Why Not Put Lotus Traveler in the Android Market?

In case you missed it, yesterday Lotus Notes Traveler shipped, officially adding Android support to Lotus Notes Traveler. There is a lot of positive I can say about what IBM has done in providing Android support.  From making the right decision to write their own clients, as well as being responsive to suggestions given during the design partner and managed beta process, to delivering a client that throughout beta has been stable, lots of good stuff, however there is one thing I don’t understand and that is the distribution method they have chosen for the Traveler client.

Don’t get me wrong Installing Traveler on your Android phone is a rather simple process, you log on to your company’s Traveler server from your device, select the option to configure your Android Device, which downloads the Lotus Installer, which installs the components of Traveler.  The Installer also provides a mechanism to provide updates to the Traveler client as they become available.  So what is wrong with this? (should this sound at all complicated to anyone, I assure you it is not, and it is very consistent with the process to install many Android applications from the Android Market)

First in order to install an application from a source other then the Android Market, the “Unknown sources” option must be manually checked on the device:

unknown sources

Second, if you read the announcements carefully there is this little nugget

“AT&T: Lotus Notes Traveler for Android installs and run well on all Android devices, with the exception of Android devices  from AT&T, due to an AT&T policy decision that supports the installation of applications only from the Android Marketplace. AT&T is planning to resolve this issue in early 2011.”

Yep that’s right AT&T currently does not offer the option to allow “Unknown sources” so Traveler can not be used by anyone who has an Android phone from AT&T.

Both of these issues could be easily solved by distributing the Traveler client via the Android Market, I can not understand why this is not being done.  While you need to be licensed to use Traveler, with out a server I am not sure what one would actually do with the client, so I don’t see the downside of having it available free in the Market.  In the iOS world IBM Lotus Notes Traveler Companion which adds support for encrypted mail in iPhone and iPad is freely available in the App Store.  Why would you treat Android differently.  Also a Lotus Software presence in the Android Market would be a good thing, since they have virtually none today

android market lotus

Yes there are a few Lotus related applications, but nothing from IBM.

So why not put the Traveler client in the Android market, I can not see the downside, but I do see ease of use, and a real presence for Lotus in the Android Market as a huge upside.

Additional Information:

Lotus Notes Traveler Product Homepage

Lotus Notes Traveler Product Documentation

4 Responses to Why Not Put Lotus Traveler in the Android Market?
  1. Darren Duke
    December 15, 2010 | 8:07 am

    yes, yes, yes, yes! Put it in the Marketplace and ease some roll out woes.

  2. Andy Donaldson
    December 15, 2010 | 8:48 am

    +1 on Darren’s comment

  3. Ed Brill
    December 15, 2010 | 10:06 am

    I agree, Mitch, this is a good idea for a future revision. We started out with an architecture that is designed to deploy from the server, so as to keep the client and server versions in sync in the future. What if we do an 8.5.3 on the Android Marketplace and it doesn’t work with the 8.5.2 server? So we have to think about how to best address these concerns.

    Yes, Traveler Companion for iOS is done this way, but there there is no other choice.

  4. Richard Schwartz
    December 15, 2010 | 10:22 pm

    Ed, maybe the way to do that is to put something into the Android Market that is really just a version-independent shell. You configure it, it connects to your server, checks the server version, and then it downloads and installs the correct version of software that you need.