Mobile Phones, PDAs, and PEDs

Those of you who know me know that I am a Windows Mobile (WinMo) guy.  Why?  Carrier choice, OS support, device integration, and device form factor variety.  Even though the Mobile OS is basically a port of the Desktop OS, I still like the devices because of the overlays that HTC has put on devices like the Fuze, the massive support of Microsoft that stands behind the OS, and the wide variety of form factors and carriers that offer these devices.

With that said, I think the iPhone is very well done.  I love the interface and the applications.  I think Blackberrys are excellent mobile business devices.  And I am looking forward to the Palm Pre like a six-year-old without a bike or a puppy on Christmas Eve.  I am hoping the kind folks at Palm let me have one early to use and talk about.  Anyhow, why do I like all of these WinMo competitors?  Because Apple, RIM, and Palm make Microsoft want to be a better Mobile Operating System (get the “As Good as It Gets” reference?).  OK, so I am no comedian.  But I do know a lot about mobile devices.  And I know them from all sides – the administrative side and the end-user side.  I know what makes for a great end-user experience, and I know what administrators are looking for.

End users want a functional device that is fun, functional, and easy to use.  Some users like keyboards, some don’t.  Some users like the stylus, some don’t.  Some users like navigation wheels, some don’t.  Etcetera, ad nauseam.  In other words, each mobile user is as unique as a snowflake.  And this uniqueness is at odds with the administrative side.  The best situation for an administrator is if every user has the same device with the same applications and similar settings.  Easy to administer and easy to troubleshoot, right?  Right.  But is this what the end-user wants?  No. So the administrator has to manage the device in as simple a way as possible without the user seeing it (transparency) while ensuring the data on the device is safe (security) and the users can access what they need to do their work (accessibility and availability).  How can this be accomplished? 

The device operating system must be capable of supporting remote management and security.  It must work with existing directory installations (i.e., Active Directory).  The management piece must support groups, policies, and ACLs.  Don’t force your administrators to learn yet another management interface from another vendor that does not quite match the Windows look and feel.  The easier it is for the administrator to manage devices, the more likely that administrator is to provide end-users with flexibility on their mobile devices.

Bottom line – the future of mobile computing is so bright, I gotta wear shades.

As always, comments welcome.  I will respond if necessary.


About Tim Smeltzer
I am a husband, father, and technologist. While I am very much interested in almost all technology, my current area of specialty is secure mobile messaging. You will find me blogging from time to time on mobile technology - what I think is cool, what I think is not cool, and how to do things. Please be nice if you leave me comments. I am really trying to help!

4 Responses to Mobile Phones, PDAs, and PEDs

  1. Karl says:

    Tim, did you get a Pre today? I got one this morning and it’s pretty good. Took awhile to get AKO (beta) running but I finally got it using EAS! I could never get it to work right on my Treo and it only partially worked for me on my iPod but it’s working great now on the Pre. Just had to install the 2 certificates and then it worked. Thanks for the help on your blog, your post about installing certs made my day!

    • tsmeltzer says:

      Karl… I am actually on vacation in Oregon. I am hoping for a Pre when I return (the 15th). Happy to hear that my blog helped with configuring your device.

  2. James Mason says:

    Hi Tim,

    I purchased a Palm Pre, but have failed to sync it with my AKO email (standard web-based email–not beta). Three questions.

    1. I have insttalled DoD Class Root 3A and DoD Root 2A certificates along with any others that looked like they may have been related to no avail. I still get an error message: “SSL certificate error. Is the date and time correct?”

    2. If I convert to the beta mail service in AKO (where others have found sync success) will AKO migrate my old mail over to OWA or will have I have to start from scratch? FYI, you can see the Pre set up discussion at:

    3. What is the status of the enterprise wide email upgrade that I heard about at CPAW 2008?

    Thanks for any insights you can provide.


  3. James Mason says:

    Forgot to mention thanks for your blog entry on installing DoD certificates. I followed that precisely, but I still have some other conflict. Thanks


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