Saturday, 14 April 2012 20:18
Written by Admin
More than 33 per cent of Canadians use their smartphones for business as much as they do for fun, recent data shows, and this number is expected to climb.These mobile devices trace their roots back to the personal digital assistant or PDA, used as businessperson’s right hand to track important client information, project status and task lists.
Today’s smartphones are not made for just talking; they provide instant access to the internet, third-party applications (or apps), music and streaming video. Whether you’re looking for breaking news, tracking your stocks online, or researching your next vacation, chances are you can do it all from your smartphone.
Most smartphones allow users to sync with desktop or laptop computers, and sync across a variety of devices such as an iPad or Playbook. This is even simpler now with things like Apple’s iCloud or Microsoft’s Sky Drive. This means users can store, view, and work on documents directly on their smartphone, and any changes will be uploaded and stored to the cloud. In addition to receiving and responding to emails in user’s inbox or home computer, everything gets backed-up nightly within the virtual storage area – a real beneἀt for users on-the-go with multiple devices.
Apps are the ringtones of this digital age – you didn’t know how much you needed it until you’ve tried it and now you’re hooked! Apps range from free to a few dollars and are geared toward hardworking business tasks as much as they are to visually stunning games and everything in between. With thousands of apps available to download, in a range of prices, users are sure to and something that will appeal to a wide array of tastes and interests.
Apple’s iPhone OS is heavily geared towardmultimedia users. According to Joseph Smith of Planet Mobility, “For those who want to do many things simultaneously, and heavy users of music and video, the iPhone is great because its operating system (iOS) integrates the needs of the user well. Its interface is very user-friendly.” The Apple OS plays well with other Apple devices.
The iPhone caters to users who want an easy, pick-up-and-go solution. Of course, for tech-heads in this space, this may be seen as a drawback because there is no real customization available over how the phone looks and works out-of-the-box.
Mac lovers know their devices have the reputation of being reliable and are not as vulnerable to lock-ups and crashes. This may be attributed to the fact when Apple updates the Mac OS X operating system it also knows what hardware conἀguration it is going to run on because it controls the hardware as well.
Google’s Android phone offers personalization and unique customizations out of the box. Ron Gilbuena of Teleco Supply C. Ltd. in Winnipeg says, “Going Android is the closest thing to having a handheld computer. There are no limitations on the types of ἀles one can view. For example, I can stream an NHL game directly off a website, unlike an iPhone.” The Android OS currently runs on a wide range of devices and is expected to grow. Key Android OS phone partners include Samsung, HTC and Motorola (which was recently acquired by Google). Says Smith, “The beauty of the Android OS lies in the fact that any phone manufacturer can choose to license the technology from Google and create an Android smartphone for the marketplace. It’s pretty cool.”
The Android app market is gaining ground on Apple (380,000+ versus 500,000+). For users that like more freedom in what applications they run on their smartphone, Android’s ability to install applications not downloaded via the Android Market is great. This is a distinct advantage over the iPhone where iOS users end up locked into the App Store. Adds Teleco’s Gilbuena, “Android means freedom. There is no syncing to iTunes or waiting to sync with your computer. All the action happens on the actual phone.”
Another huge beneἀt of choosing Android is its Open Source format. This means any user may create and upload technology or apps for the phone for themselves and share with others through the Android App Store. Want to create an app that adds songs to your calendar? You can create that and even share it. Tech-heads love this freedom and innovation.
With Google’s recent acquisition of Motorola, it has staked out its place as a serious contender for a large chunk of the smartphone market likely taking market share from competitors.
Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry OS has been in the game the longest. BlackBerry gained notoriety for their easy messaging system and for the ability to integrate seamlessly with most corporate email systems. Its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) continues to be attractive to many corporations but RIM continues to lose mainstream market share to iPhone and emerging Android phones. One of the major beneἀts to choosing the BlackBerry operating system is its stability. With the exception of the recent outage gaffe late last year, considering their dominance in the telecomm space over the past 20 years the BlackBerry servers have been amazingly reliable. With BES, BlackBerry users are always connected to their emails. As Smith states, “All information Ḁows through RIM servers first, meaning images and information can be compressed before reaching the end-user saving valuable bytes of usage and allowing more information to come through in a more user-friendly format.” Of course, BlackBerry’s proprietary messaging (BBM) system has been a huge beneἀt for users as well. The Personal Identiἀcation Number (PIN) feature is a device-to-device means of SMS that helped create an exclusive culture among BlackBerry users.
Although RIM finds itself struggling right now to remain competitive, its tablet market has helped buoy revenues and the PlayBook continues to gain market share amongst tablet users. Increasing the number of apps available to users would put it on par with the iPad and help maintain its market position while RIM reconἀgures its smartphone future. Gilbuena says, “I’m excited to see what’s coming next from RIM. This next quarter will see RIM pushing the envelope.”
The newest competitor in the smartphone space is Microsoft’s Windows phone. Originally released as Version 7, they are now into Version 7.5.
Carmi Levy, a leading independent technology analyst who reviewed the Windows Phone version 7, calls Microsoft’s foray into the smartphone space “very impressive.” He adds, “In fact, if interface were the only criteria used to measure satisfaction, Windows Phone would be at the top. It deἀnes slick.”
Levy believes Microsoft has created its OS with a simple goal: to take fewer steps to make the phone work for the user. Says Levy, “The Windows phone allows users to get things done quickly and get back to life.” Although it is a relatively new OS, Levy asserts, “Microsoft’s recently announced partnership with Nokia serves to demonstrate they’ve taken heed of the mobile message and are very serious about being a major player in the smartphone space.” It is believed that the slick features and interface will not only make their way into Microsoft’s smartphone offerings but will be integrated into future Windows OS for personal computers and tablets.
With the Windows 8 phone set to debut later this year, RIM coming out with new products, and Apple’s iPad 3 just out, one thing is for sure – consumers will beneἀt from the smartphone wars with more choice and quicker innovation as the major players keep trying to out do one another as they vie for wallet share and consumer approval.