RIM’s Blackberry brand is quickly losing market share to pretty much all of the new smartphones, including the iPhone, Android phones, and even Windows 7 Phone devices – that is a really bad thing, and it looks like they will be out of the business in a couple of years unless they come up with something at least decent (though they would really need something revolutionary to regain lost sales fast).
But while they’re still on the market, their fans and new users, especially from the corporate sector, will continue to weigh them as options for their next smartphone purchase. But other manufacturers don’t sit in one place and are already starting to offer their own business smartphones that are meant to directly compete with the Blackberries. One of the best examples is Motorola’s new Droid Pro, which looks like the best Blackberry replacement/alternative yet. This phone is practically a direct competitor to the upcoming Bold 9930 (also known as Bold Touch), so which one should a potential buyer choose?
Alright, so what’s the most defining feature of your typical Blackberry smartphone? That’s right, the portrait QWERTY keyboard! And the Droid Pro has a pretty much perfect copy of that keyboard, which means you’ll get the same typing comfort as on the Bold 9930 (it may also mean a lawsuit, but I think RIM has bigger things to worry about :-). The two keyboards are very close in quality and typing ability, so the choice must lie somewhere else.
Along with the very nice keyboard, Motorola also integrated a relatively spacious (especially when you’re coming from a Blackberry) 3.2 inch touch screen with a resolution of 320×480, which is plenty enough for most tasks, even surfing the Web and editing documents, although something higher would’ve been better. The Bold 9930 might have a 2.8 inch display, but it’s one with a bigger 640×480 resolution, and although it’ll be hard to see what’s written on the screen, it’s more comfortable for Web surfing in a lot of cases, though it’s too small to be used as a touch screen most of the time.
The internal specs may surprise a lot of people, though. The Motorola Droid Pro uses a pretty standard for Android smartphones platform – the OMAP 3 from Texas Instruments running at 1 GHz and having 512 MB of RAM to help it run any tasks and apps without a sweat. However, the Bold 9930 has a 1.2 GHz ARM processor and 768 MB of RAM, which makes it faster than the Droid Pro! The Blackberry also wins in the storage space department, with 8 GB of internal memory as opposed to Motorola’s 1 GB, with both devices having a micro SD card slot. Now that’s progress, RIM!
But of course, real world applications will show pretty much the same results, although Blackberry OS 7 seems like pretty light OS and might be faster in some cases, especially when you can’t load the memory with a ton of different cool and/or useful apps you want like the Droid Pro.
If you want to use the GPS ability of a phone, the Droid would be better, as it’s supposed to have a better chip with faster acquiring time, plus the bigger screen will definitely prove useful. The camera on the Droid Pro can only shoot 720×480 pixels video, while RIM equipped the Bold Touch with a nice 5 megapixels snapper that can shoot 720p videos without problems, though viewing them will be better on your computer or TV.
Of course, it goes without saying that the 9930 has support for all the enterprise features you can think of, including encryption, theft protection, IT integration and others. Motorola also did a great job at implementing those features on Android and the phone’s firmware, though it may be a bit more beta-like, since there aren’t many “real” enterprise Android phones and apps around. Both phones are also world phones, meaning they can work on most of the popular cellular frequencies in the world without a problem – a must for a frequent business traveler.
Specs wise, the Bold Touch 9930 wins over the Droid Pro, and will definitely make a great choice for those who are already familiar with the company and their devices. However, if you want to have access to a wider variety of apps that are not limited strictly to business, and want to have a phone for all your purposes, from work to your personal schedule, the Droid Pro is an excellent choice. RIM has stepped up its pace, but other companies and Android are definitely catching up fast, and I’d personally bet on the latter simply because there is such an overwhelming number of choices, both in hardware and software.