Microsoft Updates Its IoT Platform

Carl Weinschenk
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Microsoft has upgraded the Windows 10 IoT Core. The lightweight platform now includes an extension for Visual Studio Code, which is Microsoft’s new code editor for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, according to Silicon Angle.

Windows 10 IoT Core now offers a Universal Windows Platform application for the Raspberry Pi2 and 3, provided they have the Sense HAT add-on board. Microsoft said that the Windows 10 IoT Core will also support Intel’s Joule developers kit, which was introduced at last month’s Intel Developer Forum.

The story – and the blog by Microsoft Senior Software Engineer Paul Monson – is aimed at those with deep programming expertise. The bottom line is that operating systems for the IoT have to be extremely efficient and sharply targeted due to power constraints and other factors. Microsoft and other vendors are trying to pack as much punch into their platforms as possible within those limitations.

Lighter LTE Radios Coming for the IoT


A similar challenge faces networking companies. During the early dates of the IoT, even the smallest sensor needed a full-scale LTE radio. That’s not efficient.

The answer is LTE Category M1, which focuses on low-powered radio more in line with the limited jobs IoT devices are called upon to do and the small amount of energy they have to do it. PCWorld’s Stephen Lawson writes that LTE Category M1 was a big deal at the CTIA Super Mobility Show in Las Vegas.

Verizon Wireless will deploy by year’s end and AT&T will run a pilot in the San Francisco Bay area in November, the story said. Chip vendors also are working on M1 products.

Malware Still Proliferates in Mobile

The industry is nowhere near out of the woods in regard to malware on smartphones. In April, according to the Nokia Threat Intelligence Lab, more than 1.06 percent of devices were infected. The culprits were ransomware, spy-phone applications, aggressive adware and others.

The rate of infection, according to Network World, doubled during the first half of the year. Android “got pummeled” and was responsible for three-quarters of the infections. Android’s woes don’t end there:

More bad news for Android is that its app ecosphere became significantly more infected over the period, the lab says. Nokia says it’s seen a 75 percent surge in contaminated apps there. Blighted apps, which it records in a malware database, shot up from 5.1 million in December 2015 to a staggering 8.9 million by July.

Games are the main culprit, according to Nokia.

FCC’s Wheeler: Municipal Approvals Key to 5G Success

The short version of the message delivered by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler in his keynote to the CTIA Super Mobility 2016 conference was that at least one big obstacle to 5G remains.

A big challenge, Wheeler told the conferees, is that municipalities across the nation must approve the deployment of small cell equipment. If the millions of small cell towers are not given the go-ahead more expeditiously than the past generation of macro cells were, “few communities will ever have the benefit of 5G,” Wheeler says.

His suggestion is that the industry make fast approvals more likely by talking to municipal officials about the benefits 5G offers to their communities and the people who live in them.

A Tale of Two Wearables

IDC released data for wearables this week. Overall, 22.5 million wearable devices shipped during the second quarter. That represents a 26.1 percent year-over-year increase.

Commentary in the press release says that fitness remains the low-hanging fruit, though communications, mobile payments and enterprise use is increasing.

There are two distinct trends within the category, according to IDC. Devices that don’t support third-party applications (called “basic” by the firm) grew by 48.8 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. Wearables that accept the outside apps (“smart”) declined at a 27.2 percent clip.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

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