iPhone vs. Blackberry
Although, introduction of handheld devices powered by Google Android promises to turn the market on its ear, the market until now has featured only two heavyweight all-stars—Blackberry and Apple iPhone. The battle between these two handheld mini-computers effectively recreates the long-running battle between PC and Mac, and factions break-down along essentially the same lines.
Professional reviewers and independent testing laboratories have tried and tortured the two machines in head-to-head competitions of all kinds, and no matter what the criteria or rating scale, the two inevitably end in a dead heat. Most industry experts say that, by any rational measure, iPhone and Blackberry perform equally well. The experts concede the choice finally comes down to personal preference, and then they caution, “But stay tuned for Google Android.”
iPhone vs. Blackberry: Power and Performance
iPhone has a faster CPU than Blackberry and more memory capacity. In everyday use, though, iPhone’s slightly larger capacity makes no noticeable difference. Both machines instantaneously respond to users’ commands. Competition between batteries also ends in a dead heat. Both machines will run on battery alone for approximately three hours in constant use, and will keep going between ten and twelve hours just idling. When iPhone first hit the market, Blackberry devotees argued iPhone could not stand-up to the dangers and demands of rigorous everyday use. Blackberries admittedly take a beating, because their developers had corporate road warriors in mind as they designed the machines. Over the long haul, though, iPhone has proven amazingly durable, and many of its early detractors have recanted, admitting they mistook iPhones touch-face and sleekness for signs of weakness.
Because Blackberry designers set-out to satisfy corporate buyers, their machines have more text-message and e-mail capacity than iPhones. Blackberries change voice to text and text to voice more adroitly than iPhones, and they manage messages more efficiently. Although hardly anyone judges handhelds by their phone features any more, Blackberry is, in fact, the better telephone. In WiFi and internet tests, the two machines performed equally well. Both browse the web efficiently, and both link well with the most popular social networks.
Because it was first to market, Blackberry still enjoys a slight advantage in connectivity. Especially for business applications, Blackberry dominates, because it links easily with Microsoft Exchange. In fact, until late 2009, only Blackberry linked with MS Exchange. iPhone now offers an MS Exchange link, but it remains less than seamless and still requires some de-bugging. The two devices reach a stalemate in download capacities—both download and install new applications and MP3’s more or less at light-speed.
iPhone vs. Blackberry: Ease of Use
Most users agree iPhone’s touchscreen makes it far more user-friendly than Blackberry’s “qwerty” keyboard. Although ardent iPhone fans admit it took them a little while to get comfortable with its touchscreen and especially with its motion sensor, they compare the learning curve with the original adjustment from ms-dos commands to mouse-clicking when the very first Mac hit the market in 1984. “Once you get the hang of it and develop your own touch,” one veteran user says, “it becomes no contest. iPhone responds and navigates far better than Blackberry.” Women also give iPhone the edge in “vanity scores”: No one ever broke a well-manicured nail using an iPhone, they say.
iPhone vs. Blackberry: Applications
Comparing the two handhelds on the basis of applications seems a little unfair, because Blackberry lags so far behind iPhone it seems they do not even try. One reviewer commented that shopping the Blackberry apps store reminded him of visiting a pawn shop that sold only used 8-track tape players—an apt comparison according to users who have tried both phones. The difference originates in Apple’s more democratic approach to application development: Apple encourages iPhone users to develop and market their own applications, triggering both healthy competition and amazing innovation. Although the iPhone apps market looks a lot like an internet flea market, nevertheless iPhone applications empower users to do on their phones almost anything their minds and imaginations can conceive.
Similarly, iPhone gaming prevails. iPhone’s combination of responsive touch screen and motion sensor enables a richer, more varied gaming experience, and its combination of faster processor and larger memory enables player versus player competition Blackberry cannot rival. Hardcore online gamers look for their favorite new challenges on iPhone just days after they debut on CD-Rom, because iPhone offers a gaming experience comparable with handheld gaming devices for all the major manufacturers.
iPhone vs. Blackberry: Market Statistics
iPhone made its spectacular debut in 2007, and it steadily has eroded Blackberry’s market leadership ever since. When Palm introduced its advanced Blackberry late in 2008, it triggered a spike in Blackberry sales, because Palm’s operating system represented a major advance over all of its predecessors. Even with all of Palm’s improvements, however, the sales surge proved short-lived. In the third quarter 2009, iPhone sales eclipsed Blackberry’s for the first time—no surprise to industry analysts who, frankly, had expected the leaderboard to change much sooner.
Examination of sales in different market segments reveals what everybody always already knew. Blackberry continues to dominate the business market, because Fortune 500 corporations invested millions in Blackberry hardware and software, and they cannot afford to change their allegiance. Blackberry remains most compatible with Microsoft business software, which also dominates the corporate market. Among small businesses and especially in the personal consumer electronics market, iPhone now clearly dominates, promising to extend its lead as applications proliferate like dandelions in wet dirt.
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