It’s The Mobile Computing Showdown: Fruit Salad, Anyone?

Yes, it’s versus in a showdown worthy of the desert table at your summer picnic! The Apple iPhone decked out for business is coming soon to an ATT store near you. Not to be outdone, Research In Motion (“RIM”) is holding down its side of the salad bowl with the new Blackberry Bold, and there are rumors of a mysterious touchscreen version of their popular smartphone widely reputed by RIM fans and employees as the “iPhone killer.”

The iPhone, pictured here  is based on the form factor and design of the wildly successful iPod music player. The newest version takes a sizeable step toward the business market. The new 3G iPhone will employ tri-band HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access), which approaches the download speeds of the Nokia N95 and the Palm Treo models. It also will include a GPS (global positioning system). A winner in the multi-media arena from the start, the higher speeds of this next generation iPhone will enable it to take advantage of new business oriented software such as Microsoft Exchange and its push e-mail technology. It also appears that Apple will be dropping the  price of its new offering significantly:  the 8 giga-byte version will be available for $199, down from $399.  The new iPhone, however, will not work with Blackberry Connect’s server technology, rendering it a less than desirable choice for the hard-core Blackberry fan and current Blackberry user.

On the other hand, the new Blackberry Boldis moving away from the clunky, pinstriped-suit demeanor of earlier models to a more stylish form factor informed in large part by the iPhone’s svelte physique. The new Bold will permit full page web viewing, management of multi-media files by Roxio’s Media Manager and wireless syncing via an iTunes utility to the user’s music collection on a PC. The Bold will be the first Blackberry to support HSDPA. Yet it remains solidly focused on its e-mail and business roots, per Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group. I could find no reliable information on its anticipated cost, but estimates with a contract range in the $300 to $350 area.

While I have held an iPhone, I have never really considered it a business-oriented option and, therefore, have mostly ignored it until now. I have a Blackberry Curve, which performs admirably as an e-mail device, but is sorely lacking in most other areas. As an avid smartphone user (my device of choice right now is a Palm Treo 750), I look forward to checking out these new phones in greater detail – any device that can effectively combine work and play in one small package is a good thing!

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