The best mobile devices for both business and personal use
As the one device you always have with you, it has to function at work, at home, and on the go. These five do it bestFollow @MobileGalen
However, the BlackBerry Torch 9800 is not like a previous BlackBerry -- well, it is and it isn't.
For messaging, the Torch works very much like a BlackBerry Bold -- the executive's BlackBerry of choice -- which makes it immediately comfortable for longtime BlackBerry users. Its slideout keyboard is essentially the same as the Bold's, so it's easy to type with.
Whereas Web browsing was the Achilles' heel of previous BlackBerrys, the Torch's new browser is thoroughly modern, displaying the Web in its full glory. And the Torch's touchscreen is both large enough and touch-responsive enough to handle the Web and iPhone-style apps well. At this point, there are few BlackBerry apps available, and many websites assume that the Torch is as Web-crippled as previous models, so they often autosubstitute a limited WAP version. As Torch adoption grows, both of these external limits should fade.
Although the Torch is tied to AT&T in the United States, that exclusivity will end soon, and you can expect models from all the major carriers this winter.
In a nutshell, the BlackBerry Torch is a good merger of the traditional BlackBerry messaging and security strengths with the modern touch, app, and Web capabilities pioneered by the iPhone.
If the BlackBerry Torch feels too old school for you, our recommended physical keyboard runner-up is the Motorola Droid 2. Note that the device runs Android OS 2.2, which is not as secure as the iPhone and may not be allowed onto many corporate networks without third-party protection.
Best tablet: Apple iPad
A year ago, some pundits were questioning the viability of the then-unreleased iPad. Today, it has created a whole new market and proved a hit among consumers and businesses alike.
There's a reason for its success: The iPad is an amazingly good device, one that can act as a surrogate laptop much of the time. Its large screen is quite good for desktop-like Web browsing, as well as for running productivity apps, playing movies, and working with multiple email accounts. With hardware attachments, it can act as a presentation device or pull in photos from digital cameras, for example. Additionally, it's very portable, thanks to its low weight (1.5 pounds) and long battery life (10 to 11 hours is typical).
Plus, because of the iPad's use of iOS 4 and native support for Microsoft Exchange policies, it can be securely used in most businesses.
The iPad is not perfect. Its Safari browser, for example, doesn't work well with many applications-oriented websites such as Google Docs and Microsoft SharePoint, but it is amazingly capable for a first-generation product. None of the competing Android tablets comes close to the iPad in terms of capability or performance. The closest competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, is a weak imitation.