iPhone-Blackberry Battle Will Be Fought Over Keyboards

While Apple may be planning to use its iPhone for a major assault on Research In Motion’s corporate fortress, the maker of the BlackBerry appears to be preparing to turn the tables on Apple.

RIM has been seeking engineers steeped in Apple technology to mount a counterattack of its own.

In spite of all the well-deserved hoopla about the iPhone, RIM still has an impregnable position in enterprise and corporate markets — its tactile QWERTY keyboard is way more accurate than Apple’s glass keyboard, and corporate types are less tolerant of e-mail errors than rank-and-file consumers.

On the other hand, RIM, which has been advertising for experienced Apple technology experts, may be able to replicate the Apple touch screen — other handset makers have similar handset touch screens — easier than Apple can come up with an accurate enough keyboard to satisfy corporate users.

According to the AppleInsider Web site, an internal job listing at RIM reads: “As part of a newly created team, you’ll influence the development and design of BlackBerry software.” The listing goes on to cite a range of requirements, including experience with Mac development, JavaScript, XML, and Mac Sync services.

While many iPhone users swear by the accuracy of the iPhone’s keyboard, independent tests have found iPhone users make way more errors than users of handsets with tactile QWERTY keyboards. Research into developing haptic technology for the iPhone, while progressing, isn’t generally believed to be ready for prime time.

Haptic pioneers at the Glasgow University recently introduced an improved keyboard for the iPhone, but reviewers haven’t embraced the technology yet.

RIM is well aware of the iPhone’s keyboard problem. “I couldn’t type on it and I still can’t type on it and a lot of my friends can’t type on it,” RIM co-chief visionary Mile Lazaridis said, according to a report in The New York Times this week. “It’s hard to type on a piece of glass.”

Also this week, RIM forged a new partnership with Prometric to make the BlackBerry Certification Program available on a worldwide basis for the first time. Prometric’s 4,700 test centers will be available for users who want to develop or improve their BlackBerry skill sets. Also helping to improve RIM’s corporate programs is a new partnership with SAP.

Meanwhile, Apple is expected to unveil several iPhone improvements in June, ranging from cut-and-paste capability and larger memory to improved location technology. The keyboard could be improved, too, but the big question is whether corporate types will like it.

See original article on InformationWeek.com

Via Yahoo

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