Kenny Sahr

When I first saw the job ad for Nubo last summer, I thought I was in heaven – “Bring Your Own Beer Startup.” “This looks interesting! I can definitely help them,” I said to myself. “Maybe there’ll be some good red wine too.” I scratched my eyes, read it again and realized my mistake. “Oh, BYOD. That’s Bring Your Own Device.”

BYOB, a “Bring Your Own Beer” startup? Oh, you mean BYOD – Bring Your Own Device.

I obviously had a lot to learn. I spent my first month at Nubo reading and listening. Even at lunch, everything the Android developers had to say was news to me. They were all generous with their time and within a few weeks I had a good understanding of the game changing mobile solution that is Nubo.

My challenge was to create a marketing language for Nubo, a new type of product that had never been described in English or any language. I prefer short, to-the-point messages. My favorite jokes are 3 syllable zingers that could get me deported to another planet. I work with the same style – always seeking to cut to the chase.

Zero Data on Device

This is the crux of Nubo and what separates us from the rest of the BYOD pack. The challenge here was to explain how nothing is transferred to your mobile device. MDM and Dual Persona BYOD solutions claim to have 256k encryption. But at the end of the day, there either is or isn’t data on your device. “Zero data on device” is 4 memorable words.

Device as a Display

“Device as a display” is another way to describe Nubo’s technology. Nubo broadcasts bitmaps to your device. To compare this to a movie theater, your data center is the projector and the device is the screen. When Nubo CEO Israel Lifshitz and I came up with this, it was one of those “oh wow!” moments.

Android on a Server

Android is commonly seen as a client operating system. Here at Nubo, Android sits on a server. Our Android developers are really going where no Android developer has gone before. I remember blurting out “Android on a server” right after “device as a display.” Some of my best one-liners are the result of speaking without thinking. That same trait has also gotten me in trouble in the past.

Feel at Home While at Work

For my 1990s startup, I used to have meetings on the beach. I remember dragging investors and lawyers with suits and ties to my favorite Tel Aviv beach spot. I felt at home on the beach. By allowing you to work on your personal mobile device, Nubo aspires to do the same thing, only without the sand in your feet. For the BYOD movement to succeed, we have to enable people to really feel at home while working. I see BYOD as a voluntary “people power” revolution. Consumers are rising up and telling their bosses that they don’t want to use clunky laptops that take 10 minutes to boot. Like the successful Burger King slogan, we want to “have it our way” at work too.

Now that 2014 has arrived, Bring Your Own Device is starting to become a household word. In fact, I think it’s starting to compete with Bring Your Own Beer!

Israel Lifshitz

I’ve been on the hunt for the ultimate business tablet since the first iPad was released in April 2010. With the iPad Air, I’ve found it.

The iPad Air is the only 10 inch tablet that is light enough to allow you to lift it while holding a cup of coffee in your hand! What else can a mobile user ask for?

Weighing in at 1 pound (469 g), the iPad Air is significantly lighter than the Nexus 10 and Galaxy Tab 3, which weigh 1.3 pounds (603 g) and 1.12 pounds (508 g) respectively. When I’m doing a presentation in front of 2-3 people, the iPad Air is the only tablet on the market that is practical to hold in my hand and show to people for an extended period of time. When I’m in an airport and want to work on a document, I need only one hand to grab the iPad Air from my carry-on bag. It’s nice to be able to have a sip of coffee while holding a 10 inch tablet!

Lighter and thinner is the iPad Air’s best feature, but not the only. I often need to connect my tablet to a projector while in business meetings on the road. In these situations, I don’t have the same control of my surroundings that I do at my office. Android tablets just cannot compete with the iPad Air’s “plug and project” capabilities. I bought a Apple Lightning to VGA Adapter for $48.95 on Amazon and I was ready to go.

ipad-air-mid Those of us who BYOD have high standards when it comes to tablets. By our nature, we demand a lot more from tablets than the ability to play the top rated games. It’s one thing to provide entertainment and another to enable us to work from anywhere in the world. Every new tablet that I try will be judged by how it holds up to the iPad Air standard. I can only imagine how thin and light the successor to the iPad Air will be. How can the iPad Air’s projector features be improved upon? What features am I not even thinking of? One thing is for sure – BYOD is going to push mobile tech to the limit in 2014!

Ron Munitz

While the use of Remote Display Protocols in the computing world has been widely adopted, there are clients for pretty much every modern mobile platform on the planet for most of the dominating remote terminal servers (e.g. RPC, VNC, RDP, HTML over Web servers). These protocols have long satisfied the enterprise requirements of granting their trusted employees access to business-sensitive data, without compromising their data’s security. Such a business case has indeed been the winning argument for companies to heavily, and often exclusively, use Terminal Services on the enterprise, for a Desktop Grade User Experience.

In this article I will give you an overview of the technical challenges involved in developing a remote display protocol, and how my company, Nubo, addresses them.

However, none of these ecosystems offer a cure for the following open wound: The Desktop-Grade User Experience does not scale to Mobile devices. It is as simple as that – the world has changed. Evolved. More sensors, more touch-based devices, more mobile orientation and an ever growing number of mobile applications that take into consideration the importance of having their design revolve around the mobile user experience. Business-class apps are no different. This led me to kick start the next inevitable evolution of mobile and enterprise relationship – a mobile terminal server infrastructure.

Building a new ecosystem introduces some very interesting challenges; The first challenge, of choosing the operating system for which the apps will run on was solved immediately. Android seemed to be the best choice since it is:

  • Open Source
  • Has an ever-increasing available apps
  • Based on Linux

androidTermina_353X413 The latter was the clincher, given my rich experience in linux bring-ups. When I first heard Android runs a Linux kernel, it immediately occurred to me that if a platform runs Linux, I can make it run Android. The equation is simple: Nowadays, (almost) everything can run Linux, so (almost) everything can run Android. Bringing up Android on a server was the easier part. Dealing with Android’s display infrastructure was the hard part as it is different than any other flavor of Linux that I’ve ever come across. It is based on Frame Buffers, which makes it a candidate for VNC like solutions, but they are too slow and inappropriate for today’s highly dynamic mobile applications. In addition, it shares nothing with X11, Microsoft’s Windows display protocol, or anything like it, so my team had to invent a Remote Display Protocol for a widely unfamiliar system!
One can only imagine how challenging that could be… It goes without saying that there is absolutely no way around going into the publicly available platform source code and reverse engineering the platform constructs into design principles. This is the way to go when you want to know how to handle problems and trade-offs of any remote protocol solution such as:

  • Providing best picture quality with lower bandwidth consumption
  • Providing the most accurate and responsive feedback for sensors, buttons and touchscreen interaction
  • Gracefully handling the performance degradation in high latency networks
  • Resolving bandwidth vs. client memory consumption trade-offs
  • Handling multi-users

Compared to other modern Operating Systems, the latter was extremely interesting to handle, since Android ripped off Linux’s multi-user legacy. Long before mobile device multi-user support was introduced in Android’s Jelly Bean versions, we had to devise our own solution that would both allow multi-users to work simultaneously on the same platform (via our remote display protocol), and conform to Android’s security guidelines. These challenges are just the beginning. We overcame them nicely at Nubo running our novel display protocol over distributed Android Servers, iOS, Android, and HTML5 clients.