This week, the mobile enterprise awards Mobile Retailer of the Year, RIM's CEO challenges the future of mobile apps and AT&T has the fastest 3G.

The End of Mobile Apps?

Speaking of Blackberry, did you hear that Research in Motion’s CEO Jim Balsillie said that smartphones don’t need apps? It happened at the Web 2.0 Summit and sparked some debate. What seems like a dig at Apple, Balsillie boldly proclaimed “We believe you can bring the mobile to the Web, but you don't need to go through some kind of control point." He also predicted that the era of smartphone applications would "pass real quick."

In a perfect world, it makes sense. But given that so many websites are not designed with mobile interfaces in mind, mobile applications provide a convenient way for users to access the information they want and need. In addition, the mobile application business brings in a lot of revenue. That alone is an indication that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

From a mobile security perspective alone, mobile apps are evolving so that there are better requirements in place for developing and submitting applications for consideration. Because there are such great inconsistencies when it comes to mobile app security, there is a need for a set of proprietary rules or rules for appifying the Web.

Mobile Retailer of Year Rewarded for Deals & Convenience

When you think of mobile retailers, what comes to mind? eBay? Best Buy? Walmart? Think again. Target was just named the "2010 Mobile Retailer of the Year" by Mobile Commerce Daily.

Though eBay won last year, they didn’t even make the top 3 this year, despite their anticipated US$ 1.5b revenue on the mobile channel. This year, revenue wasn’t as big a predictor as much as convenient offer agreements were.

According to a study by Forrester, companies offering convenient services to customers to engage, improve satisfaction and promote loyalty, were more popular than those who offered better cost-savings alone. The empowered customer is a force to be reckoned with and if companies aren’t providing services that are convenient, they won't see the revenue growth or cost savings they are anticipating.

Amazon and Best Buy rounded out the top 3, which is not surprising since they have loyal and savvy customer bases. Both retailers have experience engaging and enticing users with more than just low prices.

AT&T 3G Faster Than Others

We’re not one to pick sides when it comes to mobile broadband networks. Everyone has their favorites and we understand. However, according to a study by Global Wireless Solutions in which 400 U.S. markets were surveyed, AT&T’s 3G network was found to be significantly faster than similar networks from the competition. The study found that AT&T’s network was 20% faster, on average, than the nearest competitor, which it did not identify.

Put simply, if one were to download a 40 megabyte MP3 album using AT&T’s 3G network, it would download about a minute faster than on other 3G networks. This is great news -- for 3G, but what will it mean as more and more carriers unleash 4G networks?

It might not make too much of a difference, considering that those in the enterprise are still figuring out their mobile policies. Though most Blackberry users rely heavily on Verizon for their connections, it’s no secret that the iPhone is coveted more. Traditionally, iPhones are covered by AT&T, though they will be opening up to Verizon in 2011, such research could persuade companies to stick with AT&T.