Those old smartphones devices were secure (they had to be, since they contained business data), functional (the Palm Treo was pretty ugly, but it had amazing battery life) and robust (a drop that will crack an iPhone screen did little, if any, damage to one of those old devices). While Apple views a broken phone as a revenue opportunity, business-to-business vendors view them as a problem to be avoided, since revenue depends on the business user remaining in service. This was emphasized this week when another user sued Apple for producing an excessively fragile phone.
A company selling to consumers can cover up these types of problems or chalk them up to built-in obsolescence. (It probably shouldn't, though.) However, this is suicide for a B2B company, as businesses will blacklist a firm it catches doing this and they will talk to other business users. Treat a business customer badly and you'll likely find no one willing to buy your products.
Blackberry Is Better Business Phone
The Department of Defense trials of Android, iOS and BlackBerry devices also drove this home for me. Government agencies are under a ton of pressure and oversight. Buying phones that favor entertainment would likely be career suicide for most bureaucrats, which is why they favor the business-focused BlackBerry.
Since LG and Samsung are moving to market solutions that mirror BlackBerry's protected work partitioning, I believe these solutions should be favored over others. In the end, though, there's only one platform designed to be dependable for business: BlackBerry.
If the goal of your smartphone deployment is to give employees a dependable device, then take a cue from the DoD and place the BlackBerry high on the list. Your job might actually depend on this phone, and no cool app, game or movie will mitigate that one Blackberry advantage.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.