Forrester Research spoke with Microsoft's Jason Gordon, product manager for mobile devices, to get the advance details on a new handheld software brand, Windows Mobile, and its first product: Windows Mobile 2003 Software for Pocket PC. Buyers will like the improved email capabilities, .NET Compact Framework burned into the ROM, and built-in support for Wi-Fi and IPSec VPNs.
The report points out that advanced operating systems for handheld or PDAs, like Windows Mobile 2003, Palm OS 6, or Windows XP Tablet PC Edition are not sufficient by themselves. To get more than just the intangible value of handheld contacts, calendar, and email, managers should focus on what it takes to get real ROI from handheld technologies.
In their view mobile applicatrions and devices can be split in two areas:
Purpose-built handheld apps with focused functionality. Getting value from handheld technologies requires clipboard replacement -- replacing paperwork with streamlined applications to enable higher employee productivity. To work, these applications must be task-focused, integrate with existing enterprise apps, and work offline. Firms can buy handheld apps from vendors Allscripts or Mitchell International or turn to integrators like Shelflink and Arcstream.
Enterprise devices -- not consumer devices. Most devices today are still personal devices, built to appeal to individuals but often lacking the ruggedness and bigger screen needed for clipboard replacement. Firms instead should look to technologies like the Pocket PC-based Symbol devices that Pepsi uses for retail customer management, or the 2.2-pound NEC Versa LitePad Tablet PC, which offers a full-size screen.