06 January 2009

Technology highlights of 2008 - Notebookmania

The world is suddenly taken over by a notebookmania and the sales figures are shooting higher as prices are more affordable. For the first time in history since the launch of MITS Altair 8800 in 1975, laptops sale has exceeded desktops in the third quarter of 2008.

According to a report by the EETimes, notebook PC shipments rose almost 40 percent in the quarter compared to the same period in 2007 to hit 38.6 million units. Desktop PC shipments declined by 1.3 percent for the same period to 38.5 million units.

The notebooks are more affordable and feature-laden than before and the spread of wireless networks could also be one of the reasons for this. Several corporate have moved to a completely mobile office but for centralised support services and even educational institutions are tempting students with academic pricing offers. Laptops sale at Comex in Oman also followed the similar trend and those models within the price range of 250 – 500 sold like hot cakes.

Technology highlights of 2008 - Apple innovations

Apple began its 2008, by taking out the MacBook Air ultra-thin notebook from a manila envelope at its launch. Since then despite sceptism in worldwide stock markets, Apple has managed to remain steady simply based on innovative products. The next year awaits iPhone 3G and overdue iTV.

iPod music players has managed to span from the Classic, to Nano, Shuffle and Touch version creating a strong brand-addiction among youth and adults alike. Anyone not finished shopping can still consider one of these.

Going with this the iTune online store touts a humongous base of about titles. iTunes 8, released in 2008 manages playing and organizing digital music and video files in both the iPods and the iPhones. The visualiser effects in the latest iTunes are simply my personal favourites.

Technology highlights of 2008 - Open source Android

Innovative Google championed the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) as a business alliance of 34 members including mobile handset makers, application developers, some mobile carriers and chip makers in late 2007 to develop open standards for mobile devices.

Android is the first free, open source, and fully customizable mobile platform developed by OHA. Android offers a full stack: an operating system, middleware, and key mobile applications. It also contains a rich set of APIs that allows third-party developers to develop great applications.

HTC’s T-Mobile G1 (aka HTC Dream) came out in Oct 2008 as the first commercially available phone running Android. Developers can access the source code at http://source.android.com/download and Android SDK can be downloaded at http://code.google.com/android.

Technology highlights of 2008 - ICANN Generic TLDs

Anything placed on the Internet can only be reached by its web address and the TLDs are main part of this addressing scheme. Introduction of new generic domain names by the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), will see its first applications during mid 2009. Currently only 21 top level domains (TLDs) like.com, .net, .gov, etc exist but this is to change in a big way.

It has a significant impact in the virtual geographical expansion of the Internet and will see new business models emerge. According to this proposal it will now be possible have unlimited list of generic domain names, including brands like .eoman or .brandoman, as well as broader groups like .phone, .pc, .shop, .car, .author .blog etc.

Expansion in the characters used beyond the currently accepted 37 Roman characters will have a profound impact on the future of Internet in emerging markets like Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Russia.

People are free to apply for any domain name, but they will have to show that they have a business background and the technical ability to run a registry and this has huge costs involved. More details on this at http://preview.tinyurl.com/6hacwf.

Technology highlights of 2008 - Chrome the newbie

Chrome was releases by Google not just as a web browser but a modern platform for web pages and applications. With web browsers serving more purposes like chatting, emailing, searching, reading, shopping, banking and social networking than just web browsing, Chrome with its clean-start-focus gained easy adoption. It is only a matter of time to fix the glitches and add the features and this happens rapidly in a open-source environment.

With people spending more and more time online in a web browser, and doing all sort of things, Chrome in its development starting from the basic of new world requirements is certainly fast. Even the scripts in web pages are enhanced by the new JavaScript Engine resulting in faster responses. Chrome as an open source project, has used components from Apple’s Webkit and Mozilla’s Firefox to drive speed. You can download this free browser at http://www.google.com/chrome?hl=en

Technology highlights of 2008 - Virtualisation

This has been the buzz word of the year, touching various platforms, hardware and applications although it has been in existence since 1960 during the mainframe era. In simple terms, it enables abstraction of any of the computing resources that can dynamically share each other across multiple environments and even remotely in a virtual infrastructure.

Operating System virtualisation enables multiple platforms in a single hosting environment. Application virtualization, hosts individual applications in different or even remote hardware/software and they are made accessible through a simpler interface from a range of devices including conventional desktops and smart phones.

By virtualisation there is high availability of resources, and the resource complexity is hidden for practical purposes. Performance is greatly enhanced with memory and storage virtualisation and so there is better utilisation, increased security, and improved disaster recovery facilities.

To learn more watch a virtualisation concept video from SUN Microsystems at http://preview.tinyurl.com/8wxdde.

Technology highlights of 2008 - Oman

Driven by a strong vision of His Majesty reiterated in his Majlis speech this year, Oman is expediting its ICT uptake by way of public service delivery through electronic channels and several human resource skill development programs in the IT sector were undertaken all through 2008.

The Sultanate of Oman expands its telecom sector by opening of its fixed line services for Nawras and inviting three new players into the mobile services market. These moves increase competition and hopefully result in improved services at reduced costs.

The first set of Electronic Transaction laws of the country were issued to provide a framework regulatory environment in the country to promote both e-government and e-commerce.

Oman’s ePayment gateway was launched for enabling both public and private sector members to receive payments made through the Internet.

04 January 2009

ICT Usage Survey

Oman launches its very first suvey on ICT in Business sector. This survey is based on the UN's core indicators for ICT and aims to collect data about computing resources and their usage for business purposes in Oman. It also will analyse Omani / Expat presence in the ICT field classified based on gender.

The results are expected at the end of the Q1 perhaps. Plans for Omanisation, training and human resource development will be based on this data perhaps.

Have you filled the Blogging in Oman Survey???