Mobile World Congress is a huge event that covers the gamut from carriers and cellular infrastructure to handsets, tablets, OSes, apps, and of course EMM.
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Some years, there’s a lot of EMM news—for example in 2013 when Samsung launched Knox or in 2016 when the AppConfig Community launched. Other years, it leans towards general mobile news of the type that we don’t often cover on BrianMadden.com.
Whatever happens this year, we’re following along closely (though remotely). I’ll update this article throughout the week as EMM and EUC-related news comes out; and also if there’s anything that’s worth digging into with a full article, I’ll do that, too.
Saturday and Sunday: Phone and tablet news
As expected, the weekend before Mobile World Congress brought a rush of phone announcements, most of them not really of concern to the EMM community (unless you happen to geek out on hardware, which many of us do).
The relaunch of Nokia phones by HMD (this time running Android instead of Windows Phone) is certainly notable. (And how about that new 3310?) Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3 (an Android tablet) and Galaxy Book (a Windows 10 tablet with a keyboard) are also getting a lot of attention. (The next Samsung phones won’t be announced until March 29.)
However, to me the most interesting phone news is the new TCL BlackBerry KEYone. It’s not actually the phone itself that’s interesting (though it does seem like it could be more successful than the Priv), it’s the way it’s positioned. The KEYone is of course the first phone to be released by a partner under BlackBerry’s new brand and software licensing scheme. For years, I’ve believed that BlackBerry marketing their phones as the best and most secure phones for the enterprise was a conflict (or at least a distraction) for their EMM business. (It inadvertently raised the question of which did they think was better, their phone or their EMM for other devices?) But now they’re being careful to point out that it’s their partner making the phone and not them, and that they’re concentrating on software. The conflict is finally fading away, and that’s good to see.
Another significant announcement this weekend was that Google Assistant will be coming to non-Google devices running Android 6.0 or 7.0.
IBM MaaS360 is showing off customer-facing MaaS360 Mobile Metrics benchmarking tool they released in December. MaaS360 Mobile Metrics provides data based on the actual customer base; and soon it’s going to expanded to show customers more security benchmarks, too.
Remember OK Labs, the mobile hypervisor company? Cog Systems is resurrecting their technology, and at Mobile World Congress they announced the commercial availability of a phone with their technology—in this case, implemented on an HTC One A9. It’s different than mobile virtualization attempts of a few years ago, though—the UI is just the normal commercial version of Android, and the modifications are underneath it. Read more in our full article.
MobileIron and Lenovo announced a global partnership. MobileIron works with a lot of resellers, but this looks like it’s different—the press release puts the emphasis on Windows 10 PCs and “new form factors.” We’ll have to look into this more, but we’re assuming this will use MobileIron Bridge. Imagine buying your devices and EMM at the same time, and having everything (including PCs) get enrolled and configured automatically. Then also consider that Lenovo is such a big PC supplier. Put that all together, and this could be pretty big for MobileIron.
Centrify is joining the AppConfig Community, and will manage Windows devices (of all types) from the cloud. The AppConfig Community advocates for standardized approaches to the mobile app management features that come with iOS and Android. (Learn everything you need to know about MAM here.) It’s not clear what type of Windows management Centrify will be doing, but since it’s cloud-based and can also manage phones, we can assume it will involve MDM for Windows 10. I have a request in for more information, so I’ll update when I find out. What we do know, though, is that as an identity vendor there are all sorts of opportunities for Centrify to integrate Windows 10, MDM, SSO, and cloud apps.
VMware announced that AirWatch will be available to communications service providers, through the vCloud Air Network Managed Services Provider offering.