The iPhone still is not a Business Phone

Since the launch of the original iPhone almost two years ago, it has been the position of this journalist, that the iPhone is not equipped, nor designed to be a business class phone. Although Apple has done a lot to address the concerns raised by many around the time of the original launch, such as third party apps and 3G speed, there are still inherent (and potentially unsolvable) problems with the phone.

Without a doubt, the iPhone is the sexiest phone on the market. Even with Research in Motion’s Blackberry Storm launch and a variety of other touch screen devices from other manufacturers, nothing meets, much less exceeds, the beauty and elegance of an iPhone. With it’s intuitive scrolling interface, the presence of a real web browser and hours of entertainment value via games from the app store, iPod capability and social networking capability, a la Livingston Communication’s Mobile Manifesto, there is no doubt that the iPhone is the device of choice for the long tail of consumers.

However, the finger typing (as opposed to tactile QWERTY keyboard of other devices, such as Blackberrys) poses a significant architectural barrier to business adoption. From a business standpoint, a mobile device is meant for utility. Email, productivity, and collaboration. That’s what we in business need from our phones, no? We need to be able to ensure connectivity to mission critical offices, and projects.

In Washington, we are a working class. We may not be the working class, as bandied around in political campaigns, but we are a town driven by long hours, massive public-interest footprints and a very east-coast “on the go” mentality. In Washington, Verizon Wireless rules the roost because of solid coverage and underground Metro coverage (granted, other carriers will have expanded coverage by the end of the year and full access by 2012).

During the Inauguration, while those in proximity to me (on the National Mall) lost coverage for all or a portion of the ceremony while using the Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile networks, Verizon Wireless troopered on without so much as a hiccup.

So, let’s review the iPhone. The iPhone is locked into the AT&T network (for now). Therefore, large collections of iPhones all throttle the same towers as opposed to dispersion of traffic across a multitude of networks. FAIL.

The iPhone presents significant usability and utility challenges to the “working” American due to the finger touch system. Additionally, the lack of viable Exchange integration (sorry, the iPhone OS 2.0 upgrade providing ActiveSync is junk), and lack of Group Policy mechanisms that prevent IT Administrators from effectively tying into a Enterprise Active Directory structure and enforcing group policy and security across an infrastructure in the same way they can for Windows Mobile or Blackberry devices, will continue to prevent the iPhone from seeing widespread adoption in enterprise environments.

NSA: in ur treo eavesdropping on u. Kthxbai

Windows Mobile

Windows MobileA story breaking in the security community but I’ve filed under “Does this surprise anyone, really? Come on!” has to do with smartphones running Windows Mobile. According to the filing from Cryptome.org reports that there is a Windows OS backdoor being used by the National Security Agency and agencies and contractors employed by the federal government that allows people to “backdoor” (extrapolate: eavesdrop, wiretap, trojan horse or fill in your own noun-verb) a system. This includes smartphone devices running Windows Mobile.

It is unclear as to whether Microsoft is a willing ally in this, as Borat put it, “war of terror”.

More info as I get it.

Added: As pointed out by commenters below, there is not enough evidence here to prove one way or another. Cryptome also has a considerable history of “waving the flag” around government crypto issues. However, in theory, the potential risk does exist as the exploit is in similar fashion as Windows Update. In WU, users allow a web service remote administrative access to their machine during the period of time surrounding an update. As this is the window of time that Cryptome alleges is the “backdoor” period, it would not surprise me if this is indeed true. Microsoft PR handling this issue has no comment at this time but promises to “look into it” – whatever that means.

Photo Attribution: Jnxyz