Smartphones

Gartner sees mobile phones becoming less important than mobile platforms and services

Gartner launched its 11th annual Mobile and Wireless Summit in Chicago on Monday, March 3, by asserting that mobile phones themselves are losing importance, while the value of platforms and services is rising significantly -- at least for enterprises.

Gartner launched its 11th annual Mobile and Wireless Summit in Chicago on Monday, March 3, by asserting that mobile phones themselves are losing importance, while the value of platforms and services is rising significantly -- at least for enterprises.

In the opening keynote, Gartner's Nick Jones, VP Distinguished Analyst, said, "The technology is good enough and now the interest is moving toward services... The market is changing to be a services market."

Jones noted that all of the major carriers in the United States want to be a player in services, but they are increasingly under pressure to create open platforms and are moving toward becoming solely "bit pipes." Another name that is sometimes used is "dumb pipes."

Meanwhile, platforms such as Nokia S60 (based on Symbian), Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry are dominating the enterprise smartphone market and will continue to be the drivers of innovation in corporate mobility. This will soon include Google Android as well, although Jones doesn't expect Android to be a major player for at least another two years.

However, Jones does see Android as the potential savior for the Linux smartphone market. "Mobile Linux is a mess," he said. "It's too fragmented." He's definitely right about that.

Despite downplaying devices for the enterprise, Jones sees the next few years as an exciting time for the mobile industry. "I think these are going to be the most interesting years since mobile started," he said. Jones pinpointed two major battles ahead:

1.) Cisco vs. Microsoft in unified communications (which will, in turn, have a major impact on enterprise mobility)

2.) Google vs. Nokia vs. Microsoft vs. others in services and mobile advertising

From a services perspective, Jones presented the following chart comparing several of the top players:

Despite his remarks about devices, Jones also admitted that devices have a lot of buzz and innovation right now, and that more and more users are buying their own devices and bringing them into the enterprise. He said that IT departments need to have a strategy to deal with employee-owned devices, beyond just saying 'No.' I'll take up that topic in a separate article.

Do you agree with Gartner that there's a big platform war brewing between Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Nokia S60, and eventually Google Android? Will the platform war eventually trump the mobile devices? Join the discussion.

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

7 comments
xigris_v
xigris_v

Great article nice work indeed my friend!!! by arul vigg.

pjtuff
pjtuff

I look forward to your tackling 'Employee-owned devices in the Enterprise' and how to mitigate security and support concerns. We say 'No' to customers when security and support issues outweigh our desire to provide easy and convenient solutions to those customers. We do, however, try to offer reasonable alternatives which meet the needs both of the customer and the IT shop. Thanks! Peter T. Colorado Springs

TekWarrior1965
TekWarrior1965

End users never think about the ramifications of their personal equipment on the enterprises data, that's our job and why we HAVE TO SAY NO. That is why most shops offer a single mobile device "platform" that they can support and keep the data secure.

paulmah
paulmah

Definitely, a platform war is shaping up nicely. Even now, Windows Mobile is trying to beef up on its enterprise manageability while the BlackBerry is attempting to remake itself into something more attractive to a bigger pool of users (aka more 'multimedia'). In the meantime, Nokia's Symbia has tried to support everything and holding on to its not insubstantial market share. It is not clear how well Google's Android will do, but by going the open source route, they have guaranteed themselves a niche much like Linux has. Even the iPhone will be thrown into the fray, especially now that a proper SDK will be released. Not so much because Apple is trying to position it into the enterprise, but simply by virtue of the fact that users are buying them and bringing them en mass into the office. Exciting times ahead indeed! :) Regards, Paul Mah.

TekWarrior1965
TekWarrior1965

I have been in the Telecom and IT industry for just over 20 years and there seems to always be a platform war. Look at Wintel vs. Mac. Why would mobile phones be any different? I have had both MS Mobile devices/phones as well as Palm OS, I have managed Blacckberry servers and devices, yet it really boils down to the fact that unless you have one clear "winner" like MS Office there will be a war going on. Of course the fact that more "open" office applications are now available and putting a ding in that market, says that that war could get heated up again too. There is only one thing for sure, and that is change will happen and the market leaders will ebb and flow with the time staying on top only if they change with the market as the consumer demands dictate, and new technologies are inovated.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I'm going to sink all my money in Mobile phones now. You can never go right with Gartner.

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