Smartphones versus Blackberry

My experience with Smartphones and Blackberry

When deciding for a mobile device it comes down to either the Smartphones which run Windows Mobile Operating System or Blackberry by Research In Motion (RIM).

It depends how you look at it but I believe I’ve been fortunate enough (through my current place or employment) to experience both the Smartphones and Blackberry. The business recently decided to ditch the smartphones and move to Blackberry.

In this post I’ll be highlight the pros and cons of these devices based on my experience and feedback from our business users.

Smartphones Models used in the business (major models only)

SmartPhones – The Pros

  • Outlook Mobile Access - The email push functionality was integrated tightly with Microsoft Exchange. No extra hardware, operating system or licensing required for the Smartphones.
  • Diverse option for handhelds - Smartphones came in differen shapes and sizes . The major smartphones type we used were the PDA style with stylus, PDA with stylus and QWERTY keyboard and the hand held like standard mobiles. Major manufacturer had their different versions of smartphones but we mainly used with i-mates and Dopods.
  • Integrates well with Outlook – Emails, calendar, contacts, tasks, etc. where replicated down to formatting and field mappings when synced with smartphones.
  • Mobile Carrier independent – this means that a mobile data plan didn’t have to be with a specific carrier. Most of our users were signed up with the mobile that had the best national coverage. The smartphones were not locked into any contract either.
  • Simple to use – Based on Windows Mobile operating system which was similarly structured to it’s parent PC OS. Compliments Windows XP with Active Sync client installed and Windows Vista (Active Sync not required).

SmartPhones – The Cons

  • Windows Password update – Basically everytime a user’s password is reset or changed it must also be updated on the smartphones. This is probably the most commonly asked question by our smartphones users. It catches out pretty much every user the first time. The smartphones will not sync if their password is not updated which they have to manual need to enter in.
  • Hard to support – Since there’sa diverse range of smartphones out in the market users kept requesting the latest models and before you know it we had about 6-8 different models to support.
  • Poor Battery life – users complained that they had to charge their smartphones on a daily basis.
  • Windows technology – the smartphones were prone to lock ups and hangs. Users had to constantly reboot (power down) their devices.

Blackberry Models used in the business

Blackberry – The Pros

  • Excellent battery life – this was probably the most commented improvement over the smartphones with users reporting on getting upto 4 days out of a single charge compared to charging their previous smartphones daily.
  • Excellent handsets - the build on the Blackberry Curve 8310 and Pearl 8100 are exceptional.
  • Easy to set up – Run the Setup Wizard and add the user to the BES server and off you go. Even swapping a handset is a breeze. Just run the set up wizard on a new Blackberry (same model) and the user will get the settings as their previous Blackberry. No hacking, unlocking or importing of certificates required.
  • Easy to support – it either works or it doesn’t.
  • The WOW factor – I have a Blackberry!

Blackberry – The Cons

  • Additional costs – extra hardware, software and licensing has to be factored in on top of the mobile call and data plans when considering Blackberry
  • Extra point to maintain – basically having Blackberry Enterprise Server adds another of layer of hardware/software to maintain on top of the network infrastructure. This also add another point off failure to the services provided to the business.
  • Handheld and data plan tied to a specific carrier – All Blackberry and mobile plans were placed under a single contract with a mobile carrier that doesnt have the best nationl network coverage. We’ve had users comeback from business trips to complain that the network service with our current carrier is poor. We’ve also identified several blackspots around the building were you simply can’t get coverage.

I’ve been using Smartphones for the last two years and personally I’ve never had any issues with them. I too recently started using the Blackberry Curve 8310 and I must admit it’s probably a lot better in quality over any of the Smartphones I’ve used. Having said that either technology have met my needs but when choosing between the two it really boils down to what the business wants.

Related posts:

  1. How to unlock i-mate Smartphones for emails
  2. GPRS Access points for Telstra, Optus and Vodafone Austrlia for Smartphones
  3. How to set up i-mate Smartphone to receive emails from Microsoft Exchange
  4. ActiveSync Error: ActiveSync was unable to reach the server. Check that the server address and proxy settings are correct. Support Code:80072f78
  5. “Active Sync encountered a problem on the server. Support code: 0×86000108″

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