Smartphones for the Enterprise a Work in Progress

SAN FRANCISCO — What are the best smartphones for the enterprise? Several
leading vendors made their cases here at the one-day Smartphone Summit
Monday ahead of the big CTIA conference.

Not in the room was Apple’s iPhone, but given its high profile, several execs on the panel discussed its impact.

“We think the iPhone is a great innovation because it allows folks to
really understand a mobile phone can do more than voice,” said Nicole
Buchanan, vice president of the Americas for i-Mate.

Buchanan
also gave Apple credit for showing “people will pay for value. But it really
doesn’t compete with what we’re doing with the ability to run applications
remotely.”

i-Mate’s line of Ultimate Windows Mobile smartphones comes in different
form factors and includes 3G connectivity and XGA direct video, which lets you, for example, run PowerPoint from the device onto a big screen.

Sony Ericsson’s head of content planning, Ulf Wretling, said the iPhone is raising interest in touch-screen interfaces, but noted his company has
been offering them for almost 10 years.

Sony Ericsson P1i

Sony Ericsson P1i

Source: Sony Ericsson

Wretling said one of Sony
Ericsson’s latest devices, the P1i includes both a keyboard and touch-screen
interface that works with a stylus or pointer. The 3G device also includes
such features as push e-mail, a built-in business card scanner and a 3.2
megapixel camera.

Joe Tate, vice president of HP’s business handheld unit, said acceptance of smartphones in the enterprise is part of a familiar cycle. “It’s about enterprise services — how you support IT, image customization and managed security options that make the devices more accessible to end users.”

HTC, which makes a number of phones for other vendors, said it
shifted gears a few years ago to put a greater emphasis on simplicity.

“We recognized the entire industry was on the wrong trajectory of adding more
and more features,” said John Wang, chief marketing officer at HTC. “No one
ever said these phones are too easy; let’s make them complicated,” but that’s
what happened.

He said HTC looked for inspiration in the way babies learn — by reaching and
grabbing. For example, a baby trying to draw will just go up and down the
page. “He moves the paper to get farther down; he doesn’t look for a down
screen button,” said Wang.

He said HTC has used touch-screen technology in
models like the HTC Touch Dual to make applications like Address Book, E-mail and Web pages more
like a virtual sheet of paper you can move with your finger. You can also
push out the front panel of the device to slide out a keypad for typing.

HTC Touch Dual

HTC Touch Dual

Source: HTC

A range of enterprise needs

The presentations continued with Brian Stech, Motorola’s global director
for marketing and channel development. He said Motorola has greatly improved
the enterprise readiness of its smartphones by acquring Good Technology and Symbol last year.

“From a device portfolio view, we’re addressing needs ranging from the
factory floor all the way to the executive suite,” he said. Later this year
Stech said Motorola would release its latest smartphone to U.S. buyers. The MOTO 9h, he said, will be especially optimized for the enterprise.

“The HSDA
(High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) gives you fast download times, and we’ve got
a full QWERTY keyboard for fast, accurate typing, document viewing and
editing. I’m really proud of the keyboard; smaller isn’t always better,” he
said.

The session wrapped up with presentations by two of the biggest names in
mobile devices, Nokia and Research in Motion.

Ed DeArias, Nokia’s vice president of enterprise
solutions in the Americas, discussed the Eseries, underscoring the devices’ ability to sync with other enterprise applications as part of a
broader unified communications strategy.

Next month Nokia is planning to
release in the U.S. the latest in the series. The E61 is a dual-mode device
with full VoIP capabilities that integrates with a company’s PBX.

Nokia is currently the leading maker of mobile phones with over 900
million devices sold worldwide and, according to Gartner, owns 52.6 percent of
the smartphone market.

David Werezak, vice president of the enteprise business unit at RIM,
said a positive trend is more smartphone vendors realizing they don’t have
to jam all the features of a PC or notebook into a smartphone.

“Providing
the key components are the path to success,” he said, noting the
BlackBerry’s accessibility to such enterprise staples as Microsoft Exchange,
Lotus Notes, Novell Groupwise Intranet Web services and SAP.

“We’ve worked with company’s like SAP to take parts of the application
and deliver the graphics and data users need,” said Werezak. “Same thing
with business intelligence where we can get you access to what you need from
Cognos or the wireless edition of Salesforce.com for CRM data.”

Werezak ended on a lighter note mentioning some casual games from Magmic that RIM offers to let knowledge workers
chill a bit from all the productivity. And Nokia’s DeArias also
emphasized the choice of devices isn’t just about what program’s you can
run.

“The style of the device and the appearance” is also important, he said.
“You want to be proud to carry it.”

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