8 Reasons to Consider an iPhone Over A BlackBerry

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One of the few disadvantages of the mobile advancements we are making is that consumers get bored of their mobile device after a very short period of time, or when the newer model comes out, whichever happens first. This is true for a lot of people I know, and it is true for me as well. On the flip side, when I get a new phone, I generally spend the first week or two getting to know the phone, and it is usually accompanied by excitement and enthusiasm about my new device.

This was true about my latest device, the BlackBerry Bold. I was very excited about it and after learning the ins and outs of BlackBerry’s interface and menus, I love it even more. However, I have definitely come to learn about some major issues with the phone that I thought I should share seeing as I spoke of it as the ultimate phone in my last post. Let me just emphasize that I still do NOT intend on replacing it with an iPhone mainly because of the iPhone’s lack of a keyboard and support for background apps, two things the Blackberry taught me that I most definitely need in a phone.

The following is a list of my top 8 problems with RIM as a company and the Bold as a mobile device:

1: Lack of Full Gmail Support: This is by far my biggest annoyance with the Blackberry. A feature that is implemented in the email experience of my iPod Touch, my G2, and other phones, is not available in what is supposedly the world’s ultimate email machine, the Blackberry. I am referring to full IMAP support for Gmail. You can define your Blackberry Gmail account with IMAP using a silly work around I dug up on the Web, but even after doing that, the Blackberry does not have full IMAP support.

OK, for those of you who are NOT geeks and do not know what IMAP is, let me explain. Basically, IMAP enables you to fully synchronize your email, contacts, and folders on the various platforms in which you access your account. Still too geeky? If you check your Gmail on your phone, you want that email message to be marked as read in your browser’s inbox and not to show up as new. IMAP enables this. When it comes to Blackberry, as of now, when I am accessing my Gmail at work using my computer’s browser, all the emails I read throughout the day appear as new in my Blackberry’s inbox. To be fair, I will say that the opposite is not true. When I delete something from the Blackberry, it deletes instantly from my inbox and does not appear in Gmail when checking via a browser.

I figured there has to be something I am missing and that there is no way RIM, the company that is synonymous with email, does not support the world’s most popular email, Gmail. So I did a little research and it turns out it is a known issue, and while full IMAP support is supported using RIM’s corporate BES email, or Yahoo mail, Gmail IMAP is not supported, nor is there any indication anywhere that it is even in the works. I have to add that I am aware of the Gmail app for Blackberrys, but if I am going to use that app, there really is no reason to use a Blackberry, I can use it on any old basic phone, it just takes away all the advantages of using a Blackberry. Major disappointment.

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2: Second Class Website: RIM has a lot of work to do when it comes to their website. I understand that their main audience is corporate and when one receives a Blackberry from their place of work, it comes with all the necessary passwords, but that does not mean every single page on the website should be restricted to members only. After all, there is a nice chunk of people using their Blackberrys with BIS (Blackberry Internet Service), RIM’s non corporate solution. How about a link on the site to contact RIM with a question? I understand they will not reply within the hour, the same way Nokia, Apple, or Sony won’t, but consumers still want to be able to contact their cellular manufacturer with certain questions, and on RIM’s site, a Contact Us is nowhere to be found.

In addition, when it comes to Blackberry’s new Blackberry App World, which I will discuss later, it can only be accessed and downloaded using Internet Explorer (what’s that?), no Firefox, no Chrome, and no Safari support. C’mon, RIM, are you serious? Internet Explorer? I think we can agree that the time has come to upgrade your website. The bottom line is, when it comes to Blackberry.com, the information I needed was not accessible or easy to find. The site does not cater to non corporate customers, and it is all in all, offers a very outdated experience.

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Only Available in Internet Explorer? Really?

3: App World: I have read and heard about this famous Blackberry App World that recently grew and now offers 2,000 apps. There was talk about it going global and being offered in many countries around the world. Well, I was utterly disappointed to say the least, when I found out I could not access or download the App World in Israel. Not only could I not access it, I had to figure out what the issue was when I received a most cryptic error message on my phone saying I could not download it since my phone has not met the “minimum requirements”. Is it so hard to write “The App World is not yet available in your country, but please stay updated or click here to find out when it will be”?

Using my best Googling skills, I tried to inquire when the App World would be available in my country, but to no avail. This information is not available anywhere on the Web, and as a result of the previous issue, I could not find the information on Blackberry.com. Now, I did find alternatives to download apps for the Blackberry, and chances are, if and when the App World becomes available here, I will already have downloaded all the apps I will see in the App World, but this is a huge annoyance that is not handled properly by RIM.

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Minimum Requirements? What minimum requirements?

4: BIS Discrimination: OK, pay attention, this is a little complicated. RIM has two separate and very different types of users. Their main audience is the corporate world who use their Blackberries with what is called BES (Blackberry Enterprise Service). These are people who have their own server, whether it is through a work place or their own. Using BES, everything is simpler. The synchronization and seamlessness you hear about when people talk about Blackberries, is only using BES. BIS is a totally different ball game. In addition to the Gmail issue I discussed above, there is a very strange issue I learned about the hard way during my first week with Blackberry. When defining an email on your device, one of the options presented to you is to define a permanent username and password to access the email interface on your phone in which you define things like a signature, ports, and protocols.

I of course did just that, thinking it would make my life easier. I was very wrong. Once you define that username and password on your phone, you can no longer define certain email characteristics (such as signature) on the device, but rather it can only be done via a Web interface known as the BIS interface. No problem, so define it on the Web, right? Wrong! My cellular provider, Orange, knows nothing of such an interface. Apparently, every provider on the globe that offers Blackberries, also offers access to a BIS interface, except mine. So now I can only define my email settings on a Web-based interface, but good luck finding the URL to such an interface when Orange does not support it and RIM cannot be contacted. After all is said and done, Orange, as usual, were very helpful and manually defined my signature and other settings, but claimed they could not give me access to the BIS interface. I do not know if this is Orange or RIM’s fault, but neither of them are innocent, and the one who ends up suffering is of course, the consumer.

5: Interface: Until now, the issues I have mentioned were regarding RIM as an organization and not about the Bold as a mobile device. Time to move on to the Bold itself. Like I said, I still think it is one of the best devices I have ever used, and as of now, I do not intend on replacing it with any other phone. Having said that, just like RIM’s website, it is time to upgrade the phone’s interface and user experience. RIM is still a market leader so they can afford to continue sticking their head in the sand, but not for long. If they stay with this relatively primitive user interface and continue ignoring advances the mobile world has made (yes, I am referring to the iPhone), they are bound to sink. Now, I do not think the interface is as bad as people say, but the lists are just too long, it is too cluttered, and needs to be modernized in a major way.

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6: Camera (oh, is that what that is?): All I have to say to RIM on this issue is “How could you?” I understand that Blackberries are not primarily camera phones, but why can’t RIM surpass the ancient 2 megapixel line? Now, there are also 2 megapixels that provide decent photo quality, and then there are the Blackberry cameras. The Bold’s camera is an upgrade from the  camera on the Curve, but in my opinion, they should not have wasted the time or money on this upgrade. The Bold’s camera is as close to unusable as any phone camera I have ever used. No one is expecting RIM to put a 12 megapixel camera on their phones, but 3.2 or 5 would be nice. In fact, I don’t care if they stick with 2 but use a decent lens or something, make the camera usabale or remove it, right now, it’s pointless.

Sample Photo from the Bold

Sample Photo from the Bold

7: Memory Compartment: I apologize in advance for nitpicking but I just couldn’t help myself. The cover on the SD card slot is nothing short of disastrous. Every time I try to remove a memory card from the Bold, I get at least 3 more grey hairs. I do not understand when manufacturers like RIM make something this crappy on a phone as attractive as the Bold. Please someone explain it to me.

8: General Quirks: These are just some odds and ends that I am sure will be fixed in an eventual OS upgrade but they deserved a mention. The MP3 player was surprisingly satisfactory on the Bold, but is it so hard to have full screen album art? Those people who use Blackberries and do not give in to the peer pressure of getting an iPhone deserve it. I use a 3rd party app called Flipside, which makes the music interface somewhat similar to Apple’s famous album art display, but RIM should add this feature themselves. Additionally and along the same lines, why is full screen picture ID not supported? I want to see a nice big picture of my beautiful wife when she calls me, is that too much to ask? Lastly, why on earth do I need to depend on a Blackberry App developer to have my Bold ring and vibrate simultaneously?

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OK, that is my complete list of issues I have with my Blackberry. Some are more serious than others, and some make me wonder about my decision to stay with the Bold and not get an iPhone. However, at the end of the day, the Push Mail, keyboard, and background apps offered by the Blackberry make the iPhone an impossible option for me. Having said that, most of the above annoyances do not exist in the Apple ecosystem, so as soon as Apple adds a keyboard and background apps (push mail is already implemented, at least partly), I am afraid I will abandon the sinking RIM ship, unless of course, RIM is reading this and decides to upgrade their OS and fix the above issues. Which one do you think will happen first?

-Hillel

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hilzfuld

Hillel is Co Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at ZCast, a company taking on the pain of modern audio broadcasting. Hillel also blogs for many influential sites including TechCrunch, Mashable, The Next Web, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Venturebeat, and others. Additionally, Hillel mentors startups across Israel in different accelerators including The Google Launchpad, the Microsoft Ventures accelerator, Techstars, The Junction, and more. Hillel has been named Israel's top marketer, has been featured on CNBC, Forbes, and many others and was recently added by Google to its marketing experts program. You can find and talk to Hillel on Twitter. He is @Hilzfuld.

 

22 thoughts on “8 Reasons to Consider an iPhone Over A BlackBerry

  1. apple will never add a keyboard.. get used to it.. you don’t need it ..

    maybe you should develop a bluetooth keyboard for the iPhone? 🙂

  2. Thank you for explaining this. Being a long-retired Grandma, I see Blackberry wasn’t created for me, but I like it. Mine is a Storm, not Bold. Thanks for the info.

  3. Yitz, after using the Bold for a few weeks now, I definitely need a keyboard. Nancy, glad you enjoyed, the Storm is a cool device. Al, who said anything about English?

  4. Man ! You guys ! The iPhone HAS a keyboard! It has a soft keyboard while the Blackberry has a hard keyboard. Stop distorting the facts. Somethings it is called the virtual keyboard, in that it appears when you need it and disappears when you do not. BUT it HAS a keyboard for typing with a lot of keys even (hidden special characters).

  5. Agreed on most counts, using a Storm on VZ and an iPhone 3G on ATTWS, and a Premier Google Apps account for my small business.

    A buddy with a VZW Storm sold me on the device, but I didn’t know the difference between BES (what he’s on) and BIS (which I’m on) – I know now, and BIS is a real letdown so far even on the VZW network between the network outages and undelivered messages. Reading about the Google IMAP connecter that’s in beta testing gives me hope – friends in Germany are testing it right now but there isn’t a version for NA yet.

    One thing you might want to check out, tho’. Zimbra hosts millions more paid email accounts worldwide than Google hosts for free, not including any Yahoo accounts. Just sayin’.

  6. Why do people insist on typing on tiny plastic keys that are hard coded to one set of text unless you want to add secret modifier keys where you have to remember them all because the keyboard can’t show them to you, when you can have a great touch screen keyboard you don’t have to press and does a fine job auto-correcting your misspellings.

  7. I think the point made by Al is that on an iPhone with a graphical keyboard, you can have it implement English, or Hebrew, or any other language. With a hardware keyboard, no such luxury.

    If I had to guess I would say you used a keyboard based phone before you used an iPhone. Having never done that, I am super fast on the iPhone. And can pull up the Hebrew, English OR Emoji keyboard whenever I want…. 🙂

  8. The iPhone has full push mail.

    The keyboard works great, especially in widescreen as with OS 3.0. I type on it using two thumbs as easily as a BB.

    You don’t really say what you want or need background apps for.

  9. People, thanks for reading and commenting. I was using an iPod Touch 3.0 BEFORE I got the BB and it had 3.0 so I tried the virtual landscape keyboard first. I was a big fan until I used the Bold’s keyboard. I find myself sitting at a computer and answering emails on the Bold because the keyboard is so superior and comfortable. As for other languages, I have Hebrew on my Bold’s keyboard, not really getting the issue. Bottom line is if a virtual keyboard is good for you and the Push mail implemented by Apple is satisfactory, go for an iPhone, but myself, along with many others find the Bold to be more convenient on these fronts. Thanks again for reading.

  10. We just got Blackberry 8330 for our company and I think Blackberries suck. The keyboard keys are so small, I make errors just trying to dial a number. The phone is buggy and just complete crap. Alot of our other users think the same thing. If the iPhone ever comes to Verizon I hope we switch.

  11. Hey thanks for this, with the IMAP support, why would you want to use IMAP? BIS 2.7 with google apps hosted mail, is awesome I would not go any other way. I don’t use desktop email client, as I rely on google 100% 🙂 so far so good. Great post, but I prefer suretype than qwerty so am sticking to my 8110 just wish they have a bigger processor and more ram.

  12. I used to have a Samsung i600, and when one passes from a Smartphone with an iPhone on delighted by the simplicity of use, design … Nevertheless, here the following weaknesses:

    – Price: 149 € for renewal subscription or as a first customer, the price of Rolls Royce in phone while iPhone 3GS is almost the same since its release.

    – Duty to register on the Internet during the 1st use … How can those who have no PC at home?

    – The documentation is really badly done: little evidence, writing very little, few pictures … For instance no information to explain at the outset how to introduce their chips, how to use the Pedestrian Kit (initially I thought it was a simple helmet !)…

    – The installation of iTunes that squatte your PC, slow performance and you “force” to go through them.

    – On-screen keyboard that takes much more time to write messages that the QWERTY keyboard smartphones classical (ex: Samsung i600).

    – To dial a phone number you can not type on the keyboard directly (normal, there is not), you must click on the “phone”, then keyboard, and dial phone number. ..

    Not the “T9” to aid the capture of messages, you need to type the words in full …

    – To transfer music is through iTunes instead of doing so via micro SD card or via cable from the PC.

    – Do not have a keyboard shortcut to delete an email on hotmail … We must get the whole message … with a keyboard then simply press a button!

    – The shortcut keys (eg long press the 1 key to the answering machine) are missing

  13. Hi,
    After I read carefully again and again, the answer of why you choose blackberry is there in your story, Hidzful. Yes, if we think about consumer content, then we prefer i-phone or others but blackberry. But, if we think about business, then Blackberry is the right answer. The difference between BlackBerry and other devices is own server that we called BES. This is not only for push email that currently iphone and others also applied I believe. But, most of all, BlackBerry offer accessing your intranet application which is without worry about security, time and place. They can control user as a client/server. And I use it now and love it like (may be) no changes to others at the moment. Believe me, once you enchance your device, then you will know what is different taste…:)

  14. it was very informative, but Im using iPhone 3GS and Im very happy with the performance 🙂
    and iPhone with a keyboard.. NEVER !! its never gonna happen mate 😉 thats the iPhone beauty.
    Yes there is one thing iPhone lacks in, and thats the multi-tasking, but Im pretty sure that Apple will be working something on it too. May be in the next OS version.
    cheers.

  15. I love my iPhone 3G and I won’t trade up until the 4G (LTE) comes out. LTE is in testing in the US, now.

    I’ve been using my iPhone for over a year and I really have enjoyed it, when I’m in my home area. It’s a medium sized city which is 3G enabled.

    I’m not a corporate user. I’m a full-time volunteer and stay-at-home mom who hopes to never again re-enter the corporate life. I understand that Apple owns all communications that goes thru the iPhone, so I can see why companies would not use the iPhone. Apple just needs to get over that one. Wonder why they don’t?

    I love almost everything about my iPhone and use it constantly. The apps on the iPhone are way beyond the apps on other handheld “smartphones”.

    The only problem: In the US, AT&T is a terrible provider. It’s often hard to hear the other party on the phone, unless you are on bluetooth. I use a Jawbone Prime and that works extremely well but I hate I even need it.

    AT&T really sucks! I can’t get 3G in most of the places I go, so to make sure I even have cell service, I have to carry a plain-jane second phone from another company (Verizon). The US just isn’t very built up in GSM service and is mainly CDMA (I used to work in the telecom industry.) Both will be going away very shortly (within 8 years) in the US with the upcoming LTE standard.

    AT&T will have the iPhone contract until ’11 so I guess I am stuck. I love Verizon and wish they could get a 4G full version of the iPhone, but they say they won’t for another two years.

    Yes, I’m told that the 4G iphone will have multitasking. You can jailbreak it now and do it, but I don’t want to get into all of that.

    By the way, the iPhone does work well with VPN. Please, please, I’d love to see a real keyboard. I miss the one I had with my Palm 7.5.

  16. Katy, wow, you know your stuff. I find it so funny that “big powerful and western” America still mainly uses CDMA, that is so 1998 🙂 Anyway, thanks so much for reading and commenting, really appreciate your insights. Let me know if you want to write a hands on review of the Jawbone Prime, email me at hilzfuld at gmail or tweet me at http://twitter.com/hilzfuld

  17. A brilliant and useful article.
    I’d been struggling to choose between the iPhone and Bold for a while and you have cleared the whole thing up . I now realise that the Bold would be a bad choice for me (as I secretly suspected) and will put some money to one side for the iPhone.
    Many thanks

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