Okay, so right now it's only a few early indicators and some pathbreaking companies considering the leap from laptops to handhelds. But if laptop users are only doing email, browser and IM then why pay all the extra expense of maintaining a laptop fleet?
C|Net has now exposed this concept to a large audience with a recent article
, and hopefully many CIOs are reading and thinking about it. The article discusses an unidentified company that made the switch working with Accenture. "The company's CEO, tired of the expenses involved in buying and supporting notebooks, took them all away and gave the 700-plus employees desktops and 'smart' handhelds... A dozen other companies are in the midst of a similar conversion, or contemplating it"
The conditions are forming for a wide scale explosion of handhelds in business. It seemed like it would never happen, but maybe it's almost here now. Sure, it would probably in the form of smart phones, but we could be talking about mass replacement of laptops. Here are some of the reasons given and implied for why it makes sense now, when it didn't really seem to catch on in the past:
* The devices and data networks are much improved
* Corporate applications can be accessed from the handhelds
* Desktop prices have plummeted to the point that a desktop and a mobile device together are significantly less than a good laptop, especially when you consider that a laptop has to be replaced more often than a desktop.
* When the devices are smart phones, it also reduces all the miscellaneous phone expense report reimbursements.
* It's commonplace to see people typing away with a Blackberry. You're no longer the lone geek with everyone looking at you like you're out of place. In an ironic shift of perceptions, the handheld device is now accepted as a business tool, and laptops are sometimes viewed as entertainment devices.
* Battery life on handhelds is generally much better than for current laptops
The article concludes with an observation that we've been making for years. "The big barrier is the imagination of the users on how to add value." Handhelds can do great things, but that is not well understood by the general public yet, and functionality needs to be simpler for the average user. Fortunately there are resources like MobileRead to help show the way!
(via PDA 24/7