BlackBerry Multitasking Feats
I recently witnessed a BlackBerry user do a full 6-hour Linux installing using a SSH session using his BlackBerry as a shirt-pocket console (the product was MobileSSH
, the one stable enough for such a feat). While SSH was running multitasking in the background on his BlackBerry, he was able to send/receive emails at the same time (BlackBerry uses a true multitasking OS which Palm does not), and even be on the phone at the same time. Even though voice and data are not simultaneously possible on 2.5G networks (even on Treo's) BlackBerry does a good job of queueing data temporarily while on the phone, and resuming queued data after hangup. That's a far better job than Treo's currently do, for example. This 6 hour Linux install using a Blackberry as a SSH console, was done completely untethered without a battery charge, and on Nextel which gobbles a lot more battery life than a GPRS BlackBerry (which can keep a continuous Internet connection for 75-100 hours nonstop untethered...). I have never yet seen a Treo user successfully make a telephone call of this nature in the middle of a SSH session, and while having a partially composed email idling in another BlackBerry "window". PalmSource is kind of late with getting thir new "Cobalt" PalmOS release out, and BlackBerry multitasks so much better than Treo, despite slowness, and lack of some multimedia capabilities...
One thing I noticed is that BlackBerries are getting better and better at multitasking nowdays, especially with the newer 32 megabyte models (The 2005-era models, which includes model 7250, 7520, and 7100)
On my BlackBerry, I recently ran a SSH application simultaneously with the web browser, simultaneously with a live running chat application (3 networking applications running at the same time with fully active, live true-Internet TCP/IP connections!). I haven't been able to do this multiasking on a Treo yet, surprisingly -- they seem to be more capable devices in many other respects considering there's more software on Treo, but I still can usually run most of them only one at a time... I should warn, I recommend a 2005-era BlackBerry for efficient multitasking, because multitasking is VERY SLOW on older BlackBerries even though it works all the way back to 1990's era BlackBerries - the famous 95X series! I switch between the simultaneous applications by holding ALT and hitting the side Esc key. That acts the same as Alt+Tab on Windows. Background apps are not paused, they keep running and processing.
Which means you can download big OTA applications (you can install BlackBerry software wirelessly too) in the background while you compose an email in the foreground... I did this in the past while downloading a newer version of VeriChat wirelessly on my BlackBerry, I wrote an email while waiting for the download to complete, and just Alt+Esc'd to switch between the screens.
I still like the Treo's for multimedia (video, etc), but this appears to be a surprising little-known advantage of BlackBerries right now in their superior multitasking capabilities over PalmOS... I'm kind of surprised that Palm is a little slow at releasing Cobalt (the true multitasking OS), as some friends of mine swear by the Treo for their amazing MP3 and video capabilities (Which BlackBerry can't yet do!). Yet BlackBerries have always used a true multitasking OS since the early 85X and 95X devices of the 1990's.
Note: The BlackBerry multitask hotkey Alt+Esc is hold
key and press the Esc side button below the trackwheel.
For more info, The Modern 2005-Era BlackBerry