The Weekly Round-Up: The genie won't go back in the bottle - his iPad doesn't fit through the spout

The BYOD revolution, Amazon's Kindle Fire and - you guessed it - iPhone 5 hype...
Written by The Round-Up, Contributor

The BYOD revolution, Amazon's Kindle Fire and - you guessed it - iPhone 5 hype...

The tablet revolution is well underway in our modern post-PC world. Let's take a look at the marketplace. The iPad is leading the pack. The rest aren't faring too well.

The Motorola Xoom isn't setting the world alight, RIM's PlayBook was a bit of a damp squib and the Samsung Galaxy Tab is banned from sale in some European countries.

It's not exactly a vibrant and welcoming market to get into, unless you work for Apple.

Amazon Kindle Fire

Amazon might just have what it takes to give Apple a run for its money with the new Kindle Fire tabletPhoto: Amazon

Yet this week saw the arrival of a new competitor that could challenge the iPad - although the Round-Up thought much the same of the TouchPad before it launched and look how that panned out.

In the spirit of optimism, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos this week gathered friends and press around and launched the Kindle Fire, a seven-inch tablet running a version of Android.

There were 'oohs', there were 'aahs', there was a fair bit of replicating Steve Jobs' presentational techniques but there was also the tablet. It looks interesting and you can check out pictures and specs on silicon.com.

It's a tumultuous market that Amazon has decided to leap into, despite the presence of the ruddy great circulating sharks and dozens of struggling minnows.

What makes the former bookseller think it can make a big splash? Well, three things actually. Firstly, it's as cheap as chips. Secondly, like Apple, the company has a vast service and content infrastructure behind it.

And thirdly, well it's easy as pie and not an iPad. It looks friendly, easy to use and has that reassuring Amazon brand.

Even though Amazon is not really a hardware company, it had a big hit with the Kindle. As the old adage goes: lightning can and frequently does strike twice.

Personally, the Round-Up rather suspects Amazon will have another hit on its hands. It also rather suspects that the companies feeling the pain from Amazon's entry into the market will be Apple competitors rather than Apple itself...

The new order of BYOD

Alfred Lord Tennyson probably knew very little about the hands-on running of an IT department but the old chap knew a thing or two about the transient and ephemeral nature of things.

When he wrote, "The old order changeth, yielding place to new", he was writing about the passing of the Arthurian legend and not the increasing consumerisation of corporate technology but, my, aren't those two things linked more than you'd expect?

Increasingly, it is staff - and not their IT departments - who are calling the shots when it comes to what technology they should use at work.

Gone are the days when you could tell the guy from marketing, 'You're getting a Dell, deal with it', when he submitted his request for a Vaio or a PowerBook.

Now, nearly three in four companies surveyed by security vendor TrendMicro say they have an open-door policy for employees to use their personal devices at work. The new order of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is upon us.

Can you turn back this tide? No chance. The genie is out of the lamp and he won't go back in because his iPad won't fit through the spout.

But you can control it, bring order to chaos, use the Force or in fact take the advice of some security chiefs at blue-chip firms who spoke to silicon.com this week.

Firstly, assume the worst. All devices are potential insecure, harbouring nasty little beasties that could cause nightmares for other devices on the network. Also, think of all the priceless corporate data that could be hoovered up.

Secondly, be prepared to...

...set free what you love and cherish most dearly: control over your IT. The old order? Gone. Got out of Dodge. As our old friend Tennyson reminds us: authority forgets a dying king.

Thirdly, strike back. If staff want to use their personal devices at work they have to be prepared to hand over some control of their device to the business. Mwahahaha!

Fourthly, ask not what the iPad will do for your staff, ask what that iPad will do for your business. Explore what it means for the wider organisation. Get legal and HR involved, they'll be grateful. Especially HR, it'll actually give them something to do.

Finally, from little acorns great oaks grow. Start small. Don't rush. Control the flood. Start with a select group of users - ones you trust. The technical team, for example.

The Round-Up is summarising wildly and you can get far more useful and practical advice from the article itself.

The Round-Up instead will wrap this up with a final bit of advice from our favourite Victorian consultant on the inexorable march of progress: "Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change."

Next week, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and some tips on how to deploy a successful storage area network...

Heard about the iPhone 5?

Finally this week, by next Friday you'll be absolutely sick of hearing about the iPhone 5, if you aren't sick already.

Everyone's had a go at guessing what the device will be. Or what it's called. Or whether there'll be one device or two. So the Round-Up's not going to pitch in with its own guesses. There's been so much speculation that a couple of guessers are bound to be on the button. After all, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Putting aside finger-in-the-air guesstimations about what the iPhone 5 will possess and quotes from cult indie films from the 80s, the Round-Up is more interested - OK, somewhat interested - in the presentation itself.

It's a pretty safe bet that the keynote will be fronted by new CEO Tim Cook following Steve Jobs' resignation back in August.

Cook is a much quieter figure than the charismatic Jobs who's a very tough act to follow. A bit like the challenge Paul Rodgers had following Freddie Mercury in Queen.

There's no doubt that Cook can continue to keep the company cogs and wheels turning to the point where Apple earns more money than is actually in existence.

Can he wow the crowd? Can he rock them? Will the iPhone 5 be a kind of magic? The Round-Up's guessing 'yes' to at least one of those questions.

The venue for the event is the Apple campus rather than the large Moscone Centre Apple often uses for big announcements.

Quite right too, you don't want to play a stadium for your first gig. Choose a little indie place closer to home. A bit more intimate. Friendlier crowd.

Whether the crowd goes for the new front man remains to be seen. We'll find out on Tuesday, as the sound system kicks in, the moshpit starts to bounce and the music swells.

"Good evening, Cupertino, let's talk iPhone..."

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