For years, RIM's Blackberry devices were the corporate standard. Today, many businesses deploy smartphones running Google Android, Apple iOS, or Windows Phone as well.
What are the pros and cons of each platform for startups?
Would you allow employees pick and choose their favorite phones?
We recently had all of our corporate phones on a single account with a standard model Blackberry. The original though behind this decision was that money could be saved though contact negotiations, leveraging our buying power, and ease of support. After reading some Gardner papers and internal discussions, we have converted from a corporate liable philosophy to an individual liable reimbursement philosophy. Each individual user can select there cell phone provider and cell phone. They are reimbursed a predetermined amount each moth after they submit their invoice.
After the initial conversion 61% chose a Blackberry, 27% chose an iPhone, 6% chose Android, and 5% other. So far we have not had any major issues with any of these platforms. I believe our users primarily chose the Blackberry because it is what they where used to and it has the ability to tether (Phone as a Modem).
The blackberry works great for email, calendar, and contacts when used with a Blackberry Enterprise Server connected to Exchange. The browser on the Blackberry is lacking. Users can also use there phone as a modem. This is a great benefit for the road warriors.
The iphone works great for email, calendar, and contacts when used with Exchange Active Sync. The web browser on the iPhone is incredible. However, AT&T currently does not allow tethering (Phone as a Modem) on the iPhone.
The Android Droid works great for email, calendar, and contacts when used with Exchange Active Sync. Verizon currently does not allow tethering (Phone as a Modem) with this phone. They have said they will allow this some time early in 2010.
There are some technical things that need to be considered before making this decision. Determine the compatibility of your email server and email client with these phones. Depending on your email server you may need to purchase additional hardware, software, and user licenses to be compatible. Additional hardware and software also may mean additional support.
Personally I use an iPhone. For business use, one of the top end Blackberries is just as good. I would let users choose their own phone. However, it was vital for us to level set expectations up front. It was also very important for us to work with the users to ensure they chose a phone and service that met their needs.
Here are some points why a business user may not want to use an Android device:
Android does not encrypt any data internally so if the device is lost any other party can have access to the information inside:
According to the latest researches, the best smartphones of 2012 are iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S III, Google Nexus 4 and HTC One X. All of them are great for business. Here is a list of smartphones you may check http://www.businessinsider.com/best-smartphones-2012-11?op=1 What about BlackBerry, not sure if it's worth to be bought. While it had an iconic status among corporate elite a few years ago, BlackBerry has been forced today to mingle with the masses. BlackBerry devices are very helpful to those who write long texts. If your friends and business partners do not have BlackBerry devices, you will not be able to make the most of BlackBerry.
Every device you purchase for your employees is a device that your organization must support. As a startup, you likely don't have the infrastructure or staff to support everything well, so I recommend that you choose one platform and stick with it. Everyone on the same platform.