Wi-Fi and WiMax are becoming increasingly available. At the same time, notebook computers are becoming increasingly powerful-not to mention more affordable. It's not surprising, then, that more than 50 percent of the PCs sold on the market today are mobile, according to Bill Hersh, D&H Distributing's Microsoft specialist.
These trends benefit SMBs looking to increase work speed and lower infrastructure and office space costs. They also mean new sales opportunities for system builders who can offer guidance to their client base throughout the buying process. "Customers that are new to laptops don't really know what they're getting into," Hersh says.
Mobile users, says Hersh, can benefit from a wide variety of services and products, from security to software. "There are real opportunities to help them, to set yourself up as their go-to guy, to be more than just the computer guy down the street," he says.
The release of the Windows 7 operating system represents an additional opportunity. "There is a substantial customer base that's still using XP on their desktop PCs," says Hersh. "XP users, in most cases, are ready for something new."
Hersh insists Windows 7 improvements over Vista will help to sell new mobile technologies to SMBs looking to refresh and re-strategize. "We expect 7 to be the single biggest launch we've seen since Windows 98," he says. "It runs on a much broader selection of hardware and software than Vista did. We see a ton of upgrade opportunity for those customers that have put off new purchases."
Enhancements to the OS that benefit mobile computing include usability, security, and interface improvements. "This includes ad hoc networks," Hersh says, "where you don't need a specific network card." Location-aware printing is another mobile-friendly advance. "It recognizes what network you're on and defaults to the printer appropriate to that particular network."