With the number of enterprise mobile data users expected to grow to 269 million by 2010, as forecasted by research firm Yankee Group, businesspeople will need reliable and functional mobile devices that can serve up everything they need while traveling. For this reason, smart phones are growing in popularity because they offer a choice of mobile operating systems and a range of applications they can support. Read on and take a poll to tell us which smart phones are most popular at your company.Businesspeople these days have several OS choices on smart phones, including Palm OS, Symbian, Microsoft Windows Mobile, and even Linux. Although Research In Motion's BlackBerry has often been categorized as a PDA, more industry experts are starting to recognize it as a smart phone since it runs on RIM's proprietary BlackBerry OS. There will be 126.6 million such smart phones sold globally by 2009, according to Yankee Group.
So how does one know which smart phone makes the most sense or offers the best features? It's really a matter of preference or business need. Smart phones with these operating systems have several things in common: They offer wireless e-mail, integrate with business apps, and have Web browsing capabilities.
The actual devices, however, differ in the types of wireless networks they support. Some may work with the latest 3G cellular network, like Sprint's or Verizon Wireless' EV-DO, while others may support an older cellular network. Some come with Bluetooth capabilities, while others don't. The talk time, or the battery capacity, for smart phones varies as well, ranging anywhere from 160 minutes to 360 minutes and up. Bandwidth-intensive applications like video consume a lot of battery power, so a piece of advice for anyone thinking about purchasing a smart phone is getting one that offers a longer talk time.
Traditionally, many people purchased smart phones on their own for both work and play, and then brought them into the workplace. That's changing, as a lot more companies are purchasing and supporting the devices for their workers. In fact, research firm Current Analysis anticipates a split between business and consumer devices as more carriers experience success selling directly to businesses. Companies should expect a new class of smart phones targeted at specific business needs.
Smart phones will be the focus of my October feature story, but before I can get started, I need your help. Take our poll and tell us what your favorite smart phone is. May the best gadget win!