10 Best Smartphones for Business

Looking for the best smartphone for your business needs?  As there are so many phones to choose from, with various options and design elements, picking the right one isn’t easy unless you’re a brand loyalist or know exactly what you want.

If you’re in the undecided camp, the fall is one of the best times to research and mull what’s available – before you shop pre-Christmas. Now, you can leisurely decide whether you want a keyboard or a touchscreen, and how much CPU power and memory you want. Plus, it would be wise to check into prices, plans, and the capabilities of the carriers.

Another thought about this research phase: focus on the options you really need. Instead of thinking ‘oh it would be so cool to have HD video recording and teleconferencing at my fingertips,’ consider whether you would ever use such capabilities.

At the top of every business person’s need-to-consider list should be cellular network reliability and coverage -- and IT readiness. Just because you love everything about the iPhone, doesn’t mean you’ll love everything about AT&T, the carrier delivering iPhone service.

AT&T’s less-than-wonderful service in major cities, particularly with the iPhone, is well known. Verizon, on the other hand, has a much larger 3G presence and a better network overall. A recent survey done by Credit Suisse found that 23 percent of iPhone users would switch to Verizon if they had the chance. That chance will present itself in 2011, when AT&T’s service exclusivity with the iPhone ends.

Moile IT readiness is another major factor to consider. BlackBerrry devices have been around for about a decade, longer than any other smartphones, and are thus much more familiar to and liked by IT departments. Many organizations have been using RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server to allow employees to synchronize their email, calendars and contacts for some time.

Security is another important issue. Again, this is an area where BlackBerry devices get the nod of approval from IT, though the iPhone 4 running iOS and Android handsets running version 2.2 are now also being embraced by the enterprise due to security features in the latest updates.

Finally, don’t buy a phone based on a vendor’s stock value or its rampant (or less-than-rampant) sales over the past quarter. Pick a phone because it’s a good fit right for your pocket, your needs, and your hand.

Here are some contenders (arranged in alphabetical order) for best business smartphone:

Apple iPhone 4

Specifications: 3.5-inch touchscreen, 1GHz processor, 16GB/32GB storage options, 5-MP camera with HD video recording, front-facing camera for video conferencing

Platform: iOS

Carrier: AT&T

Pros: A stylish blend of hardware and software, offering more apps and accessories than competitive devices. Excellent integration with other Apple devices.

Cons: closed app ecosystem

 

 

 

BlackBerry Torch 9800

Specifications: 3.2-inch touchscreen, slide-out hardware keyboard, 624 MHz processor, 4GB memory expandable to 32GB

Platform: BlackBerry 6 OS.

Carrier: AT&T

Pros: Superb fusion of a keyboard and a touchscreen. This is the fastest BlackBerry yet.

Cons: Somewhat slower than competitive devices.

BlackBerry Bold 9700

Specifications: QWERTY keyboard with touch-sensitive optical trackpad; 3.2-megapixel camera/camcorder, 2GB memory expandable to 32GB

Platform: BlackBerry 5 OS

Carrier: AT&T, T-Mobile

Pros: Sleek design with a brilliant display. Phone is 3G-capable and offers Wi-Fi with UMA support, Bluetooth, and GPS.

Cons: Poor Browser compared to the competition.

Google Nexus One (made by HTC)

Specifications: 3.7-inch touchscreen, 4GB memory expandable to 32GB, trackball, 5-MP camera

Platform: Android 2.1

Carrier: Multiple

Pros: Ability to transcribe voice to text, noise canceling dual microphones; GPS turn-by-turn voice directions to drivers; 3G-capable.

Cons: While the multitouch is similar to other multi-touch enabled smartphones, the device uses software to "enable" multi-touch capability, resulting in x/y axis confusion and preventing some multi-touch applications from working as planned.

HTC Droid Incredible

Specifications: 3.7-inch touchscreen, 1GHz processor, 8-MP camera

Platform: Android 2.2

Carrier: Verizon

Pros: 3G hotspot capabilities, GPS

Cons: Android market is still immature. Phone is only CDMA.

HTC EVO 4G

Specifications: 4.3-inch touchscreen, 1GHz processor; 8GB memory; 8MP camera

Platform: Android 2.2

Carrier: Sprint

Pros: Sleek, minimalist design; first-rate 8-MP camera; and lovely responsive display.

Cons: You won’t be able to find 4G coverage everywhere.

 

HTC Touch Pro2

Specifications: 3.6-inch TFT-LCD touch-screen, Slide-out 5-row QWERTY keyboard, 528MHz chip, 3.2-MP camera

Platform: Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional

Carrier: Verizon

Pros: offers world roaming capabilities as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and EV-DO Rev. A support. Features an extra-large touch screen and one of the best QWERTY keyboards available. Verizon will also add a Windows Mobile 6.5 upgrade later this year.

Cons: Somewhat bulky. Camera does not take great pictures.

Motorola Droid X

Specifications: 4.3-inch touchscreen, 1GHz processor, 8-MP camera with HD video recording

Platform: Android 2.2

Carrier: Verizon

Pros: Large screen, support for corporate calendar, email and contacts (Exchange 2003 and 2007), Google contacts, calendar and Gmail contacts; 3G mobile hotspot capability for up to five hotspot devices.

Cons: Android app market is still immature.

Motorola Droid 2

Specifications: 3.7-inch touchscreen, slide-out hardware keyboard, 1GHz processor, 5-MP camera

Platform: Android 2.2

Carrier: Verizon

Pros: One of the few Android devices with a keyboard; 3G hotspot capabilities.

Cons: You’ve guessed it, the immature Android app market.

 

Samsung EPIC 4G

Specifications: 4-inch touchscreen, 1GHz processor, memory up to 32GB, 5-MP camera

Platform: Android 2.1

Carrier: Sprint

Pros: Fantastic display, a front-facing camera, an impressive QWERTY keyboard, plus acts as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for up to five devices.

Cons: Bulky and can be pricey.

 

TAGS:

Android, Blackberry, iPhone, Apple, smartphone

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