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Are small businesses the next target for smartphone companies?


Two girls sell BlackBerrys for cheap on a 3 year contract

According to the latest study by Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, approximately 31% of U.S small businesses (or SBs, defined as companies with less than 99 employees) are now using smartphones, with an additional 11% who do not use them saying plan to purchase one — equating to approximately 400,000 U.S. small businesses using smartphones.

What do these growth numbers mean? Money, and lots of it. AMI-Partners forecasts that U.S. SBs will spend a total of US$375 million on these devices alone (without services expense) in 5 years. This is a rate 6 times greater than the estimated spending of medium businesses (MBs, or companies with 100 to 999 employees).

How this might affect RIM’s game, and a fine BlackBerry Limeade recipie behind the jump!

Smartphone supplies running low


An empty warehouseA new report on Electronista says that smartphone makers in the US are having a tough time keeping up with demand. According to Tavis McCourt, an analyst at Morgan Keenan, AT&T has had issues keeping the Pearl in stores since March, and won’t be stocking the 8120 for home users until the 24th. BlackBerrys aren’t the only phones MIA: Apple has been having supply problems and Palm’s Treo 755p is reported to have been missing from Sprint stores for over two weeks. Of course, a lack of supply is vastly better than a lack of demand, but hopefully RIM will be able to ramp up manufacturing.

Palm leaves the airports, BlackBerry moves in


Palm’s logo. Impress it upon your memory ere it fades.Palm recently announced that they would be closing all their retails stores. While there was some initial confusion, it was eventually determined that only the seven stores located in malls would be closed. The remaining 26 airport stores are owned and operated by Airport Wireless which, until this closure, had a tight partnership with Palm. The stores will remain open, but the company is broadening their reach by adding new devices and accessories including, of course, the BlackBerry. While the company is in talks with Palm to continue having their devices in the stores, at the moment the decision is up in the air. RIM’s been starting to get more involved in the retail side of things, so this is the perfect opportunity to edge into Palm’s spot, especially considering Palm’s OS delay and 43% profit drop last year, and not to mention the whole Foleo debacle.


Sneak peek at Documents to Go on BlackBerry


Documents to GoJosep recently posted some screenshots of the upcoming DataViz Documents to Go announced at Lotusphere. Documents to Go has been letting Palm, Windows Mobile and Symbian users edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files for awhile now – about time it comes to BlackBerry, eh? After this first step, maybe we can look forward to wireless syncing to desktop documents sometime soon. Still, we can look forward to Documents to Go being bundled in with OS 4.5 due mid-’08.

RIMM target price lowered


SadRIM’s stock has been taking a bit of a dip lately due to worries of a recession in the US, causing Canaccord Adams to drop their target price from $145 to $110 and downgrading the stock to “hold” status. The stock saw a pretty nice jump after the last quarterly results, and cruised over $100 for awhile, but is cooling off at around $93 right now. RIM was far from alone, as Motorola, Nokia, Palm and Apple all saw declines recently as well.


White paper experiments with smartphone OS comparison


ScientistFellow Viigo partner, Jakajima, has recently published a white paper that aims to establish a system for objectively comparing smartphone OSes. “An innovative tool to benchmark Smartphone Operating Systems” puts a Nokia E61i, HTC S710, Blackberry 8800, Palm Treo 680, and a Sony Ericsson P990i device under the magnifying glass (the iPhone was released while testing was already underway, so couldn’t get in). The testing system is called the High Contrast Consumer Test, which involves getting first-time users to carry out real-world tasks in line with the smartphone’s specialties.

The testers are dubbed as “extreme”, in that they’re gunning for one particular kind of usage. By submitting smartphones to extreme users of various levels of knowledge, the HCCT is able to gage the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction of using each OS. This is just a pilot project to set the groundwork, so we’ll have to sit tight until the labcoats have another go with the fully polished rubric. In the meantime, check out what are supposedly the top 24 smartphone features for professional users, in order of importance…

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