Sunday, January 04, 2009

Blackberry Bold vs iPhone

The Battle of the 3G Status Symbols*
* so far most of my colleagues and business associates all seem to get very excited whenever they see a BB bold or iPhone 3G. I don't see the same excitement for other 3G devices so I am not considering them a must-have toy (aka status symbol) and am not considering them in this blog entry.

I got several comments on my recent tweet and fb entry; "you've heard it here first (not). Blackberry is a tool, iPhone is a toy (and the blackberry storm is a dud)"

Some people did not agree and others did not understand. So here's why I said what I said.

First, I really like both of my 3G devices however I feel RIM hit a bulls eye with the Blackberry Bold as a great business communication and collaboration device.

The Apple iPhone 3G is a wonderful communication and entertainment device but comes up short as a business collaboration device.

Top 3 things I really like about both devices:
* Phone quality is great on both devices
* Wi-fi AND 3G! yeah baby, almost guarantees me high b/w all the time. (Note to RIM: Why release the BB Storm without 3G? Doesn't make any sense to me)
* Form factor. Both devices are very appealing to the eye and fit very well into my hands.

Blackberry Bold Pro's and Con's

* Email. The BB Bold is my best email friend. Frankly I don't think anybody does corporate mobile email as good as RIM.
* Keyboard. The Bold's keyboard is very very good, maybe the best they ever build. (another note the RIM: stop producing keyboards with 2 letters per key. I just can't get used to it).
* Cut and paste. Makes writing email much easier. The fact that it works between applications is the icing on the cake. Copying an address in email or SMS and pasting it in google maps has saved me time and frustration.
* Blackberry browser: this browser is fast both in wi-fi and 3G mode. The fact that it automatically shows the zoom icon once a page is loaded is very good product design.
* Screen. The resolution of the screen on the bold is great, easy on the eyes and great contrasts
* Battery life. No complaints here, I get 2-3 days on average and well over 1 day when I use it heavily
* Voice dialing. Great when it works.

* Downloading Apps. when I download apps, they don't always show up in the download folder. So it takes time to look for them.
* Voice dialing is not perfect. I can't get it to understand my wife's name so I'm essentially not using this feature.
* UI/UE. Not the most intuitive UI and UE, ok but not an iPhone...
* Screen size. I know, do you want a fixed keyboard or a big screen. it's one or the other (or a bulky phone)

iPhone Pro's and Con's
* UI/UE. Very intuitive and very very slick. And the fact that every application has the same UE makes it soo easy to learn and use
* AppStore. At first I thought Apple was a bit dictatorial in they way they force everybody to go through the appstore to get new applications, but I now understand the benefits of keeping it very strict. No learning curve on any new application I download. Unfortunately my kids love it too and have found many games they have downloaded as well. There are soo many EXCELLENT applications on the appstore. Very very good move by Apple to open up the SKD to outside developers.
* int'l keyboard. Very handy when having to type in multiple languages. Also access to it using the "globe" is very clever.
* Browser. Safari on the iPhone absolutely rocks.
* Pinching. Can zooming in on content be any easier.
* ipod, phone, safari and email. Who needs a computer at home. As a matter of fact, it's so good, that I don't even bother using the bb bold for music and personal entertainment.

* No running apps in background. the iPhone does allow you to run different apps at the same time. You can't jump back and forth between apps. Not very business and user friendly. People are multi-taskers. The Bold allows this and it's great.
* Keyboard. I'm still struggling to type fast on the apple keyboard. I still type too many mistakes that are not found by the spelling suggestions.
* No copy-paste.
* Business email. No good out of the box solution that is easily accepted by corp IT and security organizations.
* No voice dialing. Critical for a lot of people (when it works)
* No video. Hello Apple, people love to shoot video from the cell phones.

I love both of my 3G devices. The fact that email on the bold is still better is the main reason for my bold statement: Blackberry is a tool, iPhone is a toy.


Martin ;) said...

Small comment (and not biased):

>* Business email. No good out of the box solution >that is easily accepted by corp IT and security >organizations.
There are documents describing an automated process for this (support web site).

I look more at weaknesses in communication on the road. All of the RIM business email has to go over their server. This server has gone down in the past. Thats the achilles heel of RIM. All of the iPhone email communication is open technology that can be used by everyone, opposite of RIM thats closed down.

Mike Mylenbusch said...

I don't agree with two points regarding the iPhone:

1) Keyboard - Indeed the keyboard takes some getting used to, but I've used fixed keyboard devices before (Treo and Nokia E65i). After two weeks of heavy keyboarding on the iPhone, I was more efficient than I ever was on fixed keyboard smartphones. What many people don't realize is that the smart complete on iPhone actually learns your common words and acronyms. So over time it gets better and better.

2) The point about business email is simply not correct. Apple licensed ActiveSync from Microsoft. I don't know a more IT friendly solution to mobile enterprise email with Exchange than ActiveSync. Secondly, the iPhone has the integrated Cisco IPSEC VPN client (which can run in the background, BTW). How can you say that the iPhone is weaker on security than blackberry when it supports the two biggest vendors in IT? (

I've talked to many people in IT at some very large enterprises. The iPhone is perceived to be less IT-friendly because most IT organizations as a whole are Microsoft leaning and hate Apple. Honestly, the iPhone simply isn't getting a fair shot in the Enterprise. If anything, Blackberry may continue to dominate the Enterprise even with inferior products simply because they are not Apple.

Martin said...

Yep I agree with Mike. Its amazing how IT is opposing Apple. Previously it was that Apple never used open technology in their devices. On the iPhone Apple is using open technology (like activesync) and now everyone in the IT is complaining how Apple is not like RIM (ie having a closed down technology).
I can't compare both technologies as I never used a RIM device, I can just comment about the listed issues.
I am using my iPhone for business (of course) and it works great for me. I am currently depending on it and its amazing how useful it was during our last trip, business as well as personal.

janster said...

Mike, Martin,

Great comments, thank you. I look forward to IT getting more friendly towards the iPhone.

Anonymous said...

"How can you say that the iPhone is weaker on security than blackberry when it supports the two biggest vendors in IT?"

So - simply showing 'support' for Cisco and MS makes the iPhone as secure as BlackBerry?! - this is completely unfounded.

There is absolutely no question that the security of BlackBerry is head and shoulders above that of the current iPhone implementation. There are publically documented techniques to circumvent all passcode security on the iPhone and access ALL information - this is not the case with BB and that is only one example.

It's also probably fair to say most true 'IT' people prefer Apple to MS rather than the other way around.

Don't get me wrong, I love the iPhone and am a big advocate for it. I would also love to use it for business but I also admit there are very good reasons why some IT groups are wary at this time. :)

Matt said...

I have both Blackberry bold and Iphone 3g....Martin you are totally right about the bold being a tool for people wanting email ASAP and video Capture...Iphone does not allow to do any of that but just simply have alot of multimedia apps so u can never go bored...I agree with your theory about the iphone being the toy and blackberry bold being the tool...nough said

Salvatiry Carlino said...

There are enterprises that would use Blackberry phones for work, and some would use iPhone. It's a matter of preference, whether they know the specs or not. Having both models would make it easier for anyone to know which phone is good for a certain application. Kudos to Janster for making a nice comparison of the two devices!