Last week, I bought a BlackBerry Bold 9700. The main purpose was to have a small mail client with me when on the road. I decided to go with the BlackBerry since it has a qwerty keyboard and its mail functionality was supposed to be its greatest feature. Other applications were fun, maybe even useful, but not a necessity.
Now, after only one week of usage, I am completely done with my new gadget; it was a huge disappointment. This proprietary BlackBerry mail system is a disaster. It works through a pushing system at your provider, at the back-end accessing your mailbox on an IMAP/POP server or a public mail account like Gmail. However, the only thing this mail gateway does, is copying messages from your mail server to your BlackBerry device. It never checks back which messages were deleted or moved to another folder. As a result, this annoying red light is constantly blinking for messages that you have already answered in the mail client on your desktop or laptop, or for messages that were automatically moved from the inbox to another mail folder as soon as they arrived.
Furthermore, the BlackBerry mail client does not allow you to move messages into other folders; it simply presents you with all the messages that are or have ever been in your inbox. So I was constantly removing messages from my BlackBerry after I had already dealt with these on my computer. Basically, the only synchronization BlackBerry offers is the delete command.
So I decided to install a full-featured IMAP client: LogicMail. The app itself worked like a charm. But the openening and closing of the network connections were really slow. So, the time I spent deleting messages before I now spent waiting.
The processor or its network stack was too slow for other applications as well, specifically Google Maps and the BlackBerry Maps application. Furthermore, the GPS subsystem is hard to initialize. The device had problems finding satellites. From the internet forums I learned that the “solution” was to reinstall a couple of times, and then you might get lucky. Well, if I wanted that sort of machinery, I would have had a Windows computer.
Which brings me to the app store. The BlackBerry software itself is only supported on Windows and Mac OS. At first sight I didn’t think this would be a problem. Until the website refused me access to the applications. Downloading apps is simply not allowed when accessing the site from a Linux system. Some of applications were also available from the website of their developers. These I could download directly to my BlackBerry. But others were only available from the BlackBerry app store.
Since I plan to develop a couple of Java apps myself, there was an additional reason for me to move to another platform: research shows that, despite the iPhone App Store currently offering the largest number of applications, future development is mostly targeted at the open Android platform. You do not want to be on (locked-in) a platform that is currently running up a dead-end street.
Today I repackaged my BlackBerry and put it up for sale on the the internet. I’m currently looking for an Android-based system. Most likely in the very near future I will be owner of a HTC Desire Z.