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Old 11-24-2010, 08:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone

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I have been doing a TON of research and hands-on tryouts of different devices in preparation for my upgrade date next week.

I have really liked every BlackBerry I have used to date (8800, 9000, and 9700). I have always synced my BlackBerrys with a hosted MS Exchange account and BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

I took a look at the new Windows Phone devices, specifically the Samsung Focus and LG Quantum. Compelling, but not quite good enough.

I have to admit I was extremely turned on by the HTC Aria, a small Android 2.1 powered handset. It is a great size, and is built beautifully. I like Android, but I feel like it still isn't quite "there" yet. I am going to wait at least a year for the system and hardware offerings to mature.

The bottom line, after alot of research, is that BlackBerry devices are simply the best mobile extension of Microsoft Outlook available. Period. They can sync E-mail, Calendar items, Tasks, and Notes. Android devices can only sync mail, calender and contact items. You can get a third-party app that will allow you to sync tasks, but ther is NO solution to sync Outlook notes to an Android device.

Interestingly, Windows Phone devices, which one would assume would offer the best native mobile Outlook support, are actally worse than the situation with Android. They don't appear to sync tasks, and they positively cannot sync Outlook notes. Windows Phone devices appear to be able to sync with Microsoft OneNote, which I use and like, but not the little MS Outlook notes, which serve as my electronic replacement for post-its, and which I use ALL the time.

I ran into other limitations with non-BlackBerry offerings as well. One of the things I find useful on my BB handsets is their ability to recognize that if you have a phone number such as 888 888-8888 x1234, that this is a number with an extension. BB's have a smart-dialing feature that will automatically pause for a few seconds before dialing the extension. You don't have to go back through all your numbers (I have over 2,500 contacts) and put in special characters like commas or semi-colons. That is what you would have to do on an Android device, or something else, depending upon which Android device it is...they are all different. I nixed Windows Phone out of the running before ever trying this out on one, so I don't know what those do. There are a bunch of other small items like this also (such as limiting which contacts sync via bluetooth etc.) It seems like for every little niggling thing somebody has encountered on a phone, BlackBerry has already incorporated a solution into its native OS.

Windows Phone devices have a very pretty interface, but the whole "Live Tile" thing is a little strange to me. I am sure I could get used to it, but my experience working with it in-store was not stellar. Bear in mind that I am a very technologically inclined person who learns how to use most gadgets without any instructions. Even so, I had a difficult time organizing the "tiles" the way I would like to see them on the home screen. If this task proves difficult, what about other things that you would EXPECT to be more difficult? On the calender, they only offer you day and month views. The exceptionally useful "week grid" view, the default I use on the BlackBerry, is not available on Windows Phone (it is on the HTC Aria). What is the logic behind not even providing this view option? People don't HAVE to use it, but what about those who want to use it? What other decisions were made by the geniuses who decided to not provide this very useful calendar feature? I am not anxious to find out. I get the feeling that the designers of the Windows Phone operating system focused SO hard on trying to make it look simple and streamlined, that they made it impossible for end-users to finely tweak various settings that I would want to be able to get to. Why can't engineers learn that it is possible to make a very simple and streamlined interface, and to STILL PROVIDE the ability to finely tune it for those of us that are so inclined?

I was really hoping to try out the HTC Aria, but I had an epiphany after a few hours of looking for various solutions to limitations I kept encountering. My realization: all of this stuff just WORKS on the BlackBerry, and there is no need to try to find ways to make it work. At that point, I decided to stop looking.

The clear choice for anyone that wants a well-built device that provides a robust mobile MS Outlook platform, and can do it using its own native software, is a BlackBerry.

I look forward to picking up my new Torch next week.
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone

That's a good process you went through and explained. I tend to agree...people bash the "outdated" BB OS but it's got so many clever little time savers (like your extension dialer, voicemail password etc) that it's really quite impressive.

I admit that I did not like the Torch; I returned it after a days' use this week and went back to my 9700, but running OS6 the 9700 is like a new phone, and works very well with it (IMO better than the Torch that it was designed for!)
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone

Even though I'm currently using an Android phone, I'm anxiously awaiting my return to BB. This still isn't a business device. It's missing two of the four important PIM functions, tasks and memos. Like you stated, you can get third party apps but I truly feel it should be built into the OS.
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Old 11-26-2010, 09:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone

The Torch does have a Tasks and a MemoPad module which can be found using Universal Search. Oh..I am sorry...non-OS 6 devices don't have that function. To say that the Torch is not a device for business professionals is disingenuous at worst and inflammatory at best. If anything OS 6 has taken multi-tasking, messaging and device customization/control to the next level with more organized and intuitive menus. The capacitive touchscreen, trackpad and physical keyboard make a myriad of combinations possible when multi-tasking on a call or not.
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Old 11-26-2010, 10:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone

Funny how my tasks and memos are on my Torch. I don't like it for other reasons, but it certainly is a business class device.
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Old 11-26-2010, 11:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcp007 View Post
The Torch does have a Tasks and a MemoPad module which can be found using Universal Search. Oh..I am sorry...non-OS 6 devices don't have that function. To say that the Torch is not a device for business professionals is disingenuous at worst and inflammatory at best. If anything OS 6 has taken multi-tasking, messaging and device customization/control to the next level with more organized and intuitive menus. The capacitive touchscreen, trackpad and physical keyboard make a myriad of combinations possible when multi-tasking on a call or not.
@jcp007: One might think that the title of this thread: "Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone" might sort of clue you in that it isn't bashing the Torch in any way.

Did you read the original post or responses prior to typing the above? If you read it, how did you miss this particularly clear assessment of the BlackBerry devices, including the Torch: "The bottom line, after alot of research, is that BlackBerry devices are simply the best mobile extension of Microsoft Outlook available. Period. They can sync E-mail, Calendar items, Tasks, and Notes."?

You seem to have gotten things 100% backwards. My point is exacty the same as yours: the Torch supports tasks and notes and is an excellent business-class mobile extension of MS Outlook. That was the other posters' conclusions as well. This is why I am purchasing a Torch next week instead of an android or Windows Phone device.

Who are you arguing with and why?
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Old 11-27-2010, 05:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone

I'm looking to upgrade my BlackBerry from the Curve to the Torch on a new carrier acct since I noticed the deal here. But is it worth it if Im not using outlook?
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Old 11-27-2010, 05:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone

Not that I like Bestbuy but they are/were offering a 9800 for $50 this week. Not sure if you have one in your area or another retailer that will offer a similar deal. They offered this for new or upgrade with a 2 year contarct to ATT.
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Old 11-28-2010, 01:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone

jcp007 and NJBlackBerry were, I think, responding (incorrectly) to jnyost, who clearly stated he is currently using an Android, not a Torch. In other words, agreeing with JG in SB on the missing tasks and memos. Hope that clears that up...
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Old 11-28-2010, 01:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone

For those using Androids, Touchdown supports wireless sync of Tasks, and Nitronote supports wired sync of Notes.

And that's why I continue to use a Blackberry....
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:43 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBlackBerry View Post
For those using Androids, Touchdown supports wireless sync of Tasks, and Nitronote supports wired sync of Notes.

And that's why I continue to use a Blackberry....
Yes.......exactly.
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:08 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone

Great thread. I wish I would have read this before I made a similar thread.
It seems that your findings are about the same as mine. Maybe I'll just hang on to the Torch after all

I'm business guy, not a little kid that needs a mobile computer ;)
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:30 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone

Quote:
Originally Posted by jDMJeRk View Post
Great thread. I wish I would have read this before I made a similar thread.
It seems that your findings are about the same as mine. Maybe I'll just hang on to the Torch after all

I'm business guy, not a little kid that needs a mobile computer ;)
I wouldn't go that far, I have the equivalent of bes on Android for free, I have never used Outlook except to sync contacts so no big deal, I use Evernote to sync OTA again for free. All my contacts and multiple calendars sync OTA also for free. The best part is I never have to plug in my phone.

That's the great thing about all the different platforms out there, you can choose the one that fits YOU the best.

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Old 12-03-2010, 08:52 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone

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Originally Posted by zerog46 View Post
I wouldn't go that far, I have the equivalent of bes on Android for free, I have never used Outlook except to sync contacts so no big deal, I use Evernote to sync OTA again for free. All my contacts and multiple calendars sync OTA also for free. The best part is I never have to plug in my phone.

That's the great thing about all the different platforms out there, you can choose the one that fits YOU the best.
OTA sync doesn't make it the equivalent of BES. There is a lot more to BES than that. Particularly on the administrative side of things.

That being said....

I was setting up a Samsung Galaxy S for a client the other day. I think it is a very impressive device in many respects. He is just syncing to Outlook with Kies for his contacts. Mail and the like are being done through GMAIL. The phone was very fast, though it did have random periods of brief "hangs" where the touch screen would stop responding to input for a few seconds. I think its PIM capabilities are more than adequate for a home user and for somebody who likes the latest gizmo's, it definitely has appeal. However, after using both it and the Torch back-to-back, I still feel the Torch (and BB's in general) are superior PIM devices, particularly when paired with a BES solution. The level of integration with a single mail system is just that much better. But then that has always been their forte, so that is at least somewhat expected.
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Old 12-04-2010, 02:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone

I have been using the Torch for about a week now and I wanted to post back to say that my hands-on experience with daily use confirms all of my previous conclusions. I'd go as far as to say it is nearly the perfect phone. The sole exceptions being that: 1) it is a tad heavy, although that makes if feel very solid and well built, and 2) I find the slide out kjeyboard totally useable, but damn, if they had only made it slide out in the "landscape" orientation so there could be larger keys, THAT would be fantastic.

It has also been refreshing to see that the few 3rd party applications I used on previous non-touchscreen BB's seem to all work beautifully on the Torch.

And finally, the OEM desktop sync/charge cradle for the Torch is far superior to any similar solution for previous BB's I have used. It drops in with NO effort yet fits to a swiss-watch tolerance (no wiggle etc.) and the cradle charges it and connects it to my PC.

This is my favorite BB so far. No question.
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Old 12-14-2010, 06:19 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I Am Choosing The Torch Over Android Or Windows Phone

I don't need or use Outlook (I use Gmail for all my contacts and syncing), but I agree that every OS that wants to maximize their market penetration should fully support the single biggest enterprise email client and its primary features.

WP7 was intentionally designed for mass appeal - iOS dominates the market and didn't have any Exchange support out of the box. It took a couple of years for it to gain nearly full functionality and occasionally leaves corporate Exchange users out in the cold thanks to "updates". MS had little sales incentive to fully support Exchange, but I'd expect that to radically change over the next year. Unless they're planning something we don't know about... like a radical change to Outlook and Exchange.

BB OS is the most mature enterprise-class mobile OS, bar none. I love the "openness" of my Android phone, but I do miss some of the BB features JG mentioned - especially the auto recognition and handling of phone extensions. They fell behind in 3 key areas for mass-market appeal - internet browsing, multimedia, and UI. Unfortunately, these are also the 3 demanded by most of the neo-smartphone crowd.

RIM will have an easier time continuing to improve their browser (jump-started by their TorchMobile acquisition), their multimedia (just need to incorporate contemporary hardware), and their UI. The UI improvements will be handled primarily by the changeover to the QNX OS. Hopefully, that change won't entail a MS-style abandonment of the features that made BB great once before.
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