7 of 10 Companies Favor Palm OS For 2000-1 IT Purchases

WAP Devices Gaining Ground

Of companies planning mobile technology purchases in the next two years, 72% favor the Palm OS (operating system), according to the results from a two-month survey by MobileVillage.com, a leading Internet portal for large corporate IT buyers and solution providers.

Besides being found in all organizers by Palm Computing, Inc., the Palm OS is also found in devices by Handspring, Qualcomm, Symbol, TRG, and more.

Microsoft's Windows CE operating system was on the purchase list of nearly 3 of 5, or 59% of companies in the survey planning mobile IT purchases. Windows CE mimics many of the applications in Microsoft@s Windows for the desktop PC. The overlap in figures indicates that many respondents planned purchases of more than one type of device.

"Part of the reason for the Palm's popularity is that it serves the corporate professional in a wide range of industries for their personal use at a low cost. However, the $100,000-plus unit sales that are being planned by some of our corporate consulting clients show that Palm is not the clear winner in the vertical markets. Smartphones and their related enterprise solutions are the hot ticket," says Jon Covington, CEO of MobileVillage LLC.

True enough, smartphones (PCS or cellular phones which feature access to corporate data and/or Internet content) came in third on the survey, with 29.5% of survey purchasers choosing them. Mobile devices enabled by WAP (the developing Wireless Application Protocol) were also very popular for business use, winning over 24.6% of survey purchasers. Since WAP phones are considered smartphones, the potential additional overlap between these two figures highlights the desire by companies for integration of mobile data and voice communications.

Other mobile IT purchases named were Symbian-OS devices (6.6% of purchasers), Icras@ Magic Cap OS (3.3%), and a mix of other devices (i.e. rugged laptops and wireless Ethernet.)

Nearly half (49.4%) of the survey's respondents said that their company plans to buy mobile and wireless technology in the next two years, while nearly 37.4% planned to sell such technology, and 13.4% said they were not planning purchases.

What Applications are Most Popular?

The survey also asks respondents which applications their projects covered, and how much money they plan to spend. Sales and marketing applications -- due in part to their cross-industry and horizontal market focus -- were by far the most popular mobile IT projects planned, with 45.9% of the survey@s purchasers. The utility industry, traditionally reliant on mobile technology for field operations and service, came in second with 26.2%. Transportation applications took third place with 14.8%, followed closely by healthcare with 13.1% and public safety with 8.2%.

Other applications mentioned for mobile and wireless purchases were diverse: crisis management, distribution, education, educational uses, film and video production, financial tracking, futures trading, hospitality sales, infrastructure, IT service, legal documents, manufacturing, mobile e-commerce, recreation, retail, SOHO, telemetry, warehousing, workforce management, and more.

How Much Money Will Be Spent?

Hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent on mobile and wireless technology by just the survey customer sample alone. Of those buying technology, 47.5% said they will spend upwards of $50,000, 37.7% will spend $50,000 - $250,000, 6.6% will spend $250,000 to $1 million, and 3.4% will spend between one and five million dollars.

Companies spending over $1 million each needed sales, marketing and financial services applications, with the utilities, transportation, healthcare, and public safety applications being added to the list in the $50,000 - $1 million range.

What Mobile Technology Will Be Sold and By Whom?

The percentages of vendors who plan to sell Palm and Windows CE devices were roughly equal, with 57.4% for CE and 53.7% for Palm. Does this mean that more companies want to buy Palm devices than sell them? Not necessary; Palm devices are available at many consumer electronics outlets -- a channel not largely represented in the results due to the survey@s targeted enterprise focus.

The percentage of vendors planning to sell smartphones nearly matched the number of purchasers, with 29.6%. However, for other devices the gap between expected purchasers and expected vendors was fairly large, perhaps indicating insufficient marketing and education about these devices among corporate customers in the US. For example, while WAP-enabled devices are growing in popularity with buyers, nearly double the number of vendors planned to sell them, with 42.6% of responding vendors. Similarly, a relatively large number of vendors (20.4%) plans to sell Symbian devices and 11.1% will sell Magic Cap.

The popularity of WAP-enabled devices should prove heartening for OS manufacturers who are looking to support WAP development. Designed to work with most handheld and digital wireless devices, WAP is a global communications protocol and application environment that enables instant access and interaction to data and communications.

Many vendors listed other products they would sell: wireless pagers, mobile access portals, security software, modem and Internet service, voice systems, and Bluetooth-enabled products. (Bluetooth is a developing protocol which allows short-range wireless, non-infrared connectivity between differing devices.)

MobileVillage.com will track market developments by posting updated results on this survey at the beginning of every month, and will also feature new surveys.

To learn more about the survey and other free MobileVillage.com resources, or to become a member free go to: http://www.MobileVillage.com or call us at 1-415/641-2450.

[ Home | Contact | MobiChat | Experts database | Let's do it ]

Comments to the content of this page can be posted on the MobiChat discussion group

logo.gif (1569 bytes)