Wednesday, July 22, 2009

BlackBerry, Crack, Addiction

So I recently gave up my Windows Mobile based phone for a BlackBerry Tour from Verizon. I get new phones cause I'm a gadget addict. There is no disdain on my part for WinMo except for two key areas. Speed and stability.

Microsoft has demonstrated that it can build slimmed down, speedy, yet robust OSes. Windows 7 is proof positive these guys are the best at what they do. That said, the memory leaks and quirkiness that plagued my WinMo powered Samsung i760 got the best of me... and when finally faced with the option of a 3G BlackBerry with a real keyboard on Verizon, I had to take a look. I've fiddled with the Storm before, a nice effort on RIM's part but just not "there" yet. Maybe BB OS 5.0 or the Storm2 will better their touchscreen offerings, but for now, the non-touch enabled, real keyboard BlackBerries are the king of the hill when it comes to down and dirty messaging, email, and most of all phone duties.

I really have to say, I loved, loved, loved the form factor of the Samsung i760. It had a slide out WIDE qwetry keypad, touch screen, FULL 0-9,#,* keypad, hard buttons for WinMo functions. This is the form factor that all phones should be judged by. Sure it was on the thick side, but it had it all. If I could get some sort of Android release for that phone I would probably switch back in a minute. Or maybe, just maybe, Microsoft will eventually get WinMo up and running with the best of them.

There is a lot of rumour about the future of WinMo and what MS might do in the coming months with the release of Windows 7, the Zune HD, and the mystery product code named "pink." Maybe they have a few cards up their sleeve. That said, the mystery is just too much for me so I turned to the current king of the smart phone world. The BlackBerry.

The BlackBerry Tour impressed me from the start. When you hold a RIM device you really get the feeling that someone there that designs their phones just knows how much of a pain it is to use just about every other phone out there. The BB interface is just, well done. They have thought through the usability and flexibility that people want in a device like this. I have always been a command line, keyboard shortcut, leave the mouse in the box type of computer user. Well, there are keyboard shortcuts for just about everything on the BlackBerry. RTFM. It's great.

iPhone fan boys can keep their comments to themselves. I've used an iPhone. Several times. Get a set of hands as big as mine and try to type on that infernal touch screen. You will go nuts trying to type out the simplest of messages. And yeah, who cares if their are a few typos in a text message. But if you are carrying out any kind of business on the phone, you don't want to present yourself as illiterate. Maybe there is a slow acceptance in society for piss poor spelling and words spelled with numbers... but that doesn't fly in an email sent by me.

BlackBerry is giving users the best of both worlds in many cases, and a choice in places it can't. The best of both worlds comes in that you can download apps for the BB on your own, or use the BlackBerry App World. You aren't locked into a store controlled by a gatekeeper. They aren't making their technology exclusive to any one carrier. They have phones on every major wireless provider in the US (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and I guess T-Mobile if you think they are major). They offer an enterprise solution for companies, using the BlackBerry Enterprise Services or the ability for anyone to use their phones with BlackBerry Internet Services. Additionally, they have a touchscreen phone and phones with qwerty keyboards.

I think RIM is doing it right. Apple just wants everyone to drink their red kool-aid and live with one solution for all.