Blackberry Vs iPhone – The Differences and Despair Caused by Moving From One to Another

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Blackberry Vs iPhone – The Differences and Despair Caused by Moving From One to Another

At a meeting I attended recently, I discovered that I was the complete outcast of the other 18 people around the table. I was the only one with a Blackberry and everyone else had an iPhone. Every owner of an iPhone I have ever talked to raves about it; but I have never met someone who has been a ‘convert’ from a Blackberry.

I have used Blackberries in various forms for several years. My last two have been Blackberry Pearls. These are a similar size to a normal mobile phone with a small qwerty key board that allows you to type one or two lines of reply to urgent emails, whilst keeping up to date with all incoming correspondence and without having to carry something the size of a small country around in your pocket.

I have loved the Blackberry, but with everyone telling me to get an iPhone, I have finally succumbed this month and made the switch. Having surfed the internet, I have found various comparisons of the two devices, but none which describes the pain of moving from one phone to another, and none which describes the pros and cons of each.

If you have a blackberry and are thinking about the cross over, then read on! Please be aware that I am not particularly technical minded. I am just a user. When I have a problem I do a bit of research on the internet to see if my problem can be solved.

A bit about me and how I use my blackberry. I run an online wine merchants where people can buy wine online. I also work as a consultant Finance Director for a number of businesses. As such, I have around 10 email accounts that I like to read whilst out and about. Some require instant responses, but in general, I do not write lengthy replies until I am back in front of a PC. I travel a lot and so roaming charges are important and I also have a separate iPod that I use for video/music.

Since receiving my new iPhone, I think I have spent two whole days doing the conversion from the blackberry. The first thing was to transfer all of my contacts to the new phone. Be aware! Be very aware. I have my contacts from my previous phones on the SIM card, but any new contacts inputted onto my blackberry are stored on the phone and not the SIM card. There is no ‘mass copy’ function on the Blackberry. You have to copy any contacts you want to take with you one by one. The technical people say that this is because old style SIM contacts and phone numbers is an out of date technology and that each of your contacts should have a full biography written about them. Well, I am an old school user and I like having one person with one or two phone numbers stored and so I had to copy all of these across one by one, although I ended up simply re-entering them on the iPhone. This was because in the blackberry, my contacts are called ‘Bob mobile’, ‘Bob Home’ or ‘Jim mobile’. Unfortunately, in the iPhone this means that I now have over 100 people with a surname of mobile. Even worse, when you enter ‘bob’ in the phone book, it only searches on surnames. In the blackberry, entering ‘bob’ would mean a short list of people with ‘bob’ at any point in their names. I am therefore having to re-edit everyone’s name (another days work).

Perhaps the biggest shock has been the management of the emails. As previously stated, I have 10 email accounts. In the blackberry all of these are managed under one inbox and as new emails come in, they simply form up in a line, ready to be read. When replying, if you want to reply from a different email account, this is very easy to do. The iPhone however has all the email accounts separately. Although you have a summary screen that tells you which accounts have new messages, you have to go into each account read the message, come back to the summary screen and go into the other account. There is no way of managing all of your messages together.

Worse than this, is that if you want to connect to a Microsoft Exchange server, as soon as you activate ‘SSL’ (which you need to do to get the thing to work), you have to enter a minimum four letter password every time you want to look at your phone. This means that if you pick up your phone to check the time, to make a call, to check if you have any emails, you have to enter the passcode. Incredibly frustrating! There are many blogs on the internet telling you how to turn this off if you happen to switch it on by mistake, but this means that the particular email address no longer functions. The only way to get around this is to forward all of the emails to a gmail account. So if you have an email account as [email protected], set up a gmail account along the lines of [email protected] However, this means that any replies sent from this account are from gmail and not from c.com.

The iPhone works by having one home button, which takes you to a home screen from where you start to dip into contacts, calendars, emails etc. The main problem here is that there is no ‘back’ key that we are all used to. So if you are in one function (say emails) and you want to go and look at calendars, you have to keep going in and out of the home screen to get anywhere.

Battery life is a problem. Remember when mobile phones first came out and you had to charge them every day or even every 12 hours. Today, we are in a day and age where battery life on phones can extend to a week with limited use or a few days with extended use. Unless you have an iPhone where it is back to the ice ages. Recharging a phone everyday means taking another wire, adaptor, plug etc with me wherever I go.

So far, all of this is negative. The main positive side to the iPhone is that it is an entertainment device, rather than a phone. I can now use the phone instead of my iPod. I can check weather reports, share prices, sports news or anything else, more quickly and easily (at a push of a button) than I ever could with the blackberry. Browsing the internet, and even looking to buy Wine gifts is easier with the iPhone. I can download films (although using my own DVDs still remains more hassle than it is worth to do). There are over 100,000 ‘APPS’ that can be downloaded and some of them are quite fun. The best one to date has to be the ability to programme my Sky box at home from anywhere in the world!

Oh, and if you do travel abroad, the data charges are enormous. I am not sure how or why, but with the blackberry, you can state ‘only download 10kb of data from each email as a default. If you need more, then simply download the rest of the email. With the iPhone, you have similar settings about downloading limits and pictures, but it seems to ignore them and download everything. In the first three days, I ran up £80 of data charges whilst in the UK. I switched to an unlimited tariff, but this only applies in the UK. Overseas data still costs a fortune and I can not stop this (unless I turn off the roaming data totally and lose all email contact). I think this is something to do with the way the iPhone downloads emails each time. I don’t really care about why it happens; I do care that it costs a fortune to use (without the hassle of having to connect over wifi networks).

So in summary, blackberry or iPhone? The blackberry is a business tool that is superb at managing emails and old style contact lists and calendars. It is simple to use, with a long battery life and is cheap when roaming. The iPhone is an entertainment tool, which also manages emails, new style contacts, new style calendars, connections etc. They are two separate devices with different purposes. If you are a business person who has used Blackberries for a while, I would recommend you to stay with the blackberry. Because I have spent all of this time converting to the iPhone, I will now keep it, but still hanker after the easy use of the blackberry.

A new sales person has started working for me this week and I have insisted that they use a Blackberry. That in itself speaks volumes.

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