Should I Buy a Blackberry?
How does the Blackberry smartphone operating system by Research In Motion (RIM) stack up against Apple's iPhone and Google's Android? A smartphone's OS is the foundation of an entire ecosystem of vendors, phones, accessories, and apps. Let's compare the three leading smartphone operating systems in the U.S. and see what sorts of users benefit most from each...
Blackberry, iPhone or Android?
The Blackberry OS is best known for its native support of corporate email; it's very popular among large enterprises, government agencies, and other organizations that use Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino, or Novell GroupWise. These enterprise email systems also include calendar, task, notes, and contacts functions that mesh easily with Blackberry devices. RIM also sells the Blackberry Enterprise Server, a middleware product that provides tighter integration between Blackberry smartphones and enterprise collaboration software systems.
The Blackberry OS supports a number of mobile user interface technologies including trackball; trackwheel; keypad; and touchscreen. Third-party developers are allowed to develop apps for Blackberry, which are mostly business-oriented.
The Apple iPhone OS (IOS) was originally developed for the iPhone, but now is also the OS for the iPad and iPod Touch devices. Apple does not permit IOS to be used on any other hardware. Like the Mac OS X, IOS is based upon Unix, an open source operating system in theory.
The IOS is very much a touchy-feely operating system. It dispenses with virtually all mechanical user interface devices, relying on "intuitive" hand and body motions of the user to open apps, move objects on the screen, even type on virtual on-screen keyboards. You don't just click icons with the IOS; you can also "pinch" the screen between your fingers. A "reverse pinch" involves placing your bunched fingertips on an object and spreading them to open an app, zoom in on a map, etc. Some IOS apps even let you shake the device to undo what you just did.
Until version 4, IOS did not support multitasking, a sore point with reviewers and users. Apple resisted multitasking for fear that running multiple apps at once would drain batteries too quickly. You need IOS 4 and a 3rd-generation or later hardware device to do multitasking.
The Android Factor
Google's Android OS is the first open source mobile device operating system to gain significant market share; in fact, Android-based smartphones such as the Verizon Droid, and HTC's EVO outsold Blackberry and IOS smartphones in the U.S. during Q2 of 2010, capturing 33 per cent of handset sales!
Android is based upon Linux and GNU software (another open source operating system). Google developed Android as part of its push for "open handsets," or consumers' ability to use any phone with any carrier and any app. Android has since been adopted by the Open Handset Alliance of major cellular service carriers and handset manufacturers who share Google's vision (or, at least, grudgingly go along with consumer demand in this case).
As a result, a slew of Android handsets with many different feature sets and price points have flooded the market. A large community of developers is busy writing Android apps; over 70,000 apps are available as of this writing, with a rumored 400,000 more apps awaiting review.
Here's the bottom line, from my perspective. The Blackberry still stands out as a tool for business users. But for personal use, Apple's iPhone and the Android-based phones available today are light years ahead in terms of the user interface and the ability to extend the usefulness of the smartphone with apps. The choice is probably going to be dictated by the carrier you choose. The iPhone is available only through AT&T, so if you want a cool smartphone, and you're locked into AT&T, the iPhone is it. By contrast, if you're locked into Verizon or Sprint, the Droid or HTC EVO is tops.
So should you buy a Blackberry? No. If you need a Blackberry, your employer will provide it for you. If you're a large enterprise employee, you may very well get a Blackberry-based smartphone as part of your standard company equipment. I'm sure some hard-core Blackberry users will disagree, but that's the way I see it.
Do you have something say about buying a Blackberry? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 30 Aug 2010
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Should I Buy a Blackberry? (Posted: 30 Aug 2010)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved