Apple iPhone has best software yet
Competitors suffer from flaky software
Comment August 20th, 2008

By Roger Howorth

If you haven’t used an Apple iPhone you might be forgiven for thinking people like the software because it’s pretty to look at. While it is pretty, there may be more to it than that.

For example, many web sites don’t work properly with Symbian phones, and Windows based mobiles are not faultless in their handling of some of the less popular email configurations. In contrast, the iPhone is the first mobile phone I’ve seen that properly handles IMAP email with SSL security.

Maybe these ‘bugs’ with the other phone software have yet to be ironed out due to lack of demand. After all, most people are on tariffs that charge dearly for Internet connectivity, which means many people simply don’t think about using their mobile phone for email or web surfing. These charges are just about bearable while you’re on your home phone network, but they are usually punitive when you start roaming.

I accidentally allowed a Windows based mobile to check my mailbox every 15 minutes for a day or two while on holiday in Italy last year and paid over £200 for my mistake.

After my expensive Italian jaunt, I was pleased to find the iPhone has an “on/off” switch for each mailbox so it’s easy to stop the phone’s email service while you’re roaming.

Unfortunately, O2 — which is the only company to sell the iPhone in the UK — doesn’t offer an iPhone Blackberry option. This is a shame, because Blackberry is the only reliable mobile email with reasonable roaming tariffs.

In contrast, I run Blackberry software on my Sony Ericsson P990i. Despite Vodafone saying the P990i can’t run Blackberry, the software is a free download on the Sony Ericsson website. Once it was installed, I simply told Vodafone my Blackberry PIN and the phone’s IMEI number and everything was working properly a few hours later.

For the record, my experience with Vodafone’s Visto service was that while the mil service seemed to work properly, the phone eventually stopped receiving SMS messages. A short while later it stopped sending SMS messages too. Vodafone was unable to explain or fix the problem, but when I removed the Visto email software the SMS messages started flowing again.