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Gartner: PDAs can damage your balance sheet

Cliff Saran
Gartner has warned users to prepare to spend at least $3,000 (£2,000) a year to manage each handheld computer in their organisation, with costs rising steeply for wireless products.

Phil Redman, research director for Gartner said, "When assessing the total costs of wireless mobile products, we found that the more capable the device, the higher the cost."

With a wireless modem, the annual cost to a business of a handheld computer rose by $1,392 (£953) to $4,392 (£3,005) per user.

Hardware, software and network services account for 60% of the costs. Some 30% is taken by operational costs, such as technical services and support, peer support, application management and development. A further 10% goes on administration, including evaluation, implementation and training.

The full findings will be discussed at Gartner's Mobile Business and Technology 2002 Conference, which takes place next week (17-18 June) in Denmark.

Redman advised businesses to take into account these management costs when evaluating whether handheld computers gave a good return on investment.

"Enterprises that link mobile technology investments to job functions and bottom-line productivity indicators, such as sales revenue, customer support and internal operations goals, will be successful at defining a mobile ROI," he said.

To reduce overall TCO when deploying handheld computers in a wireless LAN, Gartner advised users to consolidate network service providers, bundle services and aggressively negotiate contracts.

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