Blackberry: The ultimate guide

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What is it?
Money never sleeps: NPD Group’s analysis puts Research In Motion’s BlackBerry atop the
US smartphone market with a 36 per cent share. Worldwide it holds just over 20 per cent, making it the planet’s second most popular platform after Symbian. Why?

That can be answered in one word: email. Keeping workers, executives, creatives and top-of-the-bus kids in touch since 2002, BlackBerry has long had the slickest mobile access to work and play email and text messaging. Add a rock solid set of devices, increasingly good web browsing and business related apps and you can see why shedding the CrackBerry habit is just so damn tough.

Why you love it
Like huge takeaway coffees and the phrase “going forward”, a BlackBerry has become an iconic status symbol for the more businesslike among us. Models change regularly, but the best of the Blackberry’s all have the same blend of tactile and responsive QWERTY keyboards with incredibly simple synchronisation of email, calendars, tasks, notes and contacts. It’s compact – but not too compact – unfussy, high-end and has a serious, professional attitude.

Add 3G and Wi-Fi on models such as the Bold series, GPS in tandem with the ever-reliable BlackBerry Maps and the slowly growing force that is App World and there’s a hell of a lot to like here.

What you don’t like
Not the most scientific research we’ve heard, but bear with us. A recent Crowd Science study suggests that 40 per cent of BlackBerry users would switch to an Apple iPhone or Android – a higher level of potential disloyalty than its rivals. BlackBerry users are also most likely to use their smartphone purely for work. Fact is, Apple and Android offer far more enjoyment, glamour and style.

What must be more worrying for BlackBerry is that while users get used to typing on the excellent touchscreen keyboards of HTC and Apple, its own touchscreens – on the Storm series – lag far behind. With other smartphones also getting better at the push email game, BlackBerry’s USP isn’t so “U”…

What’s coming up?
BlackBerry App World store is expanding and now boasts 6,000 very decent apps. Yes, that’s a long way behind Apple and Android, but it’s double what BlackBerry users had to play with this time last year. RIM has opened up its push service notifications to all BlackBerry apps, improving the user experience when it comes to news, live sports scores, Twitter and Facebook.

The forthcoming, new and improved BlackBerry 6.0 OS will offer a new web browser and user interface, and support Adobe Flash. Also designed to make the touchscreen control of BlackBerry devices more convincing, it’ll be heading your way as the leaves begin to fall in autumn.

App Store:
BlackBerry App World
Number of Apps: 6,000
Blackberry reviews: Bold 9700, Pearl 3G, Storm 2

What BlackBerry says about you…
You’re a busy pro who has his mind on the job at all times. Forget trendy touchscreen phones – who can bash out 100+ mails a day on one of those?