Cell phone desktop apps remain niche

According to analysts the ability to run desktop apps on mobile phones will be limited to niche aspects of the market, while it has been touted as a godsend for the mobile warrior.

Recently Virtualization software maker, Citrix, demonstrated its Citrix Receiver software for the Android platform, which will allow Windows desktop applications to run on such devices. It currently has a version available on the iPhone, as well. However, two analysts were decidedly lukewarm about its prospects when asked about the software’s appeal to enterprise users.

“I do not see [the application] being a huge part of the market. A segment can definitely be targeted, but more of a niche segment. The application would likely be a “stop-gap” for users till native applications which can perform similar functions to the desktop apps are written for the devices,” Bryan Wang, director, Asia-Pacific connectivity research at Springboard Research said. “The need for an app like [the Citrix Receiver] will diminish over time as the functionality is built into [mobile] apps…if mobility is key.”

Using Facebook as an example, he said the different versions of its app for the various mobile platforms points to demand for customized user experience on native apps. A one-size-fits-all app would not be able to fully utilize all of a platform’s user interface controls.

Canalys senior analyst Daryl Chiam, too said running desktop apps on mobiles is a niche market, appealing to specific user groups which need particular apps provided by their companies.
Outside of such apps, e-mail tops the list of popular apps for mobiles–which these phones can handle, he said.

As for popular applications which users want to carry with them, they will most likely be developed natively, Chiam said. He said another issue hampering the effectiveness of making desktop apps mobile is the screen size of the devices. Many users will not be able to work for a long time on a word processor within a mobile device. He said “with additional entry points into the enterprise network, IT administrators would want to have the ability to lock down the device in the event of it getting misplaced.”

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