See How Gartner Rates Smartphone Platforms

By  Susan Nunziata — April 20, 2010

We'll see Apple's iPhone available from Verizon in summer or fall 2010, according to Ken Dulaney, Gartner VP & Distinguished Analyst.


"If I were Steve Jobs, I'd know there is no place I could make more money in the world than with Verizon," said Dulaney in a presentation on April 19 during the Gartner Wireless, Networking & Communications Summit 2010 in San Diego.


"I don't think it's technically difficult to do," he added. "I'm expecting this summer they will do it."


Dulaney discussed the iPhone platform and other smartphone platforms -- and their relevance to the enterprise -- in his address "Pocket Power: The Annual Update On Mobile Devices" on the opening day of the Gartner Summit. The event wraps April 21.


Dulaney also discussed iPhone OS 4.0, while acknowledging that Apple has supplied only a limited amount of information about the upgraded devices, due in June or July.


Until v. 4.0, Apple has resisted opening up the device's background processing in order to avoid risking battery life, according to Dulaney. With 4.0, "they created modules that have specific functions and, assuming those functions are in there, [your app] will get background privileges," he says.


Apple's initial 4.0 announcement in early April identified seven such background functions, including VoIP service and notification services that are relevant to the enterprise. However, Dulaney notes, "there was no background security module. So we don't see any progress where third parties can have full privileges for background processing [for security apps]." 


He adds that "just because they announced seven background functions doesn't mean they won't announce another one at the time they ship the device.

Dulaney noted that the new iPhone OS will have management APIs and management service. "We asked, 'what do you mean by service?' "


He says he expects the service to come in the form of a box or application that enterprises can put on premise, to which there are APIs given to third parties that can communicate with that. 


"We don't think these APIs will go directly to the device. We think they'll permit vendors such as Mobile Iron or Good Mobile Messaging to talk to this service, that will then talk to the device to do these functions. It looks a little like [the BlackBerry Enterprise Server]," says Dulaney. "This is the guess part. Nothing in their documentation tells us for sure" that this is the model Apple is planning.


Dulaney also had the following comments about major smartphone platforms: 


RIM

The biggest challenge for BlackBerry maker Research in Motion is the touchscreen, according to Dulaney. "It's very difficult to take a keyboard operating system and move it to touch," he says. 


While RIM has grown its installed base and expanded internationally over the past five years, Dulaney notes that "Android hurt them at Verizon a little bit, and that was a sign that maybe something was wrong. They're at a crossroads now where they face some challenges. They're still very strong, they're not going away."


Dulaney said he expects RIM to introduce a horizontal slider form factor, among a few different device models. "For RIM to grow with consumers, they need different products and need to deal with the touchscreen issues," he says.


In fact, enterprises themselves need to prepare for a touchscreen future. Gartner forecasts that 50% of all phones are going to be touchscreen, says Dulaney. "As [enterprises] build [their] apps, one of the big challenges is that they are built on PCs with keyboards. If you don't think about the touch interface as a different way of looking at things, you're going to make mistakes in your design, and your users are going to throw them back in your face."


MICROSOFT WINDOWS PHONE


Dulaney says Microsoft Windows Phone 7 "will be a product closer to iPhone, with a lot of the restrictions, no background processing, that you have on the iPhone. Where they will excel, as far as businesses, is with good Email and SharePoint."


Dulaney reassured businesses that are using Windows Mobile 6.5. "It's going to be around a long time," he says. "They will move it to the embedded group. If you are using a ruggedized handheld, there is some likelihood that vendors of ruggedized handhelds may start moving to full Windows on Atom processors. The horsepower will be there on Atom. If you're on 6.5, don't worry about it. But when you buy products two to three years from now, you may find you have another alternative."


"What if they had named XBox 'Windows Game' [instead]? They are going to have to convince people that Windows Phone is an exciting name and represents an exciting brand."


ANDROID

While some elements of Google's marketing strategy has left Gartner analysts "flummoxed" at times, Dulaney says "we expect them to be No. 2 in shipments by 2012, behind Symbian." That said, he noted, "Android is not recommended for any of our [enterprise] clients because it fails to have a security policy that enforces [the user's] password."


Dulaney added, "I believe Android is the best-designed user experience and user interface that is out there today. It is very consistent, it does things naturally at point you want to do it. It's better than iPhone."


Google's rapid release of multiple versions of its OS -- which are not all compatible with each other -- and the company's decision to offer some devices only online in its own Google store have created confusion in the market. 


In addition, he says, "Google has not understood that it needs to advertise its app store. The app store is the most important thing in the smartphone business. It creates the stickiness. Until Google identifies themselves with their app store, people buying these phones are going to think there are any number of platforms instead of just one. It's up to google to guide this thing."


PALM

Dulaney says "It is tough to recommend them" to enterprise users. "They are in limbo-land right now. If RIM bought Palm i would write a great note. Lenovo would be OK. If Dell buys them, it would be a disaster, because Dell hasn't even established themselves. Most of these environments don't look to be real strong, right now."



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