Motorola Preps for Enterprise Battle

By Eric M. Zeman — May 25, 2006

Though Motorola has offered several enterprise phones in the past, none were stellar sellers. That's about to change with the launch of the Motorola Q smartphone. With its sleek design, Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system, EV-DO 3G wireless data capabilities and low price point ($199), the Q is sure to be a hit with mobile professionals.

Several aspects of the Q make it an interesting device. First and foremost are the track wheel and "back" button on the right side of the device. With functionality that mimics RIM's BlackBerry handsets, the Q is banking on an increased ease-of-use to lure in enterprise customers. Second is the partnership Motorola announced with Good Technologies to offer push email service and access to enterprise data for the Q through GoodLink. Mobile professionals can get up and running in minutes, without having to part with their smartphone. GoodLink on the Moto Q is available for Microsoft Exchange users today and will be available for IBM Domino/Lotus Notes users this summer.

What's the big deal about another enterprise smartphone? The big deal is that the Q is a much-anticipated device clearly targeting RIM's dominance in the enterprise with its qwerty keyboard, integration with Microsoft systems and push email. RIM has long been the king of wireless email, and its competitors are interested in elbowing their way into the largely untapped market for these services. With 165 million business email accounts up for grabs, the potential revenue is practically unlimited.

And Motorola is hardly alone in its quest. Nokia and Palm have also been making overtures to enterprise users. Palm's two newest Treo smartphones, the Windows-based 700w and Palm-based 700p, are souped-up enterprise-class devices complete with email integration and high-speed wireless data services and the ability to run business applications. There's no question that they are big sellers. Nokia is lagging slightly behind in the enterprise smartphone play in North America. Though it announced the 9300 smartphone (available in the United States via Cingular) last November, it has a RIM-like qwerty device hiding in the wings for release later this year. Based on Symbian Series 60 3rd Edition and complete with 3G wireless data connectivity, the Nokia E61 plans to offer full enterprise capabilities and push email through its newly acquired Intellisync push email and syncing technology.

The bottom line is obvious. Smartphones offering wireless email and access to corporate information have become the "must-have" technology for mobile professionals on the go, and technology vendors are rushing solutions to market. As more and more workers hit the road or work out of the office, the need for access has increased greatly. RIM is the clear leader with 5 million customers on board. The question is, can Palm, Motorola, Nokia and the others catch up?

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