Businesses Eye Smartphones to Supplant Laptops

smartphones, phones, blackberry, iphone, business trends
Artwork: Chip Taylor
Businesses are planning to boost the deployment of smartphones during the next three years, while laptop deployments will slow dramatically, according to survey of 340 companies in the U.S. and Western Europe.

The survey of small and large businesses, released last week by J. Gold Associates in Northboro, Mass., projected that the use of smartphones in corporate settings will double over the next three years. The survey found that the number of smartphone devices will grow about 30% in the next year, and will have doubled over three years.

The use of business applications on smartphones is also projected to grow, by 71% over one year and 196% over three years.

Gold also found that businesses expect to see no growth in the number of laptops they deploy during the next year and only 25% growth over three years. The growth rates are higher for access to corporate applications from laptops, which are slated to rise by 75% in one year and 100% over three years.

A synopsis of the report did not detail the number of smartphones and laptops in the market today, but it did note that business deployment of smartphones will increase at four times the rate of laptops in three years; the number of applications on smartphones is expected to grow at twice the rate of applications deployed to laptops.

Many applications are just now becoming available on smartphones, especially Apple Inc.'s iPhone 3G, which was released this summer with typical enterprise applications such as Exchange.

Just this past week, more applications for smartphones -- as well as smartphone support from a central IT office -- were announced. For example, Zenprise Inc. in Fremont, Calif. announced its MobileManager 4.1, which can automatically troubleshoot user problems across iPhone and BlackBerry installations. Zenprise has offered many BlackBerry management functions since 2007, and will now extend them to the iPhone. These functions include the ability to monitor iPhone operations from a central location and check for network availability and network performance, said Ahmed Datoo, vice president of marketing at Zenprise.

Major network management software vendors such as CA Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Open View and BMC already have products for BlackBerry management. Microsoft Corp. also provides management across a wide array of smartphones that run Windows Mobile.

The iPhone also got support for IBM Lotus Notes through Sybase iAnywhere this summer.

In another example of recent applications being extended to devices, Nokia and IBM today announced Notes support for a number of Nokia's S60-based mobile phones, meaning that perhaps 80 million Notes users can now access e-mail with their Nokia devices without middleware.

This story, "Businesses Eye Smartphones to Supplant Laptops" was originally published by Computerworld.

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