Best Smartphone for IT: Blackberry vs. iPhone vs. Android: Page 2

Posted January 25, 2010

Jeff Vance

Jeff Vance

(Page 2 of 2)

Urfi uses Mobile Admin from RoveIT, which centralizes more than 500 IT tasks into a single portal. Is Mobile Admin the missing management device that Groome sought? Not exactly, since it doesn’t allow IT to push out and enforce policies to other client devices, but it’s certainly a start.

That said, Urfi is already eyeing up Android phones. “There are so many great apps for the iPhone, but for many of the really cool ones, you have to jailbreak the phone. That’s not a problem with Android. Once the applications catch up, I’ll probably switch.”

Greatest strength: Robust app ecosystem

Biggest weakness: Security

Hot model: iPhone 3GS

Must-have IT app: Worried about open ports or unauthorized (and probably unpatched) devices on your network? Snap from 9BitLabs scans the network you are on to discover servers, routers and even other smartphones.

When Snap finds a device, it displays the manufacturer, any available name information associated with the device and its MAC and IP addresses. This $1.99 app also allows you to scan for common services, such as HTTP, remote login, AppleTalk, and Microsoft networking.

Cool non-IT app: As an Android user myself, Yelp Monocle Snap almost makes me wish I went with an iPhone. An Easter Egg within the Yelp iPhone app, Monocle is accessed by shaking your iPhone three times. Then, point your camera at the street or a nearby business, and Yelp Monocle will use the street view and your GPS coordinates to layer Yelp reviews over the scene. Way cool.

Too bad there’s not something like this for people you meet. Wouldn’t it be nice to see “This guy’s an idiot, run away” layered over the head of the next blowhard you meet at a party?

Carrier: AT&T

Up and coming: Android

None of the IT pros I spoke with are currently using an Android phone, but the majority of them are keeping an eye on it, and many are already planning to switch. Rob Woodbridge, President and CEO of RoveIT, is already porting his Mobile Admin software to the Android.

“We only move to new platforms when we start to see enough demand and we are definitely seeing that now with Android,” he said.

When I asked him which platform Android most directly threatened, he said, “From an IT perspective, I think you need to take into consideration what device the IT professional is currently using: Windows Mobile and BlackBerry in North America and Symbian in Europe. Android will absolutely start to erode the position of all of these in the IT professional’s toolkit, as it is an open-source, secure platform with a bit of cachet.”

Greatest strength: Open platform.

Biggest weakness: Being new, the platform is relatively untested, especially for business use.

Hot model: Motorola Droid

Must-have IT app: The Android marketplace is still in its infancy. There’s simply not as much to choose from as compared to the BlackBerry or iPhone. However, that is changing every day. ServerUP isn’t as full-featured as other IT apps, but this $2.99 app allows you to monitor your network and servers from your Android phone. It’s a start.

Cool non-IT app: Are you a person who always frets about getting the best price on whatever it is you’re buying? If so, the next time you’re heading for the checkout line, take a photo of the barcodes in your cart, and use ShopSavvy from Big In Japan to get product details and competing prices both online and at other nearby brick-and-mortar stores.

Carrier: Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. (ATT&T will offer Droid phones sometime in the first half of this year).

The Rest of the Smartphone Pack

If you’re a Windows Mobile user and you think I’m giving that platform the short shrift, I beg to differ. Anything beyond the PC is still not in Microsoft’s wheelhouse. Do I need to bring up the Zune to hammer home this point?

Despite being a new kid on the block, the iPhone took no time at all to jump ahead of Windows Mobile (and Palm) in terms of market share. Now, with a bevy of new Android phones on the market, Android has probably already jumped ahead of Windows Mobile (numbers for Q409 aren’t yet available).

I’ve also excluded Symbian from this roundup. Were this a European publication, that omission would be unforgivable. Symbian, after all, has a solid 50% of the smartphone market. However, Symbian hasn’t made inroads into the U.S., and the iPhone and Android platforms are already eroding its market share abroad.

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