What would technology coverage be without somebody, somewhere, saying that this rumored thing is going to be the killer of that existing thing. Welcome to 2009, everything is fine, situation normal.
Matt Hickey, the freelance writer over on Cnet's Crave blog, gets rolling with "Dell's rumored smartphone: Look out RIM".
The choice little blurb:
"And that's who Dell will likely be going after. Consider this: your company has Dell servers, so what if Dell offered a special Dell suite of Dell software to connect your Dell servers to your Dell smartphones? Something like what RIM offers, but more compatibility with the Dell ecosystem many businesses already have. "
Memo to Matt: It's called Active Sync and Windows Mobile has been doing this for years. Other Memo to Matt: That 'something' RIM offers (the BES server) runs fine (like in my office) on a Dell Server. It's completely compatible with the Dell ecosystem.
While the headline may garner snickers from Waterloo (and probably Austin), the 'special Dell secret sauce' idea is, well, is not something we've seen from Dell. Ever. The other point is simply that the "ecosystem" young Mr. Hickey talks about is mostly irrelevant considering the integration points of interest would be Exchange or Lotus Notes. That's the stuff the users would want and that gets me back to Active Sync and whatever the Notes equivalent is as well as the aforementioned BES server.
All of which is software and all of which runs perfectly fine in the Dell ecosystem. This, of course, is precisely what Dell will tell you. It all runs great on our hardware which you can buy from us. More power, cheaper price, what's your credit card/purchase order number.
Dell makes good hardware at a great price. That's what they do. I owned (via a thoughtful gift) that Dell music player. It played music. It's wasn't an iPod "killer" or a Creative "killer" rather a good piece of hardware that worked. Good stuff, great price. Simple.
Lesson/Observation for you: If you are doing mobile applications and want to ride on the coattails of the industry at large, look to Active Sync and the associated API/SDK as well as RIM's SDK offerings. You will find both offerings helpful in your creating a great application/service that tie into the ecosystem that matters. I'd be careful about looking for the "killer" thing as defined by some. Rarely does it turn out that way.