Archive | November 2007

A Sure Cure

Security will be a Key Investment Priority among Asia Pacific SMBS in 2008
by: Jerry Liao

Small and medium businesses (SMBs, or companies with up to 999 employees) are on track to spend a whopping US$2.8 billion on IT security across the Asia-Pacific region next year, up some 26% over 2007. The four key markets in the region – Australia, South Korea, India, and China – will account for more than 75% of Asia’s total security spend in 2008, with China alone accounting for well over 33% of the total spend.

This comes from the latest study by Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc. “Nearly 25% of the total spend will continue to remain in traditional security areas such as antivirus, anti-spam and anti-phishing software,” says Nishant Dave, AMI Singapore-based Research Director for the Asia-Pacific. “However, this only forms the first layer of basic protection that SMBs in the region are considering from a security point of view. SMBs in the region are now looking at expanding the domain of their security investments to match the scale of their current IT infrastructure and their expansion plans.”

As SMBs evolve from building the basic IT infrastructure to deploying technologies that enable intra-enterprise connectivity—servers, websites and high-speed broadband—they will increasingly look at setting up network-based security solutions. These will involve deploying network firewalls, improving email security, document access control and encryption-enabling solutions. “More than 200,000 new SMBs across the Asia-Pacific region will deploy a network firewall solution in 2008 in a bid to protect their evolved IT infrastructure,” Mr. Dave notes.

Among the four key countries, many SMBs in mature markets such as Australia and South Korea have moved beyond deploying intra-enterprise connectivity. They are now looking at taking the next leap toward extending their businesses—to their suppliers, partners and customers. “Deploying enterprise applications such as an ERP (enterprise resource planning), collaborative applications and enhancing communication systems form a key investment priority to enable their business transformation,” Mr. Dave says. These SMBs, having installed point solutions for security, are now looking at holistic security solutions which can scale up to their ever-increasing infrastructure requirements, as well as expanding business units and branches.

Medium businesses (MBs, or companies with 100-999 employees) are looking for enhanced security services. These will help MBs assess the vulnerability of their current infrastructure, as well as help them deploy security solutions to match their needs from both a current and planned growth perspective. As assessment of operational risk gains importance in a volatile economic environment, MBs will look at deploying enterprise-class security solutions which can scale as their business grows.

In the Asia-Pacific region, MBs are set to spend US$1.77 billion on security solutions in 2008, up some 27% over 2007. About 25% of this spend will be on security-related services. These include both product support as well as professional services around architecting and managing their security infrastructure. “Security spending by MBs in China and India is on track to grow by more than 25% in 2008 over 2007,” Mr. Dave says. “MBs in both mature and emerging markets will remain the sweet spot of advanced IT security solutions spend in 2008.”

AMI’s study, titled The Global Forecast Model, provides a detailed picture of IT adoption and spending patterns in the SMB space across 66 different IT technology sub-categories and 14 Asia/Pacific countries, with roll-ups to regional views. The number of businesses and their spending on various technologies — including wireless LANs, IP PBXs, VoIP, outsourced IT services, storage, VPNs/firewalls, intrusion detection, CRM, ERP/SCM — are examined in depth across the 2006 to 2012 timeframe. The study also provides drill-down views of each of these technologies by eight employee-size and 19 vertical-market segments, and serves as the industry’s most comprehensive worldwide SMB market planning tool.

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The Model Solution

Kindle: eBook Reader
by: Jerry Liao

While most organizations are working to provide PCs to most of our schools, the problem of room availability, tables, chairs, teachers and of course books are still lingering in front of our educators. What’s the use of having computers when kids don’t have a conducive room for their learning, teachers that are not equipped with the latest teaching technology, and students with outdated books or no books at all.

MONEY. Yes, money / budget is the problem why we an’t seem to solve these problems that we had since time and memorial. Government can’t seem to gather their acts together, or is it more of a problem of commitment, priorities and/or sincerity to solve the problem? I really don’t know.

Technology is again here to extend a helping hand – in as far as the shortage of books is concerned. Not only should we provide our students books but it has to be “Quality Books”. Books that are updated with
quality information to provide our student and teachers quality knowledge and education. Here’s a
sample solution – KINDLE.

Amazon.com introduced Amazon Kindle, a revolutionary portable reader that wirelessly downloads books,
blogs, magazines and newspapers to a crisp, high-resolution electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight. More than 90,000 books are now available in the Kindle Store, including 101 of 112 current New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases, which are $9.99, unless marked otherwise. Kindle is available starting today for $399 at http://amazon.com/kindle.

“We’ve been working on Kindle for more than three years. Our top design objective was for Kindle to
disappear in your hands — to get out of the way — so you can enjoy your reading,” said Jeff Bezos,
Amazon.com Founder and CEO. “We also wanted to go beyond the physical book. Kindle is wireless, so whether you’re lying in bed or riding a train, you can think of a book, and have it in less than 60 seconds. No computer is needed — you do your shopping directly from the device. We’re excited to make Kindle available today.”

Downloads Content Wirelessly, No PC Required, No Hunting for Wi-Fi Hot Spots
The Kindle wireless delivery system, Amazon Whispernet, uses the same nationwide high-speed data
network (EVDO) as advanced cell phones. Kindle customers can wirelessly shop the Kindle Store,
download or receive new content — all without a PC, Wi-Fi hot spot, or syncing.

No Monthly Wireless Bills or Commitments With Amazon Kindle eBook Reader
Books can be downloaded in less than a minute and magazines, newspapers, and blogs are delivered to
subscribers automatically. Amazon pays for the wireless connectivity for Kindle so there are no monthly wireless bills, data plans, or service commitments for customers.

Amazon Kindle Reads Like Paper
Kindle uses a high-resolution display technology called electronic paper that provides a sharp black and white screen that is as easy to read as printed paper. The screen works using ink, just like books and
newspapers, but displays the ink particles electronically. It reflects light like ordinary paper
and uses no backlight, eliminating the eyestrain and glare associated with other electronic displays such
as computer monitors or PDA screens.

Books, Blogs, Magazines and Newspapers The Kindle Store currently offers more than 90,000 books, as well as hundreds of newspapers, magazines and blogs. Customers can search, browse, buy, and
download from this wide selection wirelessly from their Kindle. The same Amazon shopping experience
customers are accustomed to is offered in the Kindle Store, including customer reviews, personalized
recommendations, 1-Click purchasing, and everyday low prices. Additionally, Kindle customers can download and read the first chapter of most Kindle books for free.

Kindle customers can select from the most recognized U.S. newspapers, as well as popular magazines and journals, such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly, TIME and Fortune. The Kindle Store also includes top international newspapers from France, Germany, and
Ireland, including Le Monde, Frankfurter Allgemeine and The Irish Times. Subscriptions are auto-delivered
wirelessly to Kindle overnight so that the latest edition is waiting for customers when they wake up.

Monthly Kindle newspaper subscriptions are $5.99 to $14.99 per month, and Kindle magazines are $1.25 to $3.49 per month. All magazines and newspapers include a free two-week trial.

The Kindle Store has over 300 blogs on topics ranging from Internet and technology to culture, lifestyle,
and humor, to politics and opinion. Examples include Slashdot, TechCrunch, BoingBoing, The Onion, The
Huffington Post, and ESPN blogs. Blogs are updated and downloaded wirelessly throughout the day so Kindle customers can read blogs whenever and wherever they want. Wireless delivery of blogs costs as little as $0.99 each per month and also includes a free two-week trial.

Holds Hundreds of Books in 10.3 Ounces
At 10.3 ounces, Kindle is lighter and thinner than a typical paperback and fits easily in one hand, yet its
built-in memory stores more than 200 titles, and hundreds more with an optional SD memory card.
Additionally, a copy of every book purchased is backed up online on Amazon.com so that customers have the option to make room for new titles on their Kindle knowing that Amazon.com is storing their personal library of purchased content.

Built-In Dictionary and Wikipedia
Kindle has built-in access to The New Oxford American Dictionary, which contains over 250,000 entries and definitions, so readers can easily look up the definitions of words within their reading. Kindle
customers also have seamless access to the world’s most exhaustive and up-to-date encyclopedia,
Wikipedia.org, and its collection of over 2,000,000 articles.

Long Battery Life
Customers can leave the Kindle wireless connectivity on and recharge approximately every other day, or turn wireless off and read for a week or more before recharging. Kindle fully recharges in two hours.

Search
Kindle has a standard-layout keyboard that makes it possible for users to search the Kindle Store, their
entire library of purchased content, and Wikipedia.org. Customers simply type in a word or phrase and Kindle will find every instance.

Annotation and Bookmarks
The Kindle keyboard lets customers add annotations to text, just as they would write in the margins of a
book. Customers can edit, delete and export these notes, highlight and clip key passages, and bookmark
pages for future use. Additionally, Kindle automatically bookmarks the last page a customer reads
of any content on their Kindle.

Ergonomic Design
Kindle is designed for long-form reading, so it is as easy to hold and use as a book. Full-length, vertical
page-turning buttons are located on both sides of Kindle, allowing customers to read and turn pages
comfortably from any position. The page-turning buttons are located on both the right and left sides
of Kindle, which allows both left and right-handed customers to hold, turn pages, and position Kindle
with one hand.

Adjustable Text Size
Amazon Kindle has six adjustable font sizes to suit customers’ varying reading preferences.

Personal Documents
Customers can take their personal documents with them on their Kindle. Customers and their contacts can e-mail Word documents and pictures directly to their unique and customizable Kindle e-mail address for $0.10 each. Kindle supports wireless delivery of unprotected Microsoft(R) Word, HTML, TXT, JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP files.

Kindle is a device that shows all of us that quality education need not be expensive. It doesn’t have to
be Kindle, it could be any other device, for as long as it can do the same – am all for it. The idea is to
have something like Kindle that will allow our students to download new and quality books for them to
read. A device that allows them to connect to the Internet to read additional materials. Now that’s
technology for you.

The Digital Media Conference 2007

In the early 1990s, the very term digital was new and novel. However, it has taken only fifteen years for e-mail, the Internet, mobile phones, the power of searchable databases, games, film and TV special effects and workplace software tools to become a common and essential part of modern life. Research has not only described the arrival of these new forms, but is increasingly addressing the unexpected social and cultural uses of digital communications and virtual work/play environments. Digital and its media is expected to affect everyone’s lives whether we like it or not.

In line with this phenomenon, Powertips is proud to present The Digital Media Conference 2007 on November 25, 2007 (Sunday) to December 2,2007 (Sunday) at the Podium in Ortigas from 11:00am to 9:00pm.

The Digital Media Conference 2007 is dedicated to showcase the latest digital technologies – from games to music to movies; gadgets, HDTV, audio/video players, mobile handsets, computers, digital imaging and a lot more. Attendees will be immersed in the state-of-the-art in current and soon-to-be-deployed technologies: what platforms will see the most traffic and why; the role of digital rights management; storage and digital asset management issues; cross-platform content production; broadband and narrow-band solutions; and others.

The Digital Media Conference 2007 will also discuss the latest digital software available like Photoshop, Premier, Dreamweaver, Flash, Microsoft Office 2007. The conference will also provides exposure and sales opportunities with the major players across entertainment, media and technology businesses plus tips and techniques on digital photography, video enhancements and other digital imaging secrets.

Who Should Attend The Digital Media Conference 2007:

– Entertainment, Content Owners and Creators, Publishers, and Enterprise Content Buyers:

Key executives from the top digital manufacturing, technology and services companies; top creators of content from entertainment, financial services, media, communications and software companies; network infrastructure companies; architects of next-generation and broadband cellular systems; broadcasters, engineers; manufacturers of enabling technology devices; professional services such as attorneys, public relations and advertising.

– Internet Executives, IT and Software Developers, Web Professionals:

Senior executives; web designers and content creators; e-commerce, sales, business development and marketing executives; portals; networking companies; attorneys, publicists and other professionals; digital asset managers; content buyers and sellers

– Financial Institutions, Banks and Investors:

CEOs and CFOs, venture capitalists, institutional investors, analysts, investment bankers, incubators, private investors, consulting firms.

– Education, Government and Enterprise Professionals:

Academic administrators and faculty. Government managers responsible for IT and training.

– Users: Gamers, hobbyist and enthusiast.

Digital Media industry leaders who will be present during the event are: Advance Solutions Inc., Astech Pengson Distributors Inc., Canon Philippines, Creative, Globe Telecom, HP Philippines, Microsoft Philippines, NEO Computers, Nexus Technologies, Silicon Valley Computer Center, Smart, Sony, Sony Ericsson, STI, WordText Systems Inc. Our media partners include: Manila Bulletin, Inquirer.net, Brainshare, Infochat, 88.3, 89.1, 89.9, 99.5, and 103.5.

This 8-day event will be a conference + exhibit + marketing opportunities event. Exhibit Admission is FREE – Seminar Registration is required (at the venue).

The Digital Media Conference 2007 will be on November 25, 2007 (Sunday) to December 2,2007 (Sunday) at the Podium in Ortigas from 11:00am to 9:00pm.

SMBs in the Philippines to Spend US$1.3B on IT in 2007

Computing and Internet spending to account more than 70% of IT spending
by: Jerry Liao

Small and medium businesses (SMBs, or companies with up to 999 employees) in the Philippines are on track to spend US$1.3 billion on boosting their IT infrastructure this year, up some 19% over 2006. Much of this spending will be driven by computing— which includes PCs, printers, peripherals and servers—as well as Internet-related investments. These together will account for more than 70% of all IT spending. This comes from the latest study by New York-based Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc.

“Most SMBs in the Philippines are boosting investments on computer hardware and Internet-related technologies as they build the basic blocks of IT infrastructure,” says Ruth Garin, AMI’s Singapore-based Research Analyst. “SBs (small businesses, or companies with up to 99 staff) will use up more than 80% of their IT budgets on computing and Internet connectivity, while MBs (medium businesses, or companies with up to 999 employees) will spend more than 50% of IT budgets on these two areas.”

The two key reasons for the increase in IT spending is awareness and realization that IT will help boost business, and that IT will improve delivery of products and services. “In addition, strong competition among IT market players offers wider technology opportunities for SMBs,” Ms. Garin says. “At the moment, the Philippines is one of the top five countries in the Asia-Pacific region outside of Japan, with the fastest IT growth rates.”

In the Philippines, end-user price is one of the major hurdles to IT adoption. Thus, bringing IT prices down to the level where budget-conscious SMBs can afford to buy, will ensure a healthy market uptake. “Besides computing and Internet spending, SMBs are also spending on boosting data security,” Ms. Garin says. “The market for data security solutions among SMBs is set to grow by almost 30% this year. Securing the data and network is similar to prolonging the life of an IT investment. More SMBs are becoming more aware of cyber-threats and want to take measures to protect their data.”

The majority of IT spending is coming from SMBs around the capital, also known as the National Capital Region (NCR) – composed of 17 major cities and municipalities. The NCR makes up more than 50% of the total IT spend this year. Being the center of major business activities in the country, NCR brings in the majority of IT investment. SMBs in this region are more likely to adapt faster to market needs.

Outside NCR, faster market developments are also happening in key cities in the CALABARZON and Central Visayas regions. Major cities in these two regions will account for up to 10% of the total IT spend with an annual growth rate of 13%. The development of the manufacturing industry and its expansion into these regions are boosting IT investment. Aside from this, growth in the retail industry is also encouraging.

“In a market as geographically dispersed as the Philippines, finding key markets and having a targeted approach will be key in identifying market opportunities. This will definitely provide a greater competitive advantage among market players and an effective way of channeling their resources,” Ms. Garin says.

In an earlier study, AMI also reported that small and medium businesses (with 1-999 employees) in the retail vertical across the Asia-Pacific region outside of Japan are on track to spend a whopping US$11.6 billion on IT-related investments this year. Computing – which includes PC and server hardware – and IT Services will be the top drivers of retail SMB spending in 2007.

Key countries in the region which will drive retail SMB IT spending for 2007 include Australia, China, India, South Korea and Taiwan. “While retail SMB IT spending in emerging markets such as India, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam are set to grow more than 15% year-on-year in 2007, spending in mature markets such as Australia and Singapore will grow less than 10% in 2007 over 2006,” says Nishant Dave, AMI’s Singapore based Research Director for the Asia-Pacific.

The IT revolution in the retail SMB segment is taking place at two levels in the region – on the one hand, retail small businesses (with 1-99 employees) are aggressively investing in basic computing infrastructure. On the other, retail medium businesses (with 100-999 employees) are looking closely at the services delivery platforms in addition to IT infrastructure to enhance their competitive edge. “Both types of companies will face the disruptive threat to their business models from larger retailers which will compel them to re-invent themselves using IT as a competitive differentiator,” Mr. Dave says.

Nearly 150,000 new retail SMBs in the Asia-Pacific region are planning to invest in basic PC infrastructure in 2007 as a means to better manage their business decisions by using simple productivity tools. Moreover, many of the current and new retail SMBs are also looking at connecting to the Internet through broadband and engaging with their ecosystem – especially future customers and expanding their reach to their suppliers.

Dancing with the Stars

DanceJam – MC Hammer’s New Social Network
by: Jerry Liao

For the younger generation, the name MC Hammer may be alien to you. But to some like me, MC Hammer (Stanley Burrell) is a big celebrity, one of the best performers the entertainment industry ever had. He’s performance is electrifying. Some of the songs he popularized are Too legit to quit, Pray, Here comes the Hammer, and You can’t touch this.

He also popularized the dance step called “The Hammer Dance” where he wore those baggy genie pants, keep legs wide apart, slightly bents, shuffle quickly one way, then the other. Some I think calls it the “Crab Step” I think.

MC Hammer went out of the limelight for some unknown reason and was even rumored to have died. MC Hammer is very much alive. As a matter of fact, he is starting a new dancing social network called “DanceJam”.

DanceJam, the first dance-focused social media destination, invites you to take a peek at http://www.dancejam.com. MC Hammer, the dean of urban dance, has teamed with Geoffrey Arone and Anthony Young, creators of social network browser Flock, to introduce DanceJam. DanceJam is an interactive community where fans of dance can learn, share, network and show off the different flavors of dance. Members can compete to become dance stars, be part of the star-making process or just watch some great dancing.

DanceJam comes as a response to the exponential demand for online video dance content. More than 75 percent of the Billboard Top 20 hits are dance music. Dance reality shows garner millions of viewers every week.

Dance is a universal form of expression, and it now tops mainstream entertainment outlets. But until now
there hasn’t been a central site on the Internet that allowed dancers and fans to interact, create profiles, share moves, learn dances, vote for their favorite members and create the next wave of dance stars.

“Dance is part of the global culture and gives us a look back in time,” said MC Hammer, co-founder and
chief strategy officer of DanceJam. “From the Nicholas Brothers, Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers, to Elvis
Presley and Michael Jackson, dance has always defined eras. Dance is unlike any other social medium. It’s the core of our culture.”

DanceJam is the best online resource for dancers, fans of dance and anyone interested in dance culture. The interactive experience entertains and allows members to network with performers and dance fans from around the world. Visitors and members can also explore different regional dance styles, learn new steps and connect with industry professionals.

Major dancers, choreographers and music pros are already participating in DanceJam.

DanceJam includes a unique geographic categorization showing which styles and dancers are most popular in each city or region. With dance competitions, fan-based networking and the potential for real-world events based on online activity, DanceJam members may even become future dance stars. Or users can just enjoy being part of the star-making process.

Members of the site will be able to:

– Be a dance star or help make someone a star.
– Watch, compete and learn how to dance.
– Explore different types of dances.
– Add their own dance videos or browse the extensive library of dance moves and performers.
– Build fan bases and connect to their favorite performers.
– Participate in regularly scheduled Dance Battles by adding their videos or voting on others.
– Create a profile that includes their favorite dances, dancers and a personal shout-out.
– Connect with other dancers or fans in their region.

“If Facebook and MySpace are your homes on the web, DanceJam is where you go to hang out,” said Geoffrey Arone, CEO of DanceJam. “DanceJam is the place for pros and fans to meet. It’s a live, 24-7 stage to be a star or help make one. Dancers, choreographers, producers and recording artists are all part of the community. And anyone can join.”

About DanceJam
DanceJam is a social media destination where users hang out and watch people dance, learn dance moves or show off their skills online. DanceJam provides a community where members can watch and rate videos of people dancing, promote their profiles, compete in head-to-head dance-battles and competitions, register and get matched with people who share similar interests and learn about local dance-related events.

Founded in April 2007, DanceJam is headquartered in Menlo Park, California and is privately held with
funding from investors including Rustic Canyon.

The site will soon be launched but is now accepting registration. So to all Filipino dancers out there,
you may want to join this site. Who knows – this may be your ticket to stardom.

Dancing with Danger

Hacker Pleads Guilty to Spreading Botnets
by: Jerry Liao

There has been a lot of talks and reports that hackers are hacking into corporate systems for profit purposes. PCs are compromised and are being used to attack other systems for financial gains. But how they do it exactly remains a mystery somehow until the capture of John Schiefer, a computer security consultant for 3G Communications who went by the names Acid and Acidstorm online.

In the first prosecution of its kind in the nation, John Schiefer, a well-known member of the “botnet underground” was charged with using “botnets” – armies of compromised computers – to steal the identities of victims across the country by extracting information from their personal computers and wiretapping their communications. Schiefer, 26, of Los Angeles, has agreed to plead guilty to four felony counts: accessing protected computers to conduct fraud, disclosing illegally intercepted electronic communications, wire fraud and bank fraud.

The criminal information and plea agreement filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles outline a series of schemes in which Schiefer and several associates developed malicious computer code and distributed that code to vulnerable computers. Schiefer and the others used the illicitly installed code to assemble armies of up to 250,000 infected computers, which they used to engage in a variety of identity theft schemes. Schiefer also used the compromised computers to defraud a Dutch advertising company.

In his plea agreement, Schiefer acknowledged installing malicious computer code, or “malware,” that acted as a wiretap on compromised computers. Because the users of those compromised computers were unaware that their computers had been turned into “zombies,” they continued to use their computers to engage in commercial activities. Schiefer used the malware, which he called a “spybot,” to intercept electronic communications being sent over the Internet from those zombie computers to http://www.paypal.com and other websites. Once in possession of those intercepted communications, Schiefer and the others sifted through the data to mine usernames and passwords. With Paypal usernames and passwords,

Schiefer and the others accessed bank accounts to make purchases without the consent of the true owners. Schiefer also acknowledged in the plea agreement that he transferred both the wiretapped communications and the stolen Paypal information to others. It is the first time in the nation that someone has been charged under the federal wiretap statute for conduct related to botnets.

In another scheme, Schiefer installed malware on zombie computers running Microsoft operating systems, causing them to disgorge usernames and passwords from a secure storage area known as the PStore. Schiefer and his co-schemers caused the zombie computers to send that account access information to computers that Schiefer and his co-schemers controlled. Once again, Schiefer located Paypal usernames and passwords among this data and used that authentication information to access victim bank accounts.

Finally, Schiefer acknowledged defrauding an Internet advertising company with his botnets. Schiefer signed up as a consultant with a Dutch Internet advertising company and promised to install the company’s programs on computers only when the owners gave consent. Instead, Schiefer and two co-schemers installed that program on approximately 150,000 computers that were infected with their malware. To avoid detection by the advertising company, Schiefer instructed his associates to moderate the number of installations so it appeared that the installations were legitimate and not the result of a malicious computer program that was propagating itself. Schiefer was ultimately paid more than $19,128.35 by the advertising company.

Schiefer has agreed to make an initial appearance in Los Angeles on November 28 and to be arraigned on December 3. Once he pleads guilty to the four counts, Schiefer will face a statutory maximum sentence of 60 years in federal prison and a fine of $1.75 million. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

This is one incident wherein we users should be alarmed but at the same time be vigilant. Companies should really have a security policy in place and security programs installed. Security is more than just products or appliance but it is a process. To achieve a secure environment, people, products and policies should all work together.

The Schiefer case is one clear example that the enemy is not only cunning but is also very smart and very technology literate. This should be a wake-up call to everyone especially to security providers. Make our digital experience more safe and secure. It should not only be your responsibility to protect us users, it should be your commitment.

Deadly Alliance

Google Android Open Platform for Mobile Devices
by: Jerry Liao

Everytime we buy a new mobile phone, most of us if not all are more concern about the functionality, style and of course price. Seldom do we consider the operating system that comes with the handset. Mobile OS like WindowsMobile, Java, Palm OS, Symbian and others.

If we’re going to look at mobile phones, we can compare it to a personal computer with Windows as the dominant OS. In the mobile world, Symbian OS is the leader simply because Nokia (part owner of Symbian) dominates the mobile market plus other mobile handsets supports Symbian as well. An operating system is a software controlling the overall operation of a multipurpose computer system, including such tasks as memory allocation, input and output distribution, interrupt processing, and job scheduling. This definition can be applied to mobile OS as well, the only difference is the device – we are referring to mobile phones or any handheld device this time.

I remember in a Nokia presscon held in Eastwood, I asked Parakshit Bhasin, former country general manager of Nokia Philippines if the day would come that users can choose which application will be included in their mobile handsets. I asked the question simply to point out one thing – everytime we buy a mobile phone, we pay for the software as well. And being able to choose which application I want to be included will in a way bring down the cost of my phone. By the way, Bhasin then said my idea was far fetched. It maybe a wishful thinking before, but not anymore.

A broad alliance of leading technology and wireless companies joined forces to announce the development of Android, the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices. Google Inc., T-Mobile, HTC, NTT DoCoMo, Samsung, LG, Sprint, Qualcomm, Motorola, eBay, Intel, Nvidia, Texas Instrument and others have collaborated on the development of Google Android through the Open Handset Alliance, a multinational alliance of technology and mobile industry leaders.

This alliance shares a common goal of fostering innovation on mobile devices and giving consumers a far better user experience than much of what is available on today’s mobile platforms. By providing developers a new level of openness that enables them to work more collaboratively, Android will accelerate the pace at which new and compelling mobile services are made available to consumers.

With nearly 3 billion users worldwide, the mobile phone has become the most personal and ubiquitous communications device. However, the lack of a collaborative effort has made it a challenge for developers, wireless operators and handset manufacturers to respond as quickly as possible to the ever-changing needs of savvy mobile consumers. Through Android, developers, wireless operators and handset manufacturers will be better positioned to bring to market innovative new products faster and at a much lower cost. The end result will be an unprecedented mobile platform that will enable wireless operators and manufacturers to give their customers better, more personal and more flexible mobile experiences.

Thirty-four companies have formed the Open Handset Alliance, which aims to develop technologies that will significantly lower the cost of developing and distributing mobile devices and services. The Android platform is the first step in this direction — a fully integrated mobile “software stack” that consists of an operating system, middleware, user-friendly interface and applications. Consumers should expect the first phones based on Android to be available in the second half of 2008.

The Android platform will be made available under one of the most progressive, developer-friendly open-source licenses, which gives mobile operators and device manufacturers significant freedom and flexibility to design products. The Alliance will soon release an early access software development kit to provide developers with the tools necessary to create innovative and compelling applications for the platform.

Android holds the promise of unprecedented benefits for consumers, developers and manufacturers of mobile services and devices. Handset manufacturers and wireless operators will be free to customize Android in order to bring to market innovative new products faster and at a much lower cost. Developers will have complete access to handset capabilities and tools that will enable them to build more compelling and user-friendly services, bringing the Internet developer model to the mobile space. And consumers worldwide will have access to less expensive mobile devices that feature more compelling services, rich Internet applications and easier-to-use interfaces — ultimately creating a superior mobile experience.

It maybe an unfair comparison but I would like to say that the mobile phone is the new PC of today, Symbian OS is the new Windows, and Android is the new Linux of the mobile world. Nokia is noticeably missing from the group, something not surprising because they want to protect their interest in Symbian OS. It gives Nokia an advantage of course. But I think Nokia will have no choice but to join the alliance soon just like Microsoft slowly inching in to the open source world as well. Monopoly has no room anymore in this digital age of ours.

Android if successful will shatter the dominance of other mobile oS. And will provide a true open OS that will provide flexibility and freedom to the mobile world. Not to mention cheaper and more functional phones. I can now buy a phone with basic functionalities and simply buy the applications that is important or relevant to my use. Unlike what’s happening now – I am forced to buy the phone and the application that comes with it. That’s how the world evolves now. One day you’re on top, the next day you may be at the bottom. Truly, technology is empowering the consumer.