We all have numerous good reasons to love our iPhone. It revolutionized the handheld business with its AppStore and ease of use interface. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will continue to gain ground, and further innovations to its iPhone product portfolio could accelerate its growth even further. The synergies with the Mac computers and the Apple Stores themselves, are real and material.
The advantages of the iPhone are mostly immediately visible. Its differentiating characteristics are extroverted, shouting them right into your face. For the casual observer, these iPhone advantages are very compelling when comparing it to its main rival to date, the Blackberry. However, Blackberry also has numerous advantages, almost all of which are “behind the scenes” and therefore often beyond the comprehension or attention span of most consumers to fully analyze before a purchase decision is made.
One is tempted to draw a political analogy – the flamboyant candidate with the eloquent rhetoric, versus the “boring” candidate focusing on the substance of the intellectual argument. The analogy fails in part as far as the iPhone is concerned, because its “superficial” advantages are real. However, the analogy holds as far as the Blackberry is concerned, because its advantages require a more serious intellectual analysis by the consumer in order to be fully appreciated. For this reason, it is possible that Research In Motion (RIMM) is underestimated as a force in the consumer market as well as the stock market.
Seeing as we already know the strong advantages of the iPhone, ranging from the class-leading AppStore to its beautiful and easy-to-use interface, it is about time that someone lists the advantages of the Blackberry when compared to the iPhone. Below are the top 26:
1. Blackberry can be used on almost every carrier in the world (over 475 of them). In the US, the iPhone is available on AT&T (NYSE:T) only.
2. Blackberry is available in five form factors – small keyboard, large keyboard, no keyboard, flip phone, and candy-bar.
3. Most Blackberries have keyboards, so you can actually type fast and with no errors. Helps while driving, walking, carrying something in your other hand – all the time. iPhone: well…
4. Blackberry uses standardized (=inexpensive and available everywhere in the world) MicroUSB connector for synchronization/charging. iPhone has a much larger proprietary 30-pin connector.
5. Some carriers such as Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and Sprint (NYSE:S) offer unlimited international Blackberry data roaming for $40/month or less. iPhone does not. This could save you literally tens of thousands of dollars when you are abroad.
6. If your Blackberry is on T-Mobile USA, it also offers unlimited WiFi calling from anywhere in the world. This is with your existing number – in and out – so no new special number, procedure, etc. iPhone cannot do this (because it is only on AT&T; only T-Mobile USA offers this), and it can save you well over $100 per day when you’re abroad. Think $1 per minute savings, and you’re on the phone two hours per day. That’s $120/day.
7. Blackberry has expandable memory. iPhone is fixed and sold at 8, 16 or 32 gig only.
8. Blackberry has removable and expandable battery. iPhone is fixed.
9. Blackberry allows programs to multitask. iPhone has limited multitasking.
10. The newest Blackberry screen resolution is 480x360. iPhone is 480x320.
11. Blackberry allows communicating peer-to-peer via PIN identifier, circumventing the email system. No such iPhone equivalent.
12. Skype (NASDAQ:EBAY) on the Blackberry? Yes, from anywhere to anywhere. Skype on iPhone? Only if you’re on WiFi.
13. Sling on the Blackberry? Yes, it’s free. Sling on iPhone? $30.
14. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Voice on the Blackberry? Yes, it’s free. Google Voice on iPhone? Verboten.
15. Blackberry can be synchronized to multiple computers simultaneously, if you have multiple computers.
16. Multiple Blackberries can receive the same email feeds simultaneously, if you have multiple Blackberries.
17. Blackberry can sort the address book entries by company name, so you can scroll down a long list of names you don’t remember, but you just want to see who works for which company. Aside from sorting, the iPhone can take several seconds to search your address book, particularly if you have several thousand address book entries.
18. Blackberry isn’t slowed down by having, say, 10,000 or 100,000 address book entries. Try using an iPhone with 10,000 address book entries.
19. All major instant messengers are available on Blackberry.
20. Blackberry is available with multiple browsers from multiple suppliers. iPhone is available only with its standard Safari browser.
21. Blackberry synchronizes with iTunes – and every other media management program.
22. Blackberry models with 480 pixel resolution and WiFi offer PrimeTime2Go, an $8/month TV service that works as a DVR.
23. Blackberry fits as many emails in the inbox as there is memory available (typically many tens of thousands). iPhone is limited to 200 emails. Yes, iPhone has a remote look-up capability, but that doesn’t do you any good when you’re on an airplane or are otherwise out of coverage.
24. Price: Unlimited iPhone voice/data service, including unlimited SMS, is $150/month. Blackberry can be had for much less. For example, unlimited Blackberry service is offered on Sprint for $100/month, T-Mobile USA $125/month, MetroPCS $50/month, although AT&T/Verizon match the iPhone at $150/month.
25. Prepaid “no contract” flexibility: The AT&T web site says the iPhone is sold with a 2-year contract only, although once upon a time it offered a “contract-free” iPhone if you paid close to $899 up-front for the iPhone itself. In contrast, you can get prepaid no-contract Blackberry service on any old or new T-Mobile USA Blackberry handset for $65/month (600 minutes, unlimited Blackberry/Internet, but no SMS), or you can get truly unlimited-everything prepaid $50/month service from MetroPCS, if its handset selection and coverage areas are acceptable to you. That’s ONE THIRD the cost of the iPhone, and there is no contract.
26. Blackberry is an encrypted military-grade security platform, with 100% market share at FBI, CIA, White House, Congress, Department of Defense, major consultancies and major investment banks. In contrast, iPhone has security vulnerabilities. Please see this document for details as to why the Blackberry is the only platform approved for use in our national security agencies. It compares against the iPhone and Microsoft Mobile platforms (.pdf).
Disclosures: Long RIMM, AAPL and GOOG