Productivity

A category that is perhaps most likely to see significant change on both platforms over the next six to 12 months, but on current evidence the iPhone again has the edge even if both feel underdeveloped. A pithy description? I'd call it a classic case of innovation paired with a couple of well aimed shotgun blasts to their own feet.

Take Android, it will sync beautifully with Gmail, Gmail contacts and Google calendar but offers no desktop synchronisation whatsoever - madness. Committed Outlook, Mac Mail/iCal users you're up one particularly infamous canal without so much as a basic propulsion device unless you want to splash out on third party software such as GooSync or ABCMerge for the full mail, calendar and contacts shebang.

Similarly, business email services like Exchange aren't covered, there's no decent office software currently (come on OpenOffice) and even basics like a virtual onscreen keyboard have yet to be unleashed meaning touchscreen-only handsets are currently left twiddling their thumbs. Naturally once again, with a devoted open source community behind it these problems may soon be erased (perhaps as I write?) but it doesn't change the fact that Android isn't remotely business friendly out of the box.

To be fair neither is mobile OS X, though let's confront one misnomer head-on: the virtual keyboard. Simply put if you can't use it you just haven't put in the practice. Like SureType on a BlackBerry speed comes with time and when combined with its superb proximity-based auto correction system inside a month you should be typing faster with it than on any prior physical mobile keyboard. Period (pun intended).

Immeasurably less defendable is the fact it took Apple an entire year to release Exchange support (which still has issues pushing multiple calendars) and there's no office productivity software of any kind - barring a viewer for Microsoft Word, Excel and Adobe PDFs (big whoop). The infamous issue of cut and paste still somehow remains unresolved as well and the handset's inability to truly multi-task (again, more on this later) means many of these issues are likely to take a long time to fix.

Plus points? They do exist. The email client is superb, handling html with equal ease and common attachments types with aplomb, while MobileMe - if still not the service we'd hoped - does bring welcome OTA mail, calendar and contact syncs as well as an online portal allowing these to be viewed and edited from any web connected computer.

Both Android and mobile OS X also bring class leading Google Maps integration (certainly something which has upped my productivity) and even if multi-touch makes it a more pleasurable experience on the latter Street View support is an immediate bonus for the former. Mobile OS X firmware 2.2 will address this shortcoming any day now however and also throw in walking and public transport information for good measure. With satellite, hybrid and traffic views, directions and searches for local services available on each platform though neither has anything to feel ashamed about.

That said, despite this last minute nugget the sad fact is that should productivity be your primary focus, then RIM's proprietary BlackBerry OS, Symbian and even the much maligned Windows Mobile remain vastly superior business tools. If you're prepared to wait this may change but in the meantime Android and mobile OS X are simply not up to the task.


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