2012 has been a terrific year for the development of mobile computing. With the iPhone 5 being released, Android gaining market share, and Windows Phone 8 devices on the horizon, how is the business community to respond? The decision of which devices will best equip your staff is a tricky one. Here’s how we break it down.
Mail, Contacts, and Calendars
One of the most beneficial features of the modern smartphone for business is the seamless integration of work mail, contacts, and calendars onto the smartphone for easy browsing, creation, and modification on the fly.
iPhone 5- Pros: The iPhone 5 integrates quite well with Exchange and Google Apps mail environments, providing full synchronization of your data and setup. Push synchronization works well with this device, meaning you get new data as soon as it is received by your server.
iPhone 5- Cons: The iPhone 5 lacks a critical feature that sets it back in this category. There is no way to sync shared or public data such as calendars or contacts to your phone. The only data synced is your personal data.
Android OS- Pros: The Android OS stacks up about as well as the iPhone in this regard. Full synchronization is offered for mail, contacts, and calendar data. Push synchronization works as well. The main difference is that the Android OS browser (as well as Chrome which is offered on Android) allows for easy web access of public data, as well as Sharepoint, without the need for another app.
Android OS- Cons: The Android OS still is not able to sync public calendaring/contacts nicely. However, as stated above, the workaround of being able to access that data via web browser is workable, if a little bit tedious. As of 10/13/2012, Pinch to Zoom in the default mail app on most Android phones does not work. That said, an update has been released and should be available within the next two weeks to add this functionality.
Windows Phone 8- Pros: Windows Phone 8 promises full synchronization of this data, as well as SharePoint, natively. This includes public data such as calendar and contacts. Push synchronization works well.
Windows Phone 8- Cons: At this point the platform is in its infancy — the first Windows Phone 8 devices are scheduled for release shortly. There may be some issues during launch and as always early adopters may have to endure some small pains.
BlackBerry- Pros: The BlackBerry OS is a long time player in the mobile business industry. When paired with a BlackBerry Enterprise Server, it allows BlackBerry devices to access mail, contacts, and calendars. This includes push sync and full access to public calendars and contacts.
BlackBerry- Cons: There are a few downsides to the BlackBerry platform for E-Mail. The requirement for a BlackBerry Enterprise Server, though now free, can become a management headache, raising your support costs for these devices as the enterprise server must be administrated separately. Another primary downside to the BlackBerry is the lack of support for some HTML and stylized e-mail. Whereas other competing devices render images, and templates in E-Mail very well, the BlackBerry fails in this regard.
Stay tuned, in the next part of Mobile Phones and Business, we will discuss device usability and apps.