by November 7, 2009 0 comments



Enterprise mobility is a very vast areat, and we’ll limit ourselves to the
discussion of netbooks and smartphones. Netbooks have given a new dimension to
enterprise mobility. They are cheaper than notebooks, lightweight thus easy to
carry around. Road warriors mostly require to check their emails, use IM, and
often access company’s network through a VPN or access some enterprise web app
along with stuff like document editing, etc. All these can be easily done using
a netbook or even a smartphone. Smartphones have come a long way given the
storage space they offer, for instance, Nokia N97 comes with 32GB storage space.

It seems like netbooks are trying to capture the market while smartphones
trying get into netbook and notebook market. Acer, soon will be launching a
Andriod powered netbook. Some reports say, it’s going to be a dual boot with
Android and Windows. Nokia already has launched N900, which has a new Linux
based OS Maemo and its processing power of 600MHz and an application memory of
1GB. All these lead to the question, are we looking at convergence of netbooks
and smartphones? While it’s hard to predict the future, all these developments
and more have put CIOs across the globe in dilemma -which one to go for, netbook
or smartphone? Answer to this question is not simple and largely depends upon
the scenario as well as requirements. For instance, if your workforce requires
frequent editing of documents, then it can be a bit difficult over a smartphone.

We recently came across a courier company, which had opted for smartphone for
automating its field process unlike other companies which use a handheld or PDA
device. This was a Windows based smartphone which met company’s requirements and
also came out to be cheaper as compared to other devices. However, this meant
company missed out on features like sturdiness or having attached printer.
Similarly we know of IT managers who use Windows smartphone and manage their
servers from anywhere through remote desktops. For these people, smartphone
easily does the job. Point here is, you need to carefully analyze your
requirements and see which suites your budget before choosing between.

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X2

Things to look for when buying a netbook
Battery backup
Being powered with a low energy consuming processor with a small screen
size, the battery backup of netbooks is more as compared to the conventional
laptops. They give a good battery backup of 5 to 8 hrs with a 3-cell battery,
therefore you should only go for a higher 6-cell battery if you are ready to
carry a few hundred grams more.

Price
Though, today you can buy netbooks for 16k, there are others whose price is
at times higher than laptops. A key point to keep in mind is that netbooks are
competing with smartphones on one side and laptops on the other, making them
price sensitive.

Nokia 900 with Maemo OS

Going for high value netbooks does not mean a jump in performance as all are
Atom-based, the only difference would be in quality of material used in building
these devices and a few extra features.

Ergonomics
A small form factor makes it imperative to check if you are comfortable
typing on it. Checking the touchpad response and comfort is also advisable. As
these machines would be used by professionals and students alike, check for
sturdiness.

Things to look for when buying a smartphone
Size and Weight: In general, most smartphones are larger and heavier than
regular mobile phones. And you may not feel comfortable carrying that much
weight. So before zeroing in, consider your size and weight preferences. A
lighter phone will obviously skip on features and may have a smaller battery
too. A phone with a QWERTY keypad may be larger and heavier than normal;
sometimes too large to be carried in a pocket.

Display: A larger display on a phone with additional features like
multimedia, email etc. is preferable. When we are talking about a smartphone,
anything more than 2.4 inches is good. A larger display not only makes image
viewing experience better, but also is equally helpful when it comes to browsing
through long emails, websites and office documents. Then comes the aspect of
display resolution.

Touchscreen functionality: The question here is of one-handed operation. If
all input is via touchscreen, then one-handed operation is difficult. So while
the initial draw of a touchscreen phone is great, the attraction may wear off
faster than you think. Adding to that, a touchscreen is more delicate and could
get damaged or scratched more easily. If you buy a touchscreen device, make sure
that it has a virtual keyboard that you’re familiar with. If it has multiple
input options ( keys, stylus or finger), great!

Operating system: Choice of OS could depend on the type of platform your
enterprise app uses which you plan to push on smartphone i.e, if your enterprise
requires a Windows client or a solution to be installed on the smartphone, then
obviously your choice is narrowed down to Windows smartphones. If it is a Java
based or a web app which can be accessed over a browser, than you have a broad
choice including the newcomers like Andriod and Maemo.

Wireless connectivity: One of the major purposes of having a smartphone is
remaining connected all the time, so wireless connectivity is a must. Make sure
that the phone has quad band GSM connectivity for seamless traveling, Wi-Fi,
Bluetooth and also EDGE and 3G.

Processor and RAM: Since smartphones have an operating system of their own;
they require higher processing power for multitasking. Initially, a 200 MHz
processor used to be considered enough, but once you start loading apps, 200 MHz
falls way short. Going by the normal standards of today, prefer to get a phone
with a 333 MHz or higher processor. The higher the RAM of the smartphone, the
faster it is.

Battery life: Battery life is one of the most important factors that need to
be checked while buying a smartphone. You may have all the advanced
functionalities like emailing, wireless connectivity and camera, but all of
these fall flat if the battery can’t keep up.

The battery capacity is rated in mAh (milli ampere hour), the higher the mAh,
higher the capacity. Choose a battery which is above 1000 mAh as it will provide
you with an average backup of around a day and half.

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