Oct 23

Tim O'Reilly

Tim O'Reilly

Why the iPhone Will Beat the Blackberry

I was chatting the other day with Brad Burnham, with whom I'm on the board of Wesabe. He saw my iPhone, and asked if I'd ever had a Blackberry. No, I haven't. Brad said that he'd tried an iPhone, but soon switched back. "Everyone who's never had a Blackberry loves the iPhone," he said, "but if they've used the Blackberry, they're just like me. They try it, and then go back."

A strong endorsement for the Blackberry. Right?

Wrong. What it brought up in me was a powerful sense of deja vu, and the response of die-hard Lotus 1-2-3 users to the new graphical spreadsheet, Excel. Man, if you were used to the powerful "slash" menus of 1-2-3, that let you fire off any command as a short string of remembered keystrokes, the clunky point and click interface of Excel was a real step backwards. Personally, I'd still use 1-2-3 by preference. But that doesn't mean that most users would.

Ditto for every other class of application. I still use vi for much of my writing, and still prefer it to any point-and-click writing application ever created. But the world doesn't agree with me.

Get over it: power users are a minority, and while they point the way to the future, they tend to be disappointed when the rest of the market catches up with an inferior product that has a lower barrier to new users.

So, my prediction: the Blackberry will become more like the iPhone, or the iPhone and its imitators will eventually eat its lunch, relegating it to a niche player. The iPhone is now the communications device to beat.

tags: mainstream acceptance, mobile  | comments: 52   | Sphere It

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Comments: 52

  Thomas Lord [10.23.07 04:47 PM]

Fun and underserved design problem: UIs that win for both casual and expert users.


  emad [10.23.07 05:36 PM]

I've used the BB and I'm a current iPhone owner. There is no comparison. The iPhone wins hands down (at least against the older BB model I had a few years back).

The biggest advantage of the BB was the enterprise/Exchange tie-in that doesn't exist with the iPhone...but (at least at that time) meetings would only synch when you synch with the computer. :-(

  Ben [10.23.07 05:39 PM]

Another way to frame your argument is that the iPhone is the first device to make the value proposition of a smartphone clear to a mass audience. Like you, Tim, I never considered a smartphone until the iPhone came around. I'd seen them in use and played with them, but they were always too clunky, too irritating, etc, to make me willing to spend for the handset/data plan. The iPhone makes most of those problems go away, for most of the people.

  Evan Schnittman [10.23.07 05:45 PM]


It seems to me your argument supports the Blackberry more than the iPhone. If you are reminded of Lotus 1-2-3 as a better product that lost out regardless of how hot or cool its features were, then why aren’t you reminded that it lost out to MSFT’s complete dominance in office suite software.

Lotus may have been better as a product but Excel won out as it came with Office which was sold along side Windows and NT. Similarly, the iPhone is clearly a cooler and better product than the Blackberry in many, many respects - except in the only one that matters to Brad and me and everyone else in the corporate environment. The killer app that Blackberry has is that it works seamlessly with Exchange - MSFT’s dominant email package.

Now, if you were predicting a deal between Jobs and Gates on Exchange access for iPhones - I’d think you were a bit tired from your conference schedule and not thinking clearly. However, predicting the iPhone unseating the Blackberry without a proposal on how Apple overcomes the Exchange dilemma seems more wishful than realistic.

  David Chartier [10.23.07 06:12 PM]

I have to disagree here.

I owned a BlackBerry. I've owned two actually, and switched from a Pearl to my iPhone. These two devices aren't simply two different approaches to doing the same thing, they're two entirely different devices. Built for different purposes and—perhaps most importantly—different markets. Different people who think and work in different ways. Different segments of users who are after different functionality. I don't think it's really fair to compare the two the way you are, and I would go so far as to say your other comparisons are off as well.

Vi, too, is designed for a different kind of users who thinks and works differently than, say, a user like me who just bought iWork '08 for Pages and Keynote.

I honestly can't dream of going back to my BlackBerry, but for the record: while I use email heavily on my iPhone and admittedly miss PUSH, I also type nearly twice as fast on my iPhone.

Different strokes for different folks indeed, but be careful when lumping two products like these together that really don't have much to do with each other.

  Dusty [10.23.07 06:48 PM]


I think you're missing something. The Blackberry is already a niche product. The markets are completely separate, there is a small crossover, but our blackberry users have their phone for business, and turn it off when they're off the clock.

It's Mobile Outlook, and that's the *ONLY* reason they carry it. The audio/video/gps features don't entice new purchases, they just get upgrades from previous BB's.

Yes, there are individuals out there that bought BB's for personal use and didn't tie it into their Outlook server, but I'm guessing it's about the same percentage of people that have their iPod/iPhone that haven't purchased something from iTunes. They're fringe cases, and RIM won't turn them away, but they're not the target market.

  pwb [10.23.07 06:54 PM]

Apple should be able to get the functionality in place (really just adding calendaring; "push" email is unnecessary, imo). The problem is getting the Exchange admins to go along.

  Edmundo Llopis [10.23.07 07:52 PM]

I partially agree with Dusty. I am a big Apple fan, I've owned BlackBerries since 1999. I tried the Iphone, I found the keyboard too clumsy for serious emailing and text messaging. When Apple figures out how to make the softkeys a little larger and easier for the serious emailers, maybe then your prediction will come to pass. Until then, I don't see an en-masse migration from BBs to Iphones.

  Simple User [10.24.07 12:21 AM]

Funny how you promoted yourself to the "power user" :-)

  Pointless [10.24.07 12:43 AM]

this was probably the most pointless posting ive ever seen on radar.

  Pramod [10.24.07 12:47 AM]

I am BB user (for the past many years, and have kept pace with handset development - though dont have the curve yet, but I didn't quite like it's keyboard) and now also an iPhone user. The only reason I am still keeping my BB is coz my job requires me to. I am already shifting to my iPhone for everything other than reading official emails and checking my calendar. And in fact if I can find a way to sync my outlook calendar with iPhone, then I could almost stop using my BB.

Just like BB was a substantial step ahead when they started becoming popular, iPhone is another such step - though much bigger. And most of the drawbacks of iPhone are just a few updates away. In fact they are so obvious that I get a feeling that Apple just kept it intentionally to sell an iPhone OS update soon.

  Florian Bailey [10.24.07 02:31 AM]

Citing the Exchange integration of Blackberry as an argument for Blackberries is quite funny.
Windows Mobile integrates 100% with Exchange. Integrating a Blackberry system with Exchange forces you to add a new server. Integrating Exchange and Windows Mobile costs nothing (all Push functionality is already integrated in Exchange ) and gives you even more functionality.

The killer functionality of Blackberry was its Push System and a very nice handling of email.

Both are now easy to to replace, Nokia makes nice keyboards and will come up with even nicer ones next year. Imap and Activesync and flat rate data plans allow you to add Push or Push-like functionality to any kind of system and handset.

So what is the selling point of Blackberry ?

Push - no longer

good email software - easy to replace

nice keyboard & shortcuts - well good luck to Blackberry selling that

So yes Tim is right.

  David [10.24.07 02:39 AM]

Isn't it simply a case of horses for courses? The iPhone is no more the killer smart phone than the Blackberry or the N95. For the 'average' user who wants to have the most coolest phone that does most of what they want, then they get an iPhone. For the businessman who wants to email like crazy, they get a Blackberry. For the more technology minded individual who wants everything on the one single device, they get an n95.

The concept of a single killer phone is stupid...at least for now.

  Mark [10.24.07 05:07 AM]

Before i even start I will admit it, I am a minimalist. The iPhone was not made for people like me. Its a great product, I am not implying otherwise, but it is not as much designed for information transfer as it is a coolness factor. I really have never needed to play video on a business call, nor let them hear my MP3 collection. None of this helps in my work, it is merely a distraction.

However, the iPhone fills its niche perfectly. It was created for the gadget gang as a way to reduce the number of things they carried and produce decent integration of all the newer technologies. It also fills a business role of making whomever uses it look up on all the technology, like the old $4,000 dollar brick cell phones people bought even when they didn't need them.

Comparing the blackberry and iPhone is just apples to oranges. Two very different purposes which probably won't cross all that much.

  Gwalachmai [10.24.07 05:12 AM]

Blackberries dont only do exchange, they also do pop/imap/aol/gmail/yahoo and all sorts of other things. Emad is e-MAD all right!

  david [10.24.07 05:42 AM]

I own a blackberry pearl and love the idea to be a "power user", but in fact, the blackberry is so easy to use with a BES that anyone can use it. It is and will remain THE smartphone for working purpose, and yes, I might buy an Iphone one day (for now, they are far to expensive here in France), but for personal use only.

  matt m [10.24.07 06:41 AM]

The Blackberry is definitely superior in the usability front. It's vastly easier to use with one hand. I've yet to see the usability study that suggests the touchscreen keyboard is anywhere close to a real keyboard in typing speed- I honestly can't use the iPhone keyboard effectively. For me the touchscreen is generally a grease-smeared liability.
I don't think anyone would say the iPhone is better for email. It's not just Exchange/BES support, the Blackberry internet service gives you push email for all popular services.
Finally, I can write or buy applications today, buy a modern trackball Blackberry on major US carriers for less than $200...
I really wanted to buy an iPhone.
The only advantages I can see to the iPhone are the nice screen, more (unreplaceable) flash memory and the lock-in extension for people that love iTunes FairPlay DRM content. None of those seem revolutionary in the least, certainly not to the level of a point and click interface. People aren't buying the iPhone for any of those advantages anyway- they're buying it for the status factor.
I'd say the Blackberry is more in keeping with the O'Reilly aesthetic.

  pjm [10.24.07 07:03 AM]

Nice work, matt m: in a single post you first outline your problems with personal hygiene and then blithely advise Tim on the true nature of the "O'Reilly aesthetic".

Killer stuff! Like getting fashion advice from Steve Ballmer.

  Swashbuckler [10.24.07 07:36 AM]

"I still use vi for much of my writing"

If you don't get help at Charter, get help somewhere... :-)

  Brian Karas [10.24.07 08:25 AM]

The iPhone won't beat out the Blackberry until:

It has wireless real-time sync with Exchange
It's available from more than a single carrier
It gets a real keyboard
It offers IT departments a way to provision and manage devices (and lost devices!) easily.

For a single-user basis, it's easy to choose the iPhone over a Blackberry.

For a corporate smart-phone platform, it's too difficult to setup and manage. You can send a specially formatted message to a Blackberry (via the BES platform) and the device just pretty much provisions itself. No talking feeble remote users through a cumbersome setup process. No typing out mail server settings and email addresses and passwords manually. And no needing to manually UNprovision devices for users that leave the company.

The iPhone is a great cutting-edge techie device, but it's not an enterprise-ready unit, yet.

  David Dennis [10.24.07 11:00 AM]

The biggest advantage of the iPhone over Blackberry is aesthetics. That may sound minor, but it's not - if you're using something heavily, reading messages on it with minimal eyestrain is important. I have tried Blackberry as well as iPhone, and for reading ease iPhone kills Blackberry.

The second biggest advantage of iPhone is that the web browsing experience is worlds better. If you use web applications, forget about Blackberry and get an iPhone.

Brian, iPhone steals most of those settings from your desktop computer, which makes it just as easy to set up as I assume BES is. I didn't have to type in anything to set up iPhone. The automatic setup through iTunes really could not be simpler or more foolproof.

I think it will be a lot easier to add Exchange integration to iPhone than it will be to make the Blackberry look as atrractive or be as fun to use.


  Tim O'Reilly [10.24.07 11:09 AM]

Evan --

Why am I not reminded that Lotus 1-2-3 lost because of Microsoft's platform dominance? Because the Blackberry doesn't come from Microsoft. If it did, your argument would hold much more water.

I'm not saying it will be trivial for the iPhone to work with Exchange, but I'll lay odds that if they don't figure it out, there will still be new phones that do, and that take lessons from both. But the Blackberry as it now exists is history. If RIM is smart, they will move as quickly as possible to something that looks and works like an iPhone, plus has good Exchange integration.

  Tim O'Reilly [10.24.07 11:15 AM]

pointless --

Please do expand on what you found missing in this post. It has clearly sparked some interesting discussion.

  Andrew [10.24.07 11:26 AM]

I think this is interesting considering the key feature that were left on Apple's editing room floor: no cut/copy/paste. 90% of the emails I write necessitate cut/copy/paste. Cut/copy/paste is the "pipe"-equivalent for the casual desktop user, and is even more important in a mobile environment where keyboard controls (even BBs keyboard controls) are clunky at best.

But, in context, Apple's just a feature-request away from fixing this problem.

  Tim O'Reilly [10.24.07 11:29 AM]

David --

I don't buy your argument that the iPhone and Blackberry are just two different ways to do the same thing, and that both will coexist. I feel the same way about your argument that vi and a WYSIWYG word processor do the same thing. Of course they do. But that doesn't mean that fit and finish and ease for new users won't establish a new paradigm that will leave power users scratching their heads and saying, "but this is a WORSE user experience."

To my vi analogy, I can still edit and format faster with vi than I could ever do with Word. There are just too many power user things that Word has no handles for. But ultimately, what works for the great mass of people comes to dominate the market.

  Tim O'Reilly [10.24.07 11:35 AM]


I hear you. But I have yet to receive a Blackberry message that was more than a few words atop an included copy of the message to which the BB message was a reply.

I bet that if someone were to have access to BB's logs, we'd find that the average length of a blackberry email is shorter than the added spam advert: "Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld "

And I bet that when apple gets cut and paste in there (and maybe a bit more tweaking on the keyboard), we'll actually have more complex messages coming from iPhones than from blackberries.

  Tom B [10.24.07 01:14 PM]

"The killer app that Blackberry has is that it works seamlessly with Exchange - MSFT’s dominant email package."

1) I can't speak to the iPhone, but I know MS-Outlook web access works great on remote Macs and PC's-- better, actually, than the real Outlook client, IMHO. Thus, this is a phony problem
2)It would be tragic if the iPhone, the coolest new gadget since the iPod, suffered slower adoption in Enterprise because people don't like the way it works with an Email system that is so horrible, it should have been killed off in the days of Windows95. Now, if the iPhone didn't work with Gmail, I'd be worried.
3)Lack of Cut and paste IS a big issue for me, but I don't doubt it will be addressed.
4) Blackberries are largely a US phenomenon; they simply are NOT big overseas. I don't see why you'd want one even over a Palm Treo.

  Wayne [10.24.07 02:14 PM]

Many people here misunderstand the iPhone. It IS a killer phone because:

1. Full-featured web browsing. My boss and I were at Wendy's and decided to race his phone against my slow (EDGE) iPhone to download he NY Times web page. He won... then he noticed that I was not far behind and I was downloading the ACTUAL NY Times page, while he got a text-only version with the only graphic being a Verizon ad.

2. Hundreds of cool touches. My SMS messages appear in an iChat-like window. "Woo hoo, bling, but nothing more" you say? Yeah, except it keeps track of each thread of conversation I have: each correspondent has their own "iChat" window, making it easy to follow a conversation. Multiply that by 100.

3. Visual voicemail. All other voicemails are essentially 1960's-style answering machines with more buttons.

4. Again, I'll add the little touches. Display off when it's next to your head. Auto-rotation of the screen when you turn it. Nice in-conversation menus (Mute, etc.) with a cool look and animation. Magnifying glass for moving/correcting in something you're typing. Physics-like interaction (contact list "wheel" has friction and momentum, etc).

Nothing out there compares in actuality. Features-checkbox-wise, the iPhone probably gets two extra checks: 1) better browser, and 2) visual voicemail. Other phones can do SMS. Other phones have contacts, and even contact photos. Etc, etc. But it's like comparing a DOS-based machine to Windows Vista or MacOS X, when you actually USE it for a while.

The current crop of cellphones are going to end up as the free giveaways in third-world countries. The current crop of "smart" phones will perhaps become the free phones on cheap phone accounts in the US/Europe/Japan. Everything else will try to catch up to the iPhone or die.

  kp [10.24.07 02:14 PM]

This is why traditional media will never take bloggers serious.

  Tim O'Reilly [10.24.07 02:26 PM]

What Wayne said. "Everything else will try to catch up to the iPhone or die."

  Tim O'Reilly [10.24.07 02:34 PM]

kp --

Traditional media takes bloggers very seriously. Blogs are eating their lunch, and in the process...becoming traditional media.

In another context, Jesse Robbins said it here on Radar: "You become what you disrupt."

(This even extends to the iPhone itself. Remember when Steve Jobs was dissing the carriers as "the orifices," and complaining about their deathhold on the cell phone industry. So he tries to disrupt them, and builds a walled garden just like theirs.... at least until the bloggers and hackers persuaded him it was a losing battle. Of course, knowing Steve, maybe he knew that all along, but just had to put on a good show for AT&T...)

  Rob Bazinet [10.24.07 02:37 PM]

Well, not sure if you are right on this one as the iPhone lacks in some key areas. The iPhone for one is difficult to dial if driving, most Verizon phones have voice activation, which if you want to use the iPhone like a.....phone, it lacks.

The data connection is absolutely horrible. I have been very interested in the iPhone and a guy that works on a company I am consulting to has one, we played around browsing the web and it is totally useless.

I agree the UI rocks but it has a long way to go in some areas.

  bowerbird [10.24.07 04:09 PM]

well, on what the blackberry does,
it does it better than the iphone.

and current blackberry owners have
defined their needs in those terms,
meaning they don't really care that
the iphone does other things better.

if you don't have blackberry blinders,
however, things which the iphone does
-- and does better -- are what you want,
and the blackberry cannot give you them.

clear advantage on future growth: iphone.


  JohnK [10.24.07 05:30 PM]

I have both an iPhone and a BB. The BB sits in my computer bag and I check the messages twice a day. I use the iPhone for everything else. I find the iPhone easy to use with one hand. I could never get the hang of that on the BB. Neither is safe for dialing while driving.

The iPhone is not perfect. I do look forward to cut and paste, voice activated dialing and more.

I use my iPhone a lot for business. In addition to searching with Google and finding destination maps when traveling I have also loaded up my salesbook as images. I sometimes give an impromptu presentation with just the iPhone when the opportunity arises.

I think the BB is probably OK for a narrow slice of people requiring just text messages on short notice. Most people are not under such time constraints. For me the BB is far too limited and too difficult to use.

  Brad Burnham [10.24.07 07:52 PM]


Just for the record it was Fred who tried the iPhone and is now back on a BB Curve. I think the reason was the lack of push email. I think this is a big deal. Everytime you pull a BB out of your pocket it is up to date. I have heard that Google has an internal implementation of Gmail that works with the iPhone and has push. If they release that publicly that may change the game. I also agree that Apple does a spectacular job with design - not just the physical design, which is great, but the whole user experience. But I wonder if the amount of control that Steve seems to want over that experience will ultimately open the door for others. I am not comparing the iPhone to the BB here because Rim is not a paragon of openess, but one of the coolest things I have seen on the iPhone is the peer produced geo-locator from Navizon. Have I missed something? Has Steve has changed his mind about embracing that kind of decentralized innovation?

  olam [10.25.07 09:01 AM]

The BB, in its current state, will continue to live well in Fortune 500 companies for at least the next three-five years. In an enterprise, management is paid to address all the operational and information security elements that are raised in Brian Kara's posting. None of those elements have to do with how good looking the phone is or the ergonomics. Until the iPhone(Apple) delivers similar capability (components are already in place via iTunes and iTtunes Store) it will not gain large traction as a replacement for the BB in Fortune 500 companies. Since the BB's basic functions are email and voice, both of which it does well, why is the compelling reason for companies to take a risk in fixing what is not broken?

  matt m [10.25.07 01:50 PM]

nice work, matt m: in a single post you first outline your problems with personal hygiene and then blithely advise Tim on the true nature of the "O'Reilly aesthetic".

Hmm...I think I was talking about your screen: I don't have the iPhone. Besides, if you don't produce any oil on your hands, you have perhaps a far more serious health issue.

Beyond that flamebait nonsense though, I think the O'Reilly aesthetic is a big deal. That the publisher who puts out so many excellent "hacks" books would favor a closed platform hack-killing company over an open platform company seems odd to me.

Wayne - good comment.
Browser- I find the zoom mode on the iPhone browser annoying. In some sense, I'd prefer a small page on a small screen. There's always Opera as an option on other phones- as opposed to iPhone which gives you no choice...
Visual voicemail- I use Grand Central.
SMS conversations- it's already there in the Blackberry messages section.

Anyway, it's not like the Blackberry Curve is some perfect device, it's just that the iPhone is probably going to have to work become more like the Blackberry rather than the Blackberry becoming more like the iPhone, which Tim seems to be predicting, despite listing some things that indicate the reverse.

Would people want a Blackberry if it had a touchscreen keyboard? About the only thing I want is one with a bigger flash RAM card...

  Tim O'Reilly [10.25.07 02:20 PM]

matt m --

I also think the O'Reilly aesthetic is a big deal. But...

It's not a matter of "favor[ing] a closed platform hack-killing company over an open platform company." It's about doing my best to assess the truth of things, as I see it.

I favor open platforms, and advocate for them (and do expect that Apple will get there) but I also recognize when closed platforms win.

Just as a for instance, my longest running commentary on open source, which is only now getting recognized as true ten years after I started saying it in my very first talk on open source, is that the real outcome of the open source revolution was going to be a new generation of closed companies building on the open platform (google for the progression of my thinking from "Hardware, Software, and Infoware," through "the Open Source Paradigm Shift" to "What is Web 2.0?"

Sometimes, recognizing a trend means that you can more adequately respond to it.

There are a lot of trends wrapped up in the iPhone that I think bear watching. Another is one that I've written about from time to is Dave Hickey's contention that when markets commodify, they turn into "art markets," by his definition, "markets where products are sold on the basis of what they mean rather than what they do." By that definition, Steve Jobs has been working to turn computing into an art market since the original 1984 Macintosh ad. I think he was ahead of his time, but the trend is finally catching up with him.

  Angelos [10.25.07 07:40 PM]

Good analogy, Tim. Despite being a "power user" of Blackberry, I agree with the marginal position of the compulsive technology user. Power users or fanatics are not exclusive to technology either, and exist in most cultural trends. I am sure fashionistas swear by certain designer jeans regardless of the similar functionality (maybe not the best analogy, but I think the point is clear) Alas, as a fanatic myself I am destined to be an unsuccessful, unpaid evangalist of Blackberry :)

  Skippy [10.26.07 06:01 AM]

You gotta be fishing for comments here. The berry has a corporate user base way beyond anything the iPhone can touch. The user base is far from all "power users". I would suggest the contrary - apple fanboys are a minority.

  Jeff Daly [10.26.07 01:35 PM]

Your vi analogy struck a chord with me. As a software developer, people often see me editing code with Vim at my desk and they are blown away at how powerful and fast it is. Yet I've only ever had 1 out of probably 100 different colleagues ask me to help them install and learn to use it. The learning curve is steep.

I *love* my iPhone. It's a fantastic iPod, the best cell phone I've ever had, and I love the fact that I always have a camera with me.

Details like visual voicemail and pinch-zooming really make the iPhone shine.

  Mark Rejhon [10.29.07 03:20 PM]

I disagree with the 1-2-3 versus Excel comparision because new BlackBerries already include a mouse cursor (in some apps such as BlackBerry Browser) and a built-in trackball in Curve ...

However you are right about the iPhone copycatting: RIM is developing touchscreen BlackBerries, that are more similiar to iPhone. Expect such models to show later in 2008.

* Leaked BlackBerry 9000 rumors.
* Redesigned user witnessed interface in OS 4.3 (newer 'Curve'), while not as fun as iPhone, is a lot more fun to use than Nokia and Sony phones.
* RIM has expanded aggressively into the consumer space recently; with cameras, MP3, video. (They originally promised they would never do so) They are aiming at market trends.
* There's some patents diagrams by Research In Motion (with some clever sleuthing) that is very suggestive of RIM developing touchscreen devices.
* New "Virtual BlackBerry" software coming soon for Windows Mobile software, supports touch screen operation.
This is only a trojan-horse solution for corporations, but the fact it now supports 'touchscreen' suggests more evidence.

So wait till the BlackBerry 9000 series. While iPhone may or may not lead the way, BlackBerry will continue to have a strong niche market in some places.

BlackBerry isn't the 2004 monochrome email-only device anymore. People who have not used a BlackBerry in 2 years may not realize how far BlackBerry has advanced, leaping from its dinosaur age to impressively being ahead of many Nokia/Sony phones... (even if not iPhone-easy for people who have never used either)

  Kango Traveler [10.29.07 03:29 PM]

I really think that these are really two different kinds of users, also Apple has continued to show their colors with the iphone in that is has exclusive license with ATT - Blackberry users are are primarily focused on business and the blackberry performs marelously well for that application, the iphone is less of a business tool and more of a media tool, I think that these two different types of users will continue to gravitate towards tools that work for them.

the Blackberry integrate nicely with enterprise email backends and calendars etc. also it costs a lot less I hardly see large corporations shelling out $5oo-$1000 a phone for every employee when they want a tool that will allow users to work more and better, the iphone is a wonderful phone, but it just has different DNA than a blackberry; they have different primary markets.

-Kango Traveler

  Radek Hul√°n [10.29.07 04:38 PM]

Most IT pros consider iPhone to be a joke. ;-) It is not a smartphone, as you cannot install apps on it, and it is also not a business phone, as it does not have a "proper" (=HW) keyboard.

The battle is not between iPhone (a dumbphone, basically) and BB, but between BB and Windows Mobile devices.

This is an example of *the perfect* business device, including GPS navigation system, UMTS, Wifi, 3MPx camera, HW keyboard, touchscreen, and many other features:

iPhone is a very limited fashion accessory, nothing more. Businesses do not take Apple seriously. At least not in Europe.

  gabe coelho-kostolny [10.31.07 11:32 AM]

This posting struck a chord with me because I've just gone through the exact same process. I have an unlocked 8gb iphone that I've been using on t-mobile. It replaced a bb pearl for me whose trackball had failed.
Unfortunately while the iphone does so many things beautifully, I found that the phone and email pieces were very much lacking. Thus I am now back to a bb (in the form of the curve) for my phone and email device. The iphone just acts as my ipod and wifi internet tablet.

My complaints about the iphone:

1) The lack of tactile input is a big issue for me.

A) My typing speed is ridiculously slow and inaccurate on it.

B) Even answering a call requires me look @ the screen and really wants 2-handed operation.

2) As a phone, the feature set is very poor, for instance the call history and lack of voice dialing for use in the car.

3) Email integration is quite poor, as has been mentioned. With the bb I just set up my different accts and away I go. All msgs show up in a combined inbox (even sms and im).

4) The bb has great threaded sms that will show you the whole thread and also allows multiple sms recipients.

5) Rim-supplied im apps integrate directly into the system, even showing my I'm conversations in the mailbox and taking me straight to the im client.

The built-in gps in the curve doesn't hurt any either.

Now, all that said, there are clearly places that the iphone excels. The browser is fantastic. The display is lovely. And the weather and stocks builtins are just a fantastic example of the beautifully polished nuggets of funtionality that are possible on a mobile device. That sort of design can and should come to all mobiles.

I think the iphone will continue to improve, but I'm not sure it will ever hit the level of something like excel that has destroyed all competitors. I think there is plenty of room for rim and others to learn from apple and then leverage their strengths to compete.

(Posted from my curve, just cuz I can... :)


  mark m [11.01.07 12:03 AM]

Blackberry - Breakthrough Corporate Device
iPhone - Breakthough Consumer Device

  mj [11.01.07 09:18 AM]

Radek Hul√°n writes:

"Most IT pros consider iPhone to be a joke."
"Businesses do not take Apple seriously. At least not in Europe."

Most businesses in Europe do not take IT seriously. Most IT folk in Europe, and note I'm saying MOST, do not take Linux seriously. MOST IT folk in Europe can't see past their Microsoft Certified Channel Partner logos.

Forgive me if I seem critical of IT folk in Europe. Since when are they the market leaders and a force for change and innovation?

Are there any IT leaders in Europe?

  j busteed [11.02.07 07:45 AM]

enjoyed reading the thread. Wanted to add e few comments.

Vast majority of the thousands of emails I have received from a bb were less than 5 words. It may ne a reflection on the users but usually they had typos. It strikes me that neither device is intended for the the long email where c/c/p are needed to make a cogent argument. Both rock at yes I approve this.

Browsing on the Edge network is akin to removing contacts with a crowbar (painful if you missed the analogy). But I surf almost exclusively with my iPhone and about 99% of it is wifi. To say that this is not an excellent experience is someone with an axe to grind.

It may be years before the iPhone is accepted by IT. By definition these are risk averse agencies and in most companies they are dragged into new technologies. They process my paycheck after all and the last thing I want is for them to adopt something new there.

If you are used to the bb keyboard you are going to hate the iPhone keyboard b/c it is different. They both offer challenges. See comment above.

  Henry Blackman [11.02.07 11:18 AM]

mj writes:
"Most businesses in Europe do not take IT seriously. Most IT folk in Europe, and note I'm saying MOST, do not take Linux seriously. MOST IT folk in Europe can't see past their Microsoft Certified Channel Partner logos."

Written by a true American who has never even been to Europe. America is very much more ruled by corporate interests than Europe ever was. Europe has massive installations of Linux desktop across France's civil service, German Universities and more. Remember Microsoft, and it's monopoly position is an American phenomenon, not a European one.

IT Pro's - whatever that means - would evaluate technology on user need, and it in a bigger world. In other words, they'd love it. Designed for user-CHECK, Works with important standards in IT-CHECK (hello IMAP/CalDAV).

  Michael Sparks [11.03.07 08:45 AM]

iPhone MAY be to Blackberry as Web 2 is to Net 1. (Where Web 2 is define *both* as you define it and as various parts of industry define it to be things like Ajax etc. Where Net 1 is all the pre-web communications tools like email & usenet. (We still sling millions of mime messages around after all, but they're pulled not pushed)

Web 2 being just Net 2 really, the shinier more human friendly layer over the things _doable_ in Net 1. Specifically the number of people able to use it is much larger. BB's user base will probably continue to grow in _size_ but decrease in market share.

Also, iPhone is to Blackberry as Gold plated bling is to leather & steel. Shiny wins.

  Marc Lehmann [11.07.07 02:46 PM]

it's like comparing an apple 2e to pentium machine. there is nearly 10 years between these devices from a capabilities perspective (not device design). time adjusted blackberry wins easily. blackberry haven't got a mammoth catchup. sure if you go into design then iphone wins but in satisfying use cases for users blackberry is still very strong and isn't going away. i've owned several blackberries whilst working as a trader and speed is the beauty of this beast, speed of typing, speed of push/pull email. when i want music/video/podcast i use my ipod. cant wait till get an iphone but i never buy the first year product in any new device :) hopefully blackberry come out with their equivalent so i can remain brand loyal.

  Briana [01.16.08 09:30 AM]

Well....... Which is the best buy,Blackberry of iPhone

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