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I liked my iPhone, but for reasons that belong in a different blog, I switched back to Blackberry after almost a year. First, it was difficult but having been used to Applications, I started discovery of app store on Blackberry and was pleasantly surprised and somewhat disappointed. This blog is about my journey back to Blackberry for now.

Gmail Integration

First positive change was recognition of Gmail by Blackberry in the form of a Gmail connector that made it easier to use. On the other hand, native Gmail app from Google still doesn’t work well on Blackberry as delete keys don’t work, it is slow, doesn’t do push and consumes more battery. Similarly, contact and calendar sync work fairly well.

User Interface

Lots of nice icons have been created on Blackberry Curve but their usability is poor especially after working with beautifully designed icons of iPhone. Most of the time you have to read the description of the icons to understand what they mean – case in point Application, Games, Downloads, Setup just look so similar. Finding App Store on your Blackberry is a challenge – It has Applications and then Downloads menus. App Store is hidden under Downloads and that is where Apps come before you decide to move it elsewhere.  I just wish Blackberry pays attention to these details as much as it has paid attention to Email and the curves on its keyboard.

How many Apps does one need?

Coming from Apple iPhone experience, one needs lots and lots of apps and I had over 30 when I switched. However, Blackberry made me realize that I only really used less than 10 apps and so I came looking for applications that I really needed.

Communication/Social Applications

Besides Email, IM, and Facebook, Twitter was the missing piece and Blackberry just released a native app for Twitter that takes advantage of its push technology. It crashes sometimes but does work very well.

Navigation Applications

Google Maps is available and works well except that it drains battery if left on for a long time. Needless to say it is not as intuitive as Google Maps on iPhone. There is a good new app called Poynt that gives you neighborhood restaurants, movie theatres, gas stations and white/yellow pages.

Games Applications

Needless to say, there is no match here between iPhone and Blackberry and a lot of it has to do with the touch interface, developers’ focus and the target users. Blackberry now has many more native games besides Brick Breaker and a whole lot of third party apps are also available in their store.

Entertainment Applications

Pandora and Stitcher radio applications are both available on Blackberry and work well. The missing piece is an ability to have Apple’ iPod like functionality that can play the music from my iTunes library.

Conclusion

I am comfortable using Blackberry with my repertoire of  applications but just wish that browser experience was better on Blackberry; a feature I sorely missed in switching from iPhone.

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