Friday, January 20, 2006

Size Matters: The Smartphone Conundrum

Peter Rysavy at Rysavy Research pens a column for Network Computing that is picked up by Mobile Pipeline. With the introduction of the Treo 700, Rysavy looks at the current status of smartphones and the current conundrum that "from a productivity point of view, it's easy to invest just as much time working with these devices as any time you will save from using them."

Rysavy looks at the current situation and some of the smartphones on the market. He states that for "most workers, smartphones can't replace a laptop, but the multitude of features present makes it increasingly possible for many workers to use their smartphone for short trips or other periods away from the office."

Rysavy details some of the problems he has experienced in the past concerning the complexity, maintenance and reliability of his Treo 650. Based on these experiences and others leads him to write:

When I add up my support time, I have to question how much further ahead I am from a productivity point of view. From an IT perspective, these devices must be managed; their software must be kept up-to-date for potentially large numbers of devices, preferably through some centralized system; and remote-access security architectures must be updated to support smartphones, all adding up to considerable time investments. And if you don't make these infrastructure investments, you'll pay even more in compromised security and supporting devices on a case-by-case basis.
With handset prices dropping and analysts predicting increasing smartphone adoption, Rysavy warns:
unless smartphone vendors want to see an IT backlash against these devices for wasting too much support time, they should make sure their platforms and included applications are as stable as possible. It took quite a few releases of Microsoft Windows before it finally became reasonably stable with Windows 2000 and Windows XP. After this long painful experience, IT and user tolerance for system instability has gone down, so let's make sure we don't have to repeat this process with smartphones.