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How SharePoint 2010 Supports Mobile Access

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The upcoming Microsoft (news, site) Windows Phone 7, might look all consumer friendly, but enterprises want and expect more, especially when it comes to how mobile devices will handle SharePoint.

Big Things Are Afoot for SharePoint

We hope to see a difference between SharePoint Mobile for Windows Mobile 6.x and Windows Phone 7 series devices, like the difference between night and day. It has been a slow evolution for SharePoint on the mobile, but things seem about to take off in a major way.

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The current application could easily be from the 90s

Early efforts have been very limited, but recently, we have seen the arrival of a beta of SharePoint Workspace Mobile for Windows Mobile 6.5. This offers shared documents, document viewers, configurable alerts, filtering and mobile shortcuts. Pages can easily be configured for mobile and (using the ?mobile=1 tag) while photos can be uploaded and status updates entered.

However, there is little in the way of live editing and limited use of the social elements that are now seen as a key part of SharePoint and appearing on mobile versions of other applications at a rate of knots.

The True Mobile Office Beckons

While much of SharePoint 2010's Mobile features might be accessible now, the way we use them and the scope of features will change radically when the 7 series phones arrive. In fact, if SharePoint was a mystery to some users and even organizations, it will soon be right in their faces as Microsoft makes it key to linking the office desktop to the mobile. Microsoft will be pushing SharePoint as the key to help mobile users interact with colleagues, office documents and information.

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The future offers something far brighter for Office and SharePoint users

The new Office Hub that links your desktop Office environment to the phone will bring productivity and collaboration in a more coherent manner than before on a mobile. With access to Office, OneNote and SharePoint Workspace all in one place, users can read, lightly edit and share documents with colleagues. With integration with your Outlook messages and contacts via Outlook Mobile, users will be able to stay productive and up to date while on the go.

Your Mobile Space

SharePoint 2010 will launch with mobile integration, but this has all been developed with existing phones in mind,  Windows Phone 7 should offer integration a step above what was planned.  Instead of relying on different apps or screens for your SMS alerts, viewing documents, search and microblogging — now, Microsoft has the chance to bring a fully-rounded, unified solution to upcoming devices.

With what we have seen of Windows Phone 7 so far, SharePoint and Office integration should be a seamless whole that takes the minimum amount of effort on the part of the user to get information and perform tasks.

SharePoint Something Special?

The prominence given to SharePoint on the Windows Phone 7's front end hints that business is being taken just as seriously as the needs of Gamers (with Xbox account integration) and music/film lovers (with Zune integration). To illustrate the point, there's an interesting message from Charlie Kindel on his MSDN blog:

We often remind developers that the vast majority of phones are purchased at retail, which means the "end user" we are focusing on is often referred to as a "consumer." This is not to say that phones or Windows Phone 7 Series in particular are less valuable to business or corporate scenarios; it’s simply a comment on purchase behavior.

We are building a phone focused on the end-user. We are building a phone that will be, primarily, purchased by end-users. We know those end-users have busy personal & business lives. We are building a phone that will be GREAT for helping end-users deal with BOTH their personal & business lives. 

While business users are eager to find out exactly what level of document integration, support for Active Directory or Exchange and other business essentials will be offered. It looks like Microsoft is keeping the door to the executive suite firmly shut for now, we await a more formal unveiling with great interest.

 
 
 
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