The last several years has seen big changes in IT departments in businesses of all sizes. Gone are the days when all companies deployed standard issue Palm Treo or BlackBerry devices. These days, there has been a big push by employees to be able to use the latest and greatest devices including iOS, Android, and Windows Phone  for business. The “Bring Your Own Device” trend has caused some nightmares for IT departments around the world, but many popular phones now support the security features necessary for business. Cell phone providers also now offer cell phone plans geared towards businesses. Make sure to compare cell phone plans to find the best plan for your company. When deciding which phones to deploy to your employees, keep the following five criteria in mind:

Long Battery Life

One of the primary benefits of deploying business cell phones to employees is to keep your company connected, and boost productivity across the ranks. To this end, phones with longer battery lives will keep your employees connected longer when traveling and away from their desks. Most high-end smartphones these days feature excellent battery life.

Support for Microsoft Exchange

Millions of businesses around the world use Exchange Server for smartphones to facilitate their email. BlackBerry used to be the only gold standard when it came to Exchange support, but nowadays, Android, iOS, and of course Windows Phone devices offer satisfactory support for Exchange. In fact, many companies are switching to VoIP to save money, and most virtual PBX providers offer softphone apps so that businesspeople can use their office line from their cell phone.


One of the hallmarks of BlackBerry’s rise to business dominance in the last decade was the presence of a physical keyboard that facilitated writing emails and notes. These days, it’s not imperative that a smartphone have a physical keyboard because the virtual keyboards on most new devices are superb. However, many individuals in business still prefer the physical keyboard, so if this is the case in your company, make sure to provide a phone that features a physical QWERTY keyboard such as the new BlackBerry Q10.

Wi-Fi Tethering

Like long battery life, a smartphone that has the ability to tether itself to another device can greatly improve productivity. For example, most new Android, iOS, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone devices can become mobile hotspots that allow them to provide high-speed Internet to nearby laptops and tablets. It’s always much easier to finish a spreadsheet or presentation on a tablet or notebook than it is on a smartphone.

Cable Connections

Having a phone that features the right inputs and outputs can be important when an employee needs to use his or her smartphone as a hub to connect other devices. For example, a smartphone that can output a presentation file via HDMI to a projector can be a lifesaver in times when a computer is not available. Many high-end smartphones these days offer adaptors to fit almost any type of connectivity scenario.