There are no hard and fast rules in this regard but keeping the following points in mind might just help.
1. Operating system:
Yep, just as you have to decide between Linux and Windows on a PC, you will need to make up your mind about whether you would rather go for a Symbian, Windows Mobile, Palm OS, Black-Berry or Linux device and each OS also has its own sub-groups too (Symbian, for instance, has different editions of Series 60 and UIQ). The jury is still out on which one is the best, but you will need to keep in mind factors like speed of operation, number of applications available (preferably free ones) and compatibility with other devices, before you opt for a particular OS. Do remember that unlike in PCs, you cannot install any OS on any phone—so if you are dreaming of running a Symbian OS on an iPhone, forget it! Here you are pretty much stuck with the OS that comes on the device. No changes allowed.
2. Screen size:
No need to go “duh’’ on this one. While screen size is indeed important on all cell phones, it attains an entirely different dimension in the case of enterprise phones. This is because one often ends up viewing, documents, presentations and spreadsheets on enterprise devices and even browsing the Internet a fair bit. And the bigger the screen, the lesser the strain on your eyes and fingers (hey, think of all the scrolling you will save on!).
Do you like touch screens, physical keypads or a blend of the two? And even in physical keypads, do you want a proper QWERTY keypad, a semi-QWERTY keypad or just the good old alphanumeric affair? Well, it all really depends on your needs. Touch screen users normally end up with larger screens and the convenience of being able to scribble using a stylus, but have often to put up with iffy handwriting recognition systems and slightly lower battery performance. On the other hand, those with physical keypads often find the keys way too small to really replicate the convenience of a notebook but get better battery performance and more software applications to play around with. Suit yourself!
Different devices come with different software options. For instance, some might come with a full-fledged office suite while others might just have an application that allows you to view (but not edit or create) MS Office files. You will also need to consider whether your device comes with a PDF reader, a good email client (preferably supporting push mail) and a decent Internet browser. It’s just like a PC—the hardware is every bit as important as the software.
As most enterprise phone users are frequent travelers, do check if the phone will work on all networks. If you have no intention of straying beyond Indian borders, do make sure that it supports EDGE (you will be surprised to know that some high-end enterprise phones do not support it). And it is not just a matter of networks, you will also need to check out if other connectivity options such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are available onboard and also the kind of devices supported. It always helps if you can connect a projector or printer directly to your phone!
The days when people used to insist that multimedia had no place in enterprise phones are passé. So make sure that the camera on your phone supports features like business card reading and whether the phone’s speakers are good enough to allow you to use it in speakerphone mode even in a meeting, if need be. Also check if the phone allows you to record long audio clips and whether it allows image editing—you will be surprised at just how often you need them.
7. Processor, storage:
All the features highlighted before would be useless if your phone ran out of juice in no time at all. Similarly, a good processor is necessary to ensure that your device keeps ticking over nicely. Storage of course will allow you to carry most of your files in your hand, and having lots of memory to play around will ensure that you can run multiple applications without your device hanging or crashing.