BlackBerry Smartphones vs. Ruggedized Handsets
Which comes out on top?
Businesses with field employees have several options when it comes to mobile devices, including smartphones and ruggedized handhelds and laptops. Picking the right mobile device for your operation requires understanding the needs of your field employees and how they interact with their mobile devices. For employees who operate in harsh environments, ruggedized devices are an obvious choice. However, for most users, a BlackBerry® smartphone has great advantages in form factor, usability, and cost. Research In Motion (RIM) wanted to know more about the difference between BlackBerry smartphones and ruggedized devices, so we commissioned ABI Research to study how companies are choosing their mobile devices. Here's what we learned:
For those who do not require extreme ruggedness, smartphones typically provide a superior user experience to a ruggedized device. Ruggedized devices can weigh as much as 25 ounces, whereas smartphones generally weigh 4 ounces or less. Also, because smartphones tend to be more attractive than ruggedized devices, companies have reported greater utilization rates from employees who are better able to view the smartphone as their own.
BlackBerry smartphones also have several advantages in usability over ruggedized devices. For one, ruggedized devices frequently only have a battery that is designed to last for the duration of one shift, while BlackBerry smartphones have batteries which can last up to several days without a charge. Smartphones are also extensible with a wide variety of accessories, including durable cases, Bluetooth barcode readers, printers and signature pads. Because these accessories are available—but not built in—smartphones can be flexible and powerful, without becoming bulky or heavy.
Perhaps the most important factor to consider is the difference in total cost of ownership between BlackBerry smartphones and ruggedized devices. While rugged devices cost $1,500 and up per handset, smartphones cost around $200 dollars, on average, meaning that even with a moderately higher replacement rate, BlackBerry smartphones are much cheaper to deploy. Also, the flexibility to extend a smartphone with Bluetooth® accessories, which are affordable and can be used with multiple smartphones as they're needed, means additional savings in hardware costs.
The study by ABI Research found that the savings associated with using smartphones instead of ruggedized devices can be dramatic. The analysis found that companies using a BlackBerry smartphone solution pay 14 to 88 percent less for their mobile solutions than companies that use ruggedized handsets and laptops. These savings come from the smartphones' lower hardware costs, as well as increases in efficiency owing to smartphones' constant connectivity and portability.
Although ruggedized handsets can be excellent solutions in circumstances that call for extreme durability, a mobile solution is only effective to the extent that employees in the field use it.
Download the report on BlackBerry vs Rugged Devices total cost of ownership »