Progress at the mobile frontier

In Spring 2007 I wrote an article for REACH magazine questioning the suitability of mobile phones and devices for sophisticated business tasks. Everything, even typing emails on a tiny Blackberry keypad was far from being user-friendly.

Almost two years later we are finally seeing good progress in this field. Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, Nokia, Google, RIM and Palm are trying to keep pace. The smartphone developer community is producing applications at enormous speed.

The impact on the overall mobile business cannot be understated. Mobile telcos have spent billions on 3G licenses in the hope of huge revenues. Finally they see the famous light at the end of the “return-on-investment tunnel”.

During a couple of months of 2008, and for the first time ever, Vodafone Germany has generated more revenues from wireless data services than SMS. This is truly a turning point.

Thanks to speedy networks, growing computing power on mobile devices and above all touch-screens the mobile internet has now finally arrived.

Business applications still suffer from the native form factor of mobile devices but usability and application variety have made a big leap forward.

Mobile email, calendar management, instant business data access are now closer to fun than to hassle.

Mobile devices are slowly turning into more than just mobile phones and SMS-two-way pagers. They are becoming true personal companions.