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Email still king on wireless handhelds

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Reg Technology Panel According to a new report from UK research firm Freeform Dynamics, mobile operator Orange, and your very own El Reg, email is still the dominant application on wireless handhelds, and that's unlikely to change for at least two years.

"While interest in mobile access to a range of corporate systems such as CRM and ERP is steadily growing, messaging is still the primary driver for investment in handheld technology for business professionals," writes Dale Vile, Freeform Dynamics' research director, citing the experiences of over 750 businesses and IT professionals who responded to an online survey.

Nearly fifty per cent of respondents said that email was their most "important" mobile app. Meanwhile, SMS ranks number two on the report's list of important wireless apps, followed by CRM and ERP, machine-to-machine tools, and instant messaging with PCs.

The report confirms that RIM's Blackberry platform is still the market leader for mobile email, followed by the mobile tools embedded into Microsoft Exchange. About 27 per cent of the survey's respondents use the Blackberry Enterprise Server and almost 10 per cent use the Blackberry Internet Service, while almost 25 per cent use native Exchange tools.

But Freeform urges businesses to consider other names as well. "It is worth investigating other options...that sometimes provide greater freedom in terms of device support and/or systems integration," Vile says.

Many of these options, the report continues, are well suited to small businesses: "Mobile operator branded relay services and total hosted email offerings with a mobile access option particularly address the needs of smaller businesses, so there is nothing practical or technical now standing in the way of any organisation moving forwards with email on the move, regardless of its size and requirements."

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