IT’s all about usability and security!
The specs rock…
Where all three devices take the iPhone to the cleaners is in the technical specifications department. All three, on paper, offer more than the iPhone 3G. The Storm and the 5800 have 3.2 megapixel cameras, while the Touch HD offers a stunning 5 megapixel shooter. All three devices have GPS and expandable memory. And both the Storm and the Touch HD allows users to view and edit MS Office files, enabling you to work on documents, spreadsheets and presentations with minimum fuss – something the iPhone still cannot do. In terms of browsing the Net, all three devices are respectable competitors to the iPhone, with the Touch HD’s Opera Mobile being arguably the most powerful mobile phone browser in the business. There is also the little matter of ease of use–all three devices can be synchronised far more smoothly with a computer when compared to the iPhone, where you have to operate through iTunes, even to do something as simple as transfer photographs and music. The Bluetooth functionality on all three also supports more devices than the iPhone does. In terms of connectivity, all three match the iPhone, although the Storm surprisingly does not offer Wi-Fi.
…but where are the apps?
The one area where the three have been unable to dent the iPhone is in applications. While the Storm does have an application store, it lacks the depth and variety of applications seen in Apple’s App Store, which recently crossed 20,000 applications. The Touch HD supports most of the apps that run on Windows Mobile 6.1 (Professional), but the greatest expectations are from Nokia. Although there are very few applications available for the operating system the company has used in the 5800, this number is likely to increase significantly as Nokia uses the OS in more devices, most notably the Nokia N97 that’s expected later this year. Another significant edge that Nokia enjoys in this regard is its N-Gage gaming platform, which, while not currently on the 5800, is expected to be made compatible to the Symbian Series 60 (5th edition) soon. Now, that could really dent the iPhone’s entertainment appeal. BlackBerry too seems to be looking beyond its corporate roots, but it will take some time before it can match the apps that will be on offer from Nokia. As for the Touch HD, with Microsoft readying Windows Mobile 6.5, all eyes will be on whether one can upgrade the device to the new OS or if the apps for the new OS will be compatible with its earlier versions.
Competition, at last!
If we could have had a device with the camera, display and interface of the HTC HD; the haptic feedback and e-mail expertise offered by the BlackBerry Storm; and an OS that offered as much hope for developing applications and the value for money proposition of the Nokia 5800, we would have been hailing the arrival of an iPhone killer. Unfortunately, while each of the three devices does manage to better the iPhone on some counts, they come up short in the overall package. That said, there can be no denying that those looking for alternatives to the iPhone have better options than they did a year ago.
Enterprise users are likely to flock to the Storm. Those looking for value for money will invest in the 5800 and those with deeper pockets will probably go for the Touch HD. They may not have unseated the iPhone from the touchscreen throne, but these three new contenders in the market have definitely given the folks at Cupertino something to think about. There still is a gap between the iPhone and its competitors. But it is narrowing. The ball is now in Apple’s court. Will June see it add yet another spin to its ubergizmo and catch the competition off guard? The world will be watching.