Apple's iPhone, whose viability as a business-class smart phone is regularly questioned by experts, is expected to reach 10 percent of small and midsize businesses in 2009, according to a new report from Forrester Research.
While devices based on the BlackBerry and Windows mobile operating systems will continue to reign in the United States, Apple's iPhone 3G launch this year prompted businesses to consider adding support for iPhone's Mac OS X operating system, Forrester Research analyst Michele Pelino told eWEEK Dec. 17.
Apple put the iPhone 3G in this favorable position by enabling the handheld to run Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, e-mail, contacts and calendar, not to mention remote wiping capabilities in the event of device theft. Supporting Exchange, the dominant e-mail server, and security are practically table stakes for the adoption of smartphones in the enterprise. Pelino wrote in the note:
"As a result, we believe that the iPhone will make a more significant dent in the enterprise mobility market, primarily among SMBs, which typically don't have as strict IT requirements as large enterprises or widespread line-of-business application deployments."
iPhone's key competition will not come from the T-Mobile G1, based on Google's Android operating system. Rather, Pelino said, the BlackBerry Storm, which like the iPhone and the G1 offers a touch-screen, will give larger enterprises that already support the BlackBerry an alternative to the iPhone.
Indeed, Pelino said she has entertained no conversations from customers about the G1. "That has not been on the radar screen in the inquiries I'm getting. I'll curious to see the results from our survey in Q1 in SMBs and large enterprises to see where the G1 comes out.
This is understandable; the gadget, which Google hopes is the first of what will be many such devices offering Google search and Google Apps, just launched in October. Moreover, the device didn't offer any support for Exchange.
RIM, Windows Mobile, Nokia's Symbian operating system (which is big in Europe), Palm and iPhone will set the pace in 2009 much as they did in 2008. Despite the deepening recession, companies will continue to place a high priority on mobility plans to boost productivity.