October 16, 2011


Blackberry broken
broke BlackberryHave 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 Smartphone

The 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:
I got "upgraded" to a monochrome Blackberry with horrible screen resolution and disappointing phone quality. Two steps back.

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 9700

When 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.
  1. Battery: The battery didn’t last the day if I made phone calls. What good is that?
  2. 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.
  3. Contacts: Contacts didn't sync well either. I had numerous multiple entries and no simple way to merge them.
The web browsing is painfully slow and the screen is miniscule. And still without the touchscreen I used to have in 2003. RIM introduced new Blackberries in August but they aren't impressive. I'm not willing to risk more misery. These days, smartphones require apps (contrary to outlandish statements from RIM). That's where Apple and Android shine. The LinkedIn app came last to Blackberry last.

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 Winner

Motorola Droid 3 / Bell XT860I 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.


Here'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
We are all happy … for the time-being.


Podcast 139 (6:00)

direct download | Internet Archive page | iTunes

PS If you're upgrading your smartphone, what are you picking?


Christina said...

Helpful review - will cut down the shopping time when I'm ready to get back into the high-tech world.

Fave handheld ever was the Palm Tungsten T5 - For the small fortune it cost at the time, I'm annoyed that the software didn't keep up after about 1-2 years with updates to Windows/Mac.

Had a few different BBs and never in love with any of them. Never found that the document capabilities were good enough that I could do multi-day national travel without a laptop on board. Enough wifi at hotels and airports (etc.) that I didn't need something with it's own network access.

Decided to go way, way low-tech 2 yrs ago and downgrade to a basic mobile phone that does nothing more than make phone calls. Life is much less stressful.

I agree that the touch screens on the iPhones are hard to use.

Promod said...

Thanks for your comments, Christina. The Palm Tungsten line was amazing at the time. I had (have) a Franklin Covey organizer with a special spot to hold it. I had the external folding keyboard too.

I did consider getting a basic mobile phone since I usually have my iPad. That would have been suboptimal. Each device has its merits. A smartphone wins on portability. Android is perfect for sending emails because it merges contact info from multiple email accounts, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. That's very convenient. I can start an email on the device and finish on my notebook. That's nice too.

When you decide to get your gadget, you're bound to have more choice. Bell is launching 4G LTE service which makes our weeks-old devices "obsolete" :)

mensajes claro said...

Its a helpfull review of the perfect smartphone , Thanks for sharing