A Forbes piece suggests there are four types of enterprises that may be willing to give the Pre, Palm's lauded new smartphone, a spin right off the bat. Writer Elizabeth Woyke says that prime Pre candidates are companies that traditionally use Palm products, companies intrigued by the webOS's ability to run multiple applications simultaneously; those eager to try the device when promised Oracle and Salesforce.com applications launch and creative types attracted to the latest and presumably most flexible technology.
The piece's subtext: Pre is symptomatic of the full acceptance of smartphones as a business tool. Clearly, Palm has intentionally aimed more at business users at its inception than Apple did with the iPhone. This is partly due to the evolution of staggeringly complex smartphone technology and partly due to the orientation of the two companies. Apple is all but dismissive of business users; Palm has strong enterprise roots.
But the world also has changed in those two years. The smartphone has become the clear future of cell phones. To introduce a device without a compelling enterprise story would be folly.
It is possible to draw a lot of conclusions about the Pre versus iPhone or Pre versus BlackBerry from an enterprise perspective. It's clear that all three of the devices-and Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian and other smartphone OSes-will hold their own in the office. Indeed, that's precisely the point: Palm's webOS and subsequent new smartphone OSes will be introduced to a world that expects them to perform well in a business environment.
The construct that suggests a smartphone OS will thrive in the enterprise if its battery life is elongated, if it can be made to multitask, if it can be given the horsepower to support enterprise applications or if it can be tweaked to perform some other specific task will no longer be used. Instead, the OS will be looked at askance, and cede the ability to compete for a potentially huge market, if it can't do these things from Day One.