Fixmo says it can protect iOS, Android devices

BARCELONA – Mobile security, new tablets and a warning about applications running on the upcoming low-end Windows Phone handsets were among the highlights Monday at the annual Mobile World Congress. 

Fixmo Inc., a company that started out developing tools for the U.S. National Security Agency, is offering a new product that will automatically shut down corporate applications on compromised iOS and Android devices.

Fixmo MRM, which stands for mobile risk management, integrates two products. One is Fixmo Sentinel, which has its roots in the NSA technology and regularly scans a phone to ensure that it is adhering to policies set by the organization. Consisting of both back-end and on-device software, it alerts an administrator to any unauthorized changes to the phones.

The second component to Fixmo MRM is Fixmo SafeZone, which has been available for a few months as a “tech preview.” SafeZone is a secure container that runs on iOS and Android devices. All data in the SafeZone is encrypted and users can’t copy data from inside the zone to outside.

Fixmo, which is co-headquartered in Toronto and Sterling, Va., has built apps, including email, calendar, contacts, a browser and an Office doc reader, that run inside the SafeZone. It also offers tools that software makers can use to enable their products to run inside the secure container.

Fixmo MRM combines both products so that administrators can now instruct the software to take action in the event of specified activities. For instance, if Sentinel detects that the device has been rooted, it can automatically lock down the SafeZone so it’s inaccessible. The user, who may have purchased the device, can continue to use the rest of the tablet or phone.

That could prohibit someone from rooting the phone and installing software that might enable screen captures in the SafeZone, said Tyler Lessard, chief marketing officer for Fixmo.

Customers that want the full package of software including mobile device management, Sentinel and SafeZone will pay around US$90 per device per year. It will be available from the company and channel partners at the end of March.

Samsung Electronics expanded its portfolio of tablets with the 10-inch Galaxy Note 10.1, as the company tries to differentiate itself from the barrage of other Android-based products by allowing users to write on the screen using a digital pen, the company said on Monday at Mobile World Congress.

The arrival of the Galaxy Note 10.1 was one of the worst kept secrets in Barcelona after Samsung had plastered a huge billboard at one the city’s most busy squares. One might have been forgiven for thinking that the original 5-inch model, which was introduced in September last year, was just an experiment from Samsung, but with the arrival of the 10-inch version the company seems serious about making it work.

There was no word on when it will be available in Canada.

Samsung describes the Galaxy Note 10.1 as combination of a mobile phone, tablet and digital notepad. The device is powered by a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor and uses Android 4.0 plus Samsung’s own Touchwiz user interface.

Microsoft Corp. said it has found 5 percent of Windows Phone apps that won’t work on devices that adhere to the new system requirements the company released for low-end phones.

On Monday, Microsoft announced that phones with just 256MB of memory and 7×27 processors will be able to run Windows Mobile. Nokia and ZTE are among the first companies to announce phones that will follow the new specification.

While the industry has been referring to this low-end release as Tango in the runup to the announcement, Microsoft has not used the name in blog posts related to the announcement.

Microsoft has now released an early version of the update to the SDK that developers use to build apps for the mobile OS. The updated SDK will let developers run their app in an emulator to determine how the app will operate on the low end devices. A final version of the SDK, which will let developers publish apps, will be available next month, Joe Belfiore, vice president of Windows Phone product management, said in a blog post.

He also said that the company had identified 5 percent of current apps that won’t run properly on the lower end devices. Earlier in the day a Microsoft executive said there are currently 65,000 apps available in the market.

The company will contact the developers of those apps to advise them of how to make their apps compatible with the new phones, he said. He also wrote that in most cases the apps would be required to use less memory.

Developers of those apps can also decide not to make their app available to the new phones.

Microsoft [Nasdaq: MSFT] also said that it will begin offering the apps Marketplace in 23 new markets in the coming months, including Bulgaria, Iraq, Thailand and Kazakhstan.

(Stories written by Nancy Gohring and Mikael Ricknäs)