Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why I like blackberry

Today, I was asked question by a friend about why I love Blackberry or RIM. I also recently purchased a playbook @ 199$. While the entire world is moving towards Android or iPhone, the question is vey obvious and I would like to explain.


Background:

  • I live in India and even though most of the last decade I stayed in USA.
  • I used blackberry for 8 years or so
  • I own both android (Original Google Nexus) and iPhone. 
  • I moved back to blackberry
For my friends in USA, Indian environment is very different compared to USA.


Cost:


We purchase our phone by paying full price and buy unlocked phone. There are vendor locked-in phones but the discounts are not worth mentioning (20$ or so).


We do not have 2 year contract. Most of the people here use pre-paid plans where you recharge as required.


3G availability is limited. Where I stay, I hardly get 3G speed and where I work, I get good 3G speed. 


Approximately, if you have to buy blackberry curve here and compare the price of it with other android phones in INR, you will get the idea

  • Blackberry Curve (20,000 INR = ~ 400 $)
  • Samsung Galaxy  (25,000 INR = ~500 $)
  • iPhone 4S (45,000 INR = ~900 $)
Phone specs and features are comparable. But again, we need basic phone with phone and apps features. Most of the things required work very well in all of them. i.e. Facebook, email and internet.


Most of the features in iPhone like Siri or other features are specific to USA. Most of the apps are now available to India but requires credit card. Not everyone has credit cards and those who have are not comfortable buying anything with credit card. So, the purchase is not at the volume you might see in USA.




Features


Language:


Some of the phones are built for certain category of people. I personally like to read content on the phone in multiple languages. Android has very poor (i.e. zero) for Indian langues. 


Check the issue here: http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=4153 and http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=12981

iPhone has good support but it is out for several other reasons including cost :)


Think about embarrassment when your costly android phone cannot read SMS or email or Facebook post because it is in some other language :) 


Keyboard


I am a heavy keyboard user. I type on computer and prefer keyboard shortcuts and with heavy usage on blackberry. The experience (or expertise) gained, I cannot give away so soon. In the two years that I did not use blackberry, my responses in email went down. My response to my friends either on chat or SMS was slower and not so interactive and even my wife complained that I do not reply to her messages. Touch was a learning curve. After switching back to blackberry, I dont see that as much a problem. 


It also has ability to enter hindi text directly just like on desktop.


Apps

Blackberry is worst in terms of availability of apps. But again, if I see what apps I use mostly, it is limited to my Facebook, email and browser. There are some games that I play, but mostly that will move on to tablet. 


BBM


Cant talk about Blackberry without mentioning BBM. 
Indian government recently had a ban on SMS and you cannot send more than 100 SMS messages. No limits on BBM messages. I save ton of money by not using SMS but by using BBM and talking to my friends and my wife. 


And you can get all these features of BBM including web browsing for 399 INR on Vodafone (i.e. 8 $) without any commitment and prepaid. 


I must say that BBM is addictive. You may have another technology replace this in near future but for now, it is perfect.


RIM should find innovative ways of working with any of the android vendor and it will be amazing.


Service


When my iPhone battery was not supporting up time of few hours, I went to apple store to replace it. They said they wont support it as it was not purchased in India. A local vendor who said he will replace it, charged me a lot more money and still did not replace it with authentic battery. The phone is a brick till I find right tools to open it and do it myself. For some other day but for now, it is useless.


I can get blackberry parts replaced or phone repaired without traveling too far from my home almost within few hours or a day. User replaceable battery :)


Email


I put this at the end as there is no question that blackberry is still the best way to receive and send email for me. I can see and respond in much lesser time thanks to amazing keyboard. And yes, android does not provide HTML email (at least when I used) by default. Apple iPhone did.


Market Share


A market price or market share is not something I look at when I purchase basic things like phone. They are required but there is no financial planning or life dependency on it. Future phone models do not bother me. When I have to purchase, I will make decision on what is available at that time. When I bought Blackberry, I found it good for the price. When I have time to change, I will do my analysis again.


Will I buy RIM shares? That may decide on their future models and growth.


Social


I have four blackberry users in my family. Me and my wife are only into IT. Other two users are no way closer to Information Technology.


For every 10 people who have blackberry, I find may be 5 with android and someone with iPhone. May be I dont meet lot of elite members of the society here :)






Tablet
Without ability to use a tablet without a need for additional data plan or cost, I am thrilled :)


At the cost I am getting, it is good. Most of the places that I visit, do not have wi-fi. 


Alternatives


Nokia or Samsung. If they work within Indian context and provide hardware and software understanding local environment, people will switch.




So, unless my company provides me with discounted iPhone and 3G plan, I am sticking with Blackberry.







2 comments:

charuta said...

Yep..after doing some cost vs. typical usage analysis..I got a BB playbook too. Great deal for 16K.
For everything simpler/ on-the-go I have my smartphone and laptop for something more complex. Works out perfect for half of iPad/tablet cost!

Srini said...

I got my playbook too and I think it was a good choice. I hope you got time to install BETA 2.0 and using all the android apps with it.