RIM’s Digital Wallet Pilot Project: Who Benefits?

RIM recently announced the launch of a pilot program that will test run a digital wallet operated by the Spanish Telecommunications agency, Telefonica, on the BlackBerry.

The project, which will involve 350 Telefonica employees at the company’s headquarters in Spain, will see employees using their BlackBerrys to pay for groceries and gas, as well as in place of their regular security cards at company headquarters.

What is a Digital Wallet?

This is the idea of a digital wallet: it replaces and replicates your physical wallet—it has all of your debit and credit cards, lets you check account balances and can even act as a key or security card.

Who Benefits?

The announcement of this pilot project, which comes six months after Google announced its own digital wallet, is definitely a positive move for the BlackBerry, which Telefonica says it chose for its security. Nevertheless, the digital wallet isn’t necessarily going to be a big cash maker for RIM.

After all, this isn’t the “BlackBerry Wallet,” this is the Telefonica Wallet, and there will be applications like the AT&T Wallet and even a Google Wallet, but there won’t be a BlackBerry Wallet. (Conceivably, however, there may be an Apple Wallet, but that is a whole other story.)

Basically, the carriers are the ones standing to profit here. Nevertheless, this is smart move for RIM. “What I think the RIM people are saying to their carrier partners is ‘When you want to offer your wallet we will support you,” explains Mark Beccue, senior mobile commerce analyst for ABI Research.

The Cutting Edge

RIM is also sending an important message to current and potential BlackBerry users with this pilot project: mainly, that RIM is dedicated to cutting-edge smartphone technology.

The release of the digital wallet application for the BlackBerry, and any subsequent releases of similar applications on other smartphones, will signify yet another way in which these devices become all the more indispensable to their users; why carry a wallet, a key and a phone when you can have it all in one small mobile package?


Hotmail Gets a Makeover Part 2

In the second part of our blog about the improved Hotmail, we’ll continue by discussing one more handy new feature available.

One such feature now available in the revamped email server is ‘instant actions,’ a tiny little change that might actually save you a lot of time in the long run. Instant Actions provides you with customizable icons that show up when you hover over each email, allowing you to do things like move or delete a message with one quick click.

Why The New Hotmail is So Exciting:

It is fascinating to watch Microsoft not only catch up and make its own versions of handy Gmail features for Hotmail, but also come up with things Google has yet to think of. Microsoft is trying to bust Hotmail out of its funk and make it a worthy, modern, relevant email server once again, an effort they deserve at least a pat on the back for.

When the changes role out in a few weeks, dust off your Hotmail account and take a peek inside—you might just like what you find.

Hotmail Gets a Makeover

Hotmail?! Ugh.  A virtual storage space equivalent to your garbage can: spam, spam and more spam. That’s what you’re thinking, right? Who, besides your grandmother, uses that old, orange, ugly monster of an email server anymore?

But maybe, just maybe, you should consider revisiting your good old Hotmail account soon, because it is finally changing. Within weeks Hotmail will be rolling out a set of shiny new features. The changes are long overdue but it seems Microsoft has finally decided it will attempt to give Gmail a run for its money.

What’s New in Hotmail:

One significant improvement of the new system is the inclusion of categories, much like in Gmail.

Hotmail users can now label messages or senders into a particular group, either automatically based on content or sender, or manually. Users can also ‘flag’ messages, which automatically moves them to the top of your inbox and marks them with a little flag, much like Gmail’s ‘star’ system. Hotmail will also now automatically recognize newsletters and put them into a separate folder.

What’s Different from Gmail:

One totally unique and very welcome feature of the new Hotmail is the ‘scheduled cleanup.’ Scheduled Cleanups allow you to move or trash messages from specific senders after a set time period. You want all those irritating Facebook notification emails to be automatically trashed every three days? No problem. You want your banking statements to magically appear in their own folder at the end of every week? Done. It might not sound very exciting but the scheduled cleanup is actually a refreshing and much needed tool that allows you to easily keep your inbox neat and tidy.


Google+ and its New Features – Part 1

Google is barging back into the social network space, attempting to leverage its giant email user-base with a new security-focused offering called Google+.

Google+, launched just a year after the tech behemoth’s first, widely criticized foray into social media, Google Buzz, is also full-frontal attack on social networking heavyweight, Facebook. Google is making a real attempt to build on the perceived weaknesses of existing networks.

Privacy is Key

The big battleground will be privacy. Facebook has come under increasing scrutiny for defaulting to the loosest security settings – Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg famously claimed that privacy is dead in the social networking age – and Google Buzz, too, came under fire for taking insufficient account of security concerns.

In response, Google+, which is currently still in “field-testing” phase, allows users to separate their network of contacts, or ‘connections’, into invisible ‘circles’, so users can control who gets to see what information. Connections can easily be swapped between groups – colleagues, friends or family, for instance – by dragging and dropping, which could be a big plus for Facebookers frustrated at the daunting prospect of sorting their giant network of friends into new groups after the fact.

Like Facebook, Google+ allows users to send messages to one another, via browser or smartphone, and upload image and video albums. Notifications and posts are displayed in a familiar-looking news feed, or ‘stream’. And instead of ‘liking’ a post, Google+ users can hit a ‘+1’ button.

Stay tuned next week for more on Google+!

What To Expect From Windows 8 – Part One

Windows 7 debuted with much acclaim.  Critics commended it for major steps forward in design and reliability over its predecessors.

Now that Windows 7 is firmly established, the technology world looks curiously to Windows 8.  What innovations can we expect to see?  What will remain the same, and what will change?

Windows 8 is not scheduled for release until 2012, and though details are still a bit hazy, here’s a summary of the information we know today.



Perhaps the most noticeable difference in Windows 8 will be its interface.  Windows 8 will align itself with the “ribbon” interface that was first introduced in Office 2007.  The interface will make extensive use of icons and tabbing, allowing more information to be initially displayed, and easier navigation of that information.

Though the “ribbon” interface will be used throughout the operating system, it will be most evident in Windows Explorer, which will see a full redesign to incorporate the new approach to navigation.



Tablet computers are a big emerging market, and Microsoft has announced that Windows 8 will not only support mainstream Intel and AMD processors, but also processors that can be found in tablet and mobile devices.  This means Windows 8 will have a much broader support base, and be able to grow with consumer computing trends.

Check back next week for part two of our Windows 8 sneak peek!

A Look At The Major Cloud Computing Players – Amazon Web Services

We continue our look at the major players in Cloud Computing this week with one of its innovators – Amazon Web Services.

As grew, it built powerful cloud-based hardware solutions to grow with them.  Amazon Web Services takes this cloud architecture and offers it to businesses across the world.

Amazon Web Services encompasses a number of very specific offerings, and while Microsoft’s cloud solutions are aimed at the consumer level, Amazon Web Services is targeted primarily at the IT provider level.

Like many other cloud providers, Amazon Web Services prides itself on the unique pricing structure of Cloud Computing – subscribers to their services only pay for the capacity that is actually used.

In Conclusion:

If you’re looking at a solid DIY solution to your Cloud needs, Amazon can be a great provider.  However, if you’re looking for a solution that’s ready “out of the box”, you may want to look at a few of our other featured players.

Stay tuned to our blog for more perspectives on other Cloud players like Google and Rackspace.

A Look At The Major Cloud Computing Players – Microsoft

Cloud Computing is a hot topic in technology circles – the technology is consistently getting better and better, and more and more companies are coming into the cloud computing fold.

With so much going on in the cloud space, we wanted to provide a few blog entries designed to help you recognize some of the major players in the industry, and understand what they have to offer.

In this blog entry, we’ll focus on Microsoft.


Microsoft primarily focuses on two areas in Cloud Computing:

– Microsoft Office 365:

This is the cloud version of Microsoft’s widely used Office suite.  In the cloud version of Office, users are able to access Office from anywhere and on a variety of devices – from smart phones to a work computer to a home laptop.

Office 365 also brings advances to collaboration tools – for instance, 365 users can see each other’s availability for scheduling, or work together through social networking.

– Windows Azure:

Windows Azure is Microsoft’s cloud platform, which provides a wide variety of services.  IT specialists can move a company’s existing applications into the Azure cloud, or develop new web applications using Azure’s proven technology.

In Conclusion:

Microsoft is bringing some of its staple products to the Cloud, and it will be interesting to see how companies move to adopt the new offerings over the next year.

Stay tuned to our blog for more perspectives on other Cloud players like Amazon Web Services, Google and Rackspace.