2009: iPhone fights Storm for biz hearts and minds

Work and play

Work and play

Despite a slowdown in mobile device sales, next year's enterprise mobility market will witness a face-off between the Apple iPhone and the BlackBerry Storm for enterprise hearts and minds.

According to a report by analysts Forrester Research, 2009 will see take-up of the iPhone peak in SMEs, buoyed by the less stringent mobility demands of the small business IT department.

Forrester believes iPhone take up could reach 10 per cent next year among small businesses.

For larger corporates, however, the device of choice is likely to come from RIM.

"The BlackBerry Storm will give larger enterprises that already support BlackBerry an alternative solution that is comparable to the iPhone but that does not require an additional operating system - and gives enterprises the comfort of knowing the security that BlackBerry offers," the report says.

2009 could also usher in good news for the Facebook generation, with Forrester predicting that vendors will start making products to address the roughly 10 per cent of staff expect to bring their own devices to work during 2009 - and the associated security challenges they pose.

"In 2009, vendors will develop products and services to address the needs of this rapidly growing enterprise mobile user segment. For example, device manufacturers will consider the dual personal and professional use of mobile devices as well as implications on device size, battery life, keyboard requirements, and form factors," Forrester said.

Nokia, for one, is already working on just such a scheme - the Finnish phone maker's recently launched E71 and E63 smartphones let users flick back and forth between work and play set ups.

The trend should prove good news for the IT teams tasked with locking down the iPhones and assorted other devices being brought into the enterprise and the half of young workers who, according to a recent survey, would rather use their own tech than that provided by their employer.

"Mobile application developers and software vendors should create user-friendly, easy-to-use versions of email, calendaring, and corporate portal access applications to appeal to mobile wannabes and prepare to provide additional support and customer service for these users," Forrester notes.

Despite the credit crunch pushing IT departments to reassess projects in the light of limited budgets, enterprise mobility will continue to take precedence in the spending stakes.

According to the Forrester report, between 40 and 60 per cent of companies in Europe and North America consider more mobility support to employees, implementation of fixed-mobile convergence and formalisation of a mobile strategy to be critical priorities for the coming year.