With the Wi-Fi-equipped BlackBerry 8820 coming soon to an AT&T store near you, business folks around the country will be faced with the decision of switching to the trendy new iPhone or upgrading to a more iPhonesque version of their trusty CrackBerry. To determine whether the grass really is greener on the iPhone side of the fence, we have chronicled the experience of a venture capitalist (who wishes to remain anonymous) who has been using an iPhone and a BlackBerry 8800 side-by-side for the past few weeks. His conclusion: despite the overall attractiveness of the iPhone, it lacks too many vital features to replace the BlackBerry as the corporate weapon of choice.
For starters, a BlackBerry set up with Microsoft Exchange Server sports intelligent push email while the iPhone does not. When an email is sent to an account on a BlackBerry, the message is downloaded immediately and an LED on the phone notifies the user that he or she has a new message. The iPhone, on the other hand, recognizes new messages at most every 15 minutes and must be checked actively to see if anything has arrived. This deficiency makes handling email on the iPhone slower and less efficient; it also translates into wasted battery power as users need to perform the extra step of opening the iPhone’s email program every time they want to check for new mail.
Perhaps even more significantly, the iPhone fails to synchronize as well as the BlackBerry. When a BlackBerry user changes a calendar event or some contact information on his or her desktop computer in Exchange, the changes automatically appear on the BlackBerry. This makes keeping track of basic business information a snap because one never has to worry about acting on outdated data or manually updating one’s handheld. In contrast, the iPhone does not synchronize calendar and contact information wirelessly, which makes it less dependable for information ultimately stored on a server.
In addition to these major drawbacks of the iPhone, our venture capitalist cites the following as reasons to prefer the BlackBerry:
- The BlackBerry 8800 possesses GPS, which makes Google Maps much more useful, especially for turn-by-turn directions
- The iPhone lacks basic cut and paste capabilities
- Despite Apple’s reputation for superior user interface design, the BlackBerry possesses keyboard shortcuts that make navigation around and between applications a breeze
- The BlackBerry’s phone quality is better than the iPhone’s
- The Safari browser is certainly more stunning than the BlackBerry’s primitive browser, but the iPhone seems to load even text-only pages more slowly than the BlackBerry over the EDGE network
- The BlackBerry possesses a general contacts application that makes contacting people by any given method more convenient
- The battery runs out faster on the iPhone simply because it is used for more tasks. This makes it less reliable for when one must take the device somewhere overnight without the opportunity to recharge.
Despite all of these criticisms of the iPhone, our venture capitalist admits that he would switch over to the iPhone if only it supported push email, calendar and contacts synchronization, and GPS. For him, the prospect of ridding his pockets of a separate device for music (an iPod nano), as well as enjoying all of the iPhone’s slick features (such as full-featured web browsing, stocks and weather apps, and its YouTube program), makes the iPhone very tempting. However, until Apple resolves these shortcomings (and perhaps Google makes its applications, especially Gmail, work as seamlessly with the iPhone as Microsoft makes Exchange work with the BlackBerry), others are going to have to pry his BlackBerry from his cold, dead hands (his words, mind you, not ours).
(Image credit: RhysyNet)