3 Reasons You Won't Give Up Your BlackBerry for Droid 3

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Get over it, businesses, there's just no replacing the BlackBerry -- not even with the zippy Motorola ( MOT) 4G LTE-enabled Droid 3 ($149 with a two-year contract from Verizon ( VZ), plus required data plan starting at $30 per month).

We who work know the truth: Work involves, you know, work. Numbers. Letters. Words. Sentences. And I'm normal, meaning I love retracing the grease lines on my iPad to play my music, look at the relatives and read, but when a work email arrives its back to those letter and numbers I was talking about -- and struggling to get the dumb touch-controlled keyboard to do what I need it to do.
For consumers, the Motorola Droid 3 is a solid phone, maybe even a great one. For workers, though, it doesn't make the cut.

Phone makers such HTC, LG and Samsung all know keyboards still matter in the office. They cough up attempts at work-ready keyboard phones. Many even have touch-controlled, iPhone-like screens baked in. But for work, I am finding most of these are either too big, too complex or too consumer oriented. What you still want for work is what you always wanted: a small, thin, palm-sized device with endless battery life.

More often than not, that means a BlackBerry.

Research in Motion ( RIMM), with its random outages and secretive ways, almost dares us businesspeople to reconsider our BlackBerry affections. In fact, I am just winding down a monthlong reconsideration in the form of demo-ing a work-phone wannabe: the Motorola Droid 3.

Can it replace a BlackBerry? Sadly, probably not:

1. Mere features do not a great work phone make.
Civilians will have no issue whatsoever with the Droid 3. The 4-inch screen is bright. The 1 Ghz processor is fast. The Google ( GOOG) Android-powered apps such as Gmail, Docs and all the rest zip along. Motorola has qwerty-ed up the model nicely. The keyboard is large for a mobile -- spacious even. Battery life is also (shockingly) reasonable: I got a full day with average usage, maybe a half-day when I hammered it. But these niceties turned out to be distractions from the mobile task at hand -- entering data. In this core work function all the Droid 3's speed, power and features cannot compete with a small device with weekendlong battery life and a keyboard you can really, really type on. In other words, a BlackBerry.

2. Apps waste money.
Steve Jobs is no longer watching. It's OK to admit that apps kill your business. Where else in your shop would you possibly encourage employees to go to a bookstore or library, video store, read food reviews, look at maps for getting the hell out of Dodge and do 57 other pre-installed ways to waste time? The Droid 3 is by no means alone in bringing unneeded apps to office. But face it, this sort of do-it-all device is not suited for doing work. For work, you want something that does work. In other words, a BlackBerry.

3. It's just too %^&$#@# big.
Remarkably, my roughly 5-by-2.5-by-five-eighths-inch Droid 3 is svelte in these days of SUV-scale smartphones. Motorola deserves credit for stuffing what amounts to a mini typewriter into this thing. And in fairness, the Droid 3 compares favorably with other keyboard phones. Functionality is solid. The consumer smartphone user will find it fast and easy to us. But again, what you want is a work tool that helps enter data, answer messages and stay connected to tasks. And the Droid 3 and phones like it are just too big and too cumbersome to do that effectively.

Bottom line
I am absolutely, positively not saying the Droid 3 is a disaster. For consumers, it's a solid phone. Maybe even a great one. I am seeing a dangerous trend in businesses mobile usage now, though, in which otherwise sober communications infrastructure investments are being made in these sort of do-it-all smartphones that try to work both at home and at work.

That approach is a mistake.

At work, you want a work device, and more often than not that device is a BlackBerry. Consider it the badge you wear that tells the world you are a member of an elite army that gets things done at work.

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This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

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