Long have I been jealous of the secret cult of BBM, destined to ponder the endless secret conversations had between BlackBerry-toting friends. I hoped one day us iPhone users would be treated to an IM client just as good and indeed the App Store has provided us with the likes of Fring and Skype.
These however just don’t seem quite as good as BBM which focuses on speed and simplicity.
There was a time when the BlackBerry was synonymous with suited business types, little more than a fancy means to check emails and surf the web.
Now thanks to the growth of the BlackBerry App World and the rise of social networking, the BlackBerry is becoming more of a young persons mobile too, and not just of the upwardly mobile type.
The last time I used a BlackBerry was in the early days of the Pearl range. With this came a clunky and sometimes complex operating system with a difficult to use browser. Happily this isn’t the case these days. I felt like I was long overdue a catchup with the BlackBerry OS so decided to ditch the iPhone and carry the Torch 9800 for a few weeks.
The first thing that I noticed was just how much faster the Torch felt, compared to previous handsets. The operating system is far more fluid and has a nicer to look at. The combination of touchscreen-plus-Qwerty works better than I thought it would. Battery life was great and decent reception kept emails coming in. I noticed that and other notifications updated far quicker than on my iPhone.
The phone did however still feel somewhat like a businessman’s mobile. It wasn’t until I began exploring the App World that I realised just how much the OS had changed. Upon installing Twitter and Facebook, the Torch became equally as good as my iPhone for keeping me posted.
It was at this point that I realised rarely did I use my iPhone for much else. Apart from gaming I could do everything I needed with the BlackBerry faster and, thanks to the better battery life, for longer periods of time.
I am convinced that if RIM can continue to update and maintain BlackBerry OS and encourage the growth of the App World, it will find itself being adopted by larger numbers. The phone has already done away with much of its business-like approach. But now handsets like the Torch are marketed as a different kind of BlackBerry. What RIM has managed to do is keep its business expertise and deliver a speedy social networking device that’s just as capable as competitors.