The Great Smartphone Debate


By Sarah McGann

In today's smartphone market, consumers have a wide range of devices from which to choose. Apple*, Google*, Microsoft* and RIM* have all created operating systems for smartphones as diverse as the needs of the people buying them, and it can be a challenge for customers to know what phone is right for them. Rumors regarding each system don't help, as supporters and opponents of each system battle it out online and in the news with oft-exaggerated claims. In order to help you get the right information, the following are some basic facts about the three most common smartphone operating systems.

Beginner Friendly

Apple's iPhone* iOS takes the cake on this one, as it is a highly polished and extremely user-friendly phone. Google's Android* is less beginner-friendly due to its highly customizable interface and the complexity of its still relatively new operating system. RIM's Blackberry* comes in last place in this category, as it does e-mail, messaging, calendar and Microsoft* Outlook syncing well, but not much beyond that.

Web Browsing

Android comes out just ahead of the iPhone in this category, which should come as no surprise given the quality of Google's Internet search capabilities. Both Android and Blackberry offer Adobe* Flash support, whereas the iPhone does not. Blackberry offers a solid experience, but its phones have smaller screens as compared to the others, making Web browsing more challenging.

E-Mail and Messaging

Blackberry wins this category. Both services are excellent, and the Blackberry Messenger system is great for both professionals and teenagers. The physical keyboard on most Blackberry phones is also appealing to many customers. Android comes out ahead of the iPhone for e-mail due to its full Gmail* integration capabilities; but the iPhone is superior in messaging with its iMessage™ system that sends free text, video and photo messages between Apple devices.

Photos and Videos

The iPhone has the edge in this category due to its high-quality hardware as well as its abundance of apps that can be used to enhance the images it creates. The Android ties the iPhone in terms of quality of video-calling and is only slightly behind in the photo category, with features like built-in photo editing and panorama shots. Blackberry is far behind here, as the cameras on its devices tend to be lacking and have no ability to make video-calls.

Classroom Discussion

  • Now that smartphones and tablets are available, what do you think the next big device will be?
  • What do you think is the most interesting or fun thing smartphones can do?