I’ve been using a BlackBerry 8820 for almost a year now and have found that it is perfect for my needs: email, calendar, texting, phone. Even with that aside, I can’t avoid the lure of new, prettier cellphones to potentially off-seat my trusty BlackBerry. I don’t know why I do this since I am fully aware that the BlackBerry does absolutely everything that I need it to do and then some. What can I say, I love gadgets.
Some of you may be aware of that strange iPhone 3G device that reared its head on July 11th. Naturally, I lined up and shared my story. Aside from the battery draining issues, I loved my new toy and wrote off the battery performance as a victim of its own creation. I played with the iPhone all damn weekend and found it an absolute joy to use. Come Monday however, it was an entirely different story. The iPhone 3G was clearly not ready for true business use since it lacked many business-centric features such as cut-and-paste (duh), calendar invites, no sub-folder sync, no extension dialing, and so on (I know that only BlackBerries really offer some of these features but keep reading, i’ll address it). So, no more iPhone for me and it’s back to the BlackBerry I went.
I’ve also tried a handful of Windows-based devices to no avail. While most of them offer a decent feature set, I find that all lacked in one or more major areas. Lets take HTC for example. Their devices can be downright gorgeous at times but are always hampered by the Windows Mobile OS. Windows Mobile introduces serious hang-ups, downright crashes, random restarts, and security issues. Because the operating system is the root of the problem, these issues carry over to Palm, Motorola, Samsung, and any other device that go with the WinMo route. Also, many of the Windows Mobile devices tend to go for a longer horizontal keyboard which makes single-hand typing impossible. I’ve tried alot of WinMo devices over the past few years and have never really had much luck with them.
The closest replacement candidate that I have seen is the Nokia E71. The device has gotten awesome reviews by almost every respectable online publication so I was naturally curious enough to try it. I purchased my Nokia E71 at Nokia’s flagship store in NYC and immediately tore it open once I got home. Having had uninspiring experiences in the past with the business features of QWERTY phones in the past, the first thing that I did was connect to my company’s Exchange server. The process was relatively smooth but, once complete, I already had reasons to miss my BlackBerry. A few of my contacts did not sync over, no extension dialing, no sub-folder syncing (or viewing for that matter), no way to invite attendees to meetings, etc. Also, the Symbian operating system used by Nokia phones just lacks polish entirely. There are strange abbreviations (mangment?), convoluted menus, grammar mistakes, and way too many features such as video calling that are just not available in the USA. Overall, the device looks and feels amazing but lacks quite a few key features that I have grown to depend on in my BlackBerry.
With all that said, would I still try other QWERTY (love typing that) devices in the future? Probably, but it is becoming more apparent that no one can replicate what RIM has done to make their devices the true king in business. I don’t care how many manufacturers decide to release a device that targets the BlackBerry marketshare; there is just no equivalent to a BlackBerry other than a new phone directly from them.