Thursday, June 12, 2008

10 Reasons to Ditch Your Blackberry for the iPhone continues

5. Web
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.

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.

4. Consistency
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.

3. Innovation
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?

2. OS
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)

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?

Final Thoughts
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.

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