Taking Back IT

Jan 10 2012   1:19AM GMT

CES news that IT folks should care about

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

LAS VEGAS — IT pros can’t ignore the International Consumer Electronics Show anymore.

Well, that’s not entirely true. IT pros can ignore a lot of it. All that stuff about cars and cameras and TVs and sound systems, while pretty cool, doesn’t really affect enterprise IT. But CES also serves as the launching pad for new smartphones, tablets and other technologies that, thanks to consumerization, IT now has to pay attention to.

Here’s a brief rundown on some of today’s CES news that IT pros should be aware of:

Microsoft shares Windows 8, Kinect details

This year marks Microsoft’s last CES keynote, and many attendees expected the company to go out with a bang. That didn’t happen. CEO Steve Ballmer, alongside host Ryan Seacrest, spent most of the time re-hashing projects we all know Microsoft has been working on for a while. But there were some tidbits of note.

On the Windows 8 front, the company is sticking to its late-February release date for the public beta. As with most Windows releases, there have been rumblings of delays, but if those rumblings are true, Microsoft didn’t give any indication. Chief marketing officer Tami Reller also said that, when it comes to Windows 8’s new Metro user interface, developers won’t have to build separate applications to run on x86-based PCs and ARM-based mobile devices.

And in more exciting news, Ballmer said Kinect for Windows will be available Feb. 1. Kinect has become mighty popular as the motion-sensing technology in Microsoft’s Xbox 360 video game system, but the company sees it as a potential game-changer for business applications — especially in certain verticals, such as healthcare and industrial design.

Droid 4, now with Citrix Receiver

Among all the announcements of new mobile devices, Motorola’s Droid 4 news should stick out for IT. That’s because the Verizon Wireless smartphone will come preloaded with Citrix Receiver for desktop and application virtualization.

Sure, Citrix Receiver is available in most app stores already, but by installing it directly on the Droid 4, Motorola is placing its chips on this method of controlling and delivering corporate apps to personal devices.

VMware mobile virtualization creeps along

VMware’s mobile virtualization vision took one very, very small baby step towards reality. One of the company’s smartphone hardware partners, LG, said it will finally bring VMware Horizon Mobile to market in the coming months.

Mobile virtualization lets IT create a separate, secure work environment on users’ smartphones. VMware started talking about the technology in 2008 and announced a few hardware and carrier deals last year, but today was the first time we’d heard any sort of official news about a release date. Our news writer James Furbush will have a full story on the state of the mobile virtualization market later this week.

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