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Handheld Topics
- Unique Application Integration Issues -

PDAs and smart phones (PalmOS variety,  Symbian-Based or Pocket PC based)  present unique challenges to the enterprise application development staff. You should understand these issues, debate them, and evaluate them in terms of their impact on your overall development strategy and your desire to give these applications to your business units.  Here they are:

  1. Unique client OS environment, distinct from traditional client-server or web-based architecture

  2. Limited processor memory. lower processor speed, and lack of hard disk

  3. Resorting to a low-function browser for internet access

  4. Limited wireless network support

  5. Retraining (minor) of application development staff - essentially make them conscious of the limitations of PDAs as compared to full function PCs. We always find it hard to conserve after living in an environment where we did not compare for hardware resources.

  6. Lack of support in Web servers and application servers

  7. Different set of application development tools  which may lack maturity and the sophistication that we may be used to

  8. Deciding which applications and functions you should offer to your users - keep it simple.

Opportunities
As against these challenges, we are presented with a tremendous opportunity to exploit an inexpensive and nimble device which we may be able to carry anywhere. Cost of deploying these applications gets lower and the benefits can be very substantial.

Finally our advice to the PDA Application planners and architects
Do not fear these challenges - all these obstacles are but natural with an emerging technology and can be managed effectively. If you have a good business application to implement on PDAs, do it now.  Do not expect the same operating system on PDAs as you do on full-function notebooks.  Remember PDAs address a few, fixed-function and low-function applications. With thin client approach and browser-based application development, tomorrow's PDA Mobile application servers will give you more functionality in the future. Use the same principles of software and systems engineering in mind as you would do with e-commerce and web technology.


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