A Few Things to Expect From Jelly Bean 4.1

Jelly Bean sounds like a delicious candy, it is, but it’s also the code name for the Android operating system.  Jelly Bean 4.1 is rumored to come out some time in November and will boast quite a few new features.  If you’re an Android smartphone user you should pay attention.

On the most basic level, the operating system will support a quad-core chip set.  This means vastly improved performances.  Also on the hardware front, 4.1 will support USB audio docks for even more versatility.

Accessibility has also been improved.  Now, a smartphone running off 4.1 will have the ability to be controlled completely by gesture and voice commands.  The new Jelly Bean will even support BrailleBack and TalkBack to aid the visually impaired.

For those of us who can see, Java 8 and a smoother HTML 5 will be implemented.  Your browser will also have media capture for selected inputs.

There are plenty more supposed improvements that Jelly Bean 4.1 will have.  However, whether or not they are actually useful or just frills is yet to be proven.  We’ll just have to wait and see.


iPads at Work

If you use a tablet at your job, chances are, it’s an iPad. In fact, according to a recent report by Good Technology, the chances are, very, very good. A full 97.3 of tablets activated by enterprise users over the first quarter of 2012 are iPads, up slightly from 94.7 percent the previous quarter. In contrast, a recent analysis of overall tablet sales showed Apple with a somewhat less intimidating 61.4 percent of the market.

Good — which offers IT support to help companies implement “bring your own device” programs—based the report on the use of mobile devices among its customers, which include half of the Fortune 100 and other big players in industries like finance and healthcare. It found that, overall, the number of its customers deploying mobile devices grew 50 percent over the past year, while the number of devices used by the average company more than doubled.

When it comes to smartphones, Apple was still the first choice, though not by quite such an impressive margin. It represented about 73 percent of the smartphone market.

Smartphones remain considerably more popular than tablets, at least for the moment. The iPhone was the single most-activated device overall, with more than half of the market. Android devices—almost entirely smartphones—represented just over 20 percent of the market.

On another note, if you’re using any kind of mobile device at your job, there’s a pretty good chance you work in financial services. That industry accounted for 36.1 percent of mobile device activations over the quarter, followed by business and professional services with 17 percent and healthcare with 7 percent. IPads were disproportionately popular in the Life Sciences industry, which Good said likely reflects use by lab workers and sales staff at pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

While Apple seems to be blowing other companies out of the water in the enterprise space, Good notes that it can’t rest easy. The first Windows 8 tablets debuting later this year, and new Windows phones like the Nokia Lumia just barely out now, are likely to shake up the market considerably.

Nearly Half In U.S. Use Smartphones

If you’re starting to feel like everyone you know has an iPhone or a Droid within arm’s reach at all times, you’re not far off.  A new survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that nearly half of American adults, 46 percent, use a smartphone.

The survey, conducted last month, shows smartphones are now more popular than traditional cell phones, which are used by 41 percent of Americans. Adoption of smartphones has surged 11 percent since the previous Pew survey in May 2011.

The new numbers make it clearer than ever that every business needs to have an Internet presence that’s accessible to mobile devices, whether that means a mobile-friendly website, an app or just a great presence on social media. An IT consulting provider can help optimize websites and other offerings to best reach the smartphone-carrying audience.

Popular stereotypes notwithstanding, mobile devices aren’t just for the wealthy or the young. The Pew survey found use of smartphones growing among all demographics. Across almost all income levels, age groups and other categories, there was significant growth in smartphone adoption over the past nine months.

For example, use of smartphones by people between 45 and 54 years old grew from 28 to 44 percent, and use by those with household income levels below $30,000 grew from 22 to 34 percent.

Still, there is significant variation in adoption by different groups. A full 71 percent of people between the ages of 25 and 34 use a smartphone, as do 68 percent of those with household incomes of $75,000 or more. Only 13 percent of those 65 or older have a smartphone, and only 25 percent of people with less than a high school education have one.

The smartphone market is divided almost evenly between Androids and iPhones. Twenty percent of all cell phone owners have an Android device, while 19 percent have an iPhone. Another 6 percent have a Blackberry, 2 percent use a Windows system and 1 percent use a Palm device. The absence of a single operating system points to the need for managed IT services in ensuring that web offerings are compatible with different sorts of phones.

As the smartphone market has grown, the percentage of Americans using traditional cell phones has declined from 48 percent to 41 percent. The percentage of Americans without any cell phone also continues to decline, dropping to just 12 percent in February compared with 17 percent last May.

It’s worth noting that the Pew survey is just about smartphones and doesn’t account for the growing adoption of iPads and other tablet devices, a trend that makes the importance of IT support for mobile devices even more apparent.