The 3G version of Apple's iPhone could be set for a showdown with the new BlackBerry handset, according to one industry analyst.
Rob Enderle, founder and principal analyst at the Enderle Group, said that the new BlackBerry Bold stacks up well against the 3G iPhone.
Research in Motion unveiled the BlackBerry Bold on Monday. The redesigned handset sports a smaller design and revamped multimedia features.
Apple, meanwhile, has let supplies of the existing iPhone line dry up, fuelling speculation that a new model is on the way.
Apple chief Steve Jobs is widely expected to announce the 3G iPhone at the Worldwide Developers Conference on 9 June.
Enderle warned that in slimming down the traditionally clunky BlackBerry, Research in Motion must balance style and functionality.
"BlackBerrys have historically not been particularly attractive, although this changed with the BlackBerry Pearl," he wrote.
"Many found it much more attractive but it was not as easy to use for email, and it traded size for capability and multi-media features.
"The BlackBerry Bold uses iPhone design elements to create a sexy device that appears solidly focused on the traditional BlackBerry strength of email."
Apple, meanwhile, faces the challenge of proving its worth in a business world that has consistently embraced the BlackBerry and largely shunned the iPhone.
"Unlike the BlackBerry Bold, which is rooted in years of BlackBerry products, the iPhone has its roots in the iPod," wrote Enderle.
"The iPhone 2.0 gains several critical enhancements for business. It should integrate much better than the 1.0 product with enterprise email systems, but it will not work with a BlackBerry server."
For that reason, the analyst sees the traditional BlackBerry user base better served by holding off on the new iPhone and waiting for the new BlackBerry to make its debut later this year.
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