Businesses see smartphone use rising, survey shows

Apps on smartphones gaining popularity, too

Businesses are planning to boost the deployment of smartphones during the next three years, while laptop deployments will slow dramatically, according to survey of 340 companies in the US and Western Europe.

The survey of small and large businesses, released Friday by J. Gold Associates, projected that the use of smartphones in corporate settings will double over the next three years. The survey found that the number of smartphone devices will grow about 30 percent in the next year, and will have doubled over three years.

The use of business applications on smartphones is also projected to grow, by 71 percent over one year and 196 percent over three years.

Gold also found that businesses expect to see no growth in the number of laptops they deploy during the next year and only 25 percent growth over three years. The growth rates are higher for access to corporate applications from laptops, which are slated to rise by 75 percent in one year and 100 percent over three years.

A synopsis of the report did not detail the number of smartphones and laptops in the market today, but it did note that business deployment of smartphones will increase at four times the rate of laptops in three years; the number of applications on smartphones is expected to grow at twice the rate of applications deployed to laptops.

Many applications are just now becoming available on smartphones, especially Apple's iPhone 3G, which was released this summer with typical enterprise applications such as Exchange.

Just this past week, more applications for smartphones -- as well as smartphone support from a central IT office -- were announced. For example, Zenprise announced its MobileManager 4.1, which can automatically troubleshoot user problems across iPhone and BlackBerry installations. Zenprise has offered many BlackBerry management functions since 2007, and will now extend them to the iPhone. These functions include the ability to monitor iPhone operations from a central location and check for network availability and network performance, said Ahmed Datoo, vice president of marketing at Zenprise.

Major network management software vendors such as CA, Hewlett-Packard, Open View and BMC already have products for BlackBerry management. Microsoft also provides management across a wide array of smartphones that run Windows Mobile.

The iPhone also got support for IBM Lotus Notes through Sybase iAnywhere.

In another example of recent applications being extended to devices, Nokia and IBM last week announced Notes support for a number of Nokia's S60-based mobile phones, meaning that perhaps 80 million Notes users can now access e-mail with their Nokia devices without middleware.

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Matt Hamblen

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