Nov 4, 2009

Design Criteria Defaults: Mobility

A few weeks ago I wrote and article for SearchDomino on IBM Lotus' continued expansion into mobility. One of my predictions was that we'd "see increased dedication from IBM Lotus and other vendors to make designing for mobility a primary consideration when building future versions of software tools." As my article points out, the current state of the mobile device OS market means that are lots of moving parts for vendors to keep track of and strategic partnerships appear to be the preferred approach for vendors when tackling mobility. Recent smartphone developments are swaying the market to the downloaded, device-specific application model (which vendors have to address on a platform-by-platform basis) rather than web-based software interfaces optimized mobile browser support (which vendors have more control over).

While IBM Lotus is doubling down on mobility it appears that Microsoft is not, at least not in the collaboration arena. Having just returned from Microsoft's SharePoint Conference, little focus was spent on mobility. The one session I attended on mobility consisted of an advert for the latest Windows Mobile version and a look at .NET APIs for making mobile applications. Using SharePoint on a mobile device is still, even in the 2010 release, relegated to adding a "/m" to the end of a SharePoint URL. Considering the promise of SharePoint 2010 as a content management and reach collaborative solution, it is likely that many users will find typing long URLs into mobile browsers sub-optimal.

Dedication to designing for mobility is one thing, execution is another. Mobility should be part of the design process in the earliest stages these days. IBM Lotus has revealed their mobility intentions and now it remains to be seen how they will execute. Microsoft has yet to take a stand on mobility for it's next generation of productivity and collaboration tools.

No comments: