Research In Motion's Bold move


Research In Motion this week became the latest device maker to tackle Apple's iPhone head-on with the introduction of the BlackBerry Bold, a new tri-band HSDPA smartphone boasting integrated GPS and WiFi as well as an enhanced media player enabling full-screen movie playback and digital music collection management. The Bold essentially recreates the iPhone concept for RIM's traditional enterprise demographic base: Its 480 by 320 pixel screen offers the same resolution as the iPhone, albeit at a smaller size, and its processor runs at 624 MHz, edging out the iPhone's 600 MHz speeds. Bold also arrives with 1GB of on-board storage memory, a bit less than the iPhone.

The two handsets differ most dramatically in terms of their fundamental orientation--no matter how you slice it, the iPhone is a consumer device, and the BlackBerry Bold is a corporate device. Which means that despite the addition of multimedia features and other playtime bells and whistles, the Bold also includes preloaded productivity tools like the DataViz Documents to Go editing suite as well as a newly-designed full QWERTY keyboard. That gives the Bold a distinct advantage that all the other so-called "iPhone killers" lack--it's not pursuing the same target audience that Apple's already staked out. Even with Apple licensing and embedding of Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync program and developers working on iPhone productivity apps, RIM's continued dominance over the enterprise market seems assured. BlackBerry and iPhone can each borrow some of the other's tricks, but in truth the phones co-exist more than they compete. -Jason