by August 1, 2011 0 comments



Before we get into the actual products, their features, and functionality, it’s important to arrive at a broad definition for a business phone. Is it net connectivity, email, ability to load apps, or something else that defines a business phone? Not really, because most phones available in the market today can do all that. For instance, even a music phone or a camera phone can connect to the net, provide social networking apps, etc. But they may not necessarily be suited to a business user’s needs. So, we’ll define a business phone as one that allow mobile executives to do part of their work on the move without requiring their PC or laptop.

Define and Weigh the Features

The kinds of features to look for in a business phone would be a good organiser, an email client, push email support, support for some really good business apps like document readers/editors (for doc, xls, pdf, etc), apps for scanning business cards, 3G/HSDPA support, security features, front camera (for video conferencing), office apps to read/edit documents, contact synchronisation, good battery life, type of keypad (QWERTY/T9/full touch screen), etc.

Most of these features are self-explanatory, so we’ll only touch upon them here. What you need to do is to evaluate them on their importance in your life. For instance, are you more comfortable using T9, or a QWERTY keypad? Some business users prefer QWERTY, while others are rapid at responding on T9. Some phones have horrible organizers, which don’t even support color coded meetings/tasks/appointments. Do you need to edit a lot of documents, or you just have to send/receive a lot of email? In case of former, a phone that supports good document readers/editors would be good (some phones like the Blackberry come bundled with free doc editors), and the larger the screen the better so that you can see more content on a single screen.

Likewise, if you need to send/receieve a lot of mail, then you need one that provides a very reliable email service.

Where Do You Start?

Once you’ve weighed the business features, it’s time to start the hunt. The three factors to consider are–platform, price, and services. Platform would mean Google Android, Symbian, Windows 7 Mobile, Blackberry, Apple iOS, and Bada. Here again, you’ll have plenty of phones on the various platforms. You need to look for the types of applications available on each, and check whether the ones you really need are there or not. Last but not the least are the services offered by service providers, like push mail. Check if there are any special deals bundled by service providers for specific phone models.

Budget Business Phones (<10K)

Price is an important factor as far as any commodity is concerned and going by that rule, a professional will always want value for his money. He would insist that his phone has email or the latest 3G services at a good price. If his budget is 10k and he still desires to have a business phone, he would have been disappointed until a year ago, but not anymore. With proliferation of business phones in the market, prices of the first generation business phones have seen a drastic fall. Curve 8520 is one such example. Nokia E5 is the most apt rival to Curve 8520 with a better 5 MP camera, 3G, HSDPA and push mail. Also, Android 2.2-based business phone, Samsung Galaxy Pro B7510, is one of the best available budget business phones.

Samsung Galaxy Pro B7510
Price~Rs. 9,000

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A complete business phone, right from the looks to the core, Galaxy Pro B7510 is a perfect budget business phone. Available for 9k, it may not have the world’s finest processor or camera compared to Curve 8520, but it has 3G and HSDPA. It promises the elementary business essentials like WiFi, push mail, email client, organiser, document reader and editor on the Android 2.2 platform for professionals. However, it lacks a front facing camera and so it won’t support video calling, which is true for the other two as well.




Blackberry Curve 8520
Price~Rs. 8,000

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Developed by RIM, Curve 8520 is one of the earliest entrants in the business phone segments and is still the most popular affordable handset from BlackBerry. It may be lacking on certain features such as 3G, and slower 512 MHz processor, however, it still is one of the best business savvy phone with a terrific 35 key back-lit QWERTY keypad and a highly intuitive trackpad. In addition, it has plenty of networking as well as business tools such as WiFi, email, Gtalk, Yahoo, Facebook, Blackberry Maps along with a scheduler, voice recorder, encryption and zip services, document reader and editor, organizer and push mail. It is available for 8k.

Nokia E5

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E5 is a well-built phone with good battery life and throws a good challenge to others. It has a slim form factor, with a brilliant 5 MP camera and a QWERTY keypad. Like other E-series phones, it comes with separate business and personal modes and can be personalised according to one’s needs. It fulfils your business needs with ease and has everything that a Curve or Galaxy Pro has–Push mail, Doc editor, email, instant messenger, social networking, 3G, WiFi, organiser etc.

Mid-Range Business Phones (10-15K)

Beyond 15k, we can have better options such as the Nokia E72, Samsung Wave 2 and BlackBerry Curve 3G. BlackBerry Curve 3G and Nokia E72 are definitely the winners in the 15k range. And though E72 has a 5 MP camera and a front-facing camera for video calling, BlackBerry’s 2 MP is as good as a 3.2 MP camera. Both are priced around 14k and have all the features such as email, push mail, organiser, document reader and editor, HSDPA, 3G, etc.

Nokia E72
Price~Rs. 14,000

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Nokia E72 has one of the best organiser packages including multi-scanner, wireless presenter, zip manager and runs on Symbian OS 9.3 and has WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G with HSDPA 10.2Mb/s, GPS, Flash Lite 3.0, remote wipe, 5 MP camera and a front-facing camera for video calls. Unlike Curve 3G its optical trackpad is poor but it makes up for that with a compact form and a longer battery life. The keypad is at par with Curve 3G. It comes for 14k.

Blackberry Curve 3G
Price~Rs. 13,000

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Graced with a 480 x 360 display, Curve 3G 9300 is a step up from the Curve 8520 and features everything from a good keypad to organiser, doc editor, push mail and email client. It also features BlackBerry business card scanner, which after clicking pictures of cards, merges them with existing contacts or creates an organised contact with all information. Also, BlackBerry files are stored on the BlackBerry server, which makes crucial transactions more secure than those through other phones. It is priced at 13k.

Samsung Wave 2
Price~Rs. 15,000

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This phone would have been the best in the lot if had a better OS, since Bada is no match to Symbian or BlackBerry. Still, it has the widest display, which allows for a better and detailed view besides having a front-facing camera for video calling. It runs on a superior 1 GHz processor and has the best screen resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. Rest of the features are similar and the price is around 15k.

Business Phones (15-20k)

As we move ahead to the 15-20k price range, we find two or three impressive handsets in iPhone 3GS, Nokia E6, and BlackBerry Bold. iPhone 3GS is an upgrade of 3G and has a bigger screen than BlackBerry Bold and so is unmatched. However, BlackBerry Bold is like an extension to your PC and can handle your documents much better than iPhone 3GS.

iPhone 3GS
Price~Rs. 19,000

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Captivating the attention of both professionals and the non-professionals, iPhone 3GS is available in India through Airtel. It has one of the finest touchscreens with the best user experience and promises best email and desktop like browsing via Edge, 3G and WiFi. It connects seamlessly to Microsoft Exchange for full access to corporate email, calendar, and contacts. Users can securely access corporate networks with support for leading VPN and Wi-Fi protocols including SSL VPN. iPhone 3GSs (8GB) is priced at 19k.



BlackBerry Bold 9780
Price~Rs. 20,000

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Priced at 20k, Bold has the latest and the finest BlackBerry 6 OS along with 512 MB RAM and 5 MP camera. In addition to having the standard range of connectivity options in 3G, WiFi, Edge, email and GPS it also includes Webkit web browser that is pretty fast and is supported with a universal search option from the home screen. Also, worth mentioning is the Social Feeds app that lets users to check for all updates on Twitter, Facebook, BB Messenger, Gtalk, and Yahoo Messenger etc. through one application.

Samsung Galaxy S
Price~Rs. 18,000

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Samsung Galaxy S, an Android 2.1 phone, is now available for 18k. It has a brilliant 4-inch AMOLED capacitive screen, 1 GHz processor along with Swype text input keyboard. It may not have a great camera, but is worth a look if you are considering iPhone 3GS. Galaxy has a 5 MP camera and can shoot 720p HD videos allowing one to shoot videos of seminars, events and conferences without worrying about capacity as it stocks 16 GB internal and 32 GB external storage.

Top Notch Business Phones (20K+)

Beyond 20k, your options are iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy S2, and BlackBerry Torch. iPhone 4’s 3.5-inch display has a screen resolution of 640 x 960, whereas Torch’s 3.2-inch has a resolution of 360 x 480.

BlackBerry Torch
Price~Rs. 35,000

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BlackBerry Torch boasts of BlackBerry’s WebKit browser that renders websites better and supports tab browsing unlike Safari. As far as email support goes, BlackBerry is hard to beat. Torch has better battery life and an intuitive touchpad for navigation. Both have 5 MP cameras, but iPhone 4 can record HD videos. Moreover, Torch has only a 624 MHz processor compared to iPhone 4’s 1GHz processor and Galaxy S2’s 1.2 GHz. BlackBerry is like a personal computer and navigation and typing is fun.

Samsung Galaxy S2
Price~Rs. 30,000

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Available at 30k, Galaxy S2 is the perfect sequel to Galaxy S with a wider 4.3-inch AMOLED display, which is even better than iPhone 4’s RETINA display and slimmer than iPhone 4. It runs on Android 2.3 and with a 1.2 GHz processor, it is faster than iPhone OS. It has WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G, HSDPA along with dual cameras supporting video calls, and has a TV output like iPhone 4.

iPhone 4
Price~Rs. 33,000

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iPhone4 boasts of on-screen predictive text input, while Torch has the characteristic BlackBerry keyboard in the slider. An iPhone4 (16GB) is the costliest at 33k, while iPhone4 (32GB) comes for 38k. Torch is priced at 27k and Galaxy S2 for 30k.

Special Plans for Business Phones

Business phones have some special plans from telecom service providers. Airtel and Vodafone are two of the leading operators which have support plans to make your business phones all the more useful. You can constantly access mail, talk on phone and surf the Internet at the same time, schedule and coordinate appointments in the middle of meetings, raise approval request, log on to check orders, update business databases and stay connected to your colleagues, customers, friends and family from anywhere, anytime. However, those who want to save by avoiding data plans can still access Internet through WiFi, since most of the good business phones support WiFi.




Airtel

Airtel on BlackBerry lets you use Organiser, instant messaging, calendar, attachments, SMS/MMS, wireless Internet etc. at fast 3G speeds. Video conferencing solutions and voice solutions are the other useful features for iPhone and BlackBerry.

Another service from Airtel, Hosted Mail is an enterprise mailing solution that helps one work smarter with zero investment on hardware or software. Airtel’s hosted mail is completely managed by Airtel and is free from hassles of security, backups and upgrades. You can focus on your core business and increase productivity without worrying about your mailing needs.

Vodafone

Vodafone’s advanced Mobile Xchange email and messaging services enhance collaboration and keep your colleagues in sync wherever they are. It includes BlackBerry solutions and Mobile Exchange. Under BlackBerry solutions, it allows for advanced security features and hands-on control to ensure optimal performance and the safety of company data from anywhere, anytime.

Vodafone’s mail and messaging solutions, bulk SMS for more interactive communication, common corporate caller tune for all employees, interactive SMS, and Vodafone’s Missed Call Alerts are other useful solutions.

BlackBerry Enterprise Plus allows you to configure your email account, synchronise your calendar, contacts and tasks, configure upto ten personal email accounts, browse Internet, receive and send instant messages for Rs 899 and can be activated by SMS ACT BBEP to 111. With BIS Lite, you can configure upto ten supported business or personal email accounts, receive and send instant messages and it can be activated at Rs 299 by SMS ACT BBPL to 111. If you are an iPhone 3GS user, you have three data packs at Rs 200, 499 and 699.

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