The title says it all. This is not in any way, shape, or form meant to be a review. These are just some observations I gathered watching Blackberry usage last week.
On vacation I saw lots of iPhones and BBs (FYI, I don’t recall seeing a single Palm). On three occasions I sat right next to a BB user (once on a plane and twice in the airport), and it was very interesting to watch their interactions with the device. Certain things struck me:
- The BB screen is quite small (or call the iPhone screen large, take your pick).
- While not mitigating the BB physical keyboard, any advantages it may possess must be at least partially voided by the space it always takes.
- BB text is “ugly”. I spend 90% of my time on the iPhone reading. There is no way I could do that with the BB. The screen, font, and display do not seem up to long-term reading (certainly not for enjoyment). At least, they’re not up to it when one sees what’s possible with the iPhone.
- The BB web browser is as much a joke as most mobile browsers. Digressing a bit, ever notice that so-called “mobile” iPhone sites are actually stylish sites configured for the smaller screen? These sites are 10 times better than a “standard” mobile site. Check out Google’s iPhone page, or Fox News’, or Bank of America’s, or Facebook’s, as just a few examples of beautiful and easy to navigate/read sites that go way beyond generic “mobile” web sites.
- The little trackball is downright primitive as a navigation tool compared to a touch screen.
I realize they call the BB a CrackBerry for a reason. Many of their users are addicted to them. But a lot of that is almost certainly due to them offering more than what had come before. Compared to the iPhone, however, they’re looking long in the tooth.
Oh, for those that think how a site (or email) looks doesn’t matter, the text is just fine, it doesn’t need to be “pretty”, it’s just a bunch of fluff, and real men (or women) don’t need a “toy”, I’ve been expecting you. Years ago you probably saw no need for color screens, XGA screen sizes, sound cards, and so on. Each of those improvements you considered unnecessary, eye candy, etc. (well, until it came to your chosen device). You were wrong then, and you’re wrong now.
The good news for BB supporters — or iPhone haters — is that RIM seems pretty smart, and I suspect they’re working hard on improving the user experience even as some may claim it’s not necessary.