Applications & Apps Business

Amazon Fires Salvo at iTunes Business

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Amazon takes a carefully aimed shot at the iTunes dominance over on-iDevice music sales with the launch of an online store selling 22 million mp3s on a specially formatted HTML5 mobile website. 

Amazon mp3 itunesOptimised to run on iOS Safari, the Amazon MP3 Store dodges the 30% fee Apple charges on iOS in-app purchases. Songs purchased this way do not get added automatically to iDevice music libraries, but users can sync mp3s via PC iTunes. 

Users can also download and listen purchases on the Amazon Cloud Player app (also available on Android devices). 

“Since the launch of the Amazon Cloud Player app for iPhone and iPod Touch, a top request from customers has been the ability to buy music from Amazon right from their devices,” Amazon says. 

Your move, Apple. 

Go Amazon MP3 Store Optimised for iPhone and iPod Touch

Windows 8 Tablets Fly Emirates

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The famous Emirates in-flight customer experience gets a hi-tech addition-- the airline's crew members now carry Windows 8 tablets to keep track of passenger needs. 

Emirates bedThe tablets (the HP ElitePad 900 is the model of choice) carry Knowledge Driven Inflight Service (KIS), a proprietary app providing touch-based access to passenger preferences (such as meals or seating positions) to the 24-strong cabin crews on each flight. 

Before flights pursers brief cabin crews through the tablets, and in turn crews can enter "voyage reports" after each flight. Reports then sync from landed aircraft to airline teams and executives.

Why did Emirates choose Windows 8 instead of the current tablet leader, the iPad? KIS is the chief reason. The software has been around since the early 2000s (running on HP Compaq T1100 laptops), and Emirates preferred to update it into a Windows 8 app instead of porting to a different operating systems.  

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Citrix Takes on BYOD Trend

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Virtualisation vendor Citrix takes a stab at the current BYOD trend and acquires mobile device management (MDM) specialist Zenprise for an undisclosed sum. 

Citrix ZenpriseZenprise offerings include MDM solution Zenprise MobileManagement and its cloud-based version, Zencloud. Both products perform up-front device checks and block enterprise network access to "unmanaged," jailbroken or out of compliance devices. 

Citrix will integrate both within its own CloudGateway and Me@Work product once the acquisition is complete-- a combination the company claims will create "the first solution in the industry for managing mobile devices, apps and data from a single, integrated enterprise mobility product line."

Go Citrix Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Zenprise

Nokia Takes on Map Apps

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Perhaps spurred by the lack of Google Maps on iOS 6 and general unhappiness with Apple Maps, Nokia launches its own take on location services-- Here, an HTML 5-based map app. 

Nokia hereCurrently available on iDevices, Here covers the gamut of map app functions-- voice-guided walking navigation, public transportation directions and offline capabilities. 

Through a partnership with Mozilla the app will be available on the forthcoming Firefox OS sometime during 2013. An Android version is also in the works, with an Android Here SDK to be out by early 2013.

Mind you early Here reviews do not sound too promising, with reports of bugs, blurry map visuals and a dated look straight out of the Symbian era. 

In other Nokia news, the company now owns 3D mobile mapping technology-- Berkeley-based earthtime. Purchased for an undisclosed sum, earthmine also offers automated data processing pipelines, cloud-based hosting services and server software. 

Also available from Nokia is LiveSight, an augmented-reality offering for the Nokia City Lens app on Windows Phone devices. 

Go Nokia Introduces Here

Apple and VMware in Enterprise Team-up?

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As the Microsoft Surface edges towards launch, Apple might just have an enterprise oriented ace up its sleeve-- CRN reports the iPad maker is joining forces with VMware to build cloud-based version of the iWorks suite. 

VMware iCloudAccording to "sources with knowledge of the project" the team-up combines VMware View virtual desktop software with cloud-based versions of Pages, Keynote and Numbers. 

The service will run on Apple infrastructure, but is separate from the iCloud consumer cloud storage service.  

"Apple wants Pages to be seen as a replacement for Microsoft Word, Numbers as a replacement for Excel and Keynote as a replacement for PowerPoint," on source says. Currently the iWorks suite is regarded as a more consumer-oriented offering-- something Apple surely wants to change. After all, Office is the most lucrative Microsoft product, accounting for over $22 billion in fiscal 2011 revenue. 

Apparently the partnership also includes iOS versions of the VMware take on enterprise app stores, Horizon Application Manager, and BYOD solution Horizon Mobile. 

The two companies decline to comment on the CRN story. 

Go Apple, VMware Team On iPad Microsoft Office Killer (CRN)