Second-generation Android phone (minus keyboard)

Gizmodo has apparently leaked some pictures of the second generation Android phone.  Most notable is the lack of a physical keyboard, allowing the device to be slimmer than the G1 phone.

The great thing about CompanionLink’s ability to sync with this new second-generation Android device (assuming Gizmodo is correct) is that we will support it out-of-the-box!  We can do this because Android devices rely on Google’s web-based calendar and contacts – which we already sync with!

Mobile devices for business and pleasure

Amazon’s e-book reader, called Kindle, was out of stock for Christmas thanks to generous publicity from Oprah and others. While e-book readers have been around for years, the public is finally accepting the fact that their e-book reading experience can match or surpass that of reading a real book.

In short, people are using mobile devices to replace legacy tasks – browsing the Internet, scheduling their day/calendars, email, social media, online transactions, gaming, and (can you believe) just plain old calling.

Devices like the iPhone and BlackBerry Storm push the limits even further.  2009 looks like a promising year for a continued push in mobile tech.  Many mobile device developers have filed for some very interesting patents that shed light on where technology will be going.  However, with consumer and business budgets at all-time lows, we’ll see how frugal consumers are with their wallets in 2009.

Palm's new (web)OS

Palm had a major announcement at CES today.  They’re releasing a new device (called the Palm Pre) that will run on a new OS, called Palm WebOS.

The new device and OS is similar to iPhone and Google Android, except that it claims to seamlessly marry various online technologies into one device.  The claim is that you can use your Facebook, Gmail,  and Outlook data seamlessly; for example, access your Outlook contacts in Facebook.

The same holds true for your calendar.  Your Outlook and Google calendars are merged together on one color-coded calendar.

You can read all about it here:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10137055-94.html?tag=mncol;title

The perils of SaaS

Salesforce.com just witnessed a service outage.  Just more proof that no matter how big or famous you are, 100% up-time is not a reality.  Translation: have a plan for outage situations and how you will handle your customers/clients.

However, does that mean a software solution is better than SaaS?  Not necessarily.  Outages or “reboots” occur all the time for software solutions, as I’m sure we’re all aware of.

SaaS vs. Software — an economical perspective

Pragmatic Marketing Magazine has an in-depth look at the economics of purchasing a SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution versus a software solution.

While the article is (overly) technical and lengthy, they arrive at a definitive conclusion.

The SaaS model ultimately provides the same type of products as a software licensing model—but with a better economic model, one that is lower in cost to the customer and structurally inclined to keep getting better for the customer with every new release.

Personally, I like the idea of purchasing from a company that is financially motivated to keep me happy, not one that is pressured to find another customer as soon as I’ve written my check.

Do you agree or disagree?  Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below.

Why iClink is required for iPhone wireless sync

First, the facts:

1. CompanionLink can sync wired or wireless with the iPhone.

2. Wireless sync with iPhone requires iClink – software that runs on your iPhone.

Why do you need iClink to wirelessly sync between your CRM/PIM and their iPhone?  Here’s why.

1. Apple only allows developers to wirelessly sync data with the iPhone’s native address book.  Apple does not allow data to sync with the native calendar application on the iPhone.  This poses a problem for CRM/PIM users who need their calendars and tasks on their iPhone.  iClink has custom Calendar and Tasks applications.

2. iClink works with CompanionLink Pro on your PC to sync data.  It does so by using a secure username and password to exchange data.

So essentially, this is how wireless sync with iPhone works:
CRM/PIM <> CompanionLink’s wireless servers <> iPhone (iClink)

Why Outlook and iTunes are required for wired (USB) sync with iPhone

First, the facts:

1. CompanionLink can sync wired or wireless with the iPhone.

2. Wired sync uses Outlook and iTunes as intermediaries (working behind the scenes).

We get many people asking why Outlook and iTunes are required to do a USB sync between their CRM/PIM to their iPhone.  Here’s why.

Apple only allows developers to sync data with the iPhone via its iTunes application.  Everything must go through iTunes when doing a USB sync.  Since iTunes natively syncs with Outlook, we’ve developed the missing link: the exchange of data between your CRM/PIM and Outlook.

So essentially, this is how wired (USB) sync with iPhone works:
CRM/PIM <> Outlook <> iTunes <> iPhone

BlackBerry Storm buyer's remorse?

This Engadget post references some less-than-scientific reports that claim many (as much as 50%) of the Storm devices are being returned. We can’t confirm this figure, and I doubt RIM will do so.

However, these previous Storm users are most likely migrating to other smartphones – Apple iPhone, BlackBerry Bold, Windows Mobile, Palm OS,  or the new Android-based G1.

Rest assured your sync needs are covered with CompanionLink, which will sync with any and all of these platforms.

Slowing smartphone sales in 2009?

Gartner Group, a leading market research firm, said the growth in sales of smartphones slowed to 11.5% in Q3/2008.  This marks the weakest growth they’ve seen since Garnter started tracking sales in the mobile sector.

RIM, makers of the BlackBerry, lowered their 3Q earnings forecast due to “shifts in product-launch dates” — in other words, the later-than-expected releases of the BlackBerry Bold and Storm.  However, they claim that initial sales of the BlackBerry Storm has set records.

The data can get confusing and contradictory at times. Only time will tell.

Here’s the big question: will sales of “smartphones” continue to eat away at the sales of regular (good old) “cell phones?”  More people are choosing to buy smartphones over regular phones that don’t offer email and web browsing capabilities.  Will this trend hold up in 2009 and our uncertain economic times?

The fall of Entellium CRM

The December 2008 issue of CRM Magazine tells us what went wrong with Entellium, an upcoming CRM platform.  Amidst corporate fraud and mismanagement, customers using Entellium’s services are in quite a pickle: how do they get their data off of Entellium’s servers, and how much time do they have to migrate to a new CRM platform if/when Entellium goes dark?

To that, I’ll add: is Entellium even telling their customers what the future for the platform holds?

Extra! Extra! Read all about it here.

Needless to say, the reputation and corporate governance practices of a company should play an enormous role in the buy process for customers in the market for a CRM solution.  The reputation for web-based CRM systems (like Entellium Rave) are even more critical because all your data is hosted by them.  If they go dark, so does your data.

Takeaway question: if your CRM provider went out of business tomorrow, what are your contingency plans for your customer data?  Having a plan never hurts.