Dare we declare this the Summer of the Smartphone? At press time in early June, the Palm Pre had launched commercially in the U.S. on the Sprint network. Apple had the next-gen iPhone coming out June 19. Rumors were circulating about an updated BlackBerry Storm. T-Mobile was touting a mid-year release for the newest G1 on the Android platform, and Motorola's Android entry is also in the wings. Whew.
Meanwhile, Gartner reports that smartphone sales increased 12.7% in 1Q 2009 over the same period a year earlier, even as the overall mobile phone handset market slipped 8.6% in 1Q 2009 compared to the first three months of 2008.
Of course, we all know that mobility in the enterprise stretches well beyond the smartphone, particularly when it comes to such specialized efforts as managing a supply chain, mobilizing a field force or meeting healthcare or government needs, to cite just a few examples.
Yet, for those employees commonly described as "knowledge workers," this handy little device is generating extra buzz of late because it represents the collision of the business and personal worlds, as Craig Settles observes in his Process & Strategy report on page 20. Indeed, that's the message that Sprint and Palm are promoting with the Pre and its new webOS platform. And, it's the reality that's causing headaches for corporations as they grapple with how to manage all these devices in the enterprise.
In this issue, we can see a common theme emerge from the mobility efforts of companies as diverse as Orkin, DuPont, Boeing, Ameriprise Financial, Kent State University, Sigvaris, Soberman LLC and others: getting the right mobile applications in the hands of the right workers on the right devices -- all with persistent connectivity and real-time integration -- raises a host of business and technology challenges. Nonetheless, these organizations say the effort is rewarded by the resulting myriad business benefits.