IPhone 3G: Still Not Ready for the Enterprise

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4) Application Ecosystem

Having 500 applications available at the iPhone 3G's launch was impressive. And no doubt that number will grow, fast. But the fact remains that there more than 18,000 applications available for Windows Mobile at public Web storefronts such as Handango.com.

And while the BlackBerry platform remains difficult for developers, there are still nearly 4,000 BlackBerry apps at Handango.com, along with thousands more custom business apps.

Of course, many business apps have already been ported over to the Web. For these, no porting is needed -- iPhone users can simply fire up Safari. But many applications still run better as clients. And some of those ISVs, such as Rove Mobile, say they are in no hurry to port their products over to the iPhone.

5) Cost and Carrier Choice

The iPhone 3G may only cost $199, but its true cost over the life of a typical two-year contract with AT&T is at least $2,000 (including voice plan, unlimited data plan and $5/month for 200 text messages). Pricey for a consumer toy, but comparable to a BlackBerry or Windows Mobile smartphone.

Rather, the true cost for an enterprise switching to the iPhone comes from the substantial investments in money, time and personnel those firms have already made in BlackBerry devices, multi-year contracts, BES servers, and the like.

And there is the matter of Apple's preference to sign a single carrier in each market for the iPhone, in contrast to the multi-carrier availability of BlackBerries and Windows Mobile phones. The District of Columbia's Kundra says the biggest hurdle to deploying the iPhone widely is AT&T's spotty geographical coverage.

Their Surveys Said...

Only 1 out of 25 senior wireless executives queried by Immobile.org for a poll earlier this month expect both corporate IT admins and employees to embrace the iPhone. Three out of four expect the iPhone to make few inroads and for Research In Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry, to maintain or strengthen its lead.

Another survey, by investment bank Goldman Sachs, found that 17% of 100 Fortune 1000 CIOs polled plan to buy an iPhone, though the Wall Street Journal, which reported the survey, opined that the figure "strikes us as pretty high." The survey also did not ask those CIOs how many iPhones they plan to buy -- a key point.

"I think companies will start to put the iPhone on their approved list, but I don't see many making it their standard-issue device," said Gyllensvaan.

The lust created by the iPhone 3G could even help end up helping its competitors. Rove's Woodbridge thinks that IT managers may try to steer employees demanding an iPhone 3G to sexed-up BlackBerries such as the upcoming Bold and Thunder models, or to touchscreen-based Windows Mobile phones such as the HTC Touch Diamond.

This story, "IPhone 3G: Still Not Ready for the Enterprise" was originally published by Computerworld.

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