The significant and growing competition in the mobile sector is forcing companies to fight on a daily basis and worry about players that they didn't have to worry about before. Just ask Steve Ballmer.
It's obvious that consumer and enterprise technologies are merging, and t this trend is nowhere more apparent than in the mobile sector. Android is evolving rapidly and the go-to enterprise operating system, Research in Motion's Blackberry, suddenly is courting consumers. That dynamic is evident in the earful that Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, got at the U.S. Public Sector CIO Summit, at least according to NewsFactor. Essentially, folks at the show told Ballmer that they were tired of struggling to get employees to use sanctioned Windows Mobile devices instead of personal iPhones or Android-based phones.
The high level competition is clearly illustrated in this PCWorld.com piece, which outlines cell phone results from several research firms, some of which I've already reported. Gartner said that fourth-quarter 2008 sales, at 314.7 million units, were down 4.6 percent from the year-ago quarter-though the full year showed 6 percent growth. In-Stat said that smartphones will double their market share to 20 percent by 2013. Gartner said the 20 percent mark has already been reached in North America, driven by the iPhone, RIM's Storm and the Android G1. In-Stat is looking for Linux-based smartphones to grow the fastest, though the OS will remain second behind Symbian.
This post at pocketnow.com goes a bit more deeply into one of the important changes in Windows 6.5. The blog, which is accompanied by a video, says that a new browser, Internet Explore 6 Mobile, will replace Pocket Internet Explorer. This will improve page rendering. The writer makes the point that this is important in the context of the more fully functioning browsers on devices such as the iPhone and Android. It is important to look at the security considerations of this move. <strong>I wrote yesterday about mobile device management</strong>. It is clear that security differs greatly between browsers. It is safe to assume that security will be better on the more recent browser, though that assumption should be tested, of course. In any case, this is a good example of the fluidity of the market.
Touch screens are one of the hot-button items right now. Beta News discusses research from the NPD Group. The writer points out that each of the major cellular companies has chosen a touch screen smartphone. AT&T opted for the iPhone, Verizon for the Blackberry Storm, T-Mobile for the G1 and, soon, Sprint will offer the Palm Pre. The writer quotes an NPD analyst who sees Windows Mobile as a step behind some of the other operating systems. This, indeed, dovetails with the complaints Ballmer was hearing from the CIOs.
The bottom line is that is that cellular is the Wild Wild west of telecommunications. This offers challenges-and opportunities-to organizations trying to gain every possible advantage for their mobile workers.