Going along with our own Blackberry vs iPhone comparison and Crackberry's 10 Reasons Why the iPhone is NO Blackberry , we realized we should cover some basic reasons why people should ‘switch’ over to TiPb’s favorite toy. With Palm fading into obscurity and Windows Mobile feature strapped and overextended, RIM and Apple have become perhaps the two most relevant phone makers today. Which begs the question, which one should you pick?
I’ll offer you ten reasons why you should leave your Blackberry behind and choose to phone different*
*In this article, I am using the Curve as the measuring stick for all things ‘Blackberry’
Read on for the rest of the article!
Call me crazy but I don’t miss the QWERTY keypad on the Curve at all. I’ve quickly grown accustomed to the iPhone’s soft keyboard and haven’t looked back. My trick? Type with conviction. And if you asked me if I would rather have the iPhone’s screen or the Blackberry’s keyboard, well I guess you already know which choice I would choose.
It may be just personal preference, but I always thought the Curve’s keyboard to be its weakest point. It was efficient, to be sure, but the keyboard’s quality didn’t match with the rest of the phone. Sure, I got the reassurance of a ‘click’ but it is much too plastic-y and hollow for my liking.
Because a main draw to smartphones (non-iPhone) is the physical keyboard, I think it’s a glaring oversight that RIM included such a sub-par keyboard. Bear with me here, Apple’s soft keyboard has received favorable reviews in its execution while the Curve’s keyboard just seems cheap. Though some folks might never pass that line of moving toward a soft keyboard, being pleasantly surprised with performance is better than missing your expectations in quality.
Before I get flamed to obscurity, know this, I acknowledge that the Blackberry is an e-mail beast. Push e-mail is always better than pull e-mail, no arguments about it.
It’s just that the iPhone’s Mail Client is not as pathetic as it is made to be. Even though it isn’t instantaneous, I prefer the interface of mail on the iPhone. Perhaps it’s the bigger screen real estate that allows more fluid and intuitive programming, but the Blackberry just seemed so basic after experiencing mail on the iPhone.
The standard e-mail client on the Blackberry leaves so much to be desired and the white TextEdit-esque background is not elegant whatsoever. Though I’m not a big fan of HTML e-mail, its still much prettier to see all the bells and whistles of HTML e-mail than it is to see the code.
Everything about the Curve was thoughtfully approached, from the form factor that fits perfectly into your hand to the rubber grips that outline the edges. The lightness of the phone was also a pleasant surprise, the Curve just felt perfect in your hands. But with the Blackberry, the appeal lessens over time; it just became another device to carry, a design trapped by its phone functionality.
On the flip side, the iPhone’s design is award winning and very likely, the best looking gadget on the market. The one piece design redefines the way a phone is ‘supposed’ to look and by just holding it, you can feel its importance. The benefits of its design don’t stop there, it also is a great playground for developers to create on. Developers finally have the ‘blank slate’ they dreamed of.
My problem with Blackberry was always the lack of Mac support. Right out of the box, there is no solution. Mac Users would have to find third party programs such as PocketMac or the MissingSync to connect to their computer. I tried PocketMac, because it was free, and then I realized why it was free—it needs a lot of help. I hear MissingSync is the perfect bridge between crack and mac but I have personal issues against paying for something that should have been included in my purchase.
So without ever actually syncing the Blackberry to my Mac, I was left living two separate worlds. Though both companies have user communities that are strikingly similar, if the devices don’t sync with each other, Mac and RIM will always be worlds apart.
The Curve was supposed to be RIM’s big step into the multimedia world. But without being able to sync to my Mac (and to iTunes), my Curve just languished in non-media purgatory. My 4GB microsd card? Useless. The Curve’s supposedly improved media capabilities? Never used.
The iPhone is as Steve Jobs often puts it, the best iPod in Apple’s iPod line. As Blackberry slowly improves their media capabilities, Apple is already firmly entrenched as the premier media device maker in the business.
The premier mobile internet browser is Safari on the iPhone, in fact measuring Safari on the iPhone against Blackberry’s Browser just isn’t fair. It is safe to say that the Blackberry’s weakest point has been their web browser, they seemingly made a decision that for connectivity purposes, e-mail is priority number one and the browser falls somewhere in between the alarm and the calculator (which both need help, as well).
Many people continue to say that they can’t stand the iPhone’s soft keyboard. Well, I’m of belief that web browsing WITHOUT a touch screen is a worse experience. Scrolling the trackball to find a section of a site you want to look at (mind you, it isn’t readable until you zoom in) and then clicking in to zoom is a painstaking, roundabout process. With the iPhone, well we all know the beauty of multi-touch. Combine the fact that text on Safari is readable BEFORE the zoom, it makes the Internet on the iPhone as much of a given as e-mail on the Blackberry.
What I don’t miss about Blackberry is the lack of consistency in the settings and options. Some programs could be downloaded OTA (over-the-air) while other applications needed to be imported from your computer. Settings seemed to be here, there, and who knows where. It was too much work trying to get things right. In fact, it reminded me of my PC days of yore. It became a chore to find updates and programs on the Curve and a hassle to tweak the settings or even find the settings. The out-the-box experience of the Blackberry is horrid.
With the iPhone, once you clear an amazingly easy activation process. You’re set to go. The settings are clear and easily accessible, the user interface is intuitive, and it works perfectly out of the box.
I feel that in most aspects, the Blackberry is always a step behind from the competition. Aside from e-mail of course, which they hit the pop culture jackpot with, there are certain features important to me that they’ll always be chasing Apple and other phone makers. That’s how my mindset was when I was using the Blackberry—the programs and applications I used, other phones had better.
A big difference between Apple and RIM is that RIM is rooted in being a phone maker whereas Apple comes from the world of computers. The best phone is probably neither of them, hell it could probably be a Nokia somewhere, but being the best phone doesn’t concern Apple. Apple is reaching for goals that RIM doesn’t seem capable of understanding. Because RIM is trapped in delivering a phone first, they aren’t thinking in a wavelength where innovation in mobility can occur.
Can you imagine RIM (as Bold as they claim to be) pushing voicemail into something users don’t hate? How about utilizing a slick technology like CoverFlow? Multi-touch? The form-factor of Blackberries will change but I’m afraid the OS might become as archaic as Palm. Compounded with the fact that Apple makes the finest ‘real’ OS (UI-wise) in the land, wouldn’t you think they’ll implement as much of it as they can in the iPhone?
I just always felt that the Blackberry trapped everything into that little device whereas the iPhone opened it up. Strange I know, considering there aren’t any 3rd party apps for the iPhone. With the Blackberry, I needed to dig to make it work. Using little menu screens with a slow trackball makes little sense compared to flick, tap, touch. With the iPhone you don’t have to learn a new OS, everything that’s in there is at your fingertips.
Maybe RIM’s reliance on third party apps isn’t a good thing for Blackberry. To use the Curve on a Mac you would need MissingSync, BB Smart HTML E-mail Viewer, Opera Mini, a better music player, a better alarm, etc. For me, all those things are must purchases/downloads if you were to commit to a Blackberry. Well with the iPhone, Apple provides better options than those third party apps, standard. (Now, if only I can just buy push e-mail)
Too many things on the Blackberry were ‘on the verge’ of being fixed and I was told to ‘just wait for the next OS’ too many times. I’m glad that Apple shook up the phone market because it makes companies like RIM react, competition creates two roads: innovation or extinction.
1. The Present Future
Honestly, the customizable nature of the Blackberry confused me. I want things clear-cut, show me what I can have and I’ll pick and choose from there. With the Blackberry I had to constantly double check with other users to see if I was using it correctly and if the programs I chose were the best out there.
I’ve realized that in order to take advantage of everything the Blackberry has to offer, you have to be an active user. Meaning you have to constantly peruse the forums and blog sites to know what’s going on in the Blackberry world. Blackberry does a good job of OS updates but keeping all the users in the know is difficult because they don’t have an outlet like iTunes.
With the advantage of iTunes, Apple has the comfort of knowing anyone who uses an iPhone will know when the next update comes and what it will do. Also the syncing capabilities are clear cut, I am certain that my photos, music and calendars are on the iPhone because iTunes has it checked. In the future, the App Store should also help users remain “in the know” about their devices because a simple click from your iPhone could deliver all the new goodies you need (but of course, you shouldn’t live without TiPb!). The simplicity of the whole process makes it hard for me to ever imagine using a non-iPhone.
I have infinitely more faith in the Apple phone revolution than being in RIM’s boat as it happens. Because I know Apple, I know Mac. I know the simplicity of the user experience and I trust them enough to deliver it to my handheld. From my experience with Blackberry, the entrenched veteran is just as far away as the promising rookie, Apple, from delivering the perfect device. So what does that say?
I remember my first thought of the Blackberry was “Is this it?”. Looking at the Curve, I realized that the Blackberry was not as powerful a device as I originally imagined. Productivity-wise, it was fine. But the lack of syncing to Mac, the buried settings, the old-looking OS, etc.—it left me wondering where the heck was the ‘crack’?
But the Apple way of doing things isn’t for everybody. Power users would prefer a gadget tailor made to their likings and usage, and that is fair. I just found the active part of being a Blackberry user too tiresome. I wanted a gadget that just did it for me. And the iPhone was that gadget.
Apple and RIM are each other’s antithesis. RIM locks themselves in being great with what is easy (keyboard, push e-mail) and inches toward improving the more difficult (media, web). Apple, on the other hand, does the opposite: innovates the ‘impossible’ but lacks the commonplace features.
There are some things that the Blackberry does really well that the iPhone needs to learn from. But for the most part, it seems like Blackberry doesn’t have innovation in the areas that have room to innovate. Push e-mail won’t get any better that it already is. But the iPhone can get better, and will.
Ready to ditch your Blackberry? Can't get passed the soft keyboard of the iPhone? Tell us why you picked one or the other in the comments and qualify to win a $100 iTunes Gift Card in this Wait-a-Thon post!