Smalpre adds that there is "no self-destruct mechanism if a lost or stolen device is activated. [For a BlackBerry,] we can send a kill signal that will wipe the device and render it as useful as a brick forever. The device can only be restored to functionality and service by the company that owns it. There is not reset, no reformat. It is dead to the thief and useless to a pawn shop." Furthermore, Smalpre says, "No imaging or standards solution exists for iPhone. We can plug any of our blackberry or Windows Mobile devices into a controller and instantly load a company standard of software and features. This lowers support costs. We can allow and disallow particular functions and features from a central management console controlling what is called a desired state. In other words, we can say a machine can only have a proven stable configuration and deny unauthorized 'freeware or software' that may compromise reliability. We can remotely backup data and information for users which makes turn around for replacement or damaged devices quicker and practical because it also restores it to the last state a user had their device. Let's see you do that with an iPhone."
[ The iPhone OS 3.0 software that will ship as a free update on June 19 includes on-device encryption, remote kill, and other features for the enterprise. Learn what it has -- and what the iPhone is still missing. ]
User interface: Is GUI the wrong standard?
Many readers also complained about my complaints on the BlackBerry's user interface, especially around e-mail. I bemoaned the many manual steps, unintuive settings, and message clutter that I suffered from. Reader Ha Inc chastises me: "Galen points out how the iPhone has all the normal e-mail actions such as reply and forward with their own dedicated buttons. I guess he did not bother with keyboard shortcuts such as 'R' for reply and 'F' for forward. He also claims it is hard to delete messages on the BlackBerry but I guess he did not figure out that the delete button deletes messages."
For the record, I did use the shortcuts (and gave BlackBerry credit for having them), but the delete key required a confirmation of deletion that ended up being as slow as using the menu command. Turning off confirmation in preferences did not affect the delete key's requirement for confirmation, just the menu option's requirement. To my mind that's just bad UI.
And it's true that you can tweak lots of settings on the BlackBerry to reduce some of its obnoxious defaults, like keeping e-mail you moved to a folder in the main inbox as well. But the real issue to my mind is that memorizing dozens of key commands for functions is not intuitive or easy -- most people stopped using command-line interfaces in the mid-1990s, and while shortcuts are alive and kicking, they work best as alternatives to -- not replacements for -- GUI interfaces that have been long the norm in Windows, Mac OS, and even Linux. Why would a smartphone adopt an obsolete UI approach?