Infographic: How today’s carriers came to be (and how one didn’t)

This recent infographic created by the folks at GigaOm shows the origins of the “Big Four” carriers, the sizes of their subscriber bases, and what might have been if Sprint and T-Mobile had merged (they would’ve been second-largest in subscribers, behind AT&T, but ahead of Verizon).

twisted tangled web of wireless

Click the infographic to see it at full size.

And the competing continues…

big 4 carriers

After months of pursuing a merger with T-Mobile, saying that they needed to team up in order to compete effectively against the giants AT&T and Verizon, they merger called off, Sprint and its parent company SoftBank called it off and are going it alone. Now that the marriage is off, the smaller half of the “Big Four” carriers are back to poaching each other’s customers.

Not only did Sprint get a new CEO, they got a new, more aggressive approach to pricing. They’ve recently introduced plans that give customers more data for the same price as similarly-priced plans offered by the competition and have even borrowed a page from T-Mobile’s book of tricks: reimbursing customers who switch for their early termination fees. Sprint have also announced a new plan featuring unlimited talk, text, and data that “$20 cheaper than T-Mobile”.

In response, T-Mobile have promised more “offers and Uncarrier moves” this week, and CEO John Legere retorted with this spicy tweet:

Here’s Bloomberg Newsweek’s take on the Sprint/T-Mobile fight:

While AT&T and Verizon may be in the more comfortable position of being content to let Sprint and T-Mobile battle it out with price cutting, they’re not completely insulated from the battle. AT&T, through their subsidiary Cricket Wireless, are taking the fight to the pre-paid market by offering a $100 credit to users who switch from T-Mobile and its pre-paid subsidiary MetroPCS to Cricket.

this article also appears in the GSG blog

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lego minifig usb cable holders

It’s something that the Sugru community (apparently, there is one) has discovered:

this article also appears in the GSG blog

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swift kickIf you’ve been faithfully downloading all the Xcode 6 betas to work with the latest version of Swift, you’re probably used to dealing with new betas breaking your code. In many cases, it’s due to changes in Swift, but once in a while, it’ll be completely unrelated to the language.

When I tried to compile my simple shoot ‘em up game using Xcode 6 beta 6, I kept getting a couple of errors with text like this:

Apple Mach-O Linker error, Undefined symbols for architecture

You’re pretty insulated from the details of compiling and linking in Swift, and I hadn’t modified the code since I last ran it in beta 5, which left Xcode as the thing that changed and broke the build. A quick search on Stack Overflow revealed that deleting the DerivedData directory, which contains dSYM data (debug symbols — information used during the build process and for debugging), fixes the problem.

The default location for DerivedData is:

/Users/[your username]/Library/Developer/Xcode/DerivedData

Wait! I can’t find the Library folder in my home directory!

The Library folder is hidden by default in order to prevent non-technical users from messing around with it. However, as a developer, there are times that you’ll need to access it. Here’s how you make it visible within Finder in Mavericks:

  1. Open a Finder window.
  2. Go to your Home folder (the keyboard shortcut is command-Shift-H).
  3. In the View menu, select Show View Options (the keyboard shortcut is command-J).
  4. Make sure that the Show Library Folder checkbox is checked.

view options window

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the california ruling

In the case of Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, Colin Cochran filed a class action suit against his employer, the largest direct-to-home food delivery service in the U.S., on behalf of customer service managers who weren’t being reimbursed for work-related use of personal mobile phones. Cochran won, and the ruling is expected to have a significant impact on the way companies do BYOD, and in some cases, may even “bring it down”, if the somewhat alarmist title of this CIO article covering the case’s outcome is to be believed.

2nd court of appeal

The Second District Appellate Court of California.

The case was first taken to the Los Angeles Superior Court, and then the Second District Appellate Court, where the ruling was made on Tuesday, August 12th. Judge Teresa Sanchez-Gordon had said that a class action was not the best way to resolve the issue, noting that examination was required to resolve the question of whether Cochran or his live-in girlfriend paid his mobile bill. In the end, the court ruled that even if a family member or friend pays the costs of using a personal mobile device, if that device is used for work-related purposes, the employer is still required to provide reasonable reimbursement for the employee.

“If an employee is required to make work-related calls on a personal cell phone, then he or she is incurring an expense for purposes of labor law,” Judge Judith Ashmann-Gerst wrote for the court. “It does not matter whether the phone bill is paid for by a third person, or at all. In other words, it is no concern to the employer that the employee may pass on the expense to a family member or friend, or to a carrier that has to then write off a loss. It is irrelevant whether the employee changed plans to accommodate work-related cell phone usage. Also, the details of the employee’s cell phone plan do not factor into the liability analysis. Not only does our interpretation prevent employers from passing on operating expenses, it also prevents them from digging into the private lives of their employees to unearth how they handle their finances vis-a-vis family, friends and creditors. To show liability under the labor code, an employee need only show that he or she was required to use a personal cell phone to make work-related calls, and he or she was not reimbursed. Damages, of course, raise issues that are more complicated.”

smartphones
It wasn’t all that long ago that there were predictions that BYOD stipends would eventually go away and that BYOD for work would be like business clothes: something for which employees would cover the costs and not expect any reimbursement. It was expected in some circles that BYOD stipends would disappear just like reimbursements for telecommuters who used at-home wifi did. The ruling will likely not only render those predictions wrong, it may even lead to the return of reimbursement for wifi for work done at home.

Hyoun Park, Principal Consultant at DataHive Consulting who’s been following the case, says that there are some technical wrinkles in the ruling that need to be worked out. “The court didn’t care about whether you bought 100 megabytes or an unlimited plan. They’re just saying that the company should pay for a portion of the bill. So there’s going to be an argument there.”

california flag

In the end, organizations in California with BYOD programs or who require their employees to use their own mobile phones for work will need to review how mobile devices are used in their day-to-day business, and if necessary, make adjustments. They’ll need to review their mobile device use policies and decide if they want to continue requiring employees to provide their own mobile devices for work use. If they decide to rely on individual-liable devices, they’ll need to make certain they know which employee-owned mobile assets are being used for work purposes, implement a stipend or reimbursement policy, and have some kind of mobile management platform to stay on top of these measures.

On the other hand, if a California business decides to simply disallow the use of personal mobile devices for work, they’ll need to come up with an alternative for employees who require mobile devices. This arrangement will also require management of all sorts, from a corporate-liable device policy to manage the inventory, and once again, some kind of mobile management platform to watch over these incredibly portable company assets.

While the ruling won’t take effect until 30 days after it was made and applies only in the state of California, there’s a good chance that it’ll soon affect personal mobiles used for business outside The Golden State. We’ll keep you up-to-date on these developments.

this article also appears in the GSG blog

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A record-breaking number of smartphones shipped in 2Q14

top 5 smartphone os shipments 2013-14

Click the graph to see it at full size.

For the first time ever, more than 300 million smartphones were shipped in a single quarter. The market research and analyst firm IDC stated in their most recent press release that according to their Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker data, smartphone vendors shipped a record-breaking 301.3 million units in the second quarter of 2014. In the same quarter in 2014, smartphone vendors shipped 240.5 million, making this year’s change a 25.3% year-over-year increase.

The chart above is based on the table of 2013 and 2014 smartphone shipments included in IDC’s press release, which we’ve reproduced below:

Operating System

2Q14 Shipment Volume
(millions)

2Q14 Market Share

2Q13 Shipment Volume
(millions)

2Q13 Market Share

2Q14/2Q13 Growth

Android

255.3

84.7%

191.5

79.6%

33.3%

iOS

35.2

11.7%

31.2

13.0%

12.7%

Windows Phone

7.4

2.5%

8.2

3.4%

-9.4%

BlackBerry

1.5

0.5%

6.7

2.8%

-78.0%

Others

1.9

0.6%

2.9

1.2%

-32.2%

Total

301.3

100%

240.5

100%

25.3%

Some of IDC’s observations on the data:

  • With almost 85% of the global market share, Android have set a new market share record, doubling their share from a mere three years ago. Samsung account for just under 30% of the Android shipments, a drop from their 40% share two years ago.
  • The second quarter is always the slowest for iOS, as they traditionally release a new phone around the end of the third quarter. The tradition is expected to continue this year, with a lot of expectation that Apple will unveil the next iPhone on September 9.
  • Windows phone is the “clear number 3 smartphone platform,” to use IDC’s words. IDC reports that while Windows Phone’s shipments for 2014 are down from 2013, but their 2Q14 shipments are an improvement over their 1Q14 numbers.
  • With less than 1% market share, it’s time for even the most resilient of BlackBerry holdouts to face the fact that theirs is no longer a viable platform.

It’s an Android/iOS world; we just live in it

apple android worldBased on IDC’s numbers, the combined share of Android and iOS is 96.4% this quarter, leaving the remaining players to fight over the remaining 5.6%. Android and iOS were the only mobile operating systems to see year-over-year growth this quarter, with Android shipments up 33%, and iOS shipments up nearly 13%. Every other OS vendor lost share between this year and last.

Lenovo sells more mobile devices than PCs, becomes the world’s number 4 smartphone vendor

You’d never know it from their US site, pictured below, which appears to be solely focused on PCs and servers…

lenovo us site

…but Lenovo now sells more mobile devices than PCs. In fact, they’re the number 4 smartphone vendor, according to IDC, who published this data in there Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report:

Vendor

2Q14 Shipment Volume
(millions)

2Q14 Market Share

2Q13 Shipment Volume
(millions)

2Q13 Market Share

2Q14/2Q13 Growth

Samsung (Android)

74.3

25.2%

77.3

32.3%

-3.9%

Apple (iOS)

35.1

11.9%

31.2

13.0%

12.4%

Huawei (Android)

20.3

6.9%

10.4

4.3%

95.1%

Lenovo (Android)

15.8

5.4%

11.4

4.7%

38.7%

LG (Android)

14.5

4.9%

12.1

5.0%

19.8%

Others

135.3

45.8%

97.5

40.6

38.7%

Most of Lenovo’s smartphone sales are in China, where they’re the number one smartphone vendor. They aim to change that with the assistance of their recent purchase of Motorola, who’ve been releasing some impressive yet inexpensive smartphones, such as the Moto G and Moto E (which we raved about back in May).

For more, here’s the Wall Street Journal’s Yun-Hee Kim talking to IDC analyst Brian Ma about Lenovo’s next big ambition: to expand their presence in North America and Europe and take on Apple and Samsung:

Thanks to Phil Caruso, GSG’s Director, Channel Programs for the heads-up!

this article also appears in the GSG blog

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tem slide

We’ve just posted a new video titled Telecom Expense Management, or TEM. It explains why your business needs TEM, and what makes up a good telecom expense management system.

Here’s the video. We promise it’ll be enlightening and amusing:

About Mobility 101

mobility 101 tem title card

This video is the second in our ongoing Mobility 101 series, which covers various aspects of enterprise mobility: mobile technology, applications, services, and management. We know that the last thing that you want to do is sit through another long, boring presentation, so we’ve made sure that every video is ten minutes or shorter and not like most of the stultifying slide decks you’ve had to suffer through. We’ve worked to make them entertaining as well as educational.

In case you missed our first one, Intro to MMS, here it is:

We’ll be posting new videos regularly to our channel on YouTube, located at this easy-to-remember URL: bit.ly/gsgyoutube.

this article also appears in the GSG blog

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Techie amusements

by Joey deVilla on August 11, 2014

Here’s a little geeky humor to get your week started…

It’s one of the reasons I write native apps

javascript and the good parts

Okay, JavaScript isn’t that bad, but sometimes, it’s hair-pullingly bad.

We could all use one of these converter boxes

xkcd - universal converter box

Good ol’ XKCD; Randall Munroe always know how to channel geek desires into comics.

Sometimes, all you need is a little rebranding

victorian i-pads

With a little glue and some gears, you could sell them as steampunk at double the price.

Dilbert thinks your baby is ugly

dilbert software baby

Does anyone remember the term “egoless programming”?

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