What rivals have that iPhone doesn't

Posted by Hitarth Jani | 5:11 PM | 0 comments »

The release of 3G iPhone has once again refueled the raging mobile battle. It has renewed the fight which has been on since January 2007 (at MacWorld), when Steve Jobs first showcased his touchscreen magic to the world.

Jobs keynote address at MacWorld woke up the telecom world to a new opponent and since then the cellphone manufacturers have been on their toes to develop a formidable iPhone rival.

Almost all top cellphone makers, including the mobile giant Nokia either have an iPhone rival ready or are vigorously working on the same. Companies are leaving no stone unturned to dissuade Apple from taking over the cell phone market.

Case in point is the unveiling of Nokia N96 two days prior to Apple iPhone's official release. So, here's looking into all where and how these hottest competitors manage to score over iPhone.

3G iPhone comes in 8GB and 16GB models, and with no expandable memory. While its rivals, Nokia N96 and Samsung Omnia offer higher storage.

Nokia N96 offers memory expansion of up to 24GB. This smartphone packs 16GB of internal memory, which is expandable up to 24GB.

According to Nokia, the phone can store up to 60 hours of video or 20 full-length movies. The 24GB N96 can store up to 18000 songs and up to 20000 images.

Similarly, the Samsung Omina has same storage variants, 8GB and 16 GB, and it also allows users to expand memory.

In the days when 5-7 megapixel camera seems to have become a rule, Apple iPhone's 2 megapixel seems pale. Its closest rival, Nokia N96 boasts of 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, dual LED flash and video light. The video camera captures at 30 frames per second.

Not only this, N96 predecessor N95 also boasted of a 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss autofocus lens. It has support for multiple scene bright flash, high quality VGA video recording at up to 30 fps and front-facing VGA camera for video calling.

However, missing features like video recording and optical zoom in iPhone only add insult to injury.

Samsung's iPhone wannabe Omnia too features a 5 megapixel camera. It supports auto focus, image stabliser, auto-panorama shot, wide dynamic range and face detection options.

It also supports video recording, video editing and audio and live dubbing.

The latest touchscreen smartphone from BlackBerry, Bold, though has a 2 megapixel camera, but support video recording, built-in flash and digital zoom, unlike iPhone.

HTC's Touch Diamond too has high-resolution camera (3.2 megapixel) with an optical auto-focus lens, video calling capability and auto sensor screen pivoting.

Like HTC's smartphone, Sony Ericsson’s XPERIA X1 too has a 3.2 megapixel camera with photo light. The phone is company's answer to Apple iPhone.

Another feature where Nokia's 'Killer Product' steals a march over iPhone. For music lovers, Nokia N96 has media keys, 3.5 mm headphone connector and built-in 3D stereo speakers. Users can access digital video broadcasting, wireless Internet and Bluetooth.

To engage gaming enthusiasts, there are N-gage games. Nokia N96 has support for stereo Bluetooth (A2DP), but iPhone lacks this.

Samsung Omnia too stands high on multimedia features with a TV-Out feature to playback content from the phone directly on the television screen. DivX technology enables video content transfer from the PC to the mobile.

Not just this, Apple iPhone also doesn't let users transfer data using Bluetooth and lacks regular FM and offers users streaming Internet radio. Users can only use the Bluetooth feature in iPhone for hands-free calling.

Another area where iPhone lags behind is no MMS and message forward. Users cannot simply forward text messages. Users can only send text messages or snapshots via email. Also, there is no option to send SMS to multiple contacts.

Also, while the iPhone offers the popular Google maps, the drawback is that these maps do not offer voice directions in certain countries. The N96 offers Nokia Maps 2.0 with voice directions for almost all countries.

Even BlackBerry Bold boasts of high-end multimedia features. For music and video, the BlackBerry Desktop Manager software includes Roxio Media Manager as well as Roxio Photosuite 9 LE, to edit pictures and create photo albums on the computer.

One of the biggest plus points of iPhone rivals is that they are service provider agnostic. As a user, you need not get tied to Airtel for certain period with a certain rental plan just to own them.

Most iPhone rivals, including Omnia, N96 and BlackBerry Bold can be bought off the shelves with no operator bar.

Another area where iPhone struggles to compete with rivals is no user replaceable battery. Users cannot change an iPhone battery on their own. They will have to send it to an Apple outlet for this. On the other hand, Nokia N96 offers users the freedom to remove and replace the battery.

Though Apple reportedly claims that it has intentionally left out the user-replaceable battery because it adds bulk and weight, but users may not wish to buy that reason.

However, it’s rival BlackBerry’s Bold that supports removable/rechargeable battery which provides multi-hour usage with a target talktime of approximately 5 hours and standby time of 13 days.

Unlike Apple iPhone, Samsung Omnia supports a removable battery.