10 iPhone Alternatives for Enterprise Users
10 iPhone Alternatives for Enterprise Users
by Don Reisinger
Google Nexus One
Google's Nexus One is the Web giant's answer to the iPhone, but it's also the most capable Android device on the market. The Nexus One boasts a touch-screen display and a removable battery that can last up to 10 hours of talk time, and runs an optimized version of Google's Android platform. And thanks to the Android Marketplace's vast array of applications, most enterprise users will find at least a few programs that will help in their day-to-day operations. Perhaps most importantly, customers can pick up an unlocked version of the Nexus One to put on any GSM network. They can also buy locked versions of the device for T-Mobile and, soon, Verizon Wireless. Locked versions of the Nexus One go for $179, while an unlocked model costs $529.
Prior to the release of the Nexus One, the Motorola Droid was the top Android-based phone on the market. Although it also was offered as an alternative to the iPhone, it's actually a capable device for enterprise users. Unlike the iPhone, the Droid features a physical keyboard, which should make some enterprise users happy. The device also boasts the ability to run multiple apps at the same time (a major iPhone omission) and access to Google's Android Marketplace. Like other Android devices, it has Exchange support built in. It currently is only available on Verizon Wireless' network.
The BlackBerry Tour is one of Research In Motion's better devices. The Tour, which is available to Verizon Wireless and Sprint customers, features a QWERTY physical keyboard and the company's latest BlackBerry operating system. It has World Phone capabilities built in, so users can place calls with it anywhere in the world. But the real value of the Tour is all the extras it offers to entice corporate users. It supports tethering, allows for instant messaging between BlackBerry devices and provides for corporate data access. If users want apps, they can find them in the BlackBerry App World store.
When the first BlackBerry Storm hit store shelves, the device was an outright failure. Typing on it was practically impossible. And the way in which users had to interact with its apps was a joke. But the BlackBerry Storm2, which is available to Verizon Wireless customers, fixes many of the mistakes RIM made with the first version. The screen no longer needs to be depressed to access apps, which is a good thing. But it also has all the familiar BlackBerry features, including tethering support and access to BlackBerry App World. There's just one problem with the Storm2: It has a virtual keyboard. Corporate customers who prefer a physical keyboard will want to seek out a BlackBerry Tour or Bold.
The Samsung Saga, available to Verizon Wireless customers, is one of the older devices in this roundup, but it's worth including because it runs Windows Mobile. Although Microsoft's mobile operating system is losing market share at an astounding rate, it's still in use by many corporate users that like being able to have a Windows experience both at the office and on the go. The device boasts a physical keyboard, WiFi connectivity and a Global mode. If an enterprise user is looking for a Windows Mobile device, it's not a bad option.
HTC Touch Pro2
The HTC Touch Pro2 is designed for corporate customers. The focus of the device is on helping users communicate more effectively with colleagues and clients. The software's Straight Talk service offers a "conference call bridge" for multiparty calls. The device also has features built into its software to make connecting to conference call lines much easier. Ironically, all those features are made available in Windows Mobile, which should satisfy some users who are unwilling to switch to a newer operating system. It's available on every major U.S. carrier's network.
The BlackBerry Bold is one of the most capable BlackBerry devices currently on the market. The Bold, which runs on AT&T's network, features almost all of the functionality available in the Tour. Users can type with the device's physical QWERTY keyboard, connect to BlackBerry App World to extend its functionality, and edit documents or spreadsheets from the phone. They can also communicate with other BlackBerry owners over an IM platform. It's a really nice alternative to the iPhone.
Palm Pre Plus
Palm has enjoyed a long history of offering solid phones to the corporate world. And although its Pre Plus is lacking on several levels, it should be included as an alternative mobile device for enterprise users because of its multitasking capabilities, which are arguably second to none in the mobile market. It's also nice to see that the Pre Plus includes a slide-out physical keyboard for easier typing. It should be noted that the Pre Plus is a hobbled alternative to the iPhone, but if customers are on Sprint or Verizon's networks and don't have access to AT&T, it might be worth considering.
The BlackBerry Pearl might be one of the older devices in this roundup. But what it lacks in youth, it makes up for with simplicity that we just don't see anymore. BlackBerry owners who simply want to check e-mail and have a solid device to place calls on will be happy with the Pearl. It lacks many of the bells and whistles offered in other BlackBerry devices and it has two letters placed on each key for typing, but it's cheap, simple and a fine alternative to the more advanced devices on the market. Most importantly, it's available on every major U.S. carrier's network.
A key part of the iPhone's feature set is the ability to access e-mail and the Web. What if that's all corporate customers want? If so, they might want to consider buying a netbook from any of the top U.S. carriers. Netbooks that offer 3G connectivity can be quite cheap and allow users to access content anywhere there is a 3G signal. That makes them a great alternative to the iPhone for folks who really only want a phone to place calls and would rather have a full-fledged computer to perform all the other functions the iPhone offers. It's worth considering.