So ever since I started the whole Twitter thing, I have been bombarded with updates from people telling me what they are up to. I guess in one respect that this is a good thing. On the other hand, it can be a complete time suck... Regardless, via Twitter, I came across a blog post that had me fascinated. Is a smartphone only really a smartphone if the platform has an AppStore?
So first things first. If you agree that a smartphone is only a smartphone if it has an App Store, then neither BlackBerry nor Windows Mobile, nor Symbian nor Android nor Palm (talking about the new OS)are (to date) a smartphone platform. I guess only the iPhone is a TRUE smartphone platform. Hogwash....
So as opposed to challenging this premise because of the fact that it's just not a fair comment to make, let me take another angle (again, the Aquarius in me). Are App Stores good for enterprise mobility?
I actually think they are absolutely NOT good. They are in fact a terrible thing. Enterprise mobility needs standards, processes and GRC (Governance, Risk and Compliance). App Stores are almost the veritable antithesis of that concept because they are all about INDIVIDUALS buying and installing applications on their devices. Enterprise mobility and a holistic mobility strategy is predicated upon having a vision, processes and protocols around how organizations deploy and manage both hardware and software for mobile devices.
So does that mean that App Stores are not made for enterprise mobility? Not quite. You need to have App Stores that can actually serve the needs of an organization or enterprise in terms of the visibility it can provide to an organization in terms of who has installed what on their device, as well as ways for the IT/Telecom department to manage these applications. In fact, I think that a cross platform ENTERPRISE app store can be a very good thing for organizations. In fact, it plays perfectly into the SaaS model and Cloud Computing. Outsource the deployment and management of applications and make sure that your workforce is only downloading and installing what you allow them to do...that has power in terms of mobile application management.
For what it's worth, one example of what I am talking about that I really like is FoneWare. They have a SaaS based platform that allows IT managers to buy, deploy and track the applications that their employees need to go beyond just email and calendaring.
So bottom line. A smartphone need NOT its own App Store to be credited as a smartphone platform and second, App Stores are great for consumer mobility, but NOT enterprise mobility. However, the concepts that App Stores provide do have value when you when you twist it such as has FoneWare.