BlackBerry alternatives for business - a roundup

Yesterday, BlackBerry users endured a fate worse than technological death – a day without email or BBM.

Users in Europe, the Midle East and Asia suffered from the outage, which was blamed on a server failure in the UK.

Business users quickly took to Twitter to vent their frustration, with many insisting that they would abandon their BlackBerries as a result.

Blackberry is often seen as the first choice for business owners in search of a smartphone. But yesterday’s outage has caused many to look elsewhere.

So what are the main challengers for Blackberry’s business crown?

iPhone

The iPhone remains the ‘big boy’ in the smartphone market. It is often seen as the ‘leisure’ alternative to the more business-like BlackBerry – but its features should encourage you to take a closer look.

Pros: The benchmark for smartphones. Quick. Thousands of apps available – including many productivity apps. Relatively easy email setup. FaceTime allows you to video call colleagues for free.

Cons: No QWERTY keyboard. Relatively expensive. Prone to smashing!

Nokia E6

Having once dominated the mobile world, Nokia are now struggling in the smartphone market. But their Nokia E6, which runs on the Symbian platform and which is aimed squarely at business users, may help them get back in the race.

Pros: Easy to use QWERTY keyboard. Slim and sturdy. Easy email setup. Free proprietary sat-nav.

Cons: Fewer apps available for Symbian than for iPhone or Android. Relatively small screen. Relatively sluggish web browsing.

Dell Venue Pro

It had been thought that Windows Mobile’s days were numbered. But with the launch of the Dell Venue Pro, and its emphasis on business productivity, the blighted operating system might be due a renaissance. And of course – if you use Windows on your computer, why not use it on your phone too?

Pros: Easy integration with your Windows computer. QWERTY or touchscreen keyboard. Excellent screen. Relatively cheap.

Cons: Heavy. Fewer apps available than in competitors’ marketplaces. Windows Mobile still arguably struggles to compete with other operating systems.

Samsung Galaxy Pro

Samsung have cemented their position as leaders in the smartphone market with the recent launch of the Galaxy S II. While the S II is pitched at consumers, Samsung hopes the Galaxy Pro will become the business user’s handset of choice.

Pros: Excellent keyboard. Touch-sensitive screen. Relatively cheap. Easy email setup. Automatic Google Mail integration. Lots of apps in the Android marketplace.

Cons: Does not run the latest version of Android. Slightly odd form-factor. Slower than some of its competitors.

HTC ChaCha

If you’ve travelled on the tube recently, you will almost certainly have seen adverts for the HTC ChaCha. It’s being marketed as ‘the Facebook phone’ – but in fact it has a combination of features and simplicity that make it potentially attractive to business users too.

Pros: QWERTY keyboard. Familiar design for those used to BlackBerry. Cheap. Runs the latest version of Android.

Cons: Slightly small for those with big hands. Disappointing camera.

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