Our mobile devices work overtime for us. We need them for business, but we also use them for entertainment, and we want them to perform when we travel – to check out other flights when we're delayed, then for a quick game of Angry Birds before boarding. Plus, they must be tough enough to survive constant use.
We asked seven people what makes them loyal – or in some cases, not so loyal – to a particular phone.
Kunal Gupta, CEO and co-founder of Polar Mobile, a fast-growing Toronto-based app developer:
Mr. Gupta uses both an iPhone and BlackBerry "all the time" and swears he can't live without either. "BlackBerry is great for BBM [BlackBerry Messenger], and iPhone is a strong multi-purpose device that I often use when I'm in a new city," says Mr. Gupta. "The [BlackBerry] keyboard is important, as e-mail is how I communicate most often with customers and partners, but I often use my iPhone when I'm travelling, which is almost weekly."
Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, a Vancouver-based global junk-removal business:
Mr. Scudamore is a hands-down fan of his iPhone.
"I love my iPhone, Apple and what the company stands for – thinking outside the box for its customers," says Mr. Scudamore. "I FaceTime [live video chat] when I am on business trips and away from family, and my iPhone also helps me remain paperless."
Lauren Friese, founder of TalentEgg.ca, a career website for 18- to 24-year-old students and recent graduates:
Ms. Friese likes her BlackBerry because it's great for e-mail (her company runs almost completely online). All her documents are synced through Dropbox, and her e-mail is always available via Google Apps for Business.
"My BlackBerry is good at what it does, which is to help me stay connected to work and life no matter where I am," says Ms. Friese. "I don't use it for much else, perhaps became I'm not the type of person who likes to do everything on one device. I'm not a huge 'app' person."
Bruce Kuwabara, Toronto architect and co-founder of Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB), and a design partner for Canada's National Ballet School, the Gardiner Museum and TIFF Bell Lightbox:
Mr. Kuwabara is loyal to his BlackBerry but uses it in combination with an iPad.
"Together they give me the broadest spectrum of current technology," he says. "Both are light and user friendly. The BlackBerry is great for quick, easy communication. The iPad replaces the laptop for looking at images, architectural drawings and presentations."
Amber MacArthur, co-founder and vice-president of Toronto-based MGI Media, technology host and journalist:
A technology buff, Ms. MacArthur carries both a BlackBerry for business and an iPhone.
"I'm absolutely hooked on my BlackBerry for e-mail because I find it easier to type on a full keyboard," says Ms. MacArthur. "A lot of my friends and colleagues are BBM or PIN [personal identification number] users, so RIM wins out there as well. However, when it comes to the app marketplace, I use my Apple device. There's no better ecosystem for apps right now than iTunes."
As a BlackBerry user for seven years, Ms. MacArthur also addressed the device's privacy concerns.
"I often take advantage of BlackBerry's BBM and PIN features," says Ms. MacArthur. "While it's true PIN-to-PIN messages are not encrypted, this won't deter my usage. I try to keep all my messages, from PINs to e-mails, professional, because it's increasingly easy for people to see electronic communications. If I need to have a private conversation, I still prefer to meet in person or pick up the good old telephone."
Eric Latino, president and CEO of Global Emissions Systems Inc. in Whitby, Ont., also a Pro-Modified racer and Canadian record holder:
Mr. Latino uses the BlackBerry for business but is frustrated that he had to replace his favourite BlackBerry 8830 World Edition with a BlackBerry Bold. That's troublesome for him, because the keys are small and he's got big hands, so he's thinking of getting his 8830 fixed.
"I don't like the new iPhones because I don't like the touch screens," says Mr. Latino. "A BlackBerry reminds me of an actual laptop with the same key configuration. A lot of these smart phones only have 12 or 13 keys and you have to keep shifting over to get all of your symbols."
Another thing he liked about his old BlackBerry was that it didn't have a camera or video function. When he visits automotive factories he is often not allowed to bring in his new phone because it has a camera and video. "With my BlackBerry 8830, I could go anywhere," he says. "Secrecy is a big part of research and development."
Mat Wilcox, Toronto public relations guru and founder of the Wilcox Group:
Mat Wilcox has used a BlackBerry for 15 years, going through multiple models, mainly because she e-mails so much for business. She's a huge fan of the keyboard and the way it types.
"I'm used to it so if somebody gives me a soft-touch screen, I can't deal," says Ms. Wilcox. "That said, BlackBerry is coming out with a new soft-touch screen so I'll be able to do both. I'm pretty excited about it because I feel I'm going to get up to where everybody else on the planet is."
She lists a few of the BlackBerry's drawbacks: it's slower, she can't look at her photos as you would with an iPhone, and isn't as much fun. Nevertheless, she will stick to her Blackberry because it's "way better" on the business side.
While she likes that BlackBerry is Canadian and "starting to become innovative," she feels they're missing the customer service link.
"People who are loyal to them are really loyal, but RIM doesn't even know who they are," says Ms. Wilcox. "They have these launch parties for new products and invite 20-year-olds. I mean ... really? They're not talking to their biggest customers.
"And when you're on Twitter and e-mail BlackBerry, you get no response. If you e-mail Apple, you get a response."