As you may or may not know from reading my posts, I’m an iPhone guy. I’ve had an iPhone since its launch here in Canada, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Or at least I thought I wouldn’t, but now I’m not so sure. RIM recently unveiled their App Store competitor, dubbed BlackBerry App World, and while home visiting family for Easter this past weekend I had the privilege of installing and demoing it for my father on his Blackberry 8830 World Edition.
Believe me, I went into this with a sufficiently condescending attitude. There was no way I was going to say anything nice about this App Store wannabe, especially not in front of my two cousins, both of whom work for RIM. And I was justly rewarded when I had some trouble installing The Hockey News on my very first attempt. But other than that one minor hiccup, installing and running apps went surprisingly smoothly.
And then I realized why everyone doesn’t instantly fall in love with the iPhone. Having never owned another smartphone (although I did have a couple Palm PDAs back in the day), I’d just assumed that the many kinks that come along with the iPhone, specifically those surrounding not being able to run apps in the background, and the need to power cycle whenever you install to ensure proper functioning, were just part of the territory. It’s also hard to find the good apps.
Aside from the first issue with The Hockey News app, every other app installed and ran fine on the BlackBerry. They just worked. They ran in the background, they supported copy and paste, and I didn’t have to restart every time I purchased one. It’s true that if I’d wanted to download any paid apps I’d have to have a PayPal account, which isn’t ideal, but there were plenty of free apps that covered my needs.
With App World, a BlackBerry suddenly becomes a much more web worker-friendly device. With neither the bugs nor the potential to distract of the the iPhone, RIM’s lineup of smartphones now seem to me to be the route to take if you’re looking for a straight-up productivity aid. Which isn’t to say I’m switching anytime soon, but the iPhone is an integral part of my professional life for other reasons.
What do you think about BlackBerry App World? Has it influenced your choice of smartphone? If you’re already a BlackBerry user, do you find the new store has helped your online work? If you’re not, has it given you reason to consider switching?