

About the Author Lucas Mearian


Wireless charging explained: What is it and how does it work?

Wireless charging has been around since the late 19th century, when electricity pioneer Nikola Tesla deomnstrated magnetic resonant coupling – the ability to transmit electricity through the air by creating a magnetic field between two circuits, a transmitter and a receiver.

But for about 100 years it was a technology without many practical applications, except, perhaps, for a few electric toothbrush models.

Today, there are nearly a half dozen wireless charging technologies in use, all aimed at cutting cables to everything from smartphones and laptops to kitchen appliances and cars. 

Wireless charging is making inroads in the healthcare, automotive and manufacturing industries because it offers the promise of increased mobility and advances that could allow tiny internet of things (IoT) devices to get power many feet away from a charger.

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Apple just bought its own wireless charging company. Here’s why.

Apple has purchased a New Zealand-based wireless charging company whose technology can send power to multiple devices, from headphones to remote controls, at the same time.

As appealing as that may sound for mobile devices, Apple likely hopes to use the technology for a vast array of electronics such as the Apple TV remote control or its own computer mouse – and perhaps even for industrial applications.

PowerByProxi wireless charging IDG/Lucas Mearian

A prototype of PowerByProxi’s wireless charging box, which can charge multiple devices at the same time. Inside the box is a remote-controlled car, a Wii controller and a TV remote control, all using wirelessly chargeable AA batteries. 

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Dell integrates desktop, mobile management for UEM

Dell has integrated its cloud-based desktop management console with AirWatch’s mobile platform to create a single console that allows admins to remotely manage end-user systems.

Dell and VMware’s AirWatch also introduced Windows 10 provisioning through the AirWatch mobile management service.

Dell made the AirWatch integration announcement in conjunction with its efforts to  expand its PC-as-a-Service offering (PCaaS). Dell’s service combines hardware, software, lifecycle services and financing into one solution priced per seat per month.

Thirty-one percent of the commercial PC market is expected to move to a PCaaS model by 2020, according to IDC.

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Mastercard launches its own blockchain payments network

Mastercard is launching its own blockchain network to enable partner banks and merchants to make cross-border payments faster and more securely.

The Mastercard blockchain service can be used to clear credit card transactions, eliminate administration tasks using smart contract rules and thus, speed transaction settlement.

“By combining Mastercard blockchain technology with our settlement network and associated network rules, we have created a solution that is safe, secure, auditable and easy to scale,” Ken Moore, executive vice president for Mastercard Labs said in a statement.

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iOS 11 uptake leaves iOS 10 – and Android 8 – in the dust

Apple released iOS 11 on Sept. 19 and within a week the latest version of iOS was already powering 30.21% iDevices. That’s still left it far behind the 63.47% running iOS 10.

But what a difference three weeks makes. 

Apple’s latest mobile OS update maintained its fast adoption curve and as of now – one month out – it has not only surpassed iOS 10, but left it in the dust.

According to business analytics service Mixpanel’s data, adoption of iOS 11 surpassed iOS 10 last Tuesday, Oct. 10. As of now, iOS 11 is in use on 53.83% of iPhones and iPads, compared to the 39.37% still on iOS 10.

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FinTech builds on blockchain for international mobile payments

IBM has partnered with a Polynesian payments system provider and an open-source FinTech payment network to implement a new international exchange based on a blockchain electronic ledger.

The new payment network uses IBM’s Blockchain Platform, a cloud service, to enable the electronic exchange of 12 different currencies across Pacific Islands as well as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

KlickEx Group, a United Nations-funded, Pacific-region financial services company, and Stellar.org, a nonprofit organization that supports an open-source blockchain network for financial services, are backing the new cross-border payments service.

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Yes, Windows Phone is dead. Here’s why

To the surprise of few, if any, a Microsoft executive has confirmed the inevitable: The Windows Phone is effectively dead.

While the company will continue to support existing iterations, Joe Belfiore, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Windows, spelled out in a series of tweets why it has no plans to release new versions of phone hardware or the Windows Mobile OS.

When asked by a user whether it is “time to leave Windows Mobile platform,” Belfiore tweeted back, “Depends who you are. Many companies still deploy to their employees and we will support them!”

Microsoft Joe Belfiore Windows PhoneTwitter

Belfiore went on to state that Microsoft will continue to service Windows 10 Mobile with bug fixes and software patches, but “building new features/hw aren’t the focus.” He even disclosed he had personally chosen to switch platforms for the “app/hw diversity.”

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Machine learning-based threat detection is coming to your smartphone

Part of a growing trend, MobileIron announced today that it is adding machine learning-based threat-detection software to its enterprise mobility management (EMM) client, which it said will help address an increase in mobile attacks.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said it has partnered with Zimperium, a maker of machine learning-based behavioral analysis and threat detection software that monitors mobile devices for nefarious activity and apps.

MobileIron said it will integrate Zimperium’s z9 Engine software with its security and compliance client. The software will reside on users’ iOS or Android smartphones or tablets, and it will also become a part of IT administrators’ EMM control consoles. That upgrade to MobileIron’s EMM client will “automate the process of detecting and responding to mobile threats,” MobileIron stated.

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How to develop a mobile device repair or replace strategy

As mobile devices become a primary computing platform for many enterprise employees, repairing or replacing smartphones and tablets at the local Apple or Microsoft store isn’t a viable option for large enterprises.

While managed mobility services (MMS) have been around as long as mobile devices, until recently such services tailored to repairing and replacing mobile devices were immature. The consumerization of IT and the growth of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies as well as corporate-issued smartphones and tablets had left them unable to scale at an enterprise level.

At the same time, the myriad of mobile devices and mobile operating systems has made it difficult for IT shops to address issues associated with them. For example, Android fragmentation — both hardware and software — has led organizations to farm out device management in order to free up corporate IT resources for business projects.

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Is wireless charging bad for your smartphone?

With Apple finally bringing native wireless charging to its iPhone lineup, the technology will become far more widely adopted, both among consumers and within corporations.

Apple chose to use the Qi specification, which uses inductive charging technology, for its iPhone 8 and iPhone X lineup of smartphones. Samsung committed to the same specification for its flagship Galaxy smartphones; in all, about 90 smartphone models use Qi today, making it the industry’s most popular among three standards. In addition to desktop charging stations (typically in the form of small charging pads), the automotive marketplace has also adopted in-cabin wireless charging.

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Google’s HTC move borrows from Apple’s playbook

Google’s $1.1 billion acquisition of HTC’s smartphone engineering arm is not a direct assault against its chief rival, Apple. But it is a recognition of Apple’s successful strategy.

It is also an acknowledgement that an ecosystem dominated by hardware manufacturers and telecom providers – each with a set of priorities and plans that doesn’t dovetail with Google’s – results in a myriad of devices that run the gamut of quality.

With that in mind, Google’s buyout of HTC’s engineering IP will enable it to create a pure Android play by marrying hardware and software in a move that could eventually reduce fragmentation in the Android ecosystem.

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Coming soon to the office: iOS 11’s augmented reality

With the official launch of iOS 11 this week, Apple has introduced more PC-like capabilities to its mobile devices – especially the iPad – so workers can more often use them for daily tasks.

While that’s good news for companies focused on a mobile-first strategy, what could be an even greater boon for business is iOS’s native augmented reality (AR) play, via its ARKit SDK.

While Apple’s AR move may appear at first blush to be focused on consumers with animated emojis and masks, native AR toolkits open up a world of possibilities for business users and app developers, according to IDC analyst Bryan Bassett.

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