BlackBerry vs iPhone: the verdict

Which smartphone prevails in the business market?

When Apple's iPhone stormed on to the scene last year, it was heralded by users as the ultimate BlackBerry killer.

Businesses, however, weren't as eager embrace its limitations. While some IT departments were willing to find workarounds, most kept the device at arm's length until lessons learned from past smartphones in the workplace — such as push email and remote data wiping — were released.

Steve Jobs recently released the iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK) and announced Microsoft Exchange support for the iPhone. The SDK has been downloaded more than 100,000 times, Apple is giving the nod to only a small sliver of developers hoping to use it to create applications.

With both BlackBerrys and iPhones vying for business-class users, the competition is a lot fiercer than it may appear. Indeed, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) has been quietly helping its partners develop better tools, while other companies are (somewhat grudgingly) getting ready for an onslaught of iPhones in the workplace. The race, it seems, is on.

"We understand it's only a matter of time before we're being pressured by the top execs to make the iPhone work in our environment, but if it happens before some of our security and other issues are addressed, 'making it work in our environment' won't be easy," says Rob Paciorek, senior vice president and CIO of Access Intelligence.

BlackBerry and Apple: fruit salad?

When consumers decide which of the two handheld devices to purchase, it's not hard to reason that loyal Mac users would opt for another product in the Apple family. The challenge, then, falls on BlackBerry to keep Apple customers from hopping the fence by making their phones uber-compatible with the Mac.

Andrew Bocking, director of handheld software for RIM, says though it's tempting for Mac users to jump on the iPhone bandwagon because of the perceived ease of working with products that are compatible out of the box, they might want to reconsider.

"People need to evaluate what they want from their mobile device. The BlackBerry smartphone offers a leading communication device that is unrivalled in terms of email and messaging, with great voice capabilities as well as an incredible multimedia experience."

Although RIM declines to comment on the specific number of BlackBerry users who also use Macs, Bocking says "there is a large group of BlackBerry for Mac users and that number continues to grow at a quick pace".

In order to keep BlackBerry users to keep from succumbing to the iPhone's temptation, one of RIM's main priorities is to make sure its BlackBerrys are Mac compatible.

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PC Advisor staff

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