Why BlackBerry still beats iPhone for some

News that the Research In Motion BlackBerry Curve outsold iPhones in Q1 surprised many observers, but for those who follow the smartphone market closely, it makes a certain kind of sense.

News that the Research In Motion [[artnid:301937|BlackBerry Curve outsold iPhones|Why BlackBerry's Lead Over the iPhone Won't Last - PC World] in Q1 surprised many observers, but for those who follow the smartphone market closely, it makes a certain kind of sense. Push-button BlackBerry models like the Curve play well against the iPhone's most notable weakness: text entry. Among other things, this demonstrates why RIM would be wise to skip the consumer smartphone business and stick to what it does best--business handsets. And, in my opinion, that requires keypads, not touchscreens.

It is easy to understand why CEO Jim Balsillie is telling investors a sequel to RIM's touchscreen BlackBerry Storm is in the offing. Consumer handsets are a huge market, but it is not one I can imagine RIM will ever control.

My guess is that about the time RIM comes out with a Storm replacement that Verizon will start getting iPhones. Verizon customers who now purchase Storms because they do not want to change carriers will jump at the iPhone the moment Verizon has some to sell.

This will leave RIM, essentially, all dressed up with nowhere to go. Even if timing is off a bit, eventually Verizon gets iPhones and RIM loses.

A better play, I think, would be to make RIM's keyboard-based devices more attractive to iPhone customers in hopes of luring business customers to its arguably better handsets.

That requires lots more applications for BlackBerry as well as, yes, a competitive music and applications store. The handsets also need the same camera, GPS, and other features of the iPhone as well as excellent Windows desktop support.

The reason the iPhone has been a success is as much about it being part of a computing environment and ecosystem as it is the phone itself. There are things that make the iPhone so difficult to compete with.

RIM would do better, I think, to avoid the head-to-head consumer battle and develop its own ecosystem, built around Windows and a heavy reliance on business applications, to sell keyboard-based BlackBerry designs.

Until something dramatic happens with voice recognition, there will remain a gulf between serious business users, aka keyboard people, and SMS users, aka iPhone people.

As much as I love my iPhone, there are plenty of times that I have not responded to an e-mail in detail because of the difficulty I still have with the touchscreen. Even after two years of daily use.

If RIM could deliver a BlackBerry that does everything my iPhone does, includes a keyboard, and has tethering capabilities, I would have to take a very serious look at it. Especially, if it could be an additional line on my AT&T account, but that's another story.

David Coursey loves his iPhone but still misses his BlackBerry's keyboard. Follow him on Twitter and send e-mail using www.coursey.com/contact.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags BlackberryiPhone

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

David Coursey

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?