NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- We all lean on it, like a bad habit, but it might just be time to let that BlackBerry of yours go.
The BlackBerry has been the rare thing in American business: a whole lot of answers in the palm of your hand. With its weird little keyboard, super-reliable email and zillion-hour battery life, the BlackBerry hung in there and did what it needed to do, seemingly when all others had left us for dead.
|For American executives nursing "crackberry"-induced repetitive strain injuries to their thumbs, the fall of Research In Motion is stiff-upper-lip stuff. But if you've already faced the trauma, there are ways to move on.|
So for us American executives nursing crackberry-induced repetitive strain injuries to their thumbs, the fall of Research In Motion (RIMM) is stiff-upper-lip stuff. It's not like we didn't see it coming, though. We watched co-CEO Mike Lazaridis go off on a BBC interviewer. (What is a co-CEO anyway?), pondered the company's misplaced confidence in such horrible devices as the BlackBerry Storm and were stunned by how interlopers including Samsung, HTC and Motorola (MOT) now make business devices RIM can't touch.
So it is finally time to face the mobile music: Considering the alternatives in business-oriented smartphones, it is probably fair to listen to the millions of investors who have ditched this company.Here are three phones to consider if you are considering dumping your BlackBerry: Motorola Droid 2 ($149 with a two-year contract from Verizon (VZ - Get Report))
Feature for feature and pound for pound, for business use, the Motorola Droid 2 via Verizon is the logical step for the average recovering BlackBerry user. In roughly the same price range as top-of-the-line RIM models, the Droid 2 offers a spacious keyboard, solid app support through the Android Market, reasonably business-ready email performance and, when configured, legit international service. The hardcore RIM user will be bummed with the phone's bulk and slower type-and-text speed and the constant need to charge. But for the best mix of touchscreen, next-gen mobile telephony and a real qwerty keyboard, the Droid 2 is the pick. Samsung Replenish (free with two-year contract from Sprint (S))
You know it's getting ugly for RIM when Sprint can offer a not-bad Samsung smartphone that is a legit BlackBerry competitor for absolutely nada. For nothing more than a two-year contract -- at Sprint's low monthly rates, by the by -- you get a perfectly functional Android-based, Wi-Fi-capable mobile workhorse that has an eerily BlackBerry-like keyboard. And don't be surprised if you find the Android Apps on the Replenish kick the mobile you-know-what of that aging BBerry of yours. Sure, the Replenish is a shameful BlackBerry knockoff and you won't get the utterly bombproof email support for your hardcore corporate communications systems. But if you need cheap entry to mobile communications for you or your people, this device makes the short list for sure. The thing is free, for crying out loud. LG Quantum ($50 from AT&T (T - Get Report) with contract)
Yes, friends, you can't make it up: Even lowly Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) now offers a better mobile experience than RIM. It's embarrassing, right? The low-cost LG Quantum offers high-quality integration with your business's Windows content -- especially for shops running Microsoft's new Office 365 Web-based software. Email is surprisingly fast and robust, and access to your company's files is liquid and secure. Sure you can spend more for a WinMo phone with these features, but why bother? And better yet, the whole shooting match can be centrally administered so you know who is seeing what and when. Redmond gets little or no credit for offering a reasonable on-the-go work experience. But don't be fooled. Do it properly and this cheap little Quantum can be a big business solution.