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Sizing Up the iPhone 4 and Blackberry Torch

Previously, the Blackberry had been favored over the iPhone in the business world for various reasons such as high security features and e-mail capabilities. The iPhone has gained momentum in the business world, which begs the question: should you jump on the Apple bandwagon?

• Applications

In the area of applications, the iPhone is clearly strides ahead of the competition. It has over 100,000 free or low cost applications, compared with the Blackberry apps which are in the hundreds. Business owners comment about how the iPhone’s applications for task management, networking, and calendaring are especially useful. The Airprint application allows users to print documents or spreadsheets to a wireless printer when traveling and Square can be used for mobile credit card processing.

• Call Quality

In the past, the Blackberry was better for call quality and reception. When AT&T was the sole provider for the iPhone, the network was overcrowded leading to a high number of dropped calls and poor reception. The reviews for the Blackberry Torch’s call quality have been mixed, with complaints about the speaker’s voice being tinny or sounding like they are on speakerphone. Nonetheless, the Blackberry gets better reception compared with the iPhone. According to a review from TechnoBuffalo, the Blackberry had 4 bars in most areas compared with 3-4 for the iPhone. The iPhone 4’s call quality gets consistently high reviews, but continues to have problems with reception. The noise-cancellation microphone certainly contributes to this as it reduces distortion.

• Web Browsing

The general consensus on web browsing is that the iPhone is better because of its speed. Nonetheless, recently RIM purchased a web kit-based browser that has led to significant improvement. Its speed is faster, and with its touch screen it has the same capabilities for zoom and webpage viewing. Neither phone has Adobe Flash available, although the iPhone has HTML 5 which is useful for viewing things like YouTube videos. It still retains the lead when it comes to speed because of its superior processor.

• Security

The Blackberry receives high rankings when it comes to security because of the design of the Blackberry Enterprise Server. In order to appeal more to the business community, Apple has improved its security features but still does not have the ability to, “remotely provision, configure, audit, and enforce devices” according to the Sophos Security website. The Blackberry has remote wipe and an emergency feature where the phone automatically erases data after a certain amount of time, in addition to superior encryption. For the iPhone, this is only available for phones that can be located on the network.

• Price

In terms of price, the iPhone 4 is $649 for 16GB and $749 for 32GB without a plan. With a plan from AT&T or Verizon, the prices are $199 and $299 respectively. For a basic calling and data package with AT&T it is $55-85/month and with Verizon $75-105/month including messaging. The Blackberry Bold 9700 is significantly cheaper, listed at $459.99 without a plan on AT&T’s website. With a basic plan from AT&T, the phone costs only $199.99 with a minimum $55/month plan.

• E-mail and Instant Messaging

Perhaps the most important smart phone feature for business owners is e-mail. From a design standpoint, the tactile keyboard on the Blackberry is preferable to the iPhone’s touch screen keyboard for typing long e-mails. Users have also voiced that its BES push technology makes receiving new messages even faster than on their desktop computers.

The iPhone has several features that make it attractive for e-mail. One is the unified inbox where you view mail from various providers on one screen. You can also move quickly between multiple e-mail accounts and organize messages by threat sorted by date, listing, and number of messages.

For people who enjoy instant messaging rather than texting, Blackberry Messaging (BBM) is a real-time feature that is good for communicating with other Blackberry users. This may not be as attractive of a feature as more users switch to the iPhone or the Android.

Although the amount of initial investment is higher for the iPhone 4, this phone provides better web browsing, applications, and call quality. It is continuing to improve its security in order to attract more business owners, and provides its famous retina display that makes reading e-mail and web pages easy and enjoyable. The Blackberry may be past its prime in terms of where it is going in the future, but many in the business world still prefer it because of its high security features, e-mail service, and price. There are many outside resources that provide reviews on the iPhone 4 and Blackberry Torch 9800, so check out some of the following external resources before making a final decision.

External Resources:

Sources:

1) Sophos Security: “iPhone vs. BlackBerry”

2) Quora: “What’s better: an iPhone or a BlackBerry?”

3) TechnoBuffalo: “iPhone 4 vs. Blackberry Torch”

4) Crackberry.com: “Blackberry Torch Review”

5) Apple: “iPhone in Business”

6) Engadget: “RIM Seems to Be as Lost as My BlackBerry”

7) Great Geek Debates: “iPhone vs. Blackberry”

8) GL Computing: “Why I prefer Blackberry over iPhone for business”

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