Off with their heads! Mobile Edge's 2011 Turkey Awards

In a year of amazing innovation and adoption of mobile tech, there were also some amazing duds and boneheaded moves

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Even sadder, I still see iPhone 5 and iPad 3 stories in the technology press, not just in fanboy blogs, even after this year's embarrassing saga became clear. I hope readers have stopped paying attention to these turkey stories and their turkey publications. These turkeys will keep gobbling nonsense as long as they think you're listening.

The mobile Linux community. I admire their stick-to-it nature, but at some point that trait becomes a liability. For years now there's been one mobile Linux effort after another -- Moblin, Maemo, MeeGo, and Tizen -- often involving the same cast of characters (almost always Intel and/or Nokia) that keeps pretending to be working on a viable mobile Linux OS. It's clear that these are just hobbyists who've found naive sugar daddy sponsors apparently with fantasies of a parallel universe in which their MoMaeMeeTi OS preempted iOS. There's nothing wrong with hobbies -- they can be quite healthy, in fact -- but the level of self-delusion in these mobile Linux efforts is disturbing.

The most recent action in this parallel universe is from Canonical, which is working on its own mobile Ubuntu spec that it hopes will power mobile devices some day. Someone needs to ask why the world needs or will want mobile Linux, especially given Linux's lack of success on the desktop. These wandering believers should console themselves that Android and iOS have roots in Linux and Unix, respectively, and call that a victory.

The security industry (much of it). McAfee, Symantec, and ISACA are the big names in the security-industrial complex trying to first freak everyone out about the dangers of mobile and then sell us software and services to protect us from ourselves. I get pitches like this all the time from companies large and small whose sole goal is to panic you into buying their stuff. It's crazy and unnecessary. The fact is that mobile devices and OSes, with the exception of Google Android, are safer than the desktop OSes that we rely on much more and that access the bulk of sensitive information allegedly under threat. But in their world, anything new has to be a threat so that they can enter that market and work overtime coming up with scary scenarios.

As regular Mobile Edge readers know, I was particularly incensed this year by Symantec claiming employees working during vacation was a big security threat and by ISACA claiming this month that holiday shopping on smartphones and tablets should scare your company. And I decried products from both Symantec and McAfee that sold "protection" for mobile devices that users already got for free. These are just the worst examples of what I see every week.

Security is important, but a company that trusts these self-interested vendors' claims will find themselves going broke and disrupting their everyday functions in the corporate equivalent of fighting the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Security concerns need to be carefully vetted not only for risk but impact; often the risks are minor and the prevention far costlier than the occasional breach. The good news is that mobile computing is on average safer than desktop computing, so don't let your Windows experience overly color your view of iOS, Windows Phone, and even Android. The bad news is that many security vendors specialize in making businesses act like turkeys -- which are then sent to the butcher to dress up for the platter. I suggest you go with those that don't resort to fearmongering as a marketing technique.

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