Getting off Apple and going all Google has increased my respect for both companies. I've come to realize that the very best mobile experience right now is built on a foundation of Google services on Apple hardware. I wish only that these two companies could get along better, and that Apple will allow more Google integration on the iPhone.
Amazon brings Exchange email support to the next Kindle Fire
Amazon's Kindle Fire has been a non-starter in a lot of workplaces because its mail client didn't support Exchange email. For workers using Exchange, the only way to connect was through the web-based Outlook Web Access or a third-party app like Touchdown.
That's about to change. Today, the company announced a line-up of new Kindle e-readers and tablets, including its first tablet with native client support for Exchange email -- the Kindle Fire HD.
Speaking at a launch event in Santa Monica, Ca., Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos boasted that the Kindle Fire HD would have "world-class Exchange support."
A press release later explained that the device would sync with newest emails first, giving users access to the most relevant emails before loading older ones. There's also a new calendar app that also connects to Exchange, and the tablet will support 22 ActiveSync policies, including remote wipe, strong password requirements, and device encryption.
The iPad has had Exchange access built into the email client since launch, and currently supports a fair number of policies for strict passwords, as well as the ability to block access to the camera and web browsing. (See this PDF from Apple for details.)
Android tablets can also support these policies, but most of them have been flops with consumers. The original Kindle Fire, though, has been somewhat of a hit -- Bezos claimed that 22% of all tablets sold in the U.S. last year were Kindle Fires.
Consumer appeal plus features for IT could make the Kindle Fire HD a presence in the enterprise.
The Kindle Fire HD will come in three models ranging from $199 (7-inch screen, Wi-FI only) to $499 (8.9-inch screen, 4G LTE connectivity). There are a lot of other improvements over the current Kindle Fire as well, including faster and more reliable Wi-Fi, parental controls, and HDMI outputs to connnect the devices to HDTVs. IDG News has more details.
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Brandon Porco, the chief technologist for defense contractor Northrop Grumman, says that IT will have to try lots of different things and move quickly to keep abreast of evolving employee needs. "Google has it very well-patterned: Launch and iterate."
Although Apple is often accused of not being an enterprise company, it's only in the last few years that Apple has abandoned its enterprise-oriented products. The real story may be that Apple's discovered that making enterprise-focused efforts simply don't deliver a huge return on investment.