Here’s a statement I hear more and more often: “This is the phone my company gave me, but I can’t stand it.” Many companies issue a standard smartphone, but their employees have very little say in the matter. They’re stuck using a smartphone that they aren’t comfortable with or just don’t understand. I haven’t seen any studies on the matter, but I’ll bet this hurts their productivity.
Why not just let them pick? Now, I know there are many reasons for companies to name a smartphone standard, like secure email or mobile apps. However, most of those reasons can be eliminated with the web.
For instance, some companies now require a specific device because they’ve built, or plan on building native mobile apps. My question for them: Why? Why not build them for the web? Mobile web apps are free of device and OS restrictions, cheaper to build and maintain, and they let employees use the device with which they are most comfortable and productive. If you want to learn more about the business benefits of mobile web apps, this whitepaper goes into more details on the subject. Or, this page gives a brief explanation as well as some nice demos.
Now, if your company has already taken the mobile web app approach, you have plenty of smartphone options. Which is the best? While the recently released iPhone 4S receives the most press, it’s by no means the only powerful smartphone available today. I recently found a great list over on Infoworld.com that outlines 9 of the best alternatives to the iPhone 4S. It’s a good list, but I would also include the recently released Droid Razr.
They’re all great options, but the best part for business users is this: Even though they’re very different, one mobile web app will work the same on each and every one. How often does one option make the most business sense AND keep the employees happy?