To make sure we are not showing favouritism to certain smartphones in these articles, I believe it to be important that we do not ignore the ‘emerging’ device platforms, particularly when they are receiving such support and uptake from various channels and sectors.

Android innovation

Developed by the Open Handset Alliance, Android brings internet-style innovation and openness to mobile phones. The theory is that it delivers a complete set of software for mobile devices; an operating system, middleware and key mobile applications.

Android was built from the ground-up to be truly open and enable developers to create compelling mobile applications that take full advantage of all that a handset has to offer.

For example, an application can call upon any of the phone’s core functionality such as making calls, sending text messages, or using the camera, allowing developers to create richer and more cohesive experiences for users. Due to the fact that it is opensource, it can be liberally extended to incorporate new cutting edge technologies as and when they emerge, which provides fl exibility that no other platform has available.

The platform will continue to evolve as the developer community works together to build innovative mobile applications, a huge amount of which have emerged as freeware, dependant on the target audience. It is my personal belief that the uptake within the business community will be relatively slow, because not only is it a very different concept to the mainstream offerings, but there is also far less fi nancial return for the reselling community than the solutions that have been around for many years.

Location based

A brand new service from Aloqua is an Android application that automatically, using locationbased services, notifying users of key nearby items. During mid-July Aloqa announced that it has opened a limited beta version of its contextaware mobile application on Android handsets, which include HTC, Nokia, and Samsung. A full UK launch was imminent at the time of this article being written.

Aloqa claims to solve two problems for mobile users. Not only does it take away the need to type search terms into browsers or other mobile applications to fi nd something, but it also proactively recommends interesting local opportunities to users on the move.

Wherever they are, users can simply glance at their phones and see which relevant businesses, events (music concerts, local offers etc), other places of interest and even friends and colleagues are close by, without having to launch a browser or search application. This is all done simply by taking into account the user’s location, preferences and social relationships to make these recommendations in real time.

There will be a whole raft of ‘Big Brother’ thoughts fl ashing through many readers minds at this point and, to a degree, I can understand why. However,

location-based services are the hot topic so far this year, and as the technology becomes standard in all devices, development companies will look to take advantage of the possibilities wherever feasible.

Hot topic

Even if we don’t all want friends and colleagues to know where we are all the time, I do buy in to the concept that, every day, we all miss out on all kinds of opportunities that we aren’t even aware of that are happening all around us. Whether this is something as simple as discovering friends and contacts that happen to be close by, or that there are events happening locally that we’d like, or perhaps even a product launch nearby.

As I mentioned above, Aloqa has already opened a limited beta of its context-aware application on Android handsets in the US and Germany, which will be available to users for a limited time directly from the Android app store. It will be made fully available on most other major mobile platforms as we progress further in to 2009 and will also work on both GPS- and non-GPS enabled handsets and on any carrier network.

A unique appeal of this app is the proprietary technology it uses for tracking billions of moving and static objects, but it does not drain battery life, jam phone networks with extra data and will not impinge on user privacy concerns.

The app only instigates an action when two or more objects come meaningfully close to each other and this, combined with people’s ‘social graph’, gives a powerful way for the mobile device to discover interests and add social context to the physical space immediately around the user.

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