CORPORATIONS GO GAGA OVER GOOGLE'S ANDROID / WHAT IS A SMARTPHONE?

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in TORONTO,
SEPTEMBER 24, 2010 (Computerworld) By Gregg Keizer - Business adoption of smartphones running Google's mobile OS rises 60% since May, says market research report. 

Corporations are jumping on the Google smartphone bandwagon, with Android device growth outpacing Apple's iPhone 20-fold in the last three months, a market researcher said today.

An August survey of over 1,600 corporate IT buyers conducted by ChangeWave Research found that 16% of those polled said their firms were using Android-based smartphones. That's a six-point jump since May, representing a 60% increase in three months.

During the same period, the number of IT purchasers who said that their companies used Apple's iPhone climbed one point to 31%, an increase of just over 3%.

Research in Motion continues to be the most popular smartphone manufacturer in corporate circles, said Paul Carton, who heads the research side at ChangeWave. BlackBerry devices are present in 66% of the surveyed companies. That's a drop of three points and a slide of 4% since May.

ChangeWave's totals exceeded 100% because some firms support multiple mobile operating systems.

Other analysts and experts have also tagged Android as a fast-charging competitor to the iPhone and BlackBerry.

Earlier this month, Gartner said Google's OS will blow by RIM's BlackBerry and Apple's iOS during 2010, and will be in the No. 2 spot behind only Nokia's Symbian operating system.

Gartner predicted that Android will be in a photo-finish race with Symbian by 2014.

Rival research firm IDC has also said that Android smartphone sales are booming, and pegged its global share at 16% by the end of this year, with Symbian at 40%, BlackBerry with 18% and iOS at 15%.

ChangeWave's data is different than Gartner's and IDC's because its surveys are U.S.-only.

Both HTC and Motorola are reaping the benefits of the surge in corporate smartphone adoption, said Carton in an e-mail. "HTC has soared 6 points in terms of corporate buying plans to a new all-time high..., triple its share of nine months ago," he said, referring to the results of queries asking which manufacturer -- HTC or Motorola -- would be selected for business purchase in the next three months.

HTC makes and sells a plethora of Android-based phones, including the Droid Incredible and EVO 4G.

Fifteen percent of corporate buyers said that they would purchase a Motorola smartphone in the next 90 days, a jump of three points since May. Motorola released the Droid X in July and the Droid 2 in August.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

WHAT IS A 'SMARTPHONE'?

A smartphone is a mobile phone that offers more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary basic 'feature phone' or the regular cellphones.

Smartphones and feature phones may be thought of as handheld computers integrated within a mobile telephone, but while most feature phones are able to run applications based on platforms such as Java ME, a smartphone allows the user to install and run more advanced applications based on a specific platform. Smartphones run complete operating system software providing a platform for application developers.

Growth in demand for advanced mobile devices boasting powerful processors, abundant memory, larger screens and open operating systems has outpaced the rest of the mobile phone market for several years. According to a study by ComScore, in 2010 over 45.5 million people in the United States owned smartphones and it is the fastest growing segment of the mobile phone market, which comprised 234 million subscribers in the United States

The first smartphone was called Simon; it was designed by IBM in 1992 and shown as a concept product that year at COMDEX, the computer industry trade show held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It was released to the public in 1993 and sold by BellSouth. Besides being a mobile phone, it also contained a calendar, address book, world clock, calculator, note pad, e-mail, send and receive fax, and games. It had no physical buttons to dial with. Instead customers used a touch-screen to select phone numbers with a finger or create facsimiles and memos with an optional stylus. Text was entered with a unique on-screen "predictive" keyboard. By today's standards, the Simon would be a fairly low-end product; however, its feature set at the time was incredibly advanced.

The Nokia Communicator line was the first of Nokia's smartphones starting with the Nokia 9000, released in 1996. This distinctive palmtop computer style smartphone was the result of a collaborative effort of an early successful and expensive Personal digital assistant (PDA) by Hewlett Packard combined with Nokia's bestselling phone around that time, and early prototype models had the two devices fixed via a hinge. The Nokia 9210 was the first color screen Communicator model which was the first true smartphone with an open operating system; the 9500 Communicator was also Nokia's first cameraphone Communicator and Nokia's first WiFi phone. The 9300 Communicator was the third dimensional shift into a smaller form factor, and the latest E90 Communicator includes GPS. The Nokia Communicator model is remarkable for also having been the most expensive phone model sold by a major brand for almost the full lifespan of the model series, easily 20% and sometimes 40% more expensive than the next most expensive smartphone by any major manufacturer.

In 1997 Ericsson released the concept phone GS88,[8][9] the first device labelled as 'smartphone'.

Rise of Symbian, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry

In 2000 Ericsson released the touchscreen smartphone R380, the first device to use the new Symbian OS. It was followed up by P800 in 2002, the first camera smartphone.

In 2001 Microsoft announced its Windows CE Pocket PC OS would be offered as "Microsoft Windows Powered Smartphone 2002." Microsoft originally defined its Windows Smartphone products as lacking a touchscreen and offering a lower screen resolution compared to its sibling Pocket PC devices.

In early 2002 Handspring released the Palm OS Treo smartphone, utilizing a full keyboard that combined wireless web browsing, email, calendar, and contact organizer with mobile third-party applications that could be downloaded or synced with a computer.

In 2002 RIM released the first BlackBerry which was the first smartphone optimized for wireless email use and had achieved a total customer base of 32 million subscribers by December 2009.

In 2007 Nokia launched the Nokia N95 which integrated a wide range of features into a consumer-oriented smartphone: GPS, a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash, 3G and wi-fi connectivity and TV-out. In the next few years these features would become standard on high-end smartphones.

The rise of the iPhone and Android

Later in 2007, Apple Inc. introduced its first iPhone. It was initially expensive, costing $500 for the cheapest model. It was one of the first smartphones to be mainly controlled through its touchscreen, the others being the LG Prada and the HTC Touch (also released in 2007). It was the first mobile phone to use a multi-touch interface. It featured a web browser that was much better than its competitors - Ars Technica described it as "far superior to anything that we had ever used prior." At the time of the launch of the iPhone it was arguable whether it was actually a smartphone as the first generation lacked the ability to officially use third-party applications. A process called jailbreaking emerged quickly to provide unofficial third-party applications. The first iPhone didn't have 3G support due to the lack of 3G network coverage in the United States at the time.

Android, a cross platform OS for smartphones was released in 2008. Android is an Open Source platform backed by Google, along with major hardware and software developers (such as Intel, HTC, ARM, Motorola and eBay, to name a few), that form the Open Handset Alliance. The first phone to use the Android OS was the HTC Dream, branded for distribution by T-Mobile as the G1[disambiguation needed]. The software suite included on the phone consists of integration with Google's proprietary applications, such as Maps, Calendar, and Gmail, as well as Google's Chrome Lite full HTML web browser. Third-party apps are available via the Android Market, including both free and paid apps.

In July 2008 Apple introduced its second generation iPhone which had a lower upfront price and 3G support. It also created the App Store with both free and paid applications. The App Store can deliver smartphone applications developed by third parties directly to the iPhone or iPod Touch over wifi or cellular network without using a PC to download. The App Store has been a huge success for Apple and by April 2010 hosted more than 185,000 applications. The App Store hit three billion application downloads in early January 2010.

Other platforms are able to download apps from any website, rather than only from a single app store; however, other companies have more recently lauched their own app stores. RIM launched its app store, BlackBerry App World, in April 2009. Nokia launched its Ovi Store in May 2009. Palm launched its Palm App Catalog in June 2009. Microsoft launched its Windows Marketplace for Mobile in October 2009.

In January 2010, Google launched Nexus One using its Android OS. Although Android OS has multi-touch capabilities, Google initially removed that feature from Nexus One, but it was added through a firmware update on February 2, 2010.

There are multiple mobile operating systems currently available. Currently the biggest selling Smartphone operating system is Symbian OS though it is less recognizable as a separate platform than some of its smaller rivals including Android, Blackberry OS, iOS and Windows Mobile. Several mobile operating systems including Android and iOS are based off Unix and Linux. (SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA)


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