Motorola: Work needs to be a social experience

TORONTO — At the unveiling of this years’ crop of cell phones Thursday, Motorola executives described their vision for a hyper-connected business landscape where the employees bid adieu to the gizmos attached to their belts.


believe corporate users whose phone sometimes is their job don’t want to stare at lines of text all day. They want cellular products to make their work a more social experience,”” said Tim Parsey, the company’s vice-president of consumer experience design. “”Thanks to the higher data transfer speeds that 2.5 G networks provide, we’re able to offer them that.””

“”Larger, colour screens with high resolution and icon-based displays similar to what you’d get from your PC are just the start of what we’re offering the high-end user,”” said David Woodcock, director of product management for Motorola Canada PCS.

“”A good example of how we’re working to simplify life for people who don’t have a lot of time are phones we’re developing which for the first time can be used as wireless modems for your PC.””

A set that fits that description — called the valedictorian of the smartphone class by Motorola — is its A388 set. The device features tri-band GSM technology, an “”always on”” internet connection via GPRS and a fully functional PIM/PDA system. It can be connected to PCs or have business applications uploaded to it thanks to its Java 2 Micro Edition capability.

The T720 set, considered by Motorola more of a management tool for a mobile-office than just a simple phone, also comes with the J2ME, GPRS and supports TrueSync software which enables its user to edit the set’s phone book and date book with their PC, Web-based PIM or other handheld devices. The big story here, said Parsey, is the display screen that supports up to 4,096 colours on the icon-driven interface.

The ideal global business solution, according to the company, is its T280i set.

The phone comes with world phone (tri-band GSM) abilities, a speakerphone accessory, instant Internet, a currency converter and text messaging system that allows images and animations to be sent as attachments. Motorola also claims that this phone has the highest resolution display in its class.

The development of phones that are now really portable offices is just a reflection of what enterprise demand from cellular technology, says Stephen Lawson, director of operations and technology for Foxgroup Consulting.

“”It’s getting to the point where the very small carry-around personal information managers have their place, but the power users don’t want to carry around a lap-top, and a PIM and a cell and a pager,”” said Lawson. “”They want to incorporate as much as possible into something that’s just a good size. And they’ll pay for it. That’s why you’re going to see that market targeted because to the business person time is money and the fewer devices they’re carrying around the better.””

Motorola’s idea of where cellular technology needs to go when targeting the business user is right on the ball, said Lawson.

“”They’ve always had good technology and a good idea of where the market is going,”” said Lawson. “”They’ve got a good grasp of where the market is for sure.””

Though the new Motorola products will be rolled out this year, don’t expect to upload your business plan to them yet, Lawson warned.

“”Canadian service providers are not ready for this, they’re struggling. There are some real challenges to rolling this stuff out that no one has figured out how to solve yet,”” he said, such as device confusion between communications towers, for example. “”These are fully solvable problems and often get solved quickly as soon as they come up. I fully expect that within the next year a lot of the existing barriers to using new cell phone technology will become a thing of the past.””


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