Have you given up on Blackberry after this week’s outages?
Even the backup systems failed — hardly what Steve Jobs would call “buttoned up”. According to eWeek, “RIM couldn't have mismanaged customers' expectations more poorly if it tried.”
My family ditched all RIM products last month due to other failings. Our decisions may help you upgrade too.
The Perfect SmartphoneThe perfect smartphone would combine the iPhone’s ease of use with Google’s cloud-powered data management and Blackberry’s keyboard. That’s not available but there are reasonable substitutes.
Why Bye Bye?As a Canadian, I'm supposed to be a loyal and rabid Blackberry user. I've had three over the years and never liked them.
In 2003, I had an excellent an excellent mobile solution:
- a Motorola P280 mobile phone which I tethered to my laptop for mobile Internet access
- a Palm Tungsten C organizer with a hi-res 320x320 colour touchscreen
The next model had colour but was thick. The scroll wheel broke twice. Still no touch screen. I had problems synchronizing emails with Microsoft Outlook. This never got resolved fully and may not have been RIM’s fault entirely.
Bold 9700When I left the corporate world in Nov 2009, "Blackberry" still meant "business". I got the just-released, limited-supply Blackberry Bold 9700.
The trackpad was a huge improvement over the scroll wheel but I've had continual problems.
- Battery: The battery didn’t last the day if I made phone calls. What good is that?
- Calendar: Google powers my mail, calendar and contacts. The sync with the Blackberry got progressively worse. In recent months, entries made on the Bold had to re-input online.
- Contacts: Contacts didn't sync well either. I had numerous multiple entries and no simple way to merge them.
iPhone or Android?Since I'm a big iPad fan — my first-ever Apple product --- I wanted to get an iPhone. The problem is the keyboard. There isn't one. I don't like typing on the screen even with an iPad. I wrote this draft using an external keyboard.
The biggest problem is with the iOS email client. It's not great even with this week’s release of iOS 5.
The final problem is with apps. I'm used to the ones on my iPad. Some are universal, which means I could use them an iPhone too. With Android, I'd need to find new ones. That's time consuming.
The WinnerI decided to get the Motorola Droid 3 (called by XT860 by Bell Mobility). It has a physical keyboard with a separate row for numbers — extremely useful.
The phone can be turned into a WiFi hotspot, which means I can (and did) ditch my MiFi device.
The biggest advantage is tight integration with the Google apps I use daily: mail, calendar and contacts. I'm planning to use Google+ more. I especially like the way photos get uploaded instantly (but don't go live until you approve them).
The bonus? Voice quality. I've had numerous voice-only mobile phones over the years. I found that Motorola had the best voice quality. I’m happy this time too. Even Skype works well, which saves on mobile minutes.
CopycatsHere's what the rest of my family got and why:
- Jeevan (son) - Samsung Galaxy S2: the latest, greatest, fastest (21 Mbps), biggest screen (4.3")
- Sharmila (wife) - iPhone 4: most like her new iPad 2
- Service restored, but Blackberry may never repair its reputation (The Guardian, Oct 16, 2011)
- RIM outage terrible timing ahead of Blackberry DevCon (eWeek, Oct 16, 2011)
- Blackberry outage a new threat to RIM’s smartphone brand (Huffington Post, Oct 15, 2011)
- Is the keyboard the only thing keeping Blackberry afloat? (CNet)
- 10 Android smartphones that outshine the iPhone 4S (The Register, Oct 5, 2011)
- Three gadgets get things done
- RIP: Steve Jobs “buttoned up”. Have you?
- Outlandish statements about apps from RIM
- image from blackberry melt down (Facebook) and xNamelessNeko (UK)
Podcast 139 (6:00)
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PS If you're upgrading your smartphone, what are you picking?