Not enough talking
I think there's a few fundamental problems with device development right now. My organisation has around 1000 mobile users. That breaks down into 50% voice users, 25% mobile mail and around 25%, sales, who have a need for a range of apps including mail. Obviously, we want this from one supplier, and we want to be able to centrally manage the lot - and that means a standardised OS so we can replace wihthout any trouble.
This is where it gets messy for a number of readons. Firstly, voice users don't want a phone that just does voice - they want cameras, MP3's, and other such gizmos. So we had to wrestle with all of them to get some kind of agreement on what they really needed. For financial reasons, we definately didn't want voice users to have either cameras or bluetooth on their phones. We wanted no data transfer to keep the costs down and we wanted no bluetooth for security reasons. But that's a difficult argument to win when everyone wants hands-free kits - despite the phones only being provided for site work, which people are shipped to by means other than their own vehicles.
Then we get into mobile mail - nobody wants anything except a Blackberry. It's all anyone has heard of, lots of them thought it was a 'cool' device, and therefore this was the only solution they could accept - despite being offered much better solutions.
For the heavy users with the requirement for access to their desktop apps, by and large, it was one headache after another. Talk about project creep. And it wasn't just the users, it was their managers, the board. Firstly they needed access to mail and CRM, then they needed GPRS too, (ouch) then they definately needed MP3 - because someone had the smart idea of recording post sales notes on the device and uploading them into the CRM system so that sales could subsequently listen to the notes as they drove to the follow-up meeting. Nice idea. We almost got close to a stanard too - but then it broke down once again when we came to finding appropriate hands-free kits, and headsets.
I think my overall point is that finding devices is bad enough but once you get into the true requirements for every user in your orgaisation it's not just the devices that you have to care about - it's all the peripherals too, which turn the whole thing into such an incredible pain.
I beleive this points to a number of shortfalls in th emobile market altogether - there's no one that can provied the full range of services - we need one of the big boys Mobile firms to buy garmin, sony, B&O, IBM and plenty more before this becomes a soltuion you can take off the shelf. Currently, from our experiences, it's almost more hassle than it's worth. We must have spent a year trying to get to the bottom of this - with, ironically, an overall aim of increasing productivity.
Oh, and let's not forget that whilst everyone was trying to finalise a spec for each party, the market itsel was brining out new kit every other week - it's constant moving target at both ends.