“I think this is probably the biggest thing to happen within the mobile enterprise market since the initial introduction of BlackBerry,” says Brian Bogosian, CEO of Visto. “The reason for that is up until now, a rather expensive proprietary solution—which did a good job of providing a mobile e-mail solution on a closed system—was the one choice people had. I think this announcement tells a much bigger story about how mobile operators, who today are the primary distribution channels for everybody, including BlackBerry into the market, have made a decision around an open solution—providing people with true choice around an open platform to provide mobile push e-mail to any device of your choice. So I think this is where this market goes from the low single millions to the tens of millions to the hundreds of millions over the next few years.”
Or rather, it seems it may be the end users who will wind up the biggest winners in this scenario. “People want choice,” says Bogosian. People want to be able to converge their voice and their data on a single device, and it’s really up to people to choose a form factor that meets their personal and professional needs. And since Visto has no axe to grind in that area, we support all the primary operating systems that drive all of these intelligent devices, including Symbian, Pocket PC, Palm and Java-based devices.
During the launch phase, Vodafone will offer push e-mail service on the Vodafone v1620, the Motorola Mpx220, the Nokia 6630 and the Sony Ericsson P910i and gradually add additional devices in the following months. The service, which includes the ability to download e-mail attachments in formats that include Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Adobe PDF, is now available to Vodafone customers in Germany, Greece, Italy, France, Finland and Spain, with markets expected to expand.
The availability of push e-mail that’s agnostic to devices seems likely, as Bogosian predicts, to open a floodgate of sorts, attracting far greater numbers of users. Bogosian likens it to the days before everyone had voicemail—a difficult scenario (along with remembering life before the microwave) to imagine being the case today.
“We’re going to unlock the market potential here,” says Bogosian. “People who like the BlackBerry device will continue to use that device, but it’s our position that it’s one device with 2 million users, and there’s hundreds of millions of other devices that are sold every year that we’ll now be able to power.”