Mobile Solution Providers Will Focus on Apps

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With the rise of ARM-based CPUs and mobility in the channel, forward-thinking solution providers should outline how to deliver services and software to mobile devices, not just around them. As devices become increasingly more powerful, so too will software application capabilities; thus, it will fall on the channel to sort through the sea of mobile software.

A new report hints that Samsung is doing something big -- an ARM-based CPU with 8 CPU cores, a set of four clocked at 1.8 GHz and another set clocked at 1.2 GHz. The idea is to offload heavy lifting to the 1.8Ghz quad while the 1.2Ghz quad handles basic phone tasks and energy management. In plain English, this means a single mobile CPU can handle more advanced workloads than many desktop processors available just 6 years ago.

But so what? Apple Inc. releases a new iPhone with a new operating system ever year, while Google launches a new version of Android with a new device OEM partner. Devices get faster and our apps become more sophisticated. But this layering effect is not for long. In just a few years, mobility will not simply explode, it will literally leapfrog what we have normally thought capable, and Samsung Electronics Co.'s approach is just the start of it.

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Apple, too, understands the power in mobile processors. Rumors around the Internet have long held that Apple is testing ARM CPUs inside its MacBook line. Even Microsoft Corp., despite its less-than stellar Surface reception, went with an ARM-based approach. What does this mean for solution providers?

In the short term, much like the implications of the iPad mini, it means more support, more data and more attention to detail when crafting a secure wireless infrastructure. When mobility is standard and classical computing is seen as true legacy computing, it falls on solution providers to build inro mobility, not just around it, because they wont have a choice. The power and capabilities of devices will force a paradigm shift in the way vendors approach software.

We're seeing this in small pieces today, most interestingly, from SAP AG. SAP has become a strong proponent of enterprise applications, particularly applications that can become mobile applications. Its latest push to capture ISVs and developers has focused on how apps developed for the SAP environment would be portable and, ideally, cloud-based. (Samsung agrees -- it's all about the apps. )

But much like Microsoft Office is the killer app for the desktop PC today, the channel community has an opportunity to not just lead with mobility, but provide a killer-app (or application suite) that turns mobility from a secondary ancillary device, to a fully-featured computing platform. In a way, this has been Microsoft's push with Windows 8 and Surface RT -- but its not enough. Rumors that Microsoft Office may eventually land on the iPad is closer to the core of what it means to support mobility as a first-class platform.

Akin to how cloud providers to deliver services and solutions today, mobility will need the same close-knit care and consulting with customers. The software market for mobile devices is not shrinking and likely will not for some time to come. In fact, cloud services may take a back seat in the back-end as more robust applications provide native integration of cloud capabilities into the tablet or smartphone.

And like any space where this is complexity in choice, partners will need to step up to cut through the noise of applications and deliver their customers a true mobile-computing suite that works. Solutions providers can get a kick start today by keeping tabs on vendors that take mobile applications seriously.

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