So, you’re comparing the Storm 2 to the HTC Incredible? Or the Motorola Droid to the Blackberry Tour? I’ve toted both a Blackberry Tour and an HTC Incredible. Based on my experience, these are the primary differences between Blackberries and Android phones.
Navigation/Input – I won’t insult your intelligence and point out the difference between touchscreens and physical keyboards. Go to the store, talk to friends and decide which you prefer. If you want a physical keyboard, you’re in the Motorola Droid vs. Blackberry Tour camp. If you think you’ll be smacking a lot of keys, I think the Tour’s keyboard bests the Droid’s. Also, a revised version of the Tour (the Bold 9650) is on the horizon with a trackpad instead of a trackball or think about the new Curve with the trackpad. If you’re in the touchscreen camp, then you’re looking at the Storm 2 or HTC Incredible. The HTC Incredible has a more responsive screen and it’s a large (3.7″ vs. 3.25″), bright, impressive AMOLED screen. It has a resolution of 480 x 800 vs. a barely adequate 360 x 480.
Speed/Processor – While exact specs are unknown, Blackberries use much slower processors than competing Android phones. The HTC Incredible runs at 1 Ghz and the Droid runs at 550 Mhz. Blackberry specs are not released but it is assumed that they are much slower based on lag when installing apps, multitasking or doing processor intensive tasks.
Cameras – Currently, Androids have better cameras. Who cares?
Operating System Overall - Android 2.1 bests the Blackberry OS 5.0 and almost certainly OS 6.0. Blackberry OS is simple but subpar by today’s standards. No widgets. You can “lose” icons by placing them in folders. It lacks core features that are included in stock Android even on the Droid. However, Blackberry OS is a tad bit easier to use (if you don’t hide or misplace an icon).
Email - Blackberry whips every device out there in push email. RIM has patented technology that makes your emails push almost as soon as they are sent. Bam. If you need real time email, then the Blackberry is an easy pick. For real time communication on an Android device, you can use SMS/text messages or IM apps. Speaking of which, Blackberry has a proprietary IM system, Blackberry Messenger, that only runs on Blackberries. I think it’s overrated and the interface stinks but some swear by it.
Browser – The Android browser is very, very good. The RIM browser in OS 5.0 is a complete failure. OS 6.0 will incorporate a better browser but based on the leaked screenshots, I don’t think it will measure up to the Android browser which even supports Flash Lite on the HTC Incredible. Also, Android supports many third party browsers (Dolphin HD, SkyFire, Opera Mini and others) that best the third party browsers available on the Blackberry (BOLT! and Opera Mini).
Media – Blackberries lag in this category but the upcoming OS 6.0 sports a new media player that looks right up there with stock Android.
Apps and Third Party Software
Android walks all over the Blackberry in app development. Google has programmed some amazing apps for Android (Googles/Visual Search, Google Maps with Navigation, Sky Map and others). Third party developers have really taken the ball and run with it. Replacement keyboards, SMS clients, games, browsers, media players, etc. are available for free or cheap in the Android Market. RIM’s Blackberry App World is a joke compared to the Market or the Apple App Store. Sure you can load Pandora on both but once you really evaluate the two, Android wins the apps category easily.
My Opinionated Conclusions
Blackberries are very functional devices and they’re terrific, industry standard email devices. They’ll probably stay numero uno in enterprise use for a couple years and maybe longer. On the other hand, the Android experience is “fun” and app-centric.
If it’s your first smartphone, you’ll probably love either one. Maybe the Blackberry is the gateway drug to the smartphone world. If you’re a seasoned smartphone user, you will probably find the Android experience much more appealing.
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