Buh Bye Blackberry
It's a strange day when an opinion piece condemning a device for not a few inadequacies actually sells someone else on the supposedly flawed device; but that's exactly what happened while reading Omar Shahine's recent rant against the iPhone. In a nutshell, he's been using the iPhone for the last couple years and, while he initially loved the iPhone, he's grown tired of all the problems he has (which are mostly due to his work situation because of Windows tech).
However, I have grown tired of you. As an enterprise device, you have completely failed. Each update of iOS brings more problems with Exchange support. You fundamentally don't understand what it means to talk to an Exchange server since your programmers don't use Exchange for their jobs. I put up with months of email hangs, years of poorly formated emails, calendar appointments went missing from my calendar, and you still don't understand that it's important when you look someone up in the corporate directory that you show their office location. After 2 years of this, I'm convinced you'll never figure this out. I put up with it though because you were the best lifestyle phone around.
All good points and the above is almost picture perfect for why I've been sticking with the Blackberry for the last 4 years. I always looked at the iPhone (and I hate to say it but pretty much anything Apple) as just a toy used by amateurs. Yeah, I'm a snob about computers (Surprise!). But it was true; once upon a time Blackberry had the better reputation for email and, with email being as important to me as it is, Blackberry wins. It was really that simple.
Blackberry really took care of me and most of my needs for a LONG time. I've used the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES), IMAP and POP with the Blackberry for email and it's always been pretty cool (POP less so but what do you expect from POP?). There's a pretty nice App ecosystem too, not as good as the iPhone (obviously), but I never really felt like I was missing anything. I had Google Maps, a great RSS reader with Viigo, a couple cool games, an SSH client and a pretty nice phone to boot. Along with the email, which, seriously, I thought couldn't be beat, I was a pretty happy man.
And then, about a year and a half ago things started to get a little... crappy with the Blackberry. I've been using a Blackberry Bold, once a really good device, but there was a constant issue with the trackball not working. For days at a time I couldn't scroll down. That probably doesn't sound so bad at first glance but when you consider that the Blackberry doesn't have keyboard shortcuts for navigation and moving the trackball to the extreme of any direction doesn't loop to the opposite side the device in the interface this made my Blackberry pretty much useless for anything except email (painful, but usable anyway) because of a keyboard shortcut for opening that application.
I couldn't use Google Maps and I couldn't read any articles. I couldn't use the web browser (unless I clicked a link in an email). Hell, a couple times I couldn't even turn the ringer back on once I'd turned it off. Oddly though, the trackball would miraculously start working after about a week though I could never figure out what happened.
And that's where I found myself last week as I was reading Omar's post; I'd been ham fisting my way through using my Blackberry for basic, email only, stuff and I was fucking sick of it. Hearing all of Omar's reasons for dropping the iPhone were reasons that don't apply to me anymore. I don't work in a corporate job so no more Exchange or IT policies to comply with that aren't of my making. This was a revelation; I don't need a Blackberry just a good smart phone that does email alright. Enter the iPhone.
So I took the plunge. I dropped a couple hundred, signed a 2 year contract with AT&T (sigh...) and after playing with the iPhone for the last 24 hours I really think I made the right choice. The whole tapping thing is pretty nice though typing is challenging right now (makes me feel like I have fat fingers...) but I'm told it gets easier.
The weird thing is just how much I love the email management. It. Is. Slick!! The iPhone really makes the Blackberry look like shit; it's like comparing Windows 3 to Windows 7. It's that good. Animations, smooth interface, decent search and really thorough Google Apps integration; wow was I impressed. It's that good.
Still, the juries out on whether or not this is a good move; it's entirely possible I'm going to regret moving to the iPhone but for now at least everything's nice. I still have my old Blackberry Bold, ready to use at a moments notice (sans trackball moving down of course), so I should be cool but as of right now I'm happy.