DEBATE:Is Blackberry worth buying anymore?

::::::::From its iconic status
among corporate elite a few
years ago, BlackBerry has
been forced to mingle with
the masses. Is it still a
smartphone worth buying or
have the newer operating
systems overshadowed it?
ET finds out.
It was the phone that popularised mail on the move.
It then added a new dimension to mobile messaging
with its BBM service, which lets its users swap
messages and files with each other free of cost.
However, the competition caught up with
Today, many people are not just criticising the
devices, but the company (Research In Motion) as
well. So should you buy one? Go through its various
features and services to know if it can still deliver,
and where it stands with respect to the competition.
Operating System
There are those who believe that like the Symbian,
the BlackBerry operating system (OS) is beginning
to show its age. This is perhaps why it is likely to
receive an overhaul in the coming months, when
version 10 of the OS will be launched. However,
even in its most recent avatar, the OS 7, the
interface remains easy to use, though it does not
have the intuitiveness and ease of use that Apple’s
iOS and Android do.
Our opinion: If the interface is important to you, you
will find the icon-based interfaces of Android and
iOS as well as the tile-based one of a Windows
Phone much easier to use than a BlackBerry. They
also score heavily in terms of style and
presentation. However, the BlackBerry interface
works very smoothly on high-end devices.
The BlackBerry crowd is lagging behind its peers in
this segment. The competition boasts better
cameras, displays and sound quality in the same
price segment. However, as some people will insist,
you do not buy a BlackBerry for multimedia.
Our opinion: If you want a great camera and sound
quality, BlackBerry is not your best option. The
seamless sharing across BBM is undoubtedly
amazing, but every smartphone is expected to have
multimedia muscle, and in terms of sheer quality,
the opposition has stolen a march over BB.
BlackBerry remains a formidable device for handling
e-mails. However, it is no longer the only device
capable of doing well in this department. Windows
Phone, Android and iOS are giving it a good run for
its money, offering larger, higher resolution displays
in smartphones.
Our opinion: The playing field in mobile e-mail is a
level one now. Most BlackBerry devices remain
wonderful options for those dealing mainly with
text-heavy mails. However, if you get heavily
formated attachments regularly, this is not the best
option for you.
With its trademark Qwerty keyboard and BlackBerry
Messenger, RIM has carved a niche for itself in
messaging. However, with the emergence of
services like WhatsApp and Nimbuzz, messaging
and file sharing is not limited to BlackBerry users.
What’s more, these services work across platforms
and are not restricted to BlackBerry, making them
more flexible.
Our opinion: BBM rules the roost when it comes to
messaging, and the keyboards in BlackBerry
devices are very helpful to those who write long
texts. If your friends do not have BlackBerry
devices, you will not be able to make the most of
BBM, but since WhatsApp runs on BlackBerry
devices, you can have the best of both worlds.
When it comes to integration with a company’s mail
server and security system, BlackBerry is still the
leader. Other platforms like iOS, Android and
Windows Phone are making their presence felt in
enterprise circles, but for most people, BlackBerry
remains the best option because of its familiarity
with and reputation for security.
Our opinion: It might no longer be the only
enterprise-friendly device in town, but it’s still one
of the easiest to adapt to corporate conditions due
to its strong technical support.
Web Browsing
Once considered the Achilles heel of most
BlackBerry devices, Web browsing has received a
big fillip, courtesy the OS 7, which came with a new
Java engine and fast page rendering. The screens of
most devices might be small and have a lower
resolution than other smartphones, but this doesn’t
detract from a BB’s smooth browsing,
Our opinion: The screen sizes and resolutions could
be better, but in terms of basic browsing, most
BlackBerry devices on OS 7 can hold their own
against the competition. However, if you browse the
Internet frequently, you may prefer a phone with a
bigger screen for better visibility.
Social Networking
BlackBerry stunned the world when it took to social
networking like a duck to water, with smooth
Twitter and Facebook integration. Of course, the
other devices also offer this feature, but combined
with the BBM, a BlackBerry allows you better
contact with your social networks.
Our opinion: If you want to be connected to
Facebook and Twitter round the clock, a BlackBerry
is a very good option as long as your posts have
more text than images/videos. Also keep in mind
that the device offers fewer alternative apps for
social networks.
Most BlackBerry fans insist that apps do not matter.
We come from a different school of thought because
apps give users the option to do more with their
devices. Unfortunately, RIM is not really giving
Android or iOS too much to worry about. While you
will get apps for most routine functions, and even
the odd funky game, innovations are rare.
Our opinion: It takes time for new apps to be
adapted to the OS 7, and sometimes, developers
give it a miss altogether. Though the keyboard
ensures that apps like office suites work well, when
it comes to photo editors, games and even news
apps, BlackBerry is not in the same league as iOS
and Android.
So, Should You Purchase A Blackberry?
As with all tech devices, it boils down to what you
need. Those seeking style, flair and apps would be
better served by other platforms. However, if you
want a solid phone that delivers a smooth mail and
texting experience, with an easy-to-use keyboard,
decent browsing and social media connectivity to
boot, BlackBerry remains a good proposition.
Our opinion: It is not a bells-and-whistles device, but
it’s still a handy and increasingly affordable one,
especially for those who prefer writing a thousand
words to showing them via a picture.
You might not need a BlackBerry device as much as
you did a few years ago, but there are not too many
people who will refuse one easily, especially those
working in enterprise circles.

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