Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Smart Phones Face Challenges

RED HERRING reports that "in spite of the growing popularity of smart phones, consumers aren’t yet ready to trade in their laptops and PDAs for a single, do-it-all device." Citing a recent In-Stat survey, "Nearly half of those surveyed said they were unsatisfied with smart phones’ small keyboards. Forty-three percent cited small screens as a problem. Other issues included a lack of applications, navigation difficulties, and short battery life."

Bill Hughes at In-Stat said, “It’s a little premature to declare the end of the laptop or the PDA. The truly accepted converged device would do that, but we’re not there yet."

In the survey, "77 percent of smart phone users said they either carry a PDA, or a PDA and a laptop. Charles Golvin at Forrester Research noted "the overlap can be attributed to the fact that smart phones just don’t work as well as individually designed devices."

Golvin said, “What you tend to get with these converged devices is jack of all trades, master of none. Certain devices do a really good job of doing certain things. When you start to layer them up with other applications, they tend to get bulky, and maybe not do as good of a job.”

In-Stat’s Hughes also stated that "fear drives people to carry more than one device." He said, “There’s the feeling that, if I lose it, or if the batteries run out, I’ll be totally unproductive."

Hughes also pointed out that "some PDA and laptop users haven’t taken the time to figure out how to run similar applications on their smart phone, even though they could." He said, “They haven’t converted over their applications, so it’s just as easy to carry both devices because they’re not that heavy."

Golvin commented that "hooking up individual employees’ devices to corporate systems could result in the loss of control over data security—a problem in the current regulatory environment." He said, “The enterprise is going to lock it down and say you can only use the device the way we configured it. It makes it a lot less compelling for the person to carry it as a personal device.”

Golvin added, "The idea that there is one thing that is going to do this for everybody is wrong. It doesn’t reflect the reality of the consumer market and the individuals that populate it.”