April 15, 2007

BlackBerry, iPhone or Sony UX1

Which is best?


This is a research question for AS Students (OCR Media Studies)  doing the 'New Media Technologies' option for audiences and institutions. Other readers may use it to help them review the changing nature of the handheld device market, noting that new entrants may be competing or trying to develop new markets. Bear in mind it may well be that the growth of wireless technologies particularly in cities will increase fragmentation in the handheld device marketplace.

Please use the comments boxes below the entry to discuss any issues. 

AS New Media Research Question

Using the BlackBerry (8800 & Pearl), iPhone and Sony UX1 as examples compare and contrast the different devices and discuss whether you think they are aimed at different markets or whther they are competing with each other.  

To do this question you should:

  1. Use the links below to research the devices
  2. Clearly explain the main differences between the different devices (don't go too teccie here)
  3. On the basis of the technical differences discuss who the likely market for these devices is likely to be (business / leisure)
  4. Discuss whether you think they are  in competition with each other or whther you think the markets they are aiming at are different. (Here you should dicuss price and where and how the devices are marketed)
  5. You should make a note of the most important sites you use and the date upon which you visited them. (These are essential research skills. The examiner will expect some hard evidence so they can check your assertions made in the exam). 

The Blackberry


Please note the folloing part of the entry: Several ordinary mobile phones have been released featuring the BlackBerry e-mail client which connects to BlackBerry servers. All these phones have full QWERTY keyboards (except the Motorola MPx220, Nokia E50 and Nokia E60).


This site has an excellent Flashbased product review with full sound.


This site gives you some background details into RIM  the company who make BlackBerries


This gives you a review of the Blackberry 8800. The review is useful as it evaluates the Blackberry's leisure abilities as well as business uses such as having bulit in GPS.


Latest business news story fromm BBC on BlackBerry. Make sure you read this one!! note the recent facts and figures about the company's market. Link the market details into the details from the story below also from the BBC:



BBC story on BlackBerry health hazard 


This is a useful independent assessment of the BalckBerry from University of Essex computer services department.  

The iPhone 

Apple's own promotional material noting how 'revilutionary the product is. Please note what features that the iPhone combines which they think justifies the term 'relovultionary'.



BBC technology page reviewing the iPhone


Guardian article on impact upon other phone companies on the announcing of iPhone


Wikipedia entry useful on development of touchscreen technology 


this review form Znet makes some useful comparisons with the iPhones capabilities as a mucis / video player with the current top of the range iPods. Note the comments on different screen sizes for example. Also note this extracts below:

The convergence device also takes a step away from its iPod brethren by offering a built-in mic for audio recordings. And unlike most mobile phones, the iPhone offers a standard 3.5mm audio jack, which will work with all mainstream stereo headphones. There's no FM radio but that's nothing new from Apple.

2.0-megapixel camera, a photo-management tool that rotates the display for landscape photos (like with videos), support for Google Maps, conference calling, a speakerphone, and text and multimedia messaging. We imagine there will be personal organiser applications as well, but Jobs kept quiet on such fine details. Connectivity options also look promising with stereo Bluetooth (thankfully), Wi-Fi (a huge plus), POP3 and IMAP4 email, and a Safari Web browser. The free push Yahoo email application looks especially cool since we won't have to wait for syncing with a PC.

On the downside, we were hoping for wireless iTunes music downloads. And it's too bad Apple stopped short of 3G support. Also, we're hoping that Apple introduces a standalone touch-screen iPod without the phone element as not everyone will want a convergence device. And here's the biggest caveat: phones are only as good as the calls they make, so we'll have to wait for our final assessment once we get a review product.

Please also note link to Znet video on iPhone below:


Blow extract from a blog review comment on
Guardian blogs pointing out the comparisons with the BlackBerry market:

Not many people care and this is not aimed squarely at the blackberry/windows market (no outlook sync and Word app yet) so I don't think expandability and applications are an issue (I wager that Apple will add more 3rd party 'controlled' apps a la Google Maps before long). I am more peeved that iTunes songs will not be able to be used as ringtones!

A sceptical comment from the Observer on the iPhone 

Link to a blog which points up some iPhone weaknesses

Financial Times Article of March 2007. this article is the most recent an well informed one about the commercial prospects of the iPhone with links to the mobile network in the States which is likely to be the first to provide it.  

The Linksys "IPhone" from Cisco

This was an interesting market intervention. Cisco systems a massive global company  had patented the name IPhone for quite some time. Apple have had to do a deal with Cisco to use the name iPhone:


Link to US based Linksys for promo materials. What market is being targeted here?  



Above BBC report on the story 

The Sony UX1

For details on the technology and the promotional and web based marketing material please link to my blog article on Sony Vaio UX1

Review of Sony Vaio UX1. Please also link to the following discussion below. (Note developments in interactivity via the internet here for exam purposes!)

Extract from Sony's initial marketing blurb (please note it is from Sony Europe compare this with the iPhone which is not yet out and with no clear information about what is happening in Europe regarding its release).

Everything about the UX1 makes it the ideal choice for anyone needing full PC capability on the go, particularly when they don’t have the luxury of time and space to open a notebook computer. Architects, engineers, doctors, sales professionals or anyone else, if your work takes you away from a desk, the UX1 can make a real difference.

A discussion blog on the relevance of the Sony Vaio UX1 and whether it will find a market, and if so who is that market?

Where it competes with iPhone:

  • It's barely bigger than a thick-ish paperback book, yet it packs a full Vista-touting PC
  • It weighs a mere 500g
  • 32GB model - it's a Flash drive. This has two advantages: it's faster than a standard drive and it's also more durable since there are no moving parts.
  • The 4.5in screen
  • The screen is touch-sensitive too 
  • Features two cameras - a 0.3-megapixel model in the top of the screen and a 1.3-megapixel job on the back),
  • One might observe that current UMPC's don't offer cell phone functionality. Until we recall that they DO have 3G or EVDO as well as Bluetooth 2.0. Skype and a bit of software are all that is needed to transform them into mobile phones.


Some of the issues which arise from this are what is the likely future of the Sony Vaio. Given their previousd product release history there will be a better one than the UX1 in a few months time. It will probably based on having a much larger flash memory and will probably be priced at the same level as the UX1. The UX1 will probably come down to about £1300.

The advantages of the machine are obvious for business and professional users. whilst its price may hold it back in the consumer market the ability to write it down as a business expense against tax will help lever it into the professional and commercial market. This should help amortise the obviously large development costs reasonably quickly with an eye to having version as a consumer product in the next couple of years. The fact that it exists now may well persuade many to wait before making a decision over something which is as expensive as an iPhone yet is 'locked down' in terms of its flexibility.

The other issue is what will BlackBerry do. It is clearly a smaller organisation than either Sony or Apple. what it may need to do to compete with iPhone is to improve its memory size and have better entertainment features.  

The jury is out over whether these will keep separate markets or go head to head. For many people the Vaio with its abilities to edit video and photos and the current ability to add in extra usb portable hard drives as well as cameras etc will be very attractive to the semi-pro image market as the price comes down.  

    - 3 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

    1. Samuel

      You must ask yourself this question. even though this is a large amunt of hype about the new iphone will it really cut into such a harsh market. As you look at some of the giants like Nokia and so on will the iphone really last. What do you think ?

      29 Jun 2007, 19:32

    2. Sam appears to be working for a mobile phone selling company and is asking a relevant question. Certainly Nokia etc will be bringing out something along these lines soon. The big question is whether Apple can use iTunes as its software platform to provide the rapidly developing content arena for mobile moving image. so far iTunes has been the mainstay of Apple’s lead in the MP3 market. My guess is that this is where it has the potential to corner a good portion of this rapidly developing market. This will only come to full fruition in the UK after 2012 when UK has gone fully digital and bandwith is released for mobile phone companies.

      As for its current sales success. Launched earlier this week this is the BBC report:

      30 Jun 2007, 07:54

    3. jackie113

      Sweet, glorious specs of the 11.6 millimeter device (that’s frickin’ thin, by the way) include a 3.5-inch 480×320 touchscreen display with multi-touch support and a proximity sensor to turn off the screen when it’s close to your face


      07 Jul 2007, 06:16

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