When it comes to smartphones, what's better for business: a Blackberry or Apple's iPhone? We find out. Information Appliance Associates (IAA), the company behind PocketMac, has spent four years creating a popular application that lets BlackBerry users sync their devices to Apple computers. VP of Marketing and Sales, Tim Goggin, says the development process hasn't always been easy.
"Our biggest challenge when developing PocketMac," he says, "was the initial task of making the Mac and the BlackBerry communicate with each other. All that work had to be created from scratch. It took over a year to develop the first version and we've been perfecting it ever since."
Both RIM and IAA provide different levels of tech support for PocketMac. Goggin says RIM's ongoing involvement in the app has been a boon for both IAA and the end user.
"RIM has been a very enthusiastic partner since the initial development. Shortly before releasing the product, we became RIM Alliance Partners, and a year and a half after our joining the Alliance Partners program, RIM and Information Appliance Associates started discussing potential licensing of the app."
Goggin continues, "It's been over two years now that RIM has licensed and distributed PocketMac for BlackBerry on its site, and I think I can say that it's worked out very well for everyone, especially BlackBerry Mac users."
Well aware that the iPhone is gaining traction in the smartphone community, Goggin says IAA is planning ahead. "We will be building in extensive media syncing, including iTunes music and iPhoto photo synching. Additionally, we'll have full support for Office for Mac 2008. And for upcoming versions, we'll be working on adding sync support for even more new applications."
The smartphone stew
Long before the iPhone began its march to take over the communications world, IT departments were already tasked with getting two other types of smartphones to coexist peacefully in the workplace: BlackBerrys and Windows Mobile devices. In fact, for some companies, the introduction of a new player on the smartphone field is old hat.
Access Intelligence's Paciorek says: "We went through this with Windows Mobile devices until secure push e-mail was made available last year." He advises IT departments to get ready for the inevitable call to arms to make iPhones accessible in the workplace. "Make sure you do your research about what it can and can't do, and ask yourself some important questions.
"Do the carrier-specific contracts mean anything to you? Will it work with your email platform and security level? Will the lack of a real keypad be difficult for any of your users? Are there features that are available with other devices that aren't available with the iPhone (syncing Outlook notes, for example)?"