Could the Symbol MC35 be the Most Important launch at CTIA ?

So the Motorola Symbol MC35 launched at CTIA, which is an announcement most people missed beacuse of the other hundred press releases and phone launches that happened last week at the show. However, I believe this could be the most exciting announcement at the show because it could open a completely new market for smart mobile devices. Let me explain.

What is unique about this device is that it is "semi-rugged" . Up to now, you could buy a rugged device from Intermec, Symbol, Handheld Products, Psion or other vendors. These rugged devices are designed to whitstand high-altitude drops, maybe even be run over by a car. And they cost around $2 grand each. On the other side, we have a bunvh of consumer-grade devices that sell for about $500 but probably won't survive any type or rough use. The MC35 fills that gap with a device that is truly affordable (about $500), powerful (Pocket PC Phone edition with a 416Mhz processor and 4 radios: WiFi, Bluetooth, EDGE, GPS) and "durable" - which means it does not meet the requirments to be called a rugged device,but it was designed to whitstand a rougher environment than your typical device. ( Wouldn't it be fun to do a Mythbusters type video where we crash-test a bunch of devices? )

The MC35 will be attractive to a lot of executives who tend to treat their phones slighlty harder than most of us, but the real opportunity is for the reatail and warehouse people who need a portable device that allows them to do the occasional barcode reading (MC35 can read barcodes using the 2MP camera), make VoIP calls while on premises, check inventory using a Mobile CRM/ERP app, and sync email/calendar/tasks using Direct Push over the cellular network to be productive anywhere. It's kind of the missing link between warehouse blue collar and executive white collar. You can do your email and excel spreadsheetsm line of business apps, voice and data all in one durable and affordable powerhouse.

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