Research In Motion Ltd. has been the target of a lot of sniping in recent months. Hating it seems to have become a bit of a sport – the company apparently can't do anything right.
Sorry to be a party pooper, but while the other platforms (which, yes, I have used) have many strengths, BlackBerry still has a lot going for it. Here are 10 reasons why a BlackBerry can be the smartest choice when you're picking a smartphone.
1. There's something to be said for history. Independent technology analyst Carmi Levy points out that, since the original BlackBerry was designed to run on much slower networks with lower capacity, the devices made extremely efficient use of bandwidth, and today's BlackBerry shares that heritage. "While overloaded wireless networks often crumble under the combined weight of Siri-using iPhone users, BlackBerry users manage to get their message through," he says. "And stay under their monthly data caps."
2. Efficient network usage pays off in unexpected ways. Less data sent and received means lower power usage, and that means longer battery life. It's not unusual for my BlackBerry to go several days between charges. "The BlackBerry may not sport the latest, most full-featured apps when compared to the iPhone and Android," notes Mr. Levy, "but none of that matters toward the end of the day when those other superphones are long dead and the only device with enough juice to send that mission-critical attachment has a RIM logo on it."
3. Nothing can beat a good QWERTY keyboard. Say what you will about soft keyboards (the Windows Phone 7 version is quite nice), but for heavy messagers, a QWERTY with buttons is best. And most BlackBerrys have good QWERTY keyboards. "If high-volume messaging-on-the-go is your thing," says Mr. Levy, "you have pretty much only one choice."
4. BlackBerry is the gold standard in mobile security. Transmissions are encrypted, end to end. It may not seem important at first blush, but with the increasing number of apps making financial transactions, be they banking or shopping or mobile payment, it's critical to make sure those transmissions are secured.
5. Everything works together. "Its tight integration of hardware, operating system, software and services is a boon to consumers and businesses looking for a one-stop-shop solution," says Mr. Levy. "You're not just buying a device in the distant hope that it'll work with the rest of your messaging solution. For many businesses, RIM is the only vendor they need to call."
6. You can filter e-mail sent to the device. If you subscribe to a high-volume mailing list, for example, with any smartphone but the BlackBerry every single message from that list will wend its way to your device. That isn't cheap. With a BlackBerry, you can prevent those messages from crossing the airwaves.
7. You can download headers only. This is a method some desktop e-mail programs have used for years over slow connections. You can configure your BlackBerry to download only message headers, and wait until asked to pull down the rest of a message. This gives you faster retrieval and uses less bandwidth.
8. Want to save even more money? BlackBerry compresses the data it does transmit. And this combined with header download and filtering can cut bandwidth usage (and roaming costs) tremendously. In a head-to-head comparison, BlackBerry roaming costs were one-tenth of those for a standard smartphone. That is not to be sneezed at.
9. A BlackBerry multitasks. It will happily run more than one app at a time. And it allows you to sync your data with a PC or Mac if you want to.
10. Its capacity expands. Unlike some other smartphones, it supports external storage such as a micro SD card, expanding its capacity by as much as 32 GB.
All this adds up to a solid, effective device. It may not be the shiniest, but it's solid, reliable and efficient, and it saves money on bandwidth. In other words, it's very Canadian.