The "iPhone killers" are about to be killed
For most businesses, all of this means most of the rest of the mobile pack is toast.
- Google Android has essentially no security or management capabilities, so it's a nonstarter for most businesses, and the emerging set of client apps for secure email and basic management coming from mobile management vendors is an unsatisfying Band-Aid approach.
- Palm's WebOS has minimal security capabilities and no management capabilities, and its market share is so small that few mobile management vendors are even bothering with the platform.
- Nokia's Symbian OS has moderate security and management capabilities but is being phased out in favor of a future operating system called MeeGo, so that platform is essentially on hold for an unknown quantity. Also, it suffers from an unsatisfying user interface; you don't lust after a Nokia device, nor does it have the apps capability of an iPhone.
RIM's BlackBerry will continue to be a favorite of IT, especially old-school IT. But I come across an increasing number of CIOs -- even in highly regulated industries -- that have figured out today's iPhone fits their requirements and is much more capable than a BlackBerry. I expect these modern CIOs to convince their old-school colleagues in the next few years that there's more to corporate mobile than BlackBerry, especially given what iPhone OS 4.0 brings to the table.
The wild card is Microsoft's forthcoming Windows Phone 7, which should have the same good security and management capabilities as the Windows Mobile platform. If the new operating system doesn't overly target social networks and, thus, appeal just to Facebook and Twitter users, it could be a real option for modern CIOs. But Windows Phone 7 won't ship until well after iPhone OS 4.0, so it may face a much higher hurdle than Microsoft expected when it began mapping out Windows Phone 7's capabilities a couple years back. That's what you get for screwing around with bad upgrades for half a decade.
There's no question in my mind that iPhone OS 4.0 puts the iPhone in the best position for corporate users of any mobile device. You get the personal capabilities individuals love, the app capabilities that are great for both individuals and business, corporate-class email, security that meets the needs of most organizations, and a good Web browser. Nothing else does all of this well. So why fight it? In fact, there's every reason to embrace it.
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This article, "Apple stages corporate mobile takeover with iPhone OS 4.0," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Gruman et al.'s Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile computing at InfoWorld.com.