Today’s topics include the launch of Microsoft’s Outlook-centric business management offering for small businesses, the rollout of Hewlett Packard’s converged hybrid compute platform for SMBs, Facebook’s many big announcements at the F8 Conference, and Amazon’s latest e-reader–the Kindle Oasis–is available for preorder.
Microsoft wants to make ERP capabilities more attainable for small and midsize businesses using the Office productivity suite.
The software maker’s latest ERP offering for SMBs, code-named Project Madeira, is now available as a public beta in the United States.
The service delivers an embedded ERP experience within Office 365. “Project ‘Madeira’ connects business processes with the productivity tools in Office 365 to help small and medium-sized businesses grow sales, manage finances and streamline operations,” said Marko Perisic, general manager of Microsoft Project Madeira, in an April 11 announcement.
Project Madeira is slated for general availability in the U.S sometime in the second half of 2016.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise is rolling out a converged hybrid compute platform designed for smaller businesses that want an on-premises system that also can deliver the benefits of the cloud.
The vendor’s ProLiant Easy Connect Managed Hybrid data center system, announced April 13, is the first in a new family of products called Easy Connect that are designed to be easier for small and mid-size businesses to deploy and manage.
Facebook made news on multiple fronts on the first day annual F8 developers’ conference on the waterfront at Fort Mason in San Francisco April 12. The company announced a new Messenger Platform for developers that includes bots and a Send/Receive API.
The company also a beta program for so-called Chatbots on the social network. With these new bot components, Facebook is opening up the Messenger platform to make it possible for users to send messages to businesses and buy products or services—not unlike messenging friends to arrange a night out at the movies.
In addition to the chatbot, Facebook also unveiled a new 360-degree 3D camera, the Surround 360, to use with its Oculus Rift VR headset.
It also announced a major expansion of its main developer tool package, opened its Instant Article feature to all users and discussed a new 10-year priority list for expanding product and services development.
Amazon’s eighth-generation e-reader, the $289.99 Kindle Oasis, is available for preorder as the company adds a fourth Kindle model to its line of e-readers for all budgets.
The Oasis is the thinnest and lightest Kindle e-reader built so far, with a weight of 4.6 ounces and a thickness of just 0.13 inches, all in the name of making the device lighter and more comfortable to hold, according to Amazon.
By comparison, the seventh-generation Kindle Voyage, unveiled in September 2014, weighs 6.3 ounces and is 0.30 inches thick, while the earlier Kindle Paperwhite weighs 7.2 ounces and is 0.36 inches thick. Amazon will start shipping the new Oasis April 27.