Mobile Digest: Google Glass makes quiet return with enterprise focus

Samsung suffers another brutal earnings report, as Google starts floating Google Glass with the developer community. Andrew Tolve reports.

In this week’s Digest: Google Glass, The Wall Street Journal, Samsung, Microsoft, Windows 10, Facebook, Sony Mobile, Aerosense, ZMP, Azure Mobile, Google, Android for Work, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Yahoo, Livetext, MyTape and The PGA Tour.

In the news

It’s ba-ack.

Months after being rumored dead, gone, beat to a technological pulp, Google Glass has returned from the grave, this time with an enterprise focus, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. Google Glass 2.0 is designed like one great big acknowledgment that version 1.0 was overly ambitious to presume that all of mankind was itching to start wearing computers on their eyes. The industry play was always more practical. Google is reportedly targeting the new Google Glass at the healthcare, energy and manufacturing industries. The design ditches the old metal wire frame for a button-and-hinge system that allows Google Glass to clip on to glasses or goggles that doctors or factory workers or others could easily add to their everyday gear. Google is currently trying to drum up interest and activity in the developer community to design new apps with an enterprise focus.

In the money

Ouch. Another earnings report, another punch to the gut for Samsung. The South Korean electronics maker spent the latter half of 2014 and early 2015 committing to a streamlined line-up of smartphones that removed redundancies and refocused on what Samsung hoped would be its iPhone-6-slaying super star: the Samsung S6 and S6 Edge. Instead, Q2 2015 delivered a nearly 40% drop in operating profit, to $2.36 billion from $3.79 billion in Q2 2014. Revenue from mobile products like tablets and smartphones was also down, from $23.3 billion in Q2 2014 to $21.7 billion in Q2 2015. Evidently the Samsung soul searching will continue.

In other news

Microsoft launched its new operating system, Windows 10, and early feedback suggests that it does a far better job at integrating traditional computing with smartphone and tablet devices than much-maligned Windows 8. The operating system makes it easy to switch between a touch-based user interface on a tablet, for instance, and a traditional desktop experience when a user wants to type up a document on Microsoft Word. Microsoft plans to make Windows 10 Mobile available for all Lumia devices running Lumia Denim software and has already started the roll-out process.

Facebook completed its first full-scale version of Aquila, the high-altitude, long-endurance drone that it plans to use to beam internet to the poorest 10% of people on the planet. Facebook said that it doesn’t plan to become an internet provider itself, instead will lease the drones to internet providers to expand their coverage. See this video for more.

Count Sony in on the droid revolution as well. The Sony Mobile division of the company announced that it’s launching a new company called Aerosense that will build drones for enterprise clients. The initiative is in collaboration with robotics and autonomous driving specialist ZMP out of Japan. Aerosense will focus on enterprise solutions that use autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles for image capture combined with cloud-based data processing.

One of the biggest problems for the mobile enterprise, other than ensuring security and data, is the challenge of mobile apps not working offline. How do you build a business around services that suddenly stop working based on a certain employee’s geographical proximity to a WiFi hub?

Enter “Azure Mobile,” a new initiative from Microsoft that allows developers to build native and cross-platform apps that work offline and sync data with online CRM platforms. The platform accommodates apps from iOS, Windows and Android and runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Google answered with news that more than 10,000 businesses have already signed up for Android for Work, Google’s initiative to make the Android operating system and Android phones as safe and powerful for enterprise clients as possible. Google says that a host of mobile carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint, have embraced Android at Work as well and will soon integrate its security, management and productivity solutions into their offerings.

Yahoo launched a new social app, Livetext, that allows users to share videos in place of text messages. The idea is to create a more dynamic platform for sending short, non-intrusive communications with each other, with the ability to watch people’s responses. The app has no audio component, instead projecting sound as text across a video screen like subtitles. The free app launches on iOS and Android.

Another video social app hit the iTunes store last week: MyTape. What you see is what you get here, a video camera interface that allows you to shoot quick videos (2 to 20 seconds) and easily share the. Notifications and a catalogue of your video feeds flank the main screen. As with Livetext, the interesting thing here is less about the individual app and more about the rising emphasis on video as source of communication.

Finally, are you one of those golf nuts who spends hours on the links and when you’re not on the links you spend every second putting on carpets and phantom swinging in the bedroom, bathroom, elevator, and office? The PGA Tour is ready to take your obsession into the mobile realm with a new digital subscription service with exclusive mobile content that allows you to track the latest highlights and happenings in real time, with far greater detail than the standard website does. If you’re not a golfer, the only reason PGA Tour LIVE matters is because it shows the growing attention sporting organizations are paying to mobile users, going beyond mobile-optimized sites to “over-the-top” mobile offerings.

Game on. 

The Mobile Digest is a biweekly lowdown on the world of mobile, combining Open Mobile Media analysis with information from industry press releases.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to Open Mobile Media.