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New Smart-Phone Considerations

By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2007-12-01 Print this article Print

The choices abound, and IT managers must carefully consider business requirements when evaluating smart-phone platforms.

Smart phones are becoming a key communications, collaboration and customer-relationship tool for many organizations. The choices abound, and IT managers must carefully consider business requirements when evaluating smart-phone platforms. There are some new considerations that IT managers should think about when preparing an RFP.

Does the platform include GPS capabilities?

GPS receivers are becoming more common in smart phones, with HTC, Research In Motion and other manufacturers now offering the feature. But GPS isn't just for getting you from point A to point B; various operators offer per-subscriber location/mileage tracking, dispatching and work-order management capabilities that leverage GPS services (for additional fees, of course).

What types of open access will the platform provide?

Vendors and carriers are shoving each other aside to announce open initiatives—to free the mobile operating system, the mobile network and mobile applications. But, as appealing as Google's Android mobile platform, the Open Handset Alliance and Verizon's "Any Apps, Any Device" initiative may sound, remember: They are all only promises until 2008 at the earliest.

What is the phone's worst-case battery life?

A battery's mAh rating will give only a loose indication of standby and talk-time battery life. Remember, all the radios (cell, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth), the color screen and the speakerphone will drag down effective life. By default, turn off what you don't regularly use—and teach users to do the same.

What Wi-Fi capabilities are included?

Look for new Wi-Fi chips (such as Atheros' AR6002 family) to further reduce power consumption by the Wi-Fi radio—both when in use and in standby mode. In return, smart-phone battery life should get a nice boost.

Does the platform support Unlicensed Mobile Access?

Earlier in 2007, T-Mobile launched its HotSpot @Home service, allowing customers to make VOIP (voice over IP) calls using their cell handsets. However, only a couple of Wi-Fi-enabled cell phones worked with the system. By September, RIM announced its first smart phone to work with this network—the BlackBerry Curve 8320. You can expect to see others in the near future.

Read the full article at eWEEK

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