Mobile // Mobile Devices
05:09 PM

Apple's 3G iPhone Stands Better Chance Against BlackBerry

Apple's 3G iPhone could become a strong competitor against the BlackBerry and weaken Google's initiative to build an open source operating system for smartphones.

Apple's just-announced 3G iPhone has the potential of becoming a stronger competitor in the business market against Research In Motion's popular BlackBerry, and could weaken the impact of Google's initiative to build an open source operating system for smartphones, experts said Tuesday.

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs introduced the latest version of the iPhone on Monday at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. With support for carriers' 3G, high-speed wireless networks, third-party applications, a number of security protocols, and Microsoft's Exchange e-mail server, the new iPhone has what it needs to appease enterprise customers, experts said.

"This could enable Apple to challenge the BlackBerry market more aggressively," Fareena Sultan, digital marketing professor at Northeastern University, said in an e-mail. "Also, more third-party applications could help soften the impact of the Android initiative from Google and the Open Handset Alliance."

Gloria Barczak, chair of the marketing department at Northeastern's business school, agreed. "Apple's announcement of the iPhone 2.0 with 3G technology and GPS [global positioning system] are certainly the right moves to gain market share in the enterprise market."

In addition, Apple's decision to drop the price of the base model of the iPhone to $199 from $399 is expected to boost demand in the enterprise, as well as with consumers. "This lower price now puts the iPhone in reach of many more people," Barczak said. "Together, these three enhancements will help to build overall demand for the iPhone and the product category of smartphones and puts even more pressure on iPhone imitators and competitors."

The BlackBerry is the leading smartphone among businesspeople. The iPhone, however, has made gains in the market, but remains a relatively small player.

J. Gerry Purdy, chief analyst for mobile and wireless at consulting and analyst firm Frost & Sullivan, said the new iPhone reflects a business shift for Apple from offering high-priced units and sharing revenue with carriers to delivering low-priced devices that support the company's paid online services, such as the new MobileMe, also launched at WWDC.

"With iPhone App Store now coming to market along with MobileMe, Apple uses their new 3G iPhone as a services platform," Purdy said in an e-mail.

Apple plans to release the latest iPhone on July 11. The company expects to make it available in 70 countries this year.

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