If you are a wholesome, apple pie eating capitalist, you love some good old fashioned competition. In the world of cell phones, that means better phones and cheaper prices that do more. But for businesses, there pretty much has been just one player, the Blackberry. Well that has all changed recently thanks to Dell and Motorola.
It first started with the announcement of the Motorola Droid Pro, which goes on sale in Verizon stores on November 18th. Still running on the ever popular Android OS, the Droid Pro is a more buttoned up version of Droid X and Droid 2 lines. So what sets the Pro apart from its cousins and a bit closer to its competition? For starters, it has a full Qwerty keyboard, so it passes the ‘does it look like a Blackberry test.’ But it also has Quickoffice Mobile, corporate secure e-mail, and worldwide compatibility in over 200 countries. No word yet, but you’ll probably be hard pressed to find a neon pink faceplate for one of these bad boys.
Not to be outdone, Dell is also releasing a business first phone called the Venue, which runs on the Windows 7 phone OS. Like Blackberries and the Droid Pro, the Venue offers a full Qwerty keyboard. The main difference being it has a slide out version. In a cheeky little knock on Blackberry, Dell offered to give all of their employees (all 25,000 of them) a new Venue if they turn in their old Blackberries. Dell claims it will save them 25% on their communication bill to make the switch away from RIM’s Blackberry servers. RIM quickly fired back claiming Dell’s giveaway was little more than a promotional stunt. Dell then quickly fired back by saying ‘Duuuhhhh!’
The simple fact remains that until one of these challengers proves itself, Blackberry will remain the king of the business phones. But numbers don’t lie, and Blackberry’s market share has been slipping. Heck, even the artsy fartsy iPhone is being considered by some major corporations as a replacement. RIM is going to have to make a bold move – no pun intended – if it wants to stay competitive, because should the Motorola Droid Pro and the Dell Venue do well, there are a slew of other manufacturers making Android and Windows 7 phone devices that would happily scramble for their share of the pie.