Ultimate mobile deathmatch: iPhone vs. BlackBerry vs. Droid vs. Pre

Despite the Droid, the iPhone and BlackBerry remain on top; use our ratings calculator to determine the best smartphone for you

The latest Android 2.0-based "iPhone killer" won't kill the iPhone or the BlackBerry -- and the cheaper HTC Droid Eris is the new smartphone that I think Apple should be concerned about. But there are now six smartphones on the market that will appeal to business and professional users, each with different strengths and weaknesses. This article gives InfoWorld's ratings for all six -- the Apple iPhone, HTC Droid Eris, Motorola Droid, Palm Pre, Research in Motion BlackBerry Bold, and RIM BlackBerry Storm 2 -- plus an interactive ratings form in which you can enter your own weighting for each category in our exclusive Mobile Deathmatch Calculator and get a customized score for each smartphone.

Our buying advice is simple:

  • If you want a mobile device that takes full advantage of Web connectivity, applications, and personal media that you can also use for business connectivity such as e-mail and calendaring, get the iPhone, even with the inferiority of AT&T's 3G network.
  • If you're subject to high security requirements, such as for regulatory compliance, need to manage lots of devices, or just can't handle using a touch-based screen keyboard, you want the BlackBerry Bold, which is available from several U.S. carriers.
  • If you can't stand the thought of using the AT&T 3G network and don't need to access corporate e-mail (outside of POP and IMAP mail servers), you want the HTC Droid Eris, which, like the Motorola Droid, is available only from Verizon Wireless.

[ Read InfoWorld's in-depth mobile deathmatch series: BlackBerry Bold vs. iPhone | Palm Pre vs. iPhone | Motorola Droid vs. iPhone. And see our deathmatch slideshows' head-to-head comparisons: BlackBerry Bold vs. iPhone | Palm Pre vs. iPhone | Motorola Droid vs. iPhone | Read our review of the HTC Droid Eris. ]

The WebOS-based Palm Pre was innovative last spring but has been bested by the new generation of Android devices. (Its sole U.S. carrier, Sprint, appears to have moved on from the Pre, now focusing on Android devices.) The Motorola Droid's keyboard is unusable, and the lack of multitouch support in its included apps makes its few technical advantages over the HTC Droid Eris -- basically, a few extra security features -- a lousy bargain. The BlackBerry Storm 2 was supposed to fix an unusable clickable touchscreen in the original version, but the solution doesn't address the core issue: Tapping is very slow on the screen, to the point that sustained text entry is out of the question. It's not surprising that within weeks of its release, carriers are selling it as part of two-for-one specials.

Windows Mobile and Nokia Symbian devices are also out of the picture. Microsoft's long-delayed Windows 7 Mobile remains vaporware, and making purchase decisions on Microsoft's promise is foolhardy. Nokia's Symbian OS has evolved slowly in the last decade and simply isn't in the same league as modern mobile OSes; Nokia knows that and has a plan to move -- over several years -- to a new OS called Maemo. Someday we'll see what Maemo has to offer; in the meantime, Nokia has been unable to get U.S. carriers to sell its smartphones.

[ If the InfoWorld Test Center comparative scorecard does not display properly below, see the original story at InfoWorld.com. ]

Test Center Scorecard
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For midsize and large business (InfoWorld standard)

For personal use

For small business

For regulated business

15% 15% 10% 20% 10% 15% 15% Overall Score
Apple iPhone 3G S 9 7 9 7 5 9 9

7.9

Good

8.4

Very Good

8.0

Very Good

7.4

Good

15% 15% 10% 20% 10% 15% 15% Overall Score
HTC Droid Eris 7 5 7 5 9 7 7

6.5

Fair

7.3

Good

6.7

Fair

5.7

Poor

15% 15% 10% 20% 10% 15% 15% Overall Score
Motorola Droid 7 5 7 5 9 5 7

6.2

Fair

6.9

Fair

6.4

Fair

5.5

Poor

15% 15% 10% 20% 10% 15% 15% Overall Score
Palm Pre 9 6 6 6 9 6 7

6.9

Fair

7.5

Good

7.3

Good

6.8

Fair

15% 15% 10% 20% 10% 15% 15% Overall Score
RIM BlackBerry Bold 4 9 5 10 9 5 5

6.9

Fair

5.8

Poor

6.0

Fair

8.1

Very Good

15% 15% 10% 20% 10% 15% 15% Overall Score
RIM BlackBerry Storm 2 4 9 5 10 9 1 5

6.3

Fair

5.0

Poor

6.6

Fair

7.7

Very Good

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