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Summary:

Not a day goes by, when some device maker comes out of the woodwork, claiming to be the Blackberry killer. The e-mail device which has turned many into addicts is under assault this summer from a plethora of devices – Motorola Q, Nokia E61, Cingular 8125, […]

Not a day goes by, when some device maker comes out of the woodwork, claiming to be the Blackberry killer. The e-mail device which has turned many into addicts is under assault this summer from a plethora of devices – Motorola Q, Nokia E61, Cingular 8125, Palm’s New Treos – in various price categories, and form factors. Having used the Crackberry, I know it is still the gold standard. No one comes close enough for email, though its phone features are well, less than desirable. What do you guys think?

  1. can you kill blackberry?

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  2. well that is what we are trying to find out? i don’t know the answer to that one yet ;-)

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  3. I bought a new Blackberry 8700g last week to audition it as a replacement for my Treo 600 and I will be returning it today. To me, the Blackberry is only great at one thing: enterprise fully-synced email/calendaring. Granted, it’s a very important thing, but it’s just one thing. Everything else about this device is sub-par to me, even compared to my two year old Treo.

    That is why I just purchased a Treo 700P a couple of days ago and will be switching over to Sprint just so I can use it. A list of things I like better about it:

    – More Mac-like interface sensibilities
    — Music
    — TV
    — Syncs with IMAP mail
    — Syncs with Macs and PCs better
    — Camera
    — Touch screen
    — Better keyboard

    etc etc etc

    Although the Palm OS’s “look” is getting a bit dated, the fact remains it’s still one of the most feature-rich, mature, easy-to-use OSes out there. It also syncs seamlessly with Outlook or whatever other PIM you use. For someone who isn’t using a Blackberry Enterprise Server, it’s the best choice in town. So I guess your question comes down to, “when and how will the Blackberry Enterprise Server become unnecessary?” To me, it already is.

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  4. If Microsoft could do a better job handling/releasing memory and preventing crashes, they could have won with this generation of devices… but I think they’re still too quirky. Though, for sheer processing horse power and EVDO, it’s hard to beat either of the 6700s. How come the Sidekick III isn’t on the survey? ;)

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  5. IMAP Push will eventually kill the Blackberry, and enterprise mobility services in general, by making them less relevant as people expect this as part of their basic “dial tone”. Having used smartphones since 2000, I have never understood the value of the Blackberry service, since IMAP over a secure link gives you 95% of what the Blackberry does, without the extra subscription. The only thing lacking right now is a widely accepted protocol for syncing contact and calendar info (SyncML never caught on). Once you have that, combined with IMAP Push, there is really not much need for a proprietary solution, so the Blackberry is a transitional technology, albeit a very lucrative one for the time being.

    The endless litigation in this space has also certainly not helped any of these vendors, as it has educated people about the importance of open standards and protocols that are not owned by a single corporation.

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  6. brian

    who are the folks working on the IMAP Push technology, and who will be including it in their products. I think you are right about SyncML – too tough to use in many situations. what are the options you see for that?

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  7. If IMAP Push is actually a separate technology from IMAP, I’ll admit that I’m a bit ignorant about it, but my own standard IMAP configuration is not noticeably different than true “push” right now. My Treo maintains a passive connection with my standard IMAP e-mail account, sends a tiny idle command every minute or so, and when there’s new mail/events/whatever, the Treo gets it immediately. It’s sort of a cross between push and pull I guess, but to the end user, it’s really no different than the true push of the Blackberry.

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  8. I’ve used, tried or owned most of those devices.

    My vote goes to a Blackberry 8700c.

    The problem with the devices that do EVERYTHING (ie, Treo’s, PocketPC’s, etc) is that they do EVERYTHING rather poorly. Its great to be able to watch TV, videos, music, etc on your phone, but the actual experience of using the phone/e-mail suffers by consequence.

    The Blackberry does work best with corporate e-mail. And no, I don’t use it with my corporations e-mail system, I use MailStreet and forward all my mail out to them. Mi8 does the same thing.

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  9. P-IMAP is an extension to IMAP that delivers asychronous messages to clients to inform them of when new messages have arrived. The goal in P-IMAP is to reduce the need to have a TCP connection nailed up (and thus an active GPRS link) to poll for state. P-IMAP is more about making IMAP work on devices with limited resources than it is providing a push experience, as IMAP IDLE polling largely does that (except at the cost of fast battery drain).

    I agree with Om that the distinction is largely lost on end users, who will perceive polled email delivered within a few minutes as “push” email, as they have no way of comparing arrival times when away from their PCs. Also with the increased popularity of SMS, it is no longer necessary to use email to send urgent messages to people as you can send an SMS to someone to prod them to pay attention to something or alert them to an important document.

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  10. (I already posted this on another site, so might as well cut&paste here too):
    I’ve had the privilege of analyzing all these devices and more, and have come up with the following conclusions:

    • 8700 is an awesome machine, miles ahead of anything RIM has ever put out. EDGE is not as fast as EVDO or HSDPA, but Bberry has done a great job optimizing perceived speeds and usable data.

    • My fav device (and the one I’m keeping and using constantly) is the Verizon XV6700. Similar in form and function to the MDA (current GSM carriers’ versions) , but it’s EVDO and >twice the processor speed. Both factors have made major differences in my testing. If you’ve tried and hated the MDA, don’t rule out WM5 absolutely . I really love the solution coupled with MS Exchange and am seeing remarkable performance on the Verizon xv6700.

    • WM5 vs Palm: I sold my last company to Palm, so have an affinity for them. Yet I predicted WM would jump past them, as you are implying, and I think that has already happened w/ WM5 at least on the robustness/performance trade-off. 1 major factor w/ WM5 is the push email. Full support depends on the device but with this, there’s now NO reason to have and pay for Blackberry Ent server. I’m not raving that MS now has a super-solid platform, more that in traditional MS style the new version “sucks less”. But it’s such a useful platform, if you’re really already MS vertically-setup, the calendaring, email, contacts, etc, are just way richer and better looking IMO than Blackberry. Yes this is MS koolaid speak, and if you’re mac-centric that edge goes away. The clincher that I think pushes WM over Bberry is that it also is still a much more open platform than Bberry and you can run cool things such as GPS software, etc. Battery life WM vs Bberry can’t compare but I simply dock it every night and I’m fine.

    • Treo 700w: for now (being that it’s so far only avail on Verizon), this device doesn’t seem compelling, since you can have the xv6700 instead. The Treo has dramatically smaller screen, tiny keys, and yet is slightly BIGGER lengthwise than the xv6700. Plus side on the Treo is it has hard keys for dialing and slightly better phone call sound though that last point goes away if you use a BT headset.

    • Moto Q will NOT hit the professional mark. It is windows smartphone and not full WM5 and will be just dumbed down enough to frustrate a professional user.

    Ken

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