Can Microsoft Bridge Australia’s Two-Tier Business Smart Phone Market?

With mobile penetration exceeding 100% of the population, wireless and mobility has truly become part and parcel of Australian business. Developments in mobile technology, from the launches of broadband 3.5G networks to the proliferation of smart mobile devices, have taken Australian enterprise mobility movements to new heights in the past 18 months.

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Australian-based telecom market researcher Telsyte has recently released a report titled “Australian Business Smart Phone Vendors, 2007 Competitive Analysis” based on interviews with executives Australia’s six leading smart phone suppliers Mi 11X: Nokia, RIM, Palm, Motorola, i-Mate and Sony Ericsson.

Telsyte research finds that the Australian business smart phone market is two-tier, with the first tier dominated by proprietary operating system device vendors Nokia and RIM. However strong preference for Microsoft Windows is providing second-tier suppliers such as Palm, Motorola, i-Mate, O2 and Samsung – an opportunity to catch up as smart phones become more mainstream. Other key findings from that study include:

· Mobile email continues to reign supreme as the number-one mobile business application among corporate Australia. However, future growth will be driven by the “second wave” of mobile applications – the mobilisation of business process-centric applications led by such applications as customer relationship management, sales force and field force automation.

· The “hottest” mobile technologies are 3G and smart phones, with usage of these two technologies expect to reach 60% of Australian firms in the next 12 months.

· Three-quarters of one million smart phones will be shipped in Australia in 2007, constituting 8% of all mobile phone shipments. The share of smart phones shipped will double by 2010, with shipments as a proportion of all mobile devices growing from 1 in 12 currently to nearly 1 in 6 in three years’ time.

· Based on six critical competitive parameters, including a device vendor’s control over device design and manufacturing, availability of form factors and customisability of applications, control over operating system, and public brand awareness, Nokia emerges as the best-positioned vendor in the Australian business smart phone marketplace, followed closely by RIM, manufacturer of the BlackBerry solution and the only major vendor currently without 3G devices.

· Nokia scores high in fixed-mobile functionality, offers the most comprehensive features incorporating consumer and enterprise functionality, and performs extremely well on brand awareness.

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