RIM and Nokia have been on the smartphone market for quite a long time now, but apparently being the top dog wears you out, as both companies are now experiencing very hard times, what with the iPhone and all the Android phones overtaking their market share like it’s nothing.
Nokia’s bad affair with their Symbian OS is well known, and users have already lost faith that they will ever be able to settle on one OS, despite their agreement with Microsoft to use Windows Phone 7 exclusively on the mainstream models (and MeeGo on the high-end and developer phones). RIM’s Blackberry line is in almost the same position, though not only is it plagued by a subpar OS (well, it’s actually the apps marketplace and API that are bad), but it also seems like RIM isn’t even trying to come up with something that would fit a modern smartphone user – all their smartphones seem to be lacking a lot of rather important features, so everyone goes to the competitors (Android and iOS) that have them.
Similar exterior, different keyboard and screen quality
Blackberries have always been well known for their high quality QWERTY keyboards, and now Nokia seems to have decided to try their own hand at it again, releasing the E6 – a Symbian S^3 smartphone with a portrait QWERTY keyboard, aimed mainly at business users. Obviously, Nokia is targeting Blackberry users as well, and the E6 looks like a perfect competitor to the Blackberry Curve 3G, the latest in the Curve line.
Both smartphones are very similar, starting from the exterior and ending with the internal hardware. On the outside, both devices have a small screen and a QWERTY keyboard in portrait mode, with the overall style being very similar, down to the touch buttons for taking and ending a call and accessing the menus. The quality of the display and keyboard vary by a wide degree, though, with Nokia’s touch-enabled unit having a resolution of 640×480, twice that of the Curve 3G. The latter wins at typing comfort, though, with its excellent keyboard that has a good amount of spacing between keys, making it perfect for typing – Nokia’s cramped keyboard has a lot of things to learn from it.
Equal in performance, but the software makes a big difference
Processing power should be about the same, with both smartphones running on a ~600 MHz ARM11 processor and featuring 256 MB of RAM. Nokia, however, utterly beats the Curve 3G when it comes to the camera – this thing has a big 8 megapixels sensor, which takes great shots and can shoot 720p videos, as well – the 2 megapixels snapper on the Curve has nothing on it (and we’re not even taking the front facing camera, which is a nice addition, into consideration!).
The other hardware specs are pretty much the same, both phones being relatively new models, and the biggest difference is in the software: can Nokia’s all-new Symbian S^3 even compete with Blackberry OS 6, with its long heritage? The answer is not that clear: on one hand, Symbian is much easier to use by novices, and has a bigger apps market, on the other hand, Blackberry OS 6 has better business features and more business and productivity oriented apps on the marketplace (remember that the E6 is supposed to be a business device). The stability and eye candy of both operating systems is pretty much at the same level.
I would say that the Nokia E6 is a great competitor to the Blackberry Curve, but it doesn’t fit the needs of serious corporate users and the enterprise sector as well as it should. However, if you’re a small business owner or startup entrepreneur, it may be a perfect tool for your everyday work – thanks to the bigger screen, you can comfortably browse the Web and do other tasks, and the keyboard is good enough for most tasks, unless you plan on writing essays on your phone :-). The Curve is also a great choice if you can give up the more and better entertainment apps – the choice is up to you, and both phones are already available on sale worldwide at a decent pricing that make them worth checking out.