Why a BlackBerry Is Better Than an iPhone

The BlackBerry has always been a business phone. The iPhone wowed us all--and it nearly put BlackBerry out of business--but it emphasizes entertainment and not productivity. If you're an IT executive, it's finally time to put function before form, CIO.com columnist Rob Enderle writes.

By Rob Enderle
Fri, May 17, 2013
Page 2

Bringing the Smartphone Back to Basics

The original goal of the smartphone—whether it was the Palm Treo, the original Microsoft Phone or the BlackBerry—was to blend the PDA, two-way pager and phone into a single productivity-focused product. A single device that fit in your pocket or purse held your contacts, email, calendar and, in the case of the BlackBerry, a two-way pager.

The two-way pager feature was actually important, since you could quickly receive and respond to an alert. This made the Blackberry Messaging Service even more powerful than iTunes on Apple devices; BlackBerry Messenger provided core value for the smartphone, while iTunes was developed more for connected media players.

News: BlackBerry Messenger Expanding to iOS and Android

Those old smartphones devices were secure (they had to be, since they contained business data), functional (the Palm Treo was pretty ugly, but it had amazing battery life) and robust (a drop that will crack an iPhone screen did little, if any, damage to one of those old devices). While Apple views a broken phone as a revenue opportunity, business-to-business vendors view them as a problem to be avoided, since revenue depends on the business user remaining in service. This was emphasized this week when another user sued Apple for producing an excessively fragile phone.

A company selling to consumers can cover up these types of problems or chalk them up to built-in obsolescence. (It probably shouldn't, though.) However, this is suicide for a B2B company, as businesses will blacklist a firm it catches doing this and they will talk to other business users. Treat a business customer badly and you'll likely find no one willing to buy your products.

Blackberry Is Better Business Phone

The Department of Defense trials of Android, iOS and BlackBerry devices also drove this home for me. Government agencies are under a ton of pressure and oversight. Buying phones that favor entertainment would likely be career suicide for most bureaucrats, which is why they favor the business-focused BlackBerry.

News: VMware, Verizon Tackle BYOD with Dual-Persona Phones

Since LG and Samsung are moving to market solutions that mirror BlackBerry's protected work partitioning, I believe these solutions should be favored over others. In the end, though, there's only one platform designed to be dependable for business: BlackBerry.

If the goal of your smartphone deployment is to give employees a dependable device, then take a cue from the DoD and place the BlackBerry high on the list. Your job might actually depend on this phone, and no cool app, game or movie will mitigate that one Blackberry advantage.

Rob Enderle is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. Previously, he was the Senior Research Fellow for Forrester Research and the Giga Information Group. Prior to that he worked for IBM and held positions in Internal Audit, Competitive Analysis, Marketing, Finance and Security. Currently, Enderle writes on emerging technology, security and Linux for a variety of publications and appears on national news TV shows that include CNBC, FOX, Bloomberg and NPR.

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