iPhone

Gartner denounces iPhone (again) and doubts the impact of Google Android

Gartner cautioned businesses and IT departments about the iPhone when it was released last year. Now that Apple is on the cusp of releasing the SDK for the iPhone and potentially opening it up to enterprise use, Gartner offers sobering advice once again.

When the Apple iPhone was released to massive hype and fanfare last June, Gartner doused the party with a bucket of ice water by saying businesses and IT departments should be "extremely wary" of allowing employees to use the iPhone for corporate work. Now that Apple is on the cusp of releasing an SDK for the iPhone and thereby potentially opening it up to enterprise use, Gartner has its bucket of ice water ready again.

Ken Dulaney, Gartner VP, distinguished analyst, and general mobile device guru, told the crowd at the Gartner Wireless & Mobile Summit today that he still can't recommend businesses adopt the iPhone -- even with an SDK. Dulaney said that he recently wrote Apple a letter in which he outlined several things Apple would need to do with the iPhone before Gartner could change its mind about it. The directives included:

  • Permit the device to be wiped remotely if lost or stolen
  • Require strong passwords
  • Stop using iTunes for synching with a computer
  • Implement full over-the-air synch for calendar and PIM

Dulaney didn't completely pan the iPhone. He said, "We still have to give Apple credit for resetting the bar in usability... The product is just on another level when it comes to usability."

However, he also compared the iPhone to the women he dated before he met his wife -- "pretty, but shallow."

As part of his "Annual Update on Mobile Devices," Dulaney also expressed skepticism about Google's forthcoming Android smartphone platform. He characterized Android as the latest champion of Mobile Linux, which has been badly fragmented and stalled out. He thinks Google will successfully lead the movement for Linux on mobile devices, but he also said that he doesn't recommend Android for enterprises for the following reasons:

  • Google is primarily focused on consumers.
  • Android will be ad-supported, but Google hasn't yet explained how it will handle the ads, and mobile advertising is going to be a major challenge because of screen size.
  • Because Android is open source and could be potentially customized by vendors, it won't have the consistency of BlackBerry or Windows Mobile.
  • It will be two to three years before it reaches a significant segment of the audience.

"Our conclusion: [Android] is a consumer play and you should probably stay away from it," he stated.

Other highlights from Dulaney's 2008 update on mobile devices included:

  • Nokia is going to focus on security and manageability for its next gen devices and go after BlackBerry rather than Apple.
  • Nokia: "They've done a great job of integrating the handset into the PBX."
  • "In terms of depth of functionality in e-mail, [RIM] is [still] the best."
  • HTC is now the leading supplier of Microsoft devices and "Microsoft loves them."
  • OLED displays will cut the thickness of phones in half. "It's going to be really neat."
  • He sees standardization coming to power supplies via Micro-USB and CEA-2017. Nokia and Motorola are about to adopt Micro-USB, which will soon be able to plug into laptop power adapters.
  • "We've always had a problem with power consumption in Wi-Fi." He said that Atheros chips will soon lead to a 70% power reduction for Wi-Fi.
  • "As you see this flood of devices coming into the enterprise, you can no longer have the kinds of standards you've had in the past." We're now in the era of "managed diversity" of devices.
  • "Take your phones out of the telecom department and put them in the help desk support group."
  • "Constantly test new technologies, before users do."
  • Check out the Multi Function Keypad , a customizable mobile interface

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

5 comments
kyle.peterson
kyle.peterson

This is not a surprising statement at all coming from Gartner. It would be surprising if Ken Dulaney didn't raise the issue of enterprise mobile device management for iPhone (of which it has none). With the SDK coming out, developers will be able to add device management capabilities to the iPhone as long as they can reach deeply enough into the system software. Apple will need to add the capability to freeze certain configuration settings (so that the user can't alter them) and needs to open up iTunes so that it can be configured to only deal with audio and video file types.

infectiouslogic
infectiouslogic

I can't find a single reference from Google that says that the Android OS will be ad-supported. Maybe some of the applications running on it may be ad supported, but that is not the same thing as Android being ad-supported. Some of your other criticisms against Android for Enterprise don't quite hold their own weight as well. An enterprise can standardize the version of Android that they will use. Granted, it will probably be a few years until enterprises start really utilizing any new mobile technology after it's initial release.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

That's part of the problem that Gartner is highlighting. They expect many customizations of Android since it's going to be open source (which provides excellent flexibility). Unfortunately, that will also lead inevitably to forking and incompatibilities.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

Gartner doesn't recommend iPhone (despite its SDK) or Android for enterprises: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=605 Is Gartner giving these products a fair shake? Would you consider either of these two platforms over BlackBerry and Windows Mobile?

seanferd
seanferd

and put them in the New and Enlarged help desk support group.? Please. While iPhone is getting its Exchange support (at some point), I keep hearing how it isn't secure enough. I suppose that would stop business users right there. At the same time, other phones with better business support are getting even better. Good luck there, Apple.

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