Deathmatch rematch: BlackBerry versus iPhone 3.0

Does the newest iPhone OS eliminate the few advantages the BlackBerry Bold had in our original deathmatch comparison?

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One is security. Although Apple provides more iPhone security capabilities than most people realize, it still doesn't have the depth of messaging and device security that the BlackBerry does. Organizations running BlackBerrys can trust that both the data in transit and the data stored on the devices is secure. If a BlackBerry is lost, IT can wipe all of its data and render it useless over the air. You can remote-wipe and incapacitate an iPhone, but only via Exchange. The BlackBerry can have updates and policies pushed to it wirelessly, as well as confirm and log such updates so that you can demonstrate regulatory compliance; by contrast, although the Apple Configuration Utility provides BlackBerry-like security and policy capabilities, you can't force users to install them or even know whether they have done so. And forget about pushing automatic policy updates.

Of course, most organizations don't actually need that level of security, nor do they apply it to other devices such as laptops and employees' home access. But if you follow defense or health-care industry security practices, the iPhone isn't up to snuff yet, not even with third-party add-ons.

Another is use of an e-mail platform other than Exchange 2007. Apple has tied itself closely to Exchange 2007, for user management, information integration, and even security (Exchange is the only way to blank a lost or stolen iPhone, for example). If you use Notes or GroupWise, your iPhones must be managed as Web clients.

The third is the lack of keyboard. All the BlackBerry users I know love their physical QWERTY keyboard. Yes, the touch keyboard works just fine for non-touch-typists like me, but different people work well with different UI methods. So Apple should allow the development of a plug-in or Bluetooth keyboard to satisfy that need. It could even make a model that has it built in -- as long as the screen is not shortened to make room (call it the iPhone Tall).

Apple could easily close all three gaps if it chooses. RIM will have a much harder time addressing the BlackBerry's fundamental deficits. Its iPhone-copying attempts so far -- the BlackBerry Storm and App World -- reveal that RIM fundamentally doesn't get it and is well on its way to becoming the Lotus Notes of mobile.

The fourth reason to choose a BlackBerry is because you really don't want employees to use the Web or apps from a mobile device. If that's your agenda, the BlackBerry will ensure you succeed.

Where the iPhone wins For everyone else, the BlackBerry is yesterday's mobile messenger, way past its prime and heading toward retirement. The iPhone is light-years ahead of the BlackBerry on almost every count. RIM should be ashamed.

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This story, "Deathmatch rematch: BlackBerry versus iPhone 3.0" was originally published by InfoWorld.

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