An embarrassment of choices

By admin, March 2, 2010 11:36 am

Jason Hiner's business-oriented review of the Google Nexus One smartphone may or may not convince you that the Nexus One (or Android phones in general, since most will share the relevant attributes with the Nexus) is the answer to your business smartphone needs, but it does help illustrate the wealth of options that you have in the smartphone market today. In the past, companies limped along with Windows Mobile or worked around individual Palm users or, if everyone was lucky, standardized on Blackberry, but the next-generation appearance of the iPhone suddenly relegated most of those touchstones to also-ran status.

Companies are still having trouble assimilating the wave set off when Apple dropped the iPhone into the pond, but the flexibility, ease-of-use, and popularity of the new generation of smartphones is undeniable, and their penetration into the enterprise market is taking place with or without the informed consent of the IT department. There is little to suggest that trend will end anytime soon. CIOs uncomfortable with Apple or with the iPhone's capabilities in the corporate environment found themselves fighting to hold the line with what they had, creaky old and limited devices from a bygone era.

Happily, that state of affairs is rapidly improving. Besides the iPhone, CIOs now have the Android option, and soon, the much improved Windows Phone 7. All of these devices have benefited from competition with one another and the existing crop of smartphones, adding business-oriented features to address mail, security, and functionality aspects that consumer phones neglect. Moreover, the increasingly accepted paradigm of the smartphone as a more-or-less open development platform has sparked a wave of application innovation that has opened the door to new uses of phones in business environments. While the killer business phone has yet to appear, it's a fair bet that when it does, it will be based on one of these platforms, and all of them will certainly improve on their currently utility in the enterprise environment. The CIO only has to reach out his or her finger and pick.

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