However from an investment perspective there several mobile platforms e.g. Windows, RIM, Symbian, Linux, Palm, iPhone and not to forget the latest "Android" and one needs to decide which platforms will be supported and which ones will be supported in "later releases". Alternatively one could "open up" the platform and let customers and partners choose any client technology that suits their business needs while staying away from solving all the other issues like data distribution, data integrity, device management, scalability etc. and at the same time reuse as much application content as possible.
Having this as the guiding principle, the NetWeaver Mobile 7.1 platform has been architected and opened up in a way that customers and partners can build own client technology or native applications and still derive leverage all the capabilities of the platform.
Mobile devices: As we see today, there is a very high demand for occasionally connected (or occasionally disconnected which every you prefer) applications for the next 8-10 years (remember that connectivity everywhere is the long tail for telecom industry). The mobile device capabilities are continuously evolving and it will be quite some years before this market matures. The challenge that comes with this is that end-users will demand the latest devices, but the application may not be built for these devices. Therefore it is essential to make sure that you can leverage your investments as much as you can and yet exploit the capabilities of the new devices and satisfy your user demands.
Reusing Application Content: For those of you who are following the various articles and blogs on NetWeaver Mobile 7.1, you would know that for mobilization you need to import the backend business objects in to DOE. Once you have the business objects or data objects as they are called in DOE, these can be packaged together based on the scenario or the role of the end user. Then you can define distribution rules on top of data objects that determine which devices/user get which data set. Once you have data objects in the DOE, you can easily hook them up to different development environment and different runtime and develop you client application based on your need.
Openness of Data Orchestration Engine:
DOE is not only a high scalable middleware for applications built on client technology shipped by SAP, but it is also open for integration with other development environment. For example, you can import the application meta-data from DOE into a BlackBerry Developer Studio and develop a BlackBerry application providing users a native user experience. From a run-time perspective, DOE exposes web services that can be integrated with BlackBerry Enterprise Server and the data exchange is handled through the BES.
On the other hand, if you some of your users use a Palm device, you can reuse the application content defined in the DOE and build you own client for Palm by either using the sync protocol published by DOE or by building your own custom sync protocol.
In short the NetWeaver Mobile 7.1 is an open platform for integrating any mobile client or perhaps even your existing mobile applications that you can benefit from the non-functional capabilities of the platform. We are still in the process of publishing these interfaces and considering them for offering certifications. I would like to hear from you, if this empowers you in mobilizing the business scenario that you have always dreamed of.