After several years of relatively faithful service I have traded my Blackberry Bold in for a shiny new iPhone 4 as my primary business and personal phone. A good portion of the impetus for using Blackberry in the first place was its purportedly superior messaging capabilities, and for my year living in Europe, the option of an unlimited international data plan.
The Blackberry was a good albeit frustrating companion. Many features like email and telephone “just worked,” and Blackberry Messenger was fantastic for keeping in touch with my wife and avoiding the per message charges from our local French and Italian phones. Our source of frustration was things like both our Blackberries shutting off at the most inopportune time (think being lost in a foreign city, hoping for Google Maps to guide us home) without warning. The low battery feature giving up the ghost early in the lives of both our ‘berries.
Beyond email, messaging (primarily BBM and twitter) and my most-used application, a task manager called TodoMatrix, the application experience was incredibly frustrating. Die hard Blackberry fans will tell you about how the BB “App” experience is “good enough” and that most of the iPhone applications are games and fart apps, but I have found neither to be true during my three weeks with the iPhone.
Most Blackberry apps were poor cousins of the iPhone or Android equivalent, and the store and installation process was painful at best. To install or upgrade most applications, a reboot of my Bold was required, which was literally a 7-8 minute process, inexcusable with a modern smartphone. The selection is also paltry. For a given task, even something business-focused, the iPhone will have 5-50 different applications to choose from, where the Blackberry has 2-3 at best, and 0 at worst.
In the next part of this series, I’ll look at the transition away from Blackberry, the things I miss, and where Blackberry might go from here.