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December 03, 2007

Mobile Consumer Gadgets Overtake Business Phones

By Rich Tehrani, President and Editor-in-Chief

Originally posted on Rich Tehrani’s (News - Alert) VoIP Blog

The maddening division between consumer and business mobile devices continues to grow. As the trend picks up speed, it is apparent consumers are the winners while businesspeople suffer. To some degree, the problem is a necessary one.
LG Voyager Mobile PhoneCase-in-point was the amount of time it took for Research in Motion (News - Alert) to put cameras on their BlackBerry devices. Many corporate customers actually didn’t want cameras on phones it purchased and this is the reason many of these e-mail workhorses seemed so featureless for so long.
This weekend, however, the consumer vs. business problem really hit me. Consumers are getting unbelievable products and businesspeople are left wondering why our devices are so boring and devoid of features. The iPhone (News - Alert) is a great example of a device which many businesspeople want but won’t purchase because e-mail synchronization is clunky and calendar synchronization is not available.
In addition, the lack of a real keyboard has been a deterrent to adults who have fingers thicker than a chopstick.
When I read the PC Magazine review of the LG VX10000 Voyager, I realized the split is only getting larger. I wrote about this phone two months ago and figured the device would have the best features of an iPhone while also having a full keyboard so business users such as myself could rattle off e-mails and even blog entries at a rapid clip.
LG's Voyager Mobile PhoneWhat surprises me most about the Voyager is how the phone’s features rival a home entertainment center; stereo sound, two 400x240 screens, QWERTY keyboard, 2 megapixel camera, built in antenna to view eight channels of broadcast mobile TV, GPS, video recording, etc. I can imagine using the dual screens to drive presentations, enabling both you and your audience to see the same information.
This could be an absolute killer business phone. But surprise… It doesn’t sync with your calendar or address book. And I wonder if it even supports PowerPoint.
This is where the frustration comes in. Yesterday I ranted about the HTC/Verizon (News - Alert) 6800 and how it has added virtually no features in two years. This is frustrating for a businessperson like me and probably is for you as well.
The chasm between what you want and what makes sense for your business needs continues to widen. As it does, there seems to be a growing need for a business device that rivals the Voyager. After all, I may want to take a break from e-mailing and watch some TV. Moreover, I may want to stream the news to my Bluetooth headset as I work.
It seems the phone manufacturers can’t seem to focus on two markets simultaneously and when they do consumers end up losing out. Last time I checked, consumers have address books and some have calendars as well. Yet mobile device makers seem to make smartphones that don’t sync very intelligently or at all. What’s so smart about that?

Hopefully the situation will get better soon but in the mean time the frustration grows among business users who want the best of everything and can afford it but just can’t seem to find it.
Where does this leave someone like me? I am seriously thinking of stopping by my Verizon Wireless store tomorrow and upgrading my XV6700 to a Voyager. In the future, I may miss all my meetings and not be able to call anyone in my address book—but at least I will be able to watch videos with full stereo sound. I imagine the first song I will download and listen to will be from the Rolling Stones… You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

Want to learn more about the topic covered in this article? Check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, a collection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP communications industry. This information is free to registered users.

Rich Tehrani is President and Group Editor in Chief at TMC (News - Alert). In addition he is the Chairman of the world’s best attended IP Communications event, Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO. He blogs for TMCnet here.

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