InformationWeek Today: Mobile In Space, BYTE Relaunches - InformationWeek

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InformationWeek Today: Mobile In Space, BYTE Relaunches

Android rides on Atlantis, Microsoft nabs mobile money, and we reintroduce an old tech friend--BYTE.

A few lives ago, I worked on space shuttle launches. I was part of an engineering team that submitted solid rocket booster design change proposals to NASA. Once, only days from launch, one of the batteries developed a leak and the change proposal we submitted involved wrapping the battery in a disposable diaper. Cue the jokes about $200 Huggies.

Now we learn that Samsung Nexus S smart phones have gone up on the final space shuttle flight, Atlantis, ostensibly to assist a series of experimental satellites, running inventory reports and environmental surveys on the space station, freeing the astronauts for the high level experimentation. Start the jokes about the cost of the data plans and net neutrality in space. Android space fragments anybody? No word yet on whether the phones run Gingerbread, or yet another version called Tang.

No matter: Using an Android phone has become less of a surprise, and entirely the norm these days. ComScore's latest data showed that Google's rise is RIM's downfall, and Apple's growth, while steady, can't match.

No matter that, either: It seems that while Apple's phone ascent is hardly in jeopardy, its app store use is exploding this year in mind-boggling ways. Users download an average of 83 apps, compared with 51 in 2010, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. This followed Apple's revelation that it has paid $2.5 billion to developers (taking its own 30% cut, of course).

And don't cry for Microsoft. While its new mobile OS rise has yet to be a rise at all, the company is making money on--get this--Android patent enforcement. That is, by dint of its thousands of software patents, Microsoft has succeeded in getting the likes of HTC to pay license fees, and now it's going after Samsung. Cue the jokes about blue screens of death in outer space.

In a research note, Wells Fargo estimated Windows Phone 7 revenue of $500 million in 2011; and more than $1 billion for Android licenses in 2012 if it charged $10 per license.

Nobody is sitting still, either. Apple is working on its next phone and an iPad with an HD display.

Isn't it great when everyone wins?

Of course, all of this winning happens despite the legions who are jail breaking their phones and tablets. Last week's newest exploit from Jailbreakme was a sign of yet another creative way to skirt Apple's control. And we're publishing some "how to" advice on rooting various Android phones, like the Evo 4G and the Droid 2.

Those previous links may take you to an unfamiliar place. Today marks the official (but still "beta"; thank you Google for making that label more acceptable) relaunch of BYTE, the venerable old tech magazine that was in its heyday back when I was tending to diapers and batteries in the solid rocket booster change proposals. My colleague Gina Smith and her army of 70 or so editors have been gearing up for launch, with previews of Apple's newest operating system (OS X 10.7 Lion), thoughts on Google+ and columns from old hands like Jerry Pournelle.

Chaos Manner on the space station, Jerry?

Fritz Nelson is the editorial director for InformationWeek and the Executive Producer of TechWebTV. Fritz writes about startups and established companies alike, but likes to exploit multiple forms of media into his writing.

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