Over the next few weeks will be bringing you some editorials on why we chose our smartphones over others. Yes they’ll be dripping with bias but thats because we “know” we’ve got the best device out there. Hopefully they’ll help you in making your decision on what type of smart phone you’d like to own. As always leave your comments, questions and thoughts at the bottom of the page.
Hmmm now where to begin? I bought my first BlackBerry back in 2004. It was a BlackBerry 7210 with a colour screen and EDGE connectivity. I was able to send and receive email while out and about and even surf the web with my browser (albeit primarily text based pages as high quality websites were beyond the power of EDGE). This to me was a revolution after having come from Nokia and before that Siemens. BlackBerry started it all and in my mind was the first real smartphone.
When I first contacted my network to ask about getting a 20mb data add-on (the largest available at the time costing 24 euro per month) so I could surf the web they warned me of over usage costs but that didn’t worry me as my BlackBerry compressed data sent over the web so much so that 20mbs went a long long way, even on EDGE. This is particularly handy even now with networks getting stingy with their data allowances. I was able to use Google maps soon after (when the app launched) and friends were impressed with the technology. As newer devices came out, I speak here of the iPhone initially the BlackBerry to many looked staid and old fashioned. To be honest I blame this more on RIM’s ability (or rather inability) to effectively market their devices. They took their eye off the ball and discounted the threat posed by Apple and later Google with their Android devices, unfortunately to their peril.
I still think BlackBerry’s are amazing devices and can easily hold their own against other smartphones. The unified integration they offer is superb. I own an iPod Touch 4G (and before that a 1G), my wife owns an iPhone 3GS and my mum owns an iPhone4 and I’ve gotten to handle and use many Android devices belonging to family and friends so I’m not speaking with blinkered eyes. I maintain/fix them all and I particularly love my iPod touch for videos and music, but for getting things done none of them compare with my BlackBerry (currently a 9900).
There are no separate apps for doing the basic things; I can review all my social feeds (facebook, twitter etc…) all under a single native app. I can read and write documents, attach them to emails, I can group emails under conversations so I can keep track of what’s going on. All my email accounts can be grouped under one section rather than having to go in and out of different email account inbox’s. My device has proper multi-tasking and has done since day one and this allows me to rapidly move between different apps. It’s also an extremely secure device, so much so its military grade secure and with things the way they are now with phone hacking and malware I like a device that’s not going to leak information on me. Battery life which gets me up to 48hrs of un tethered activity is also a god send.
I understand that this is a personal preference but typing is so much easier and pleasant for me on a full physical QWERTY keyboard, so much so I can write long emails/documents if needed in a fraction of the time that friends and family can with their all touchscreen devices (I unlike them have never been heard to utter “damn you auto correct”). Near Field Communication has been made available to many of the latest crop of BlackBerry’s including the 9900 and already apps are nearing release to take advantage of this technology. You’d also be amazed how having a touchscreen with a trackpad can come in handy. Great for precision movement (making corrections to typos is very annoying for me with touchscreen only devices)and also great in cold weather as0020I don’t have to take my gloves off to operate my device
The device, like any other, does have its disadvantages; not the best media player in the world and the small screen is not conducive to watching films, as well as it’s OS not being ideally suited for playing the latest games But these don’t bother me as that’s not what I need from my smartphone and these gaps should be sorted following the release of BBX.
I can appreciate that not everyone one wants all of these things but I do think if RIM got their marketing team together and pushed out this information then maybe things wouldn’t be as bad for them as they are at present. Being 3rd (behind Apple and Google) isn’t bad if you can lock down a percentage of the market and make a buck but as with the global economy, if analysts get a whiff of bad results (bad in their minds) then they go all out for the kill (just ask any European country who’s been bailed out). I don’t doubt people see advantages in both Android and the iPhone but when I see people cheering the decline of BlackBerry I pity them for being in the bubble and not having the chance to test it out, properly. The future is still up in the air for BlackBerry but I think the new OS will deliver for RIM in areas where many customers feel they’re lagging somewhat. For me it’ll be another natural progression in the BlackBerry world but that doesn’t mean I still won’t be keeping my eye on the competition.