Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Lots of News in Handheld Land

Yardena at PCWorld does a good job of summarizing the latest on the new HP iPAQ.. sounds like it falls short as a real challenger to the new Motorola Q...

Is RIM the new hope for Treo 650 users? Given that the Treo 700 is Windows mobile, this just can't be good news for Good Technology..


Yardena Arar, PC World
Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The pre-holiday PDA rush is on. Since last I wrote, Palm has shipped two new handhelds (the Z22 and the TX) and announced plans for a Windows Mobile Treo, and Research In Motion and AvantGo have announced new services. Today Hewlett-Packard is announcing an IPaq phone (the hw6515) with a built-in Global Positioning System receiver.


Treo 650 to Support BlackBerry Mail
If you're a corporate type whose company has one of Research In Motion's BlackBerry Enterprise Servers, and you've been longing for a Palm PDA that will support RIM's popular push e-mail technology, you're finally in luck.

This week Palm and RIM are announcing that BlackBerry Connect support will be available for the Treo 650 early next year. Your mobile phone carrier will have to enable receipt of BlackBerry e-mail, which will be handled by the Treo's VersaMail client. BlackBerry support more or less rounds out the Treo's 650 capability to handle just about any corporate e-mail system, as it already accommodates Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Domino. Pricing is not yet available.


Blackberry user tip

Do you currently scroll and scroll in your mailbox??

To navigate to the "Top" of your email inbox/outbox you can type tt, to navigate to the "Bottom" of the list type bb

Friday, October 14, 2005

Is a mobile device more secure than a laptop

It seems like many question the security of data on mobile devices.. Some of this concern centers on the fact that we loose these devices more often than our laptops.. Given that most of us do not “password protect” the device due to the bother or keying an access code every time we go to check our email, is the device a data security risk?

Blackberry and Good have made the loss of a device a non-issue in terms of data-at-risk, a “poison pill” capability makes it easy for the administrator to use the network to wipe clean a device. This is allot better than the potential risk of a lost 256MB USB “thumb” drive and if you think of the risk that every Laptop hard drive poses.. Don’t let the username and password on a laptop fool you, there are many ways to boot the device that put all the sensitive data on the laptop with easy reach. It seems that mobile devices should be the least of anyone’s worries..

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Rant of the Day – Simple is Hard to do..

Does it amaze you at how often that we overlook the challenge of simplicity? and how easy it is to make simple tasks too complex.. Is loading an address book into a mobile phone rocket science? Is it a wonder to anyone else why is it taking so long for mobile phones manufactures to begin supporting a standard data and power interface like USB? Is there really a reason that USB drive manufactures have no problem making a $20 device that follows the standard to “look” like an external disk, and nearly every digital camera manufacturer has done the same, and yet the mobile phone manufacturers all feel like they have to invent a new connector and approach.. and make you buy and carry yet another power brick!

Are we going back to Fat Client for mobile?

It seems that given the poor adoption of mobile web applications that many have assumed that the “solution” is to go back to fat client applications for mobile. The recent blackberry catalog showed nearly 250 mobile applications created for the device. Does the need for offline use, and the challenges of web response time make Fat Client the solution for the mobile user? Is your mobile device out of coverage that often to justify this approach?

Prior wisdom was that the cost of developing, delivering and maintaining fat client client/server applications had relegated them to the world of “legacy” applications. Have the challenges of fat client applications magically disappeared for mobile devices?

The mobile world makes the PC world look homogeneous… no standard screen size, no standard keyboard or navigation approach. While the platform development tool vendors have said that this is all “handled” in their tool-kits, we’ve heard that before with the likes of powerbuilder and other 4GL tools of the past. Do we want mini versions of applications to be built for these mobile devices? Will people actually log in to a mini version of SAP on their blackberry or windows mobile device?

It seems likely that mobile fat clients, like mobile web clients struggle with a similar challenge on the smaller mobile screen. Imagine a 10 screen application that needs to be redeveloped for mobile. Given the limited real estate of the mobile screen (about ¼ the viewing area of a desktop window) the mobile version of the application would become 40 screens.. Now think about the menu trees that you would need to navigate to get anything done. With the smaller size the complexity of navigation multiplies.. on a device that is really tougher to navigate! It is really unlikely that on a device where every keystroke matters that these applications will get used.. it’s tough to imagine fumbling through menus while driving or in front of a customer..

To date, mobile fat clients have tried to fit the Elephant into the dog house.. and while many have been clever in selecting the functions they believe that people need while mobile, they have all failed to get much traction with users. Could be because they make the mobile user learn a new application, in addition to the web/desktop version that they also must use?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

123 Million mobile email users by 2009

Wireless Carriers Bet on Mobile Mail

Business 2.0: The Radicati Group, a Palo Alto-based market research firm, predicts that nearly 123 million consumers will check e-mail on their handsets by 2009, up from just 6.5 million this year. At an eye-popping growth rate of more than 100 percent a year, Radicati expects mobile e-mail to become a $2 billion market in just four years. If mobile e-mail becomes a multibillion-dollar market, it will prove that in the wireless world, it’s the applications that are simplest to use that make the most money.

Blackberry user tip

When reading your email on your blackberry you can hold down the “c” key to create a new message.

Rant of the day…

“backberry/treo/windows mobile/smartphone”.. Boy! this “device” could use a “name”!

But therein lies some of the challenge. The mobile phone is evolving; 1.4B devices have mobile “data” access via text messaging and other capabilities like WAP or more conventional email and web capabilities.

Phone-first devices typically look like a mobile phone and have a smaller screen and phone style keyboard. More e-mail centric devices like the blackberry and treo and emerging windows mobile devices like the Motorola Q have qwerty keyboards.. I frequently use term blackberry like Kleenex, when talking about the qwerty keyboard devices.. and “mobile phone” to talk about the phone-first devices.

The challenge is that the smart-phone term has been used for everything from windows mobile phone-first devices to the tweener devices that use a stylus and have no keyboard at all!

Given that blackberry really seemed to be the company that made a stand on the qwerty keyboard I would like to call other devices blackberry-like.. but much to the applause of some blackberry has muddied the waters further with a sub-qwerty shared key hybrid approach.. my wife loves it, probably due to it’s great screen… but for most power-users the keyboards really slows the 30 word per minute thumbing possible on the traditional blackberry style qwerty keyboard.

For the purpose of the blog, I’ll try to avoid confusion by talking about mobile phones as the phone first devices, and sprinkle in blackberry and treo references until we find a better term.

What is "mobile access"

What really is the definition of “mobile access”?? For some it has meant calling an IVR - interactive voice response system or service like 411 to get access to information or services we need while using a mobile phone, for others it means booting up our laptop with wifi starbucks or with cellular data card..

Here “mobile access” is about using an always-on device like your mobile phone or backberry/treo/windows mobile/smartphone. As the device for access, and non-audio, typically the screen/keyboard and some form of data service for the method of access.

Monday, October 03, 2005

First Post!

Well, here is the first post of many that I plan for the mobileaccess blog.. I look forward to enabling a dialogue discussing the controversy around approaches to mobile access in the enterprise, customer facing applications and our personal lives and the ways that we can make it work. I apologize in advance for the likely typos in the blog, given that many posts will be made while mobile!