The Small-Screen Blues
One was simply how to get to rid of the pressure headache that felt like it wanted to exit the front of my skull the hard way. Second, I was left wondering if mobile enterprise software vendors are taking full advantage of the computing power and bandwidth that is now patently available on these small battery-powered platforms.
Coders of consumer applications seem much more attuned to their chosen form factor when developing entertainment applications for handhelds and smartphones. Enterprise types need to work on how they present applications on the tiny screen while still fully using the capabilities of each device.
At the moment, the key enterprise application on the “third screen” is mobile email, and it has been that way for several years. As it stands, you can’t even really go out and buy a device that offers push email while handling basic office applications, such as spreadsheets, Adobe Acrobat attachments, and PowerPoint.
Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) may argue that it can now offer these capabilities with its latest update to the Windows Mobile operating system, but I’ve spoken to analysts and vendors who don’t actually define the Redmond “push email” update as a true push system in the same style as the BlackBerry email service. Meanwhile, BlackBerry is still working on bringing widely used applications like PowerPoint to its devices.
Things get even more fractured as we move beyond the mobile desktop and into niche enterprise applications such as mobile sales force and CRM programs. There are smaller players like Vettro Corp. and Sendia Corp., which has just been acquired by Salesforce.com Inc. , that offer access to a spread of business applications. Most of the industry, however, still seems to be focused on “mobilizing” a particular enterprise application rather than providing the user with a snapshot of the business day.
I wonder why more business software developers aren’t looking at better ways to push the most relevant tasks and information – pulled from a variety of corporate sources – to a user’s device, and to present that information in ways that aren’t so bound by the traditional conception of an office desktop.
Obviously, it's not easy to pull together all the software strands that a typical corporation has in place and deliver them to smartphone and handheld. Companies have been working on that sticky problem for years.
It seems to me, however, that the devices themselves and the networks they run across are becoming less and less of a bottleneck. As demonstrated by the TV clips and colorful games available, we've gone way beyond the green screen and painfully slow download times of yore. Which means that vendors need to take a fresh look what they can deliver – and how to present it – to corporate mobile devices.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung