From Now On, Smartphones' Enterprise-Readiness Should Be Assumed

Carl Weinschenk

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.

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Jun 14, 2009 6:51 PM Daniel Hoang Daniel Hoang  says:

I can't speak for Blackberry or Palm Pre, but my iPhone is connected to our Exchange server where I get push email, contacts, and calendar. While we have more to go in terms of further integration to our enterprise applications, such as Citrix, WebEx, etc., the existing usage is invaluable when traveling.

I haven't read too much on companies developing specific apps for internal usage but there's limitless opportunities to develop in-house applications for the iPhone. In fact, there are some rudimentary applications made by Oracle for requisition approvals and salesforce.com.

Jun 17, 2009 7:57 PM Arthur Rosenberg Arthur Rosenberg  says:


The enterprise market has to understand what is really happening as traditional business communications (telephony, messaging) become more mobile, personalized, and multi-modal under the evolving framework of "unified communications" (UC). 

For openers, mobility will increasingly demand that mobile smart-phone devices satisfy both business and personal needs of the individual end user ("dual persona"). Right there, enterprise responsibilities for such devices will be limited to business applications for people and business contacts. For mobile devices, therefore, it won't be a matter of "one size fits all,"  and like Citrix has done with it's "Bring Your Own Computer" project (BYOB), they pay for employees to buy their own choice of laptops to be used for both personal and business applications, providing that all work-related apps are "virtualized" with Citrix's enterprise software. That's the model for the future of  enterprise mobile applications.

If you think about it, this approach will effectively support the needs of external users which can directly affect revenue generation (business partners, consumer customers) who also need (controlled) self-service access to enterprise information and people. As the consumer world rapidly adopts mobile smart-phones for all personal accessibility when away from a wired desktop, they will be using those same devices with secure access to enterprise business applications. The same will apply to mobile subscriber access to consumer-oriented  services (e.g., entertainment, travel, financial, health care, etc.) .

Obviously, the wireless carriers will want a piece of the application action somehow and that still remains to be defined in a "reasonable" way. They have long tied individual subscriber mobile devices to network access, usage, and roaming pricing plans, so there will now be a way to support enterprise business activity in a "wholesale" manner with wide-area wireless capabilities.  


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