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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
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Windows Mobile versus BlackBerry
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2008
Revised 7/17/2008

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Introduction

During the past year, I had the opportunity to use a BlackBerry on a daily basis for over 6 months.  I also assisted other users with setting up their new BlackBerrys as well.  Here are my thoughts (in no particular order) on Windows Mobile 6.1 versus the BlackBerry 8703e based on my experiences:

  1. The BlackBerry does not support a touch screen.  It is my understanding that they are working on supporting a touch screen in the future.  A Windows Mobile device with a touch screen is easier to navigate on.
  2. There are no BlackBerry devices that support GSM high speed internet access such as UTMS (2mb/s).  The fastest speed that the BlackBerry supports today is Edge (200k/s).  Windows Mobile supports UTMS (2mb/s) today with vendors such as ATT Wireless.
  3. On the BlackBerry the SureType function where each key represents 3 characters did not work well for me.  This was excruciating to enter a password as required for the initial setup.
  4. In some cases, Windows Mobile requires more keystrokes to perform similar functions.
  5. While BlackBerrys with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server can view Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint documents, they cannot edit them.  The viewing was sometimes very difficult.
  6. Windows Mobile can view Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint and OneNote files as well as edit Excel, Word and OneNote documents. Further when a user edits a Word document, the integrity of all the formatting is retained even if it is not visible on Windows Mobile.
  7. Windows Mobile has a much richer web browser experience.  The BlackBerry tends to treat websites as simple HTML and does not provide a desktop view or the ability to zoom in and out like Windows Mobile 6.1 does.
  8. The BlackBerry provides the ability to view threaded e-mail and missed calls on one screen as part of the Inbox.  Windows Mobile does not have a similar feature.
  9. With a Windows Mobile touch screen device it is easier to scroll through a list of entry items rather than using the jog wheel on a BlackBerry.
  10. Windows Mobile supports submenus so it's faster at selecting items than the BlackBerry which does not support submenus.  So the menus can be longer on the BlackBerry.
  11. With Windows Mobile 6.1 and Exchange 2007, users are able to setup their out of office reply.  There is no similar option on the BlackBerry.
  12. On Handango, one of the leading retailers of mobile software, there are many more apps for Windows Mobile than BlackBerry - 18,357 vs. 3,928.
  13. The BlackBerry has a plastic holster that automatically shuts it off when you insert it into it.  This is done via a simple magnet in the holster.  I have yet to see a Windows Mobile device with this feature however I really think it would be very beneficial!
  14. With Windows Mobile, users can schedule peak and non-peak times for push e-mail and whether or not push e-mail is sent when roaming (such visiting a foreign country where data is a lot more expensive!)
  15. Windows Mobile is cheaper to connect to Exchange since there is no additional license fee vs. the BlackBerry where RIM charges for their BES server and a license for each BlackBerry that is setup on the server.
  16. The path that Windows Mobile e-mail delivery follows is directly from the company's Exchange server to their device while with the BlackBerry, all e-mail is sent to one of RIM's servers (for North America it is in Canada) and then it is sent to the user.  This is why when RIM has a network disruption, it affects the delivery of e-mail to all their users that are in that geographic area)
  17. Windows Mobile 6 allows users to flag e-mail with Exchange 2007 vs. the BlackBerry which does not support flags.
  18. With Windows Mobile, setting up synchronization with Exchange does not require an administrator vs. the BlackBerry does require a BlackBerry Enterprise Server to setup a new device and give the user a special password to register the device.
  19. For basic device management of Windows Mobile devices, there are options built right into Exchange 2003 and 2007.  For advanced management of Windows Mobile requires software such as System Center, Mobile Device Manager and for BlackBerry BlackBerry Enterprise Server.  With Windows Mobile and Mobile Device Manager, each device is registered in Active
    Directory and uses a full time, mobile optimized VPN.

Conclusion

Today the BlackBerry still uses many screens of text for apps such as e-mail, contacts and calendar.  While with Windows Mobile all screens are presented as graphics in a user interface with scroll bars (if needed). So, comparing the BlackBerry to Windows Mobile reminds me of the old comparisons made with DOS versus Windows. DOS was faster because it was all text while Windows is capable of communicating so much more with it's support of graphics.   I think it is just a matter of time before the BlackBerry interface will change to support more graphics and require higher end hardware in order to offer higher levels of functionality to compete in the marketplace.


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