The newest trend being released for mobile devices looks to solve the single most annoying, and fashion unfriendly look that business people and IT staff alike have had to face in the last 15 years. The growth of mobile devices in the workforce has led to many people carrying multiple devices, often a personal phone, a smartphone for work, or a Blackberry. This directly led to the dreaded multiple belt holster, or “batman belt.” In the past two months both Android, in conjunction with VMware, and Blackberry have announced products to eliminate the use of multiple devices.
Blackberry Balance and the VMware Mobile Virtualization Platform both allow a consumer to bring their own smartphone into their corporate environment without an IT department worrying about security, compliance, or management challenges. This separation allows users to have personal applications like social media, gps, and games without compromising corporate email security.
The Blackberry app looks to run as just that, an app. This allows for corporate email to come from a Blackberry Enterprise Server and separates the email and calendar events from the rest of the personal blackberry.
By contrast, the VMware/Android platform will run what appears to be a complete smartphone for each use case, business and personal. Advantages to this platform will be the ability to turn off a business component or remove it remotely. Additionally, corporations will be able to publish corporate images regardless of phone type, minimizing the administrative tasks for IT departments. In theory, the VMware option will allow a user to move from company to company without making any changes to their personal device.
Both of these options may end up being cost savers for corporate IT shops in device acquisition, service plans, and staff hours. The ability to offload the device maintenance and service cost to the employee could be the hook that RIM needs to stay in the corporate environment. These same features and flexibility could bring Android to the forefront of enterprise mobile devices. Now the two real questions will be what Apple will do to stay competitive in the corporate/personal front, and what is going to happen to all those belt clips?