Mobile email market 'still wide open'

The market for mobile email devices is still wide open, despite the apparent dominance of the Blackberry, according to a Nokia executive

Despite the predictions of analysts and vendors alike, mobile email will not always be the holy grail for business mobility uptake, according to one Nokia executive — although the technology will make its way into more and more offices worldwide.

Speaking today at Nokia's Enterprise Summit, Scott Cooper, vice-president of mobility solutions in Nokia's enterprise solutions division, said: "If you look at the application set being used by the set of users, it's largely email today. I don't know if email will fit that profile of a killer app in the longer term.

"It will be an add-on to what's there but a relatively interesting add-on."

And while research has found a groundswell of enterprise mobility apps usage among blue collar workers, Cooper foresees growth from around half a percent of email users accessing their inboxes via their mobile to between 10 and 30 percent in the next few years.

Growth in the market is being driven largely by users rather than vendors. "The cool thing at the highest level that's already happened is that the user base... already exists and they're coming our way," Cooper said. "We're not chasing after them."

Even though RIM's BlackBerry almost synonymous with mobile email, Cooper said the market is still wide open.

"There's no obvious leader, no heir apparent — whether it ought to be a handset vendor, whether it ought to be RIM or whether it ought to be some new company being born in the UK or Silicon Valley," he said. "No one vendor is going to dominate everything, no one vendor is going to invent all the technology. This will be a coalition of vendors, of partners... that will solve the mobility problem."

Nokia is gunning for the space nonetheless: "We're going to work very hard to drive penetration, usage of these technologies... you'll see it in the things we develop, the things we acquire," Cooper added.