Motorola has unveiled an enterprise mobile device which it claims will fill a gap in the market for workers in industries where consumer smartphones have proved ineffective.
The company said that the ES400 Enterprise Digital Assistant will enable mobile workers to carry out business functions and run applications on a device specifically created for their working environments.
"In the past workers have tried to use consumer devices as work devices, but these are often not up to the job in terms of durability or battery life, and can make it difficult for IT managers to keep track of devices accessing data," said Motorola UK product marketing manager Andy McBain.
"The ES400 offers workers the chance to be more efficient by promoting the use of applications to the front screen. It can take signatures with a pen on a return-resistive screen, and is rugged and lightweight."
The device also offers features designed to be of benefit to enterprise workers, including biometric fingerprint security, image tagging and barcode scanning. Motorola claims that the battery can provide 250 hours on standby and six hours of talk time.
The ES400 can also switch between CDMA or GSM to allow it to be used in the European Union and the US, along with push-to-talk technology that allows groups in defined areas to talk over Wi-Fi networks.
McBain added that Motorola also plans to develop the device for the next three years, and offer support for a further three years, to help IT managers get value for money and full life-cycle use.
The company hopes to sell between one and two million units in the first 12 months of availability, and is in talks with O2, Vodafone and Orange about hosting the ES400, which will be available only through Motorola and its partners.
Steve Alderson, managing director of mobile workflow application firm Cognito, described the ES400 as well placed for the enterprise market as it offers a smartphone experience but with applications and features aimed at businesses users.
"The use of a pen for taking signatures is ideal for this market as this is often a sticking point for enterprise workers using consumer phones as accurate signatures can be hard to achieve. Detailed records are often vital for firms should any issues arise," he said.
The ES400 runs on Windows 6.5.3. Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer used the announcement to confirm that Microsoft will launch a version of Windows Embedded on Windows 7 in the second half of 2011.
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