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John

Comon dale the blackberry is by far the best device. Just because you work for Microsoft of course you hate the blackberry.

Max Staples

Hi Dale,

Glad you're back!

But I have to disagree with you about the BlackBerry. I've found that I use the BlackBerry much more than my iPaq 2215. The two reasons for this are one-handed operation and wireless calendar sync and push email. The fact that my company uses BES is probably also a critical factor.

I will say that the Treo is a better, more versatile platform than the BlackBerry - I had a 600 for a while. BUT it's a good bit more expensive AND we would have to go to the GoodLink platform to support push email, etc.

Leonard Werbeloff

Dale, I also have mixed feelings on the Blackberry. I got a 7100t for push email at work and that by itself is enough to justify it. The bluetooth implementation is weak (headset only, and even that requires answering first on the phone with my Bluespoon digital). Can use it as a dialup modem for a laptop with a usb cable attached, but much clumsier than with a pocket pc. For work, the 7100t is really all I need, though. I still have a 5500 which I use to record Snapstream TV or read ebooks, but end up taking it with me mainly when traveling (will probably replace it with a portable media player rather than another pocket pc. It's a different experience with the 7100t, but can see why its a PC Mag choice.

Dale Coffing

Good points Leonard. Well push really isn't an issue when you have Exchange2003... if you don't you can get individual accounts over at www.mailstreet.com and that can give you push. For me personally push really is pretty overrated. I would rather read email when I am free to get to it... Not that it matters though with Exchange2003 since you have the choice. The 7100t is the first Blackberry product to support the Exchange2003 which is nice.

My typical setup is to have the email scheduled every 60min to come down to the device.

sean

Wasnt this site bigger at one time?

Mark Rejhon

The 7100 is not my favourite BlackBerry (don't like the keypad), but I really love the BlackBerry 7290. (The one with the good screen and full keyboard).

The BlackBerry has come a long way and now I use it 90% of the time versus my iPaq 10% of the time.

The PocketPC/TREO is a vastly superior multimedia machine, but the BlackBerry is the best wireless connectivity machine in my opinion. While BlackBerry software is a lot more limited, and the included software is not always good, there are now over 20 different chat programs available for BlackBerry, some really good -- such as Verichat, which is also available for TREO too.

Also, sometimes the thumbwheel approach IS better and faster, if you are properly trained on it. (And I was the fastest Grafittier in Fitaly's Dom Perignon III contest, at 40.1 words per minute ... so trust me, I am fast with a stylus.) I am a thumb touchtypist, typing at over 70 words per minute on a BlackBerry thumb keyboard. Can't do that fast errorfree on a TREO 650 keyboard (nice phone -- very fast Blazer web browser, I'll admit)

Third party software has exploded in 2004 for BlackBerry. The IM software is inferior on the 7100, I prefer BlackBerry Verichat which is vastly superior. It's nice to run instant messaging with the screen always turned on, for 100 hours nonstop -- something a Treo or PocketPC can't do.

Here's my BlackBerry FAQ which speaks for itself:
http://www.blackberryforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=269

Also more information about hidden perils of a touchscreen for certain types of users:
http://www.blackberryforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=530
(Scroll down to "Idiot Proof" section)

Mark Rejhon

I should add that there are many methods of hotkeys that avoids thumbwheel.

For example typing Crej (five keypresses) on a BlackBerry 7280, will automatically compse an email message to "Mark Rejhon" or the first entry that contains a name beginning with "Rej".

Keypress shortcut addicts will appreciate these little nice things about the BlackBerry in this aspect. Now, cross that with the thumbwheel's superiority for scrolling up/down a large list without having to aim a stylus at a scrollbar (and occasionally tapping incorrectly) ... and the fact that typos are easier to correct than an accidental tap, you GET the idea WHY a touchscreen slows down people like me, especially as I am so LIGHTNING fast, that 'accidents' annoy me. The back (Esc) button next to scrollweel on the BlackBerry allows me to undo an accidental keypress like an accidental menu click, etc. No clear equivalent on a Treo/PocketPC. You just have to Think Differently... :D

Deekie

Hi

I would like people to stop comparing the BlackBerry to traditional PocketPC's & Smartphones, it is neither. The BlackBerry is not an "out the box" standalone device, hence is not in the PocketPC or Smartphone device category. Those devices tend to be categorised by their operating system (mainly Microsoft or Symbian). The BlackBerry is proprietary and does not function without either its BES (Enterprise version) or Webmail client (Internet version) software integration. Indeed, the BES version is the most powerful, robust, secure and simple to use mobile service that is still way ahead of its time.

PocketPC's do have their place, and are superior at running additional applications but they are first & foremost standalone devices. The BlackBerry handheld has been designed to be "always-on" ...which is designed to work seamlessly on its unique proprietary software platform, hence its battery life, push email, real-time calendar etc are features that many are still trying to imitate. Without that integration, it would be a useless lump of plastic.

The last thing you would do with any PocketPC, is leave it "on" all of the time. They were never designed to do that, hence its useable battery life is measured in hours as opposed to days with the BlackBerry. Pseudo-push email services, for example the excellent Smartner Duality product, are far more suited to the PocketPC platform and so are designed to operate with the limitations of the hardware in mind.

Also, for the person struggling to cope with lots of email on his BlackBerry 7100 ...hello, you are using the wrong model. The 7100 is "phone-centric" ...it is an excellent mobile phone handset with most of the BlackBerry functionality we expect, but you would not want to do a lot of composing on its two letters per key proprietary SureType keypad. If like myself, if you are composing a lot of email, then the other models that are data or email centric (such as the 7290 with its full thumb keyboard) would be the best device to choose. Indeed, as a useless typist, i am just as quick at composing using my two thumbs on my BlackBerry, as i am with two fingers on my laptop! .

On a lighter note, for the chap whose best shot at this unfair comparison was that "at least the PocketPC could spell-check his outgoing email" is a bit of an understatement. Nowadays it is quite acceptable (almost expected) when using informal electronic forms of communication such as email or text messaging, for it not to be spelt or gramatically correct. Indeed, for those that care, if you sent a mispelt email out of your company, it would not reflect upon the ability of the company ...more the education of the individual that sent it! However, come on, there are far more useful and important uses for PocketPC's than that :o)

PocketPC's/PDA's are one category, Smartphones are another, proprietary solutions such as the BlackBerry or excellent devices such as the Nokia "communicators" deserve to be in a category of their own.

Kind regards, Deekie

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