Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What Would You Choose For A Business Cell Phone & Why?

When deciding on a business cell phone .... evaluating for features, cost, reliability, coverage, performance, customer support, etc. are all imprortant factors. But with so much to consider .... what would or should you choose?

First, understand that your decision depends on a number of parameters:

1. Where your organization is located
2. How much email-centric is the organization, and you.
3. How much you travel abroad.

If you are located in the US and/or travel abroad more than a week per month and/or your organization corporate email is NOT Exchange-based, then a Blackberry will be a very good solution for you in terms of cost/efficiency.

If not, then it is difficult for me to see the Blackberry paying for itself in short or long terms.

I suggest using a more direct approach and use Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) to sync your phones with your corporate mail.

Using EAS to connect the phones to the corporate server opens you to a very big variety of phones you can choose to use:

1. Windows Mobile 5/6 Pro phones (Pocket PCs) - these phones are my preferred ones. They use Windows Mobile as their OS, usually have a touch screen, sometimes have a QWERTY keyboard and operate as a small handheld computer. Can work as a GPS navigation device in many cases.

2. Windows Mobile 5/6 Standard (Smartphones) - Usually have all the previous have, except for the touch screen.

3. Nokia Symbian S60 devices - different operating system, better known for Nokia users, but more complicated than Windows Mobile for newcomers.

4. Apple iPhone (beginning from version 2 can also sync with Exchange).

Now, the parameters for my preferences:

1. Windows Mobile OS is my preferred OS.

2. From both categories, I prefer the devices with touch screens.

3. Battery life is VERY important for me. I won't take a device that cannot run for at least 8 hours with normal use.

4. WiFi is a must: when I travel abroad and get to offices or to hotels, I don't want to pay extras for cellular roaming.

5. Internal GPS is also something I would like to see, but not a must.

6. Reliability and Flexibility with 3rd party software installed.

Now, when you consider all the above, and also the different GSM and HSDPA frequencies, you will understand that you will have different preferred models in different countries.

After many years going around with different phones, my tecno nerd friend stabilized lately with the Samsung i780, which is a great phone in my point-of-view. It has all that he was looking for in a business phone: touchscreen, wifi, gps, full keyboard for messaging/mailing, EAS, quadband GPRS/EDGE .... so he can work in the US at EDGE speeds (even if I would prefer 3G), and a battery that in normal use days would give him 10-11 hours of use, and in extreme use days 7-8 hours.

Another nice device to look at (in the Windows Mobile world) is the Samsung Omnia i900.

If you prefer the Symbian world, I would suggest taking a look at the Nokia E71.

Regarding the iPhone: in my opinion, it is getting better since version 2 .... with EAS and some 3rd party software .... but at least for many diehards it is still missing much desired functionality.

In the end there's a lot to think about to arrive at the best decision for YOU. Take the above information ... look at your specific situation (likes, wants, needs .... applications of course) .... and go from there.

If you'd like some help to search and compare business phones here's an online resource that can do that: Compare Business Cell Phones

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