I participate heavily in the Jaguar Forum, largely because by doing so I can find out all kinds of new and creative ways to spend tons of money and fill up my weekend with car projects. Well, that’s not really fair; I actually enjoy the social aspects and I’m a bit addicted to cars.
One of the latest discussions was on the best tools, with folks arguing largely for Sears line Craftsman. The point being argued was that you really should have high-quality tools because they will work when you need them to, are high tolerance so they are less likely to strip bolts and screws, and less likely to break and injure your car or you (we clearly have our priorities backwards).
At the same time this was going on, I was beginning my review of the new BlackBerry Q10, which is the keyboard version. At least for business, I think it is a better tool than the alternatives with one caution.
Let me explain.
Business vs. Consumer
As it turns out, I was giving a talk this week to IT folks from South America (which made me wish I’d stayed with my Spanish lessons) and questions on whether BlackBerry was better than Google or Apple’s platform kept coming up. Both of these currently more-popular platforms focused on the consumer first — with the iPhone’s strength largely in its connection to iTunes, its beautiful design and intuitive interface, and Google’s strengths largely in emulating Apple and providing easier paths to unlocking and side loading.
Apple doesn’t seem to get the cloud really, particularly for business, and its MobileMe and iCloud products have largely been embarrassments. Google doesn’t get security and even the American Civil Liberties Union is taking it to task on this subject (this is the first I’ve heard of the ACLU taking a position like this).
BlackBerry, to be BlackBerry, has to be both secure and connected to cloud resources. The product had this as primary goals and connects better to Exchange, and it is far more locked down and better managed than Android can ever hope to be. Even at code level, the Android platform, which has as a design goal, being largely a Linux fork, allows folks to easily go in and change core components, making it relatively easy to root kit and is less secure. QNX is far more compartmentalized, which, according to the expert speaking before me, makes it far easier to secure, though not as well suited for community drives development.
Of the two BlackBerry products, the Z10, which is very similar to the iPhone (to my eye it looks like a stealth iPhone in military black) and the keyboard-equipped Q10, the Q10 is the most business-focused. This is because, with a keyboard, it is far easier to blind type and in business you are generally required to multi-task. I see it as no coincidence that the number of accidents due to texting has become such a problem since the iPhone launched; you simply can’t blind type on one and that means more people are looking at their phones instead of the road.
In companies, folks doing work are often asked to communicate and observe in meetings, or while doing inventory or while they are observing construction or assembly. A keyboard phone is not only safer, but it can better assure you don’t miss something.
Other advantages are the screen configuration is ideal in portrait rather than landscape mode, which fits more closely to how you’d work with a device and favors this work over watching movies or playing games. The battery is larger, assuring you aren’t left at a critical juncture with a dead phone, and the screen appears to be better protected. In short, if we agree that BlackBerry is the better business platform, then, in the BlackBerry line, the Q10, not the Z10, is the better business choice.
I’m a keyboard phone guy; I live off my phone and have never been a fan of the trend Apple drove with the iPhone. At the launch, I shared my concerns that the phone would dramatically increase traffic accidents and deaths because it required too much attention, so I’d favor a phone like the Q10 regardless.
However, there remains one big shortcoming to the BlackBerry platform and that is app support; the most painful missing application is the Starbucks app and it is really hard for me to start my day without a latte. Sleeping on the job isn’t safe either. The BlackBerry folks have told me they should have this fixed shortly and, once I can get Starbucks on this phone, the Q10 will likely become my favorite, but it clearly is the most business-oriented in the market at the moment.