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Old 08-01-2012, 01:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
Mark Rejhon
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Default QWERTY Phones with BlackBerry style keyboards (e.g. Motorola Pro+, Admiral, etc.)

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After my BlackBerry had a catastrophic accidental meeting with concrete a few months ago, I searched around for a replacement phone that could meet my needs -- I considered switching to another platform (e.g. Android) while waiting for BB10 QWERTY devices. I chose the latter scenario -- I picked up a Motorola Pro+, which is similiar to Motorola Admiral:

Photo link of BlackBerry style ANDROID phone that I'm using:

As the photo above shows, that's why it's a "lesser-of-evils" Android phone among BlackBerry keyboard zealots. It is the only semi-good Android phone with a BlackBerry style keyboard and a screen higher resolution than QVGA. It took me less than a day to do some basic thumb-touchtyping on it (see my Youtube 75 WPM video), like I could on a BlackBerry, as I hate touch screen keyboards.

...Main Pros? I love its keyboard and its screen, it's got better DPI than a BlackBerry Bold - and the web browser is better in many ways. Lots of app, I get every popular Android app; such as Temple Run and Angry Birds, to other apps such as better Skype, better Dropbox app, and more.
...Main Cons? I hate its email. Its 'push' mode is a bandwidth-heavy, battery-hog, lag-prone poor subtitute for BlackBerry's creme-de-a-creme. Its GMAIL is nice for certain things (e.g. configurable label colors) but it's not as quick and seamless as BlackBerry. I can't just take my BlackBerry out of a holster and begin reading important emails right away. Battery life is not very good, and I can't nearly completely shut down the device (like I can with BlackBerry) if I have an alarm set. Limited to Android 2.3.5. And did I say I hate the Android email?

-- BlackBerry crutches: I have loaded it with some helper apps (e.g. GO Launcher, GO SMS, easy shortcuts, hotkey utilities, color LED notifier utility replacing BeBuzz, font size changer utility to have a more crammed email/sms list, etc.) so that I can have information-dense screens. And KiK Messenger (with its "D" and "R" checkmarks too!) stands-in for BlackBerry Messenger for now. But having so many apps, slow the memory-limited device down (it's not a high end Android device), so that's a big minus. (I will probably root soon, to try and delete some preloaded apps that are consuming memory)
-- Switching back to BlackBerry (Bold 9900) is somewhat appealing too but also at the same time unappealing (sigh) -- with RIM in precarious position, I'd like to wait until BB10 with QNX first.
-- Cyanogenmod (custom Android OS) is not available for Motorola Pro+ or Admiral, as far as I know

Alas I don't see any QWERTY phones with a VGA screen (or better), physical portrait keyboard, and something at least Android 4.0. I may be stuck with this unit till BB10 (if RIM survives!)

So, without further ado -- what keyboarded smartphones have you tried that are adequate temporary stand-ins for BlackBerry?
Mark Rejhon
Author of XMPP extension XEP-0301: - specification - open source

Last edited by Mark Rejhon : 08-01-2012 at 01:50 PM.
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