Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What a problem to have....

Jason Lackey

While things are dark and gloomy in some places and some are even talking about a double dip recession, we have other problems here at InnoPath.

Phones and the services that run on them are becoming increasingly complex. No longer is voice king, data and data driven services are important parts of the revenue pie.

InnoPath is not the only company that sees this. Handset makers and operators see it to. That is why they are all looking for ways of managing the smartphone boom and it also is why they all seem to be knocking on our door, seemingly all at the same time.

While this is good in many ways, good for the subscriber who will end up with better service. Better for the handset makers and service providers as their offerings will be better and more cost effective, it also puts us in a bit of a bind.

We need more people.


A couple of the really hot positions that we are hiring for (multiple openings) include Customer Support Engineers and Field Deployment Engineers. Expansion and progress on the customer side have created multiple career opportunities. Generally we are looking for senior/expert level pros who are intimately familiar with Sun/Solaris, Oracle, Weblogic, web/java front ends, TCP/IP networking and large system deployment and support at large telcos. Beyond just hands-on skills, we need people with solid project and communications skills - the kind of people who are comfortable and effective in front of customers.

The full list of jobs is here:

See you at the interview!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Innovation at InnoPath

Jason Lackey

Silicon Valley is a special place. Few places on earth have the concentration of diversity, entrepreneurial spirit and technical acumen to pull off the constant cycle of technological rebirth which we see in the valley. Indeed, from the good old days with people pulling silicon ingots in their garages (and occasionally blowing up said garages in the process) to late nights coding in front of glowing screens, both flat and in the bad old days CRT, the Valley has a history of innovation.

Part of the strength of The Valley comes from the wild profusion of different ideas we get here as a cultural, business and technical nexus where some of the best and brightest from India, China, Japan, the US and Europe come together and create new technologies, new products and new ideas.

InnoPath is proud to be part of the culture of creation. We actually help write the book, so to speak, by means of our active participation in standards creation with OMA, the Open Mobile Alliance. While standards are nice, it is also vital that there be some meat behind the specs, thus we are particularly proud of our patent track record, with 22 US and 2 Japanese patents awarded and a large number pending.

Anyway, to those of you busting your butts every day trying to build new things and blaze new trails, we salute you. To those of you busting your butts every day trying to build new things in wireless, we recruit you! InnoPath is hiring and we are looking for the type of talent who can come up with new and patentable ideas who can make new and wonderful technology do cool and useful things in production networks.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The iPad, Surface and How Microsoft Missed Apple's Bogey

There are few things any sadder than wasted potential not realized. Microsoft's very juicy, lovely Surface effort, like many GM show cars, was nearly an example of missed opportunity and waste, but fortunately Apple seems to have "gotten" it and they threw in a little Cupertino magic twist - they added mobility making for a very compelling device.

Read Dave Ginsburg's post on this topic on TMCnet here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

InnoPath's Dave Ginsburg interviewed by Rich Tehrani on TMCnet

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, however InnoPath's own Dave Ginsburg's interview with TMCnet's Rich Tehrani is one of the exceptions. While some were manning the booth, doing live demos on the show floor, others were living La Vida Loca doing interviews with the likes of Rich Tehrani. The video is here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

InnoPath: Keeping That Which Happens in Vegas Safely on Your Smartphone and Off the Internet

Jason Lackey

Smartphones are both a blessing and a bit of a curse. We have talked about ARPU and support related issues around smartphones in the past, but the increased capabilities of these devices also have other implications, some potentially large indeed.

With vast storage and the ability to open files like Word, PPT, Excel and the like as well as photos, videos and movies, there is no doubt that a smartphone is much more like a pocket computer than a phone. There is also no doubt that the loss of a corporate roadmap, compensation information or compromising images and the like would be a much more serious blow than the exposure of phone numbers, which is pretty much the only thing you would lose on an older voice-only terminal.

When the service provider can lock and wipe a lost or stolen device remotely, over-the-air, this potential exposure is limited and in some cases eliminated, helping keep that which happened in Vegas safely in Vegas, or at least on the phone.

See you at CTIA. We will be at Booth 3749. In the meantime, check out our press release here:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

InnoPath Named CTIA Emerging Technology Award Finalist

Jason Lackey

Well, delivering the green is no longer the exclusive domain of leprechauns and the like. While some of the advantages to FOTA and other OTA update technology are fairly obvious, things like preventing recalls, heading off support calls and in-store brick and mortar visits, enhancing subscriber satisfaction, squashing bugs and so on and so forth, some of the advantages are not always immediately obvious.

One of those is the environmental impact, or lack thereof, of doing updates remotely, over-the-air.

Let me explain.

When you need to ship or hand carry a device somewhere to get it reflashed, this is going to take some non-zero amount of fuel to fire up the family truckster or whatever and get the phone to the store. When using technology like InnoPath's Mobile Update, the phone stays next to your bed and gets updated in place and the family truckster stays in the garage and the co2 stays out of the atmosphere and the oil stays in the ground and generally everything is incrementally better, cleaner and greener.

May not seem like much, but by our calculations we saved 33m kg of co2 emissions in 2009 with the numbers for 2010 looking to be considerably larger.

Evidently the folks at CTIA agree with us that this is kind of cool stuff, we are CTIA Emerging Technology Finalists because of these energy savings, something that we announced in a press release today, "InnoPath Software Named CTIA E-Tech Award Finalist".

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Helping Carriers Sleep Better at Night

The industry is both delighted by the rise of the smartphone (or as some like Om Malik or Rob Glaser are calling them, the superphone) and horrified. They are delighted because they bring people into the stores, they create a lot of excitement (iPhone, Moto Droid) and they help keep subscribers. The service providers are also horrified - they are horrified because smartphones cost more to support and are hard on their wireless networks.

RCR Wireless recently interviewed our Dave Ginsburg on how InnoPath is helping the carriers sleep better at night. You can watch the interview here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jobs, Jobs and More Jobs!

Jason Lackey

Last weekend I blogged about how fortunate we are here at InnoPath to be working in wireless during one of the most exciting times the industry has ever had. This still is true most of the way through the week, although we still have a bunch of things to do before CTIA. By the way, if you are going to be at CTIA, let me invite you to drop by our booth, we will be there at Booth 3749 with a professional barista, some cool ActiveCare demos including stuff on Android and RIM and you can even drop off a resume or talk to us about working at InnoPath.

Anyway, on the subject of fortune, I just posted another job, this one for a Senior Director of Sales for CALA. Know a motivated closer with high level telco contacts? Send 'em our way!

Right now we have a total of 9 positions posted, with more to come. We are busy and we need good people. Check out the jobs page and see if there is a good match. Even if you don't see an exact match, but you do have relevant experience, either technical or business, go ahead and send in your resume. We are always looking for good talent.

Hope to see you at the show!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Citius, Altius, Fortius - The Service Provider Olympics!

While the end of the party in Vancouver brought a tear to some otherwise dry eyes here at InnoPath, it also inspired a bit of thought with regard to a kind of competition we all enjoy and benefit from that doesn't require scary fast bobsled runs or foggy ski courses to hold - competition between the mobile operators.

Dave Ginsburg has put some thoughts to paper with regards to Gold, Silver, Bronze and DNFs in the Mobile Operator Olympics in a story available on TMCnet.

Citius, Altius, Fortius!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Right Here, Right Now

Jason Lackey

"Anyone working in the mobile and wireless industry is fortunate." - Dr. J. Gerry Purdy

Way back in 1990, inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall, the British pop band Jesus Jones released the single "Right here, right now" (snippet here), a tune which captured well the zeitgeist in Europe with the end of the cold war, a magical time. I will never forget sharing cigarettes with some of the East German guards through holes in the wall as a college student on vacation and how blessed and fortunate many of us felt to be sharing smokes instead of burning on an atomic funeral pyre, which for a while had seemed a likely outcome.

Fast forward through 9/11, a recession, a housing bubble, global financial crisis and the whole bright shining future as seen in Wired Magazine of the mid 90's seems for many a dim and tarnished dream and reality is starting to look more like some sort of cyberpunk dystopia.

Except not everywhere.

As an example, Friday was bonus day at InnoPath. Sure, everyone is working hard and sure we are doing more with less but this does not diminish the fact that while so many are still getting pink slips and San Francisco is dolling out 15,000 pay cuts, it was bonus day at InnoPath and a year of blood, sweat and tears was recognized in a very real way at one company in Silicon Valley.

Dr. Gerry Purdy pretty much summed it up with his quote - we are fortunate to be in wireless, particularly right now. While construction, commercial real estate and the automobile industry suffer a holocaust of near biblical proportions, we are dealing with customers who are growing faster than they thought and who are scrambling to build enough capacity. While some are shuttering factories, we are going to be hiring another 30-40 people over the next year or so. Speaking of which, if you or anyone you know are interested in working in the wireless industry, please visit our jobs page, here. Maybe your dream job is there, but even if you don't see an immediate match, if you know people with experience in the industry encourage them to send in their resumes.

Time to go play with phones now...will it be the Nexus One or Tilt2? Hmmm....maybe both!

Friday, February 26, 2010

CLIQs to Bricks and Bricks to CLIQs

Jason Lackey

One of my favorite device blogs, the Boy Genius Report, today reported that something seems to have gone wrong with the latest round of OTA updates for the CLIQ where CLIQs are getting bricked.


Some things, like OTA updates, may seem fairly simple, almost technical slamdunks. However, once you start peeling back the onion, you will find that things are not nearly as simple as they might appear.

When we work with and OEM, we do extensive testing, not only of the client/server delivery mechanism, but also of the packages as well. The overall system must work end-to-end in order for it to be considered successful. Fortunately we have a world class team of device engineers at InnoPath. This fact was hammered home for me a few months back when we were up the peninsula doing some demos for a device maker and our device team made some observations with regards to how a new device was being built and made some suggestions to a large OEM about how they could improve their device. I was a bit shocked, but the guys at the OEM looked at each other, nodded, and said that there had been some internal debate, with the more clueful side recommending the InnoPath approach.

Anyway, testing and careful coordination between the concerned parties is one thing, building in failsafe is another. This is why, starting with our 5.6 Embedded FOTA client, we include the ability to back out of an update on the device, that way even if things go horribly horribly wrong, the worst that happens is you lose a few minutes time and end up no worse than you were when things started, which is a lot better than having a brick in your pocket!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Mobile Data Challenge

Jason Lackey

We all know that voice revenues are withering and service providers are looking to replace that lost revenue or at least slow down the bleeding. Ringtones and themes clearly are not going to do it, but what will? Data?

InnoPath sponsored a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, The Mobile Data Challenge, which contains analysis and results of a survey of nearly 200 C-Level telco execs from across the world, NAM, APAC and EMEA.

I encourage you to get your copy today.

Here's the link.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

iPhone, Android, RIM and Symbian, Oh My!

Jason Lackey

We are coming right up on time for the GSMA Mobile World Congress, this year again in beautiful Barcelona, Spain. Some things are certain at Mobile World Congress, ham sandwiches at the Fira, big crowds for the colorful performances at the Cboss stand and new product announcements from just about everyone.

This year, we actually have something pretty big. We are announcing Universal Smartphone support with Android, Symbian, Windows phone, RIM and iPhone support all baked in to the latest and greatest version of InnoPath ActiveCare.

For the consumer, this means that OTA activation, updates and customer support are all available regardless of what kind of smartphone the subscriber has. For the operator, it means that the goodness of ActiveCare is now available for the entire spectrum of smartphones, making silo solutions a problem of the past.

But wait, there's more!

It gets even better, because we conspired with the Economist's EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit) to bring you a nice study of Tier 1 Service Providers, The Mobile Data Challenge. To top things off, we are even doing a webinar with EIU's Katherine Abreu on Wednesday, 10 February at 15:00 GMT/ 10:00 Eastern / 7:00 Pacific.

Anyway, exciting times here at InnoPath, but time for me to go set up all the new demos. Best thing is, wider coverage means that I get more toys!

Hope to see you in Barcelona! We will be in Hall 1 at Stand 1F39.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

InnoPath Android Support

Jason Lackey

At InnoPath we are very fortunate to be at the center of an exciting industry. Didn't used to be that way, Silicon Valley was a bit of a backwater for wireless for a long time, but with the Rise of Android, the coming of the iPhone and the advent the the pretty but perhaps doomed WebOS, Sunnyvale, where our office is, more or less between Mountain View and Cupertino, is now pretty central.

The whole Android thing has been amazing and looks to be picking up steam. To be honest, it was, despite warts and flaws, hard for them to pry the Nexus One out of my greedy paws. Can't really say that for the Tilt2 nor the Blackberry 9700 that have recently crossed my path, although I will admit that WinMo 6.5 Exchange support still beats the hell out of anything out of the Googleplex so far. C'mon guys, add the calendar!

Anyway, Google the precocious child is eagerly repeating all of the mistakes the mobile industry
has made over the past 20 years or so (forgot who said this first, but that person is dead on) and downplaying the importance of support and looking at a $500+ smartphone like it was some freeware Linux hack distro where the most you can hope for is some action on the support forums is a huge blunder - particularly when you ship killer hardware that appears to be running beta software.

That said, perhaps it is useful to sometimes have a counterpoint to the relatively high levels of support that are usually seen in mobile, with devices like the Motorola Droid on Verizon being the polar opposite of the Nexus One - well supported, details sweated out, refined and relatively polished in comparison, with world class customer care backing you up.

Anyway, we did a PR on support and new phones that InnoPath is shipping on, which can be found here:

Even if Google and the Nexus One don't support their customers, InnoPath Does

As we have seen, complex products like state of the art feature phones are more than just point solutions, they are part of an overall system and this system includes the operator, both network and support, as well as the phone itself. Google seems to have lost track of some of these basics, much to the detriment of Nexus One customers. Fortunately, all is not lost, because InnoPath has you covered.

Read More: http://

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Webinar: Global Survey of Mobile Operators

The Results are in!
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has conducted a survey of the top Tier 1 operators in Europe, North America and Asia and will be presenting findings in a webinar scheduled for:

10 FEB 2010 / 15:00 GMT / 10:00 US Eastern / 07:00 US Pacific
  • Operators say voice revenues are dropping – what will replace that income?
  • Commoditization is a concern – what are operators planning to do?
  • Retention is a challenge – what are operators doing to keep their subs?
  • Operational efficiency is key – how are operators going to improve?

Katherine Abreu from the EIU will join David Ginsburg, InnoPath VP of Marketing, in presenting findings and analysis. We invite you to join us for this informative presentation.

REGISTER NOW for this free webinar.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Don't Frag that Android, Bro!

Jason Lackey

Remember the “Don’t taze me, bro!” internet meme? If not, here’s a quick refresher with a pretty cool rap followup here. Anyway, with Android, the threat isn’t tazers, instead it is fragmentation.

The mobile phone market, at least according to conventional wisdom around the water cooler here at InnoPath, is consolidating into one where there will be increasingly fast, cool and capable high end smartphones on the high end and the typical array of cheap and cheerful jugaad phones for those who just want to make calls and not much left between. In some ways this is good news. Economies of scale require a certain critical density, something which too many players can dilute.

That however, means that the remaining players are going to be in sharper competition. The way the landscape is looking right now, the biggest contenders for the crown are going to be Apple and Android. Apple and Android, much like fighters in the good ol’ days of the UFC (the UFC, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, is largely responsible for the rise of MMA over boxing and, at least in its infancy, featured fighters with radically different styles. Those days are over, though, with the sport having converged around a mix of kick boxing, wrestling and jiu jitsu. Vive la difference), will fight in radically different ways.

Apple, the superheavyweight champion of the tightly closed and controlled ecosystem, is the epitome of how well benevolent dictatorships can work. The combined economy of scales presented by all the various iPhone models combined with the various iPod Touches brought into focus by the existence of a single AppStore have combined to show the world exactly how good the mobile experience can be when a fanatical tyrant makes the trains run on time. Screen sizes are the same, device capabilities are largely the same and apps written for one iPhone or iPod Touch will, for the most part, run exactly the same way on other iPhones or iPods.

Android, the unconventional freeware contended, didn’t go to the same plush private school in Cupertino that Apple did. Nope, Android went to the school of hard knocks and is working its way up from the streets on a ragtag collection of semi-random hardware from a variety of makers including a rising star from Taiwan, a fallen hero from Chicago, some ambitious younger chargers from Korea and some others including Europe’s great white hope and a veritable rogues gallery of Chinese attracted by the sound of free.

This is good news in that the sheer volume of handsets that these various contenders will crank out will by itself help the platform reach critical mass. However, the dazzling variety of the bunch, be it a ragtag fleet or rainbow coalition, is as much a hindrance as it is a multicolored blessing.

While the numbers help build the critical mass the platform needs, they also break it down as too many things are different and there is too much variety. Fragmentation is the enemy and it is this fragmentation from within that seems more likely than anything from outside to undo the mighty Android.

Already in the field we have 1.5, 1.6 and a couple versions of 2.0, including very shortly 2.1. Quite a few versions of a very young OS to be floating around. Screen sizes also vary, with 320x240 (QVGA) on the small side on the HTC Tattoo (and others) on up to monsters like the 854x480 of the Motorola Droid/Milestone or the upcoming Sony Ericsson Xperia X10. Some have Exchange/ActiveSync support native, others don’t.

Other hardware spec also vary widely, from the relatively underpowered HTC G1 with the ubiquitous Qualcomm MSM 7201a at 525 MHz with 192 MB of RAM on up to beastly machines with 1GHz Snapdragon and 512 MB RAM. For some things, this will not matter (much), but even with UI scaling and other tricks, it is impossible to give exactly the same experience with phones that are fundamentally so different in terms of capabilities. The same app that will seem laggy and weak on the G1 could well scream on a Snapdragon. A screen layout perfect on the Droid will likely be considerably less so on an HTC Tattoo. Geolocation APIs that work on Éclair may not work on Cupcake.

Games are a particular concern. One reason for this is that, for performance reasons, games may not use all the UI bells and whistles included with the OS, but instead may be built using a custom UI. Additionally, even if the software works perfectly, the different screen sizes have different aspect ratios, making it awkward at best to deliver the exact same experience across all devices. On top of that, there are issues with frame rates – how do you get roughly the same game play on two devices when one is much more powerful than the other? Greater detail? Move more pixels?

But wait, there’s more! One of the biggest (and IMHO, most unfortunate) trends in mobile is that of the bung-on UI. Take something that may be ugly but is at least reasonably fast, and then bung on something on top of it which may be even uglier and you present the user with the triple play of slower, less attractive and less compatible. On Android, there are at least some choices, some of which aren’t so bad. HTC’s Sense, for example. Looks like, runs reasonably well. Moto Blur? Horrible name, nothing like naming your GUI after a visual defect, but all reports are that it is pretty good. Samsung TouchWiz? A touch too clever for its own good. However, in order for any of them to be worthwhile, they really need to be not just as good or slightly better than the stock UI, they need to blow it out of the water otherwise the benefits don’t outweigh the drawbacks of a lack of standardization.

So, the battle is looking like a classic Hollywood WWII propaganda movie, with the stereotypical mixed bag team with an Italian, a Latino, a Jew and a bookish WASP representing Android taking on the Aryan Supermen of Apple with better training, better troops and better equipment in a battle of guts and determination against a precision, scientific war machine. Can the scrappy mutts prevail? Hard to say, but they certainly have their work cut out for them if they are going to take this hill, much less survive. Regardless of which side you are rooting for, this one is going to be interesting. Dim the lights, grab that popcorn and sit back and watch the mortars fly.

Will the Googleplex realize that in the worlds of Steve Balmer that what really matters “Developers Developers Developers”? Will Andy Rubin et al realize that when already fighting an uphill battle? A smaller appstore lacking a pre-existing billing relationship with customers will have a harder time selling software. Sure, free downloads are fun, but if you want your developer community to be able to write software for your platform as a day job and not a hobby then they are going to have to be able to make some money at it. Top things off with a fragmented platform that means that every app has to be first written and then retweaked for each big new phone (a casual count of the number of updates to downloaded apps in the Android Shop immediately after the introduction of the Droid should tell you something…) and it should be clear that all is not milk and honey in Android land. This is not to say that the situation is hopeless or unsalvageable, because it is not and relative to stalled platforms like Windows Mobile, they are in a strong position. And to be honest, relative to folks like Nokia, with S40, several different flavors of S60 and Maemo to worry about, Android presents a unified, homogeneous front. Sure, you hear noise about some shortcomings and frustrations with Android, but the Palm folks would kill to have half the mindshare and God only knows what the Bada folks would do for even a quarter, and let’s not forget people constantly complain about The App Store. Nothing’s perfect.

But whatever you do, don’t frag that Android, bro.