by CIO Staff

Your Mobile and Wireless Device Primer

Dec 01, 20052 mins
MobileSmall and Medium Business


Prime players: Apple, Dell, HP, IBM/Lenovo, Panasonic, Sony

Uses: Has everything that the road warrior, telecommuter or traveling VP needs.

Best used by: Knowledge workers who need mobility and flexibility.

Strengths: Portable. Virtually all notebooks come with wireless connectivity these days.

Weaknesses: Though new models are lighter, they still can be a pain to lug around. And don’t forget about battery life issues.

Fact: In May 2005, notebook sales in the U.S. market topped desktop sales over the course of one full month for the first time.


Prime players: Fujitsu, HP, Motorola, Nokia, Palm, RIM, Sony-Ericsson

Uses: Checking e-mail from outside the office and some personal information management capabilities.

Best used by: White collars who need access to e-mail as well as blue collars who need wireless application capabilities.

Strengths: Keeping your e-mail inbox under control while you’re away from the desk or laptop; accessing the network from the field.

Weaknesses: Easy to lose. Meatier enterprise applications take their toll on battery life. Costs rise as security features are added.

Fact: The four main operating systems for these devices are: Palm, RIM, Symbian and Windows CE.


Prime players: Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony-Ericsson and many others (manufacturers); Cingular, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon (carriers)

Uses: Global communication is just a phone call away.

Best used by: Everyone.

Strengths: Compact and cheap. New models have lots of features (such as multimedia) and can connect from almost anywhere in the world.

Weaknesses: All-in-one devices can be confusing for users. And those cameras are a security hazard.

Fact: The 180 million wireless subscribers in the United States used more than 1 trillion mobile minutes last year. Worldwide, there are more than 1.5 billion wireless subscribers.


Prime players: Fujitsu, Motorola, Nokia, Palm, RIM, Sony Ericsson

Uses: Access to e-mail, calendar, applications, telephony, personal information management and more.

Best used by: Knowledge workers, field techs and execs who want enterprise access without the laptop.

Strengths: Can do almost everything reasonably well and can be taken most anywhere in the world.

Weaknesses: When you cram all that into one (tiny) device, issues such as typing on the (tiny) keys can be annoying. And the more features you add, the greater the security issues become.

Fact: Last year marked the first time that converged mobile device sales surpassed those of regular handheld PDAs.