Motorola's assault on RIM about to begin: 15 minutes with Droid Pro

Motorola's assault on RIM about to begin: 15 minutes with Droid Pro

Summary: Motorola will be launching its Droid Pro Android device for businesses in early November and the smartphone has the goods to be a real threat to the BlackBerry.

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Motorola will be launching its Droid Pro Android device for businesses in early November and the smartphone has the goods to be a real threat to the BlackBerry.

At the Gartner Symposium this week in Orlando, we caught up with Sue Forbes, vice president of apps and experiences at Motorola. She had the usual array of Android devices including the Droid Pro. A 3.1 inch touch screen with keyboard that's pretty snazzy.

The conversation was timely given that CIOs at the Gartner powwow were all looking for information on supporting a wide range of devices. Apple's iOS and Android were front and center. Simply put, the days of handing out phones is over.

Into this breach steps the Droid Pro, which has a series of features that deserve more attention. Among the key perks that will appeal to the corporation:

  • The Droid Pro supports multiple VPNs.
  • Motorola put a lot of work into the email client so you can add rich text like bold and underline and bullets. Simply put, your email doesn't have to look like it came from a mobile device.
  • The Droid Pro calendar app allows you to suggest a new time and check availability.

These items ride shotgun with the usual Android experience and widgets, apps and feeds that go along with it.

Related: Hands-on the Motorola Droid Pro

But what really caught me off guard was that I liked the Droid Pro. I had pretty much written off keyboards, but the Motorola keys stand out. And given I owned a Motorola Q back in the time, it's safe to say that I was quite jaded. Overall, however, the Droid Pro is sharp and worked its way into my smartphone bake-off. I recently tried a Droid X that I also liked, but the use case between the Pro and X are vastly different. My smartphone tour is fun, but let's face it: First device that works on Verizon's LTE network is the one I get.

The backdrop here is that the Droid Pro is on the front lines of a Business Ready pitch by Motorola. Motorola is adding remote wipe of SD cards, complex passwords and other capabilities that will work in the enterprise environment. Motorola also has partnerships with enterprise players like Good Technology and Sybase. Meanwhile, Verizon will sell the Droid Pro into its enterprise accounts.

"Over time, ready for business will mean that a CIO will be able to meet all the requirements the business has on the checklist," said Forbes.

In the big picture, the Droid Pro is the first device into the enterprise. An Android tablet will follow in early 2011. Motorola's ultimate aim: Offer businesses a full line-up on Android devices that will allow tech executives to offer smartphone choices.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, BlackBerry, Smartphones

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12 comments
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  • Assault on RIM???

    I don't see how this is an assault on RIM. It is just a BB Torch look-a-like without the 100% support of features (although some will be a hell of a lot better than in the BB).
    wackoae
    • RE: Motorola's assault on RIM about to begin: 15 minutes with Droid Pro

      @wackoae

      When Android supports Secure Email, Notes, Calendar, Tasks and Contacts sync to my Outlook #and# good battery life like my Blackberry, then get back to me. (like never)
      John Hanks
    • RE: Motorola's assault on RIM about to begin: 15 minutes with Droid Pro

      @wackoae Its an assault on RIM because its a enterprise oriented phone. Which is RIM's territory.
      Jimster480
  • BIS Email push speed?

    Blackberry's BIS pushes my personal email very quickly. I find this to be invaluable. So far I hear nothing in Androidville about a competitive service. Don't get me wrong. I would love a device that gives me the best of both worlds and would jump ship for an Android device with this capability. But given the choice, I'll take speedy email over 'apps' availability any day...just my two cents worth.
    Correct me if I'm wrong now...is there any Android Device on any carrier that can deliver emails as fast as BB?
    rhuston@...
    • RE: Motorola's assault on RIM about to begin: 15 minutes with Droid Pro

      @rhuston@... Any device using Exchange Active Sync gets email pushed to it. Prior to Active Sync, devices had to poll on intervals and pull down email, not the case anymore. BIS doesn't hold any advantage in that regard.
      bhambrick1
      • RE: Motorola's assault on RIM about to begin: 15 minutes with Droid Pro

        @bhambrick1

        Not really push though. There is a constant hearbeat checking for changes and then "pushing" to the device. Really glorified pull.

        BTW it's a major pull on battery life (due to being chatty) .. ask iPhone users how it impacts them.
        MobileAdmin
  • Are they removing the carrier crapware?

    If they are targeting a phone at the enterprise, one wonders if it will include the now "normal" crapware titles - including CityID, VZNavigator, and Backup Assistant, et al. If it does - its a non-starter, especially in the enterprise market.
    JT82
  • RE: Motorola's assault on RIM about to begin: 15 minutes with Droid Pro

    Dream on. This is no assault on RIM at all.
    ITOdeed
  • When will the Tech Blogs understand?!?

    I'm so tired of reading the same crap over and over. I have said this before but if you really think the only thing that made RIM a dominant enterprise player was a small keyboard you never understood their solution to begin with.<br><br>- True push email<br>- End to end encryption (no one else is doing this)<br>- Robust best in class security of device, offering basically every control option you could want<br>- VPN access built into BES, nothing else needed. One outbound port is all you need to open.<br>- Intergration with OCS and via MVS most other PBX intergration now with WiFi call routing<br>- Outstanding battery life<br><br>Now yes Exchange ActiveSync is a Free* option for Exchange based shops but it's not even worth comparing to BES. Hell BES Express is free and offers more control / management. I'd like to see how many large corporations even still use EAS. We disabled it 2 years ago and it's not coming back. We out grew it. When you need to manage 10,000 mobile devices you learn the value of BES real quick. Anything less is a joke at this point. It's the bench mark every enterprise uses.<br><br>We have been running Good Technology for awhile and it's getting there. Basically what BES was in 2006. The big knock is the cost. $160 per device is pricery. Even in the personal liable world that is a chunck of change to provide users "choice". What's funny is when given the option of a company provided Blackberry or BYOD (and foot the bill) we are handing out more Blackberries then ever. Everyone loves to ***** and complain until they have to pay for it. Funny how that works.<br><br>So this whole concept that large RIM based shops are going to migrate to something else with less functionality, higher cost is a pipe dream. Sure you'll see adoption of other devices via middleware like Good, Sybase but without corporate footing the whole bill you'd be lucky to shed 15-20% of a large BB environment.<br><br>Now for the medium / small business that are just getting into the mobile space (I've been doing it since 2000) you have some good choices. Make sure you understand the limitations of Android / iPhone etc vs. RIM and weigh what matters to you.
    MobileAdmin
    • RE: Motorola's assault on RIM about to begin: 15 minutes with Droid Pro

      @MobileAdmin

      I work in a 10,000+, HIPPA compliant environment. Used to carry a blackberry but would never go back. Everyone in my organization is dropping BBs for either iPhone or Android. Time for you to experience the wider world.
      ds-ny
      • RE: Motorola's assault on RIM about to begin: 15 minutes with Droid Pro

        @ds-ny

        Did you miss I'm already in that world. BES+Good Technology.

        We had some migrate to other devices but by far (in our org) Blackberry is still preferred as it just works for what people care about in a smartphone to make / receive voice calls, manage their mailbox.

        I've used pretty much every mobile device on the planet since 1996 and I always resort to using my Blackberry for 85% of the time. Sure the web is nicer on newer devices, some Apps have some use but for the day - day business stuff it's still Blackberry.
        MobileAdmin
  • I agree with Mobile Admin

    I agree 100% with MobileAdmin. I've been working with or managing mobile devices since I got my first "brick" phone (gosh, 20+ years ago?). I've used all flavors of cell phones and smartphones and I keep coming back to a Blackberry. Why? becuase it just works. So far, none of the Android based devices I have tested will sync my task or notes without buying some sort of convoluted add on. Until the Android can do that out of the box, I'll never be an adopter.
    concernedITpro