Friday, August 15, 2008

A View from Both Sides

I was issued a BlackBerry as part of my new job assignment. Prior to now, I'd not paid much attention to them. I wouldn't call myself an iPhone bigot, but I figured the iPhone had more features I wanted than the BlackBerry. I elected to keep my iPhone for personal phone/net usage, so my BlackBerry usage would all be billable by my employer.

I must say that Research In Motion understands the needs of the enterprise customer far better than Apple does. Then again, I don't recall seeing folks lined up around the block waiting to hand over hundreds of dollars for the soon-to-be-released new BlackBerry model. It's not like Apple needs to heavily discount their product to make it attractive to corporate customers, when they have a ready, willing, and able consumer market to saturate. Furthermore, I've heard stories of IT managers getting off an Apple call to discuss iPhone in the enterprise who say "they are so arrogant." Apple can afford to be with such a heavy consumer market.

Apple will have trouble competing with the price, the battery life, the extensibility, and versatility of the Blackberry in the corporate environment. Arguably, since Blackberry places no restrictions on who can and can't publish software for their device, Apple faces a challenge in the consumer space as well. I downloaded and tested the free trial of Garmin's navigation software for the BlackBerry the other day (which has Google search integrated into it.) It is much better than the iPhone map application.

Apple needs to fix the approaching black eye situation they have with the iPhone 3G model, with dropped calls and terrible battery life. I sure am glad I bought my "original formula iPhone" when I did. I don't want the new model. Until they do that, BlackBerry can clean up in the enterprise space, and make inroads in the consumer space with a less expensive device.

For the time being, I like carrying both devices, though the geek factor on such an arrangement is a little high. At least, I keep one of the two phones in my pocket, out of sight.