Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mobility is not speciality

Yesterday Nokia announced that it will focus on consumer applications and drop "behind-the-firewall" products, which includes also Intellisync solution. From business strategy perspective this is a rational move, allowing Nokia to focus on the things it can do the best and create partnerships in areas where it cannot successfully compete.

In article by Helsingin Sanomat (Finnish newspaper) I found a quote from Niklas Savander where he says exactly what I think. I couldn't find this from the original press release, so here is a my quick translation of the comment:
"Mobility has became a mainstream in enterprise computing and it is no longer a speciality. When applications need to be mobilized, companies often rely on their existing partners."

It's no more than ten years ago when it was discussed if something could be done with a browser, whether a browser is good or bad, if we should create dedicated browser versions of old client/server applications etc. Now all this sounds stupid, but replace browser with mobile phone and you'll see my point. Companies don't anymore hire browser consultants (but hire mobile consultants), companies don't have browser partners (but have mobile partners), companies don't "browserize" applications (but mobilize those). Browser is mainstream in business applications, mobile is not - yet. 

Mobile solutions still carry some of the old legacy of being something extremely difficult, but for how long? Can your sales arguments survive when the customer opens his eyes and asks you "what's so different in mobile development that I need yet another partner for that? Why can't I do this with my existing partners?"


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Comment about mobile mail

Frost & Sullivan today published a Market insight article ("Take a Peek at Your Wireless Email: Why There is Still Room for a New Solution Provider") about a new mobile email solution. The presented solution itself is really nothing new, technically it seems to be a new device with a qwerty-keyboard. The innovation in this case (hopefully) lies behind the targeted customer base, not in the technology.

The article gives yet another figures about the usage of mobile email: 15 million users in the US and 32 million internationally are actively using cell phones to manage their emails. Coincidentally Symbian today published their Q2 2008 financial report that states they have shipped 225.9 million devices since the formation of Symbian. Compare that to the number of active mobile email users and think also about the other feature phone / smartphone platforms. How many mobile email enabled terminals there are currently in use vs. how many of those are actually using email. The gap is astronomical.

Why is that? The short answer probably is that nobody owns the convergence and users are not able to see the possibilities that their devices have. Email option is there, but nobody has told the users that just by configuring the email account to the device mobile email becomes reality. There surely is still room for innovators who can communicate to public that mobile email is a commodity that all owners of relatively new mid and high end terminal owners can use. But how to do business with that information?

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