Thumbs Must Hurt
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Northern Illinois
Carrier: US Cellular
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This is a great question Markaseos, and one that I just had to field in my own life.
My first Palm-based PDA was a Palm III, and my last was the Tungsten E. I liked the color screen and updated interface. I didn't like that the battery was not a user replaceable item.
My first Windows PDA was an old Phillips unit running Windows CE 2. My last Windows PDA was a Dell X30. From there I went to "smartphones," my first being the Motorola Q, and the one I just moved from, an HTC PPC6800 (Titan 100).
My service is with US Cellular, a compnay that I have been happy to be associated with since 1997. I was not planning to leave them over phone selection. If I were moving, it would probably have been to T-Mobile for the Android-powered G1.
So, why did I move? Was I unhappy? No, I basically liked my 6800, especially after modifying it (custom Bootloader, Radio, and ROM) to get it up to Windows Mobile Pro 6.1 so that it would run the phone's GPS chip. The things that bothered me about my 6800 were, the slide-out keyboard, first and foremost. Funny thing, I'd originally gotten this phone because of the keyboard. What I found though was that there was no comfortable way to use it single-handed. It definitely wanted to be used with two hands. Yes, there is an onscreen keyboard, but that was designed for use with a stylus. You'd better have pretty tiny fingers, or be planning for a whole bunch of typos if you use the on-screen keyboard with your fingers. BTW, this is one of the main reasons I opted out of buying the just released US Cellular/HTC Touch Pro.
Although my ROM upgrade freed up both storage space and memory use on the device, it was still common for me to have to perform a reset about once a day. One should not have to do this just to get a phone to function properly. My old Q was no better, requiring at least one reset per day, especially if I used it with a Bluetooth headset.
Speaking of Bluetooth, I had problems with getting headsets to stay paired with my 6800. Sometimes I would have to remove the device from the phone's memory and install it from scratch again.
As a phone, the HTC was quite capable, and I would recommend it. It also did e-mail well, both POP/IMAP, and Exchange OTA ActiveSync. Of course it should do Exchange properly, being that WinMobile and Exchange Server are both products of Microsoft.
There is one thing that I miss with my HTC. I have an AT&T/Yahoo mail account. The web interface for this account lets you create folders for your mail. Windows Mobile 6.1 would allow me to see these folders, and move mail into them; BlackBerry BIS does not.
So there you have the things I did or did not like about Windows Mobile. WinMo has been around, originally as Windows CE, since 1996, and I've been interacting with it since about 1997-98. It has gained a number of features, and has steadily improved since then. That said, for me, it just plain became boring. I wanted something different, and the Touch Pro that was about to be launched (now is) was not that different.
As I said, I have no interest in changing carriers. My service works exceptionally well, and in my experience (10+ years), US Cellular's customer service is second to none. Of course, this left out any possible moves to either the Apple platform (you could not pay me to be an Apple fanboy BTW) or Android. That pretty much left BlackBerry.
The BlackBerry interface and devices have matured considerably, especially so in the past few years. They were good before, but now they are very good.
For my own use these days, I have no need for Exchange sync capabilities. I have my AT&T email account that I use, a GMAIL account that I use less frequently, and then a Hotmail/MSN Live account that I use barely at all. For these needs, a BlackBerry Curve, coupled with US Cellular's unlimited BIS data account seemed ideal.
There has been, and continues to be, a learning curve associated with the switch. Menus are different, locations where settings are found are different (and not always intuitive), and then there are the differences between BIS and BES. My first major learning issue came because of the phone's GPS system.
Early on, I discovered that my GPS was barely functioning. Most times, it would not get a lock on any (or a sufficient amount of) satellites, and on those rare occasions when it would, it was nearly fifteen minutes between the time I'd asked BB Maps to pinpoint my location, and the time that it would find where I was. I went to the US Cellular store near me and was told by two reps that this was the way BlackBerry phones worked. I was blown away! I almost returned the phone. Well, luckily, I Googled my problem using different keywords, and when I did this, I stumbled upon a post at the CrackBerry forums. Reading the post, this looked familiar. In the end, it turned out to be neither a hardware issue or one of firmware, but merely a lack of proper software configuration. RIM had left settings without their proper configuration and so there was no server assistance happening. This is not an uncommon thing, and it is not just a problem with US Cellular BlackBerry's. If your BlackBerry is not acquiring GPS satellites Johnny-on-the-spot, then you probably have the same problem!
Now, with everything working as it should, I am quite happy with this phone. I like that I can use it primarily one-handed. I like the feel of the phone. I love the call quality. RIM has improved a great deal in this area. I really like the way the Curve threads SMS conversations. BlackBerry does a much better job with this than Microsoft. I wish that I could see my folders on my AT&T/Yahoo mail account, but I can live without that.
There is only one intolerable thing about this phone... A free PDF reader!
Red BB Curve 8330m
v.4.5.138 (Platform 126.96.36.199)