iPhone vs Blackberry: Fight!

Read/WriteWeb weighs in, along with 97% of the blogosphere (aka 0.0000001% of humanity), on the iPhone. Specifically, the iPhone vs the Blackberry. Their conclusion: “Watch out Blackberry!” My conclusion? Get a paper bag and breathe deeply for a few minutes because hyperventilation can be dangerous guys.

This is somewhat related to product management; let’s think about some elements of user segmentation and key features. First of all, it has been reported elsewhere that for the moment you can’t get an iPhone on a corporate AT&T account. So form a purchasing perspective, the game is over. But let’s pass on that because AT&T could chage that policy easily.The keyboard would seem to be the most obvious advantage. But, a R/WW commenter says that it will be easier for Apple to add a keyboard than for RIM to make OSX. Really? Is having a OSX-like systems really a key criteria for corporate users? Allow us to reminisce about the breakout product that launched RIM onto the world stage… the RIM 850. This pager-on-steroids was the device that first earned the name “crackberry” among Wall St users. Yes, admire that gorgeous 5-line black-on-yellow LCD display. Admire the operating system that look like it was written by some upper-year computer engineering students after an all-nighter to finish an embedded systems class project. Marvel at the 512K RAM. Enjoy the flexibility of replacing its AA battery any time you want – no messy recharging cables. No hassle sync’ing over USB because there’s no external connectors at all.

Seriously, the RIM 850 is prehistoric compared to the iPhone. It doesn’t even make phone calls! And yet it is absolutely the product that launched RIM. There would be no Pearl or Curve without the 850. So what were those killer features that made the 850 the must-have item of 1999?

  1. integration with corporate email and calendaring servers
  2. a keyboard
  3. brain-dead ease of use

Three things that the iPhone lacks. It has some Exchange support, but not the tightly integrated, seamless solution that is Blackberry Enterprise Server. It doesn’t have a real keyboard. And while I’m sure it’s quite slick, it lacks the one-handed one-two-reading-my-email simplicity of Blackberry.

So while it will be the must-have toy of the next several months, Apple neither needs nor wants to supplant RIM. And RIM will lose absolutely no sleep over the iPhone.

Related: Honey I bought the Phone: Alan buys one and blogs about it.


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