Head to Head: iPhone 4 vs Windows Phone 7 vs Android

We compare the features of the three major smartphone operating systems, iOS4, Windows Phone 7 and Android, to see which is best-suited for business use. Our findings may surprise you.

The once-common sight of businessmen on their BlackBerrys is changing. With the introduction of the iPhone, Android and now Windows Phone 7, there are more choices than ever if you're looking for a business smartphone. We compare Windows Phone 7, Android and Apple's iOS to see which mobile operating system is the best for businesses.

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Email/Exchange support

Windows Phone 7, iOS4 and Android all have Exchange support using Microsoft's ActiveSync connecting technology, but which is the best for delivering push email on time and managing your schedule?

Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone 7 inbox

One would expect at least a competent email app from a Microsoft smartphone operating system and that's what you'll find in Windows Phone 7. Integrated within the Office Hub, Outlook email allows you to sync your email, calendars and contacts. It's quick to set up and supports multiple Exchange accounts, unlike Windows Mobile.

The Outlook application works as one would expect. It's simple to manipulate multiple emails, either to delete them, mark them as read or flag them for later follow up.

If you have multiple email accounts and calendars, these can be viewed in a unified inbox and unified calendar view respectively. Alternatively, you can switch between accounts by swiping to the left and right. Security-conscious users will be pleased by the ability to remotely wipe them if the phone is lost.

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Android

Android 2.2 has significantly improved email and Exchange features compared to previous versions of Google's smartphone operating system. Exchange calendars and address books are now supported, as is remote wiping.

Multiple Exchange accounts have been supported since the introduction of Android 2.0, but there's still no option to have a unified inbox to view multiple email account inboxes in one place. Although unified inboxes don't suit everyone, it would still be good to have the option.

Like the iPhone, SSL is supported. If your accounts support this technology, account passwords can be encrypted instead of being sent across the internet as plain text where they could be intercepted by villains, closing a potential security hole.

iOS4

Unlike previous versions of Apple's groundbreaking smartphone operating system, iOS4 now supports multiple Exchange accounts. Remote wiping, using either Exchange ActiveSync or Apple's paid-for MobileMe service is available. There's also a unified inbox so you can view all of your email inboxes on one screen.

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If you have multiple email accounts, all of your inboxes are displayed at the top of the Mail application's window, while the accounts are displayed at the bottom. Tapping on an account shows you all of your other folders as they appear on your computer.

The Edit mode makes it easy to archive, move or delete emails whether you're using the unified inbox or not. There's no option to set a priority when composing emails though and you can't mark emails for later follow up.

Winner: Windows Phone 7

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