Thursday, June 01, 2006

Gartner: Moto Q Will Be a Strong Competitor in the Cellular PDA Market

I missed this one last week, but Ken Dulaney and Todd Kort at Gartner write that the Motorola (MOT) Q "has the form factor of a PDA but operates like a smartphone. Its pricing will put pressure on competitors that also offer devices with full QWERTY keyboards." They are overall positive on the handset and write:

The sleek Moto Q offers an improved design for wireless PDAs and smartphones — and serves as an alternative to what historically have been the most functionally oriented and, consequently, the least-attractive handheld devices. The form factor is clearly that of a PDA, although the Moto Q employs the smartphone profile under Windows Mobile 5.0.
Originating from Motorola’s consumer devices group, the Moto Q is positioned as a hardware alternative to the broadly accepted BlackBerry. The Moto Q's pricing will put some pressure on competitors that also offer devices with full QWERTY keyboards. But BlackBerry and Pocket PC users will likely find the transition to the Moto Q somewhat awkward because, respectively, some keyboard operations differ and it lacks a stylus or touchscreen operation. To match the BlackBerry value proposition, we believe the Moto Q will require additional security and management software.

The Moto Q will most likely vie for market share with the Nokia (NOK) E61 and Palm Treo. But the Nokia E61's expected wider distribution at launch, combined with the European preference for Nokia, should mitigate the advantage conferred in some regions by the Moto Q's inclusion of Windows Mobile 5. In addition, the Nokia E61's PBX integration will make it more attractive to enterprise users.

Given the Moto Q's competitors, the most puzzling omission from Motorola's device is Microsoft’s Messaging and Security Feature Pack (MSFP) for Microsoft Exchange Direct Push e-mail. Motorola will provide this software at a later date, but it is unclear whether over-the-air upgrades will be made available or the devices will need to be called in by the IT department.
Dulaney and Kort conclude:
The Moto Q is likely to appeal to consumers and "prosumers" (business professionals who make their own purchases) who do not expect embedded IT support features within the device. The exception will be enterprise users who currently support GoodLink, Nokia Intellisync and Sybase (SY) wireless e-mail or those who intend to use the Moto Q for custom applications. IT departments should prepare their systems to support a variety of devices, so that users may readily take advantage of technology improvements like the Moto Q.