Light Reading
While Blackberries still dominate, the market moves inexorably toward open standards and more alternatives

Mobile Email Monoculture Fades

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading
2/10/2006
50%
50%

At this point, it seems, a workaround won't cut it.

With yesterday's lawyer-vetted, IT-friendly alternative software for running Blackberry devices, BlackBerry hopes to reassure restless customers and hold on to its dominant position in the North American enterprise mobile email market. With 4.3 million Blackberry subscribers, many of them corporate executives, financial analysts, and government officials, Blackberry has to date been able to fend off competition from rivals offering similar products based on Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s Windows Mobile, Symbian Ltd. , Palm, or other operating systems.

Now, however, an array of market forces is pushing the mobile email market toward more interoperability and common software platforms -- and away from Blackberry's proprietary, combined hardware-and-software model.

Fully defined industry standards for mobile email may never become a reality, just as there is no single standard platform for corporate email systems. But according to IT managers, mobility solutions providers, and device makers, the move toward quasi-standardization -- i.e., a broad range of interoperability across various devices and operating systems beyond the Blackberry -- has gathered steam in recent months.

"As other platforms, like Good, Visto, Seven, and Nokia become more commonplace," notes Daniel Taylor, managing director of the Mobile Enterprise Alliance, "Blackberry will become Balkanized and will be forced to interoperate."

A powerful combination
There are plenty of recent headlines to back up that contention. Consider:

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) today completed its acquisition of mobile applications developer Intellisync Corp. (Nasdaq: SYNC), creating a powerful combination of a dominant phone manufacturer and a maker of email software that will run on any platform and any device. (See Nokia Wraps Up Intellisync Buy.)

  • Attempting to make its operating system a de facto standard for mass-market mobile email, Symbian this week announced a "validation program" that will provide software support and an approval stamp for vendors offering mobile-phone applications running on Symbian's OS. (See Symbian Cuts OS License Fees.)

  • Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL)'s latest Collaboration Suite, released last fall, includes support for "Push-IMAP," a protocol that allows unified messaging – i.e., the delivery of email to a variety of wireless devices over public networks.

  • Open-source developer Funambol this week released an open-source mobile email platform, Funambol v.3, that works over Blackberries, Microsoft Windows Mobile devices, and WAP-enabled phones. (See Email Gets Open-Source Push.)

  • Running on Windows Mobile 5.0, Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)'s Q handheld, wireless email device hits the enterprise market this quarter, joining a raft of new devices offering alternative, non-proprietary mobile devices. (See CES: Moto's Slim RIM Killer?)


In isolation, each of these is simply a move to capture a wider slice of a market with huge upside potential. Datamonitor released a report last November calculating that the potential market for mobile email comprises some 260 million enterprise users. Taken together, they describe a business growing beyond an early-adopter, monoculture environment to a more diverse ecosystem of devices and software that all work with each other.

Device driven
"Our view is that the nature of mobile email is going to change, and change rapidly," says Simon Garth, Symbian's London-based VP of marketing. "Today it's about buying a specialist device to do a specialist job; in a short space of time, it will be about a feature readily available on your mobile phone -- email will be just another service you sign up for on your mobile."

"What's driving the market are the devices," adds Alex Zaltsman, a partner at New Jersey-based IT services firm Exigent Technologies, which he says has around 50 mobile email customers. All but two or three now using Treos rather than Blackberries. "Five years ago, when RIM was the only game in town, it was just a matter of choosing which Blackberry you wanted to get. Now other manufacturers are coming out with interesting devices that are as portable as the Blackberry, but have more multimedia features, better Web browsing, and are able to run a variety of different applications."

Ultimately, an open-standards environment makes sense for carriers, device makers, applications developers -- and for enterprise customers.

"The majority of mobile phone applications are still inside this walled garden," observes Dave Rosenberg, CTO of San Francisco investment research firm Glass Lewis, "and sooner or later that's going to have to go away."

"Software has to work with all carriers," Rip Gerber, Intellisync's chief marketing officer, told a press roundtable in London in January. "People will want any application to work on any device on any network. Open standards will drive down costs. As the market matures, the technology will have to open up."

And it means that, regardless of the outcome of its long-running legal battle, RIM -- which was founded in 1984 and has enjoyed a virtual monopoly since introducing the Blackberry in 1998 -- may find itself in the unusual position of having to adapt.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 2

10|21|14   |   8:51:00 AM   |   (0) comments


ARRIS CTO Network Solutions Tom Cloonan discusses why many if not most MSOs will continue with integrated CCAP, while addressing why some are also looking at two futuristic, distributed access architectures: Remote PHY and Remote CCAP.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 1

10|21|14   |   9:01   |   (0) comments


SCTE Sr. Director of Engineering Dean Stoneback discusses the pros and cons of distributed access architecture (DAA) and its various forms, which range from basic Remote PHY to full CMTS functionality in the node.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 2

10|21|14   |   3:58   |   (0) comments


ARRIS Senior Solution Architect Eli Baruch talks about how MSOs can enable public and community WiFi through 1) outdoor access points, 2) businesses seeking to offer WiFi to customers, and 3) residential WiFi gateway extensions.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 1

10|21|14   |   10:15   |   (0) comments


SCTE Director of Advanced Technologies Steve Harris discusses WiFi deployments, drivers, challenges and advances, including 802.11ac, carrier-grade WiFi, community WiFi, Hotspot 2.0, Passpoint, WiFi-First and voice-over-WiFi.
LRTV Custom TV
Advantech Accelerates 100G Traffic Handling

10|17|14   |   7:56   |   (0) comments


Paul Stevens from Advantech explains why handling 100GbE needs a whole new platform design approach and how Advantech is addressing the needs of equipment providers and carriers to give them the flexibility and performance they will need for SDN and NFV deployment.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Holland's Imtech Traffic & Infra Discusses Huawei's ICT Solution and Services

10|16|14   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Dimitry Theebe is from the business unit at Imtech Traffic & Infra which delivers communications solutions for transportations. His partnershp with Huawei began about a years ago. In this video, Theebe speaks more about this partnership and what he hopes to accomplish with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Comprehensive Storage Solutions Vital for SVR

10|16|14   |   6:16   |   (0) comments


SVR Information Technology provides cloud services for academic and special sectors. With Huawei's support, SVR and Yildiz Technical University has established Turkey's largest and most advanced High Performance Computing system. CSO Ismail Cem Aslan talks about what he hopes Huawei's OceanStor storage system will bring for him.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mexico's Servitron's Impression of Huawei at CCW 2014

10|16|14   |   6:35   |   (0) comments


Servitron is a network operator in Mexico that has been in the trunking industry for the past 20 years. Its COO, Ing. Ragnar Trillo O., explains at Critical Communications World 2014 that his company has been interested in the long-term evolution of LTE technology and its adoption for TETRA.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Better Dubai

10|16|14   |   2:06   |   (0) comments


Abdulla Ahmed Al Falasi is the director of commercial affairs, a telecommunications coordinator for the government of Dubai. Their areas of service span across multiple industries, including police, safety, shopping malls and more. In this video, Abdulla talks about his department's work with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Lights Up Malaysia Partner Maju Nusa

10|16|14   |   1:59   |   (0) comments


Malaysia's Maju Nusa is an enterprise partner to Huawei in networking, route switches and telco equipment. At this year's Critical Communications World in Singapore, CTO Pushpender Singh talks about what Huawei's eLTE solutions mean to his company and for Malaysia.
LRTV Custom TV
Evolving From HFC to FTTH Networks

10|15|14   |   2:19   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Todd McCrum delves into the future of cable's HFC plant, examining how DOCSIS 3.1 and advanced video compression will extend its life and how the IP video transition will usher in GPON and EPON over FTTH.
LRTV Custom TV
Exploring the Future of Cable Access

10|15|14   |   6:23   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Brett Wingo looks at where cable access architectures are heading, discussing the impact of DOCSIS 3.1, CCAP, Remote PHY, SDN, virtualization of cable networks and related technologies.
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Forget the Internet, Brace for Skynet
Stephen Saunders, 10/15/2014
HBO Will Go OTT in 2015
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/15/2014
Google: Carriers & Cloud Providers Need to Cooperate
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/16/2014
Could Data Be the New 'Currency'?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/16/2014
CBS Takes OTT Plunge
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/16/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed