The choice of smartphone is now a confusing one for many people. There are so many brands and models to choose from. There are also 4 major platforms to choose from. The most notable of these are Apple Iphone and Google Android. However, Blackberry has entered the modern smartphone race with verve as has Microsoft with their latest offering. 

What smartphone should I choose? A simple question, with a not-so-simple answer.

In the end, it all boils down to what type of person you are, but I'll try and help you make that decision!

Firstly, let's look at the strengths of the iPhone:

  • A massive collection of applications available through the app store
  • A plethora of hardware-specific accessories
  • Good integration to corporate email
  • Great looking phones

In terms of strengths, let's now look at the Android phones:

  • A massive selection of hardware providers with varying price ranges, features and desirability
  • Expandable storage
  • Standard cables and connectors
  • Ability to work with virtually any document, or media format
  • Good integration to corporate email

BlackBerry:

  • The new Blackberry Z10 and Q10 handsets have the stylishness of an iPhone
  • Durability - BlackBerrys are known to be rugged devices that can stand the daily abuse of the workforce
  • BlackBerrys are designed for, and are deeply rooted in, the corporate community, making them a great choice of phone for business users.
  • The best security in the business (when connected to Blackberry Enterprise Server)
  • Compatibility with Microsoft Activesync AND Blackberry Enterprise server.

Microsoft Windows Phone 8:

  • A range of hardware from several vendors, with varying price ranges and desirability
  • Beautiful interface. Very easy to use and fast.
  • Good integration to corporate email

But what about the things they aren't so good at? What are the phone's weaknesses?

iPhone:

  • Hardware cannot be replaced or upgraded (including the battery!)
  • Locked in with Apple-only software - you must use iTunes for any and all information transferral between your PC and iPhone
  • There is no back button on the phone for going back in menus, or applications
  • Not all media types can be viewed due to the Apple "lock-in" mentioned above

Android:

  • Getting used to the Android operating system can be confusing at first
  • Apps that go into the Google Play Store are not as stringently tested as the Apple App Store - which can lead to stability issues
  • Each hardware vendor has to customise Android updates for their hardware

BlackBerry:

  • There are very few applications available for the BlackBerry compared to the range for iPhone and Android

Microsoft Windows Phone 8:

  • There are less applications available compared to the range for iPhone and Android
  • There are some usability annoyances, like a single volume control for all functions
  • The OS is new and there are some missing features that will most likely appear in newer versions

 

The iPhone was designed with the consumer in mind, so it is tailored for normal, everyday life, and Apple put their heart and soul into creating something that everyone can enjoy. 
Android is a relative latecomer to the smartphone party, priding themselves on being open source. In Q4 of 2012, Android took out exactly 75% of the smartphone market share, leaving iOS (the iPhone operating system) at 14.9% and BlackBerry with only 4.3%.

The BlackBerry, through a hardware refresh, is making a comeback now, and is so very deeply rooted in the corporate world, when you think of corporate smartphones, you immediately think of the BlackBerry.

Microsoft is probably a little miffed, because they were the dominant player in the PDA space from which the smartphone emerged. The true pioneers of smart phones, would have to be Nokia with their old Symbian based monsters and U.S. Robotics with their Palm devices. However, both Palm and Nokia Symbian are pretty much relegated to history now and Microsoft were trounced by Apple when they released the iPhone.

Microsoft had another pitch at the smartphone race a few years back with Windows  Phone 7, which had a small, but loyal following. In late 2012, they released Windows Phone 8, which has been much better received and is actually starting to gain some market share. Apps are appearing for the popular titles and this is good news for Microsoft.

Hopefully Blackberry and Microsoft will continue to grow market share in this space as this will lead to more choice for the consumer.

What does that mean for you? It is very hard to say what someone should go for. The truth is, there is no answer. You should choose yourself. All platforms integrate well with Microsoft Exchange and the other major email vendors, like Gmail, etc.

In the end, if you like a phone you can tinker with, or a phone you have complete control over the customisation of, then chances are you would prefer the Android. If you are looking for a phone that works well, lets you run the apps you need to run, and takes out any fiddly settings to play with, then take a look at the iPhone, the Blackberry, or Microsoft Windows Phone 8. 

Unfortunately there is no such thing as a perfect phone, which makes it harder to choose what phone is right for you. However, now armed with a bit more information about each one, hopefully the decision has gotten just a little bit easier.