Research Analyst, IDC Canada

Hewlett-Packard Canada is hoping its new iPaq hw6515 Mobile Messenger will find a home in the enterprise market by giving the mobile executive one converged device for phone, e-mail and access to backend CRM, ERP and another enterprise tools while on the road. [The iPaq is] not for the masses at this juncture, because of the price point, but it’s not meant for the masses.Eddie Chan>Text

The hw6515 is HP’s second-generation converged device that includes an integrated keyboard, something missing from the first-generation product. It also includes GSM/GPRS/EDGE compatibility, a built-in GPS receiver and Bluetooth, and a 1.3 megapixel camera, running on the Windows Mobile 3.0 SE operating system. It will be available exclusively on the Rogers Wireless network in Canada, starting at $549.99 with a Rogers package, or starting at $749 through reseller channels.

However, Marwan Al-Najjar, iPaq marketing manager for HP Canada, said consumers aren’t the firm’s primary target market.

“The primary target market is the mobile professional, and the secondary market is the IT professional and CIO, those who focus on technology that supports the business and are looking to increase productivity and efficiency within the business unit,” said Al-Najjar.

He said HP believes those professionals want a single device for voice, data and wireless capabilities, and by supporting the global standard of GSM/GPRS/EDGE, users will have worldwide access.

What he said they also want is a secure way to give their mobile workforce access, through their VPN, to their enterprise applications, and he said HP has developed tools to make that happen. It will also support corporate e-mail from Microsoft Exchange Server.

“They’re saying ‘We need a device that can extend those applications we’ve invested a lot of dollars in out to the field,’” said Al-Najjar. “They also want a device that’s secure, and that’s something we pride ourselves on.”

In addition to password and PIN protection, HP’s Protect Tool lets users encrypt and decrypt files, and third-party VPN software is also available.

Eddie Chan, a research analyst following the mobile and personal computing space with IDC Canada in Toronto, said the familiar Windows interface is a plus for enterprise users, and the GPS receiver and camera are nice features to have as well.

“Everyone’s days are getting extended and their work and personal lives are bleeding into one another, so a lot of people like to have a device like this,” said Chan. “The next step is migrating beyond e-mail to sales force automation, field service use. You’re seeing a lot more interest in deploying those kinds of applications in these devices.”

The iPaq tends to be a little more power hungry then its competitors, something Chan said is a product of the OS. The issue has been addressed in Windows Mobile 5.0, but the wireless carriers need to sign off on the program before it can be deployed.

Chan said HP addressed a major deficiency of their first generation product by adding an integrated keyboard, something he said users demand in a converged device.

In Canada, Chan said Research in Motion is still the dominant player with the Blackberry, followed by Palm with the Treo. The Blackberry is popular in the government market, which Chan said because of security requirements would never use a device with an integrated camera. He added Palm’s Treo has resonated well in the consumer and SMB space, and has benefited from the migration of its Palm PDA users to the converged Treo.

Chan said the iPaq is priced a fair bit higher then the Blackberry, which contributed to fairly low volumes on its first-generation product. The extra features explain the price difference, but Chan said it also blurs the line between the high-end iPaq and the low-end notebook PC, which is beginning to blur.

Still, Chan said he sees a potential market for HP with the iPaq in the corporate enterprise space, targeting the road warrior that wants a feature-rich converged device, with access to their corporate applications. “[The iPaq is] not for the masses at this juncture, because of the price point, but it’s not meant for the masses,” said Chan. “It’s meant for businesses.”

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