Palm, Inc. introduced the very first smartphone in the US in 2001. It combined the features of a personal digital assistant (PDA) with a wireless phone that operated on the Verizon Wireless network. The device also supported limited web browsing, but the product line never became widespread outside North America. A year later, the first BlackBerry devices were released, which later evolved into the first smartphone optimized for wireless email use and had reached a total of 32 million subscribers by 2009. In the meantime, Apple came out with the first iPhone in 2007, and also created the App Store a year later – which hit some 15 billion downloads in July 2011. Apple is now gearing up to release the iPhone 5. Global smartphone sales grew 74% in a single year to more than 107 million in the second quarter of 2011, according to data from US-based IT research and advisory company Gartner, Inc. Smartphones are now conquering Hungary, too: data from last November shows that the number of smartphones used by Hungarians reached 1.7 million. The Budapest Business Journal asked five Hungarian managers about their choice of smartphones and the reasons behind it.
István Salgó, ING Bank, CEO
In line with ING Group’s policy, we all use BlackBerry smartphones here at ING, we can’t even consider using anything else. Security is the great advantage of a BlackBerry, but on the downside, the operating system is inflexible with very limited customizing options. I think Android systems are more user-friendly and offer more customization options. However, I prefer simpler phones when just making phone calls. Smartphones come in handy when I need to transfer data. For genuinely effective communication, I need a BlackBerry, a simple Nokia and my personal assistant.
Péter Tordai, the Hungarian branch of KBC Securities, deputy CEO in charge of the retail division
The fact that my BlackBerry is continuously able to synchronize my calendar, emails and my partner list helps my work and saves me a great amount of time. BlackBerries are popular among top managers in the banking sector, mainly due to their high security level, but I don’t really like using it in my private life because its multimedia applications are weak. iPhones or phones with Android operating systems are more user-friendly devices, and can more easily be customized – as one can see in the increase in their market share. We, by the way, will soon launch a mobile application optimized for iPhone and Android that enables users to access the stock markets anytime, anywhere.
János Bartók, Aviva, president-CEO
iPhone 4, iOS 4.3
I have always had a thing for Apple innovations. They always focus on users and usability, instead of solely on tech tricks and development. Although there are faster and more developed devices than the iPhone 4 on the market, I don’t know any that could be easier and better used. My choice of the iPhone was also backed up by the usability of the App Store, which offers solutions for most business problems. In addition to my iPhone, I also use an iPad for business purposes, mostly for tasks when screen size is an issue. Advantages: it just works! It is stable, easy to use, always at hand, convenient for phone calls, listening to music, navigating or playing games. Disadvantages: it should have a better-quality camera, and the battery needs to be recharged quite often too.
András Posztl, managing partner, Horváth és Társai DLA Piper
According to the company’s global policy, I use a BlackBerry, and when it comes to business utilization, I am entirely pro-BlackBerry. These phones are, both in terms of data transfer speed and security issues, more suitable for business use than either an iPhone or an Android. This in practice translates into lower telecommunications costs for data transfers. Further advantages of BlackBerries include their outstandingly long battery life and their practical keyboards. But downloads require a little more time than with other smartphones and it features fewer available applications as well – these, however, are less significant aspects when it comes to corporate use.
Zsolt Kalocsai, CEO, RSM DTM Hungary Zrt
Just like everyone else in the management, I use Apple’s iPhone with OSS operating system. iPhones are user-friendly, with simple and quick setting options. The email and calendar functions are synchronized with our own Exchange server. With the help of the web browser, we can follow economic events, or even check on the weather conditions before a sailing race. The only challenge an iPhone poses for its user is that if you accidentally tap the touch screen during a call, it will end it.