My cell phone contract was up on Tuesday. (I had used T Mobile for two years and found out it did not give me the coverage and service I wanted.) I knew I wanted a new provider, and chose AT & T, so it was time to consider the two really superior Smart-phones that are on the market: The Blackberry Bold and the Apple iPhone. I have to tell you I have never put much time into making a rather simple decision like this. I generally seek a little advice, check a few phones at the store and buy one. This time I did about four hours of online research (alone) and then about two hours of conversations with sales people at three different retail stores.

First, both of these products are excellent phones. If you really like to have a load of applications, a truly neat screen and some very cool Internet stuff then the iPhone is what you want. If you want to manage data, use a great phone, and are just not into the Mac system then the Blackberry Bold is a superb option. (I had used a Blackberry for several years!)

Second, I asked four sales people what they personally used. The truth is that three of them used both phones, since they could use them as employees of AT & T, and one person used only the Bold after trying an iPhone and not liking the virtual typing function. All four sales people said, "It depends on what you want and how you will use it." Great help that was. I wasn't even sure much of the time I was doing my research. I was caught in a consumer maze and didn't know how to get out. (Man, I am glad I do not do this very often.)

Third, I read various reviews and watched comparisons of the two online and in person. One minute I was sure I would buy the Bold and the next minute the iPhone. After a day or two of this I said, "I am going to buy this one and get on with it." On the way to the store I called several friends. Again, I got two very different responses.

My Mac friends swear by their phones and their computers. In fact, they are often like recent red-hot converts. They are almost all evangelists for their Macs. A few think I am crazy for not getting all Mac computers and the iPhone. Rarely do I meet a person who uses Mac who is not in love with their system. Is this techno-idolatry or what?

Well, I broke down and made the decision, knowing I could pay a small restocking fee and get the other phone within 30 days if I changed my mind. I got the Blackberry Bold. Just to bother a few of my Mac friends I told them the deciding factor for me was this: "President Obama uses a Blackberry. I wanted to follow my president!" (I knew that would get a rise from a few of my more conservative friends and it did, to my pleasure.)

Now, I may yet change my mind, fickle as I am about this decision. I like the Bold but I tried to use it to work with this blog spot today and had some minor frustrations. I think I can sort this out. In terms of support and easy loading of my previous Blackberry files it was all a breeze. The feel and the keyboard are great. (I still like to feel keys strike under my finger tips, something the iPhone does not do with its virtual keyboard.)

OK, who wants to bet on what I will now do? Will I keep the Bold or still want an iPhone?

One thing for sure, this choice is not one of life and death consequence, though you could fool me the way some people fall in love with these phones. I do wonder about how much we are taken in by all these options and the newest this and that. The bells and whistles offered in these Smartphones make for some convenience and make millions of us consumers.

If you have tried both of the phones I would love to hear your response as to which one you picked and why. If you are a Luddite, and think the whole business is a waste of time, feel free to tell me that as well.

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  1. Helen January 29, 2009 at 8:34 am

    I think you’ll probably be happier with a Blackberry if you like the feel of keys and you’re going to type on it much. I’ve only used an iphone and I’m happy with it but I’ve heard people with Blackberry phones say they like those keys better than the flat iphone screen.
    I use the browser feature a lot on my iphone so I’m glad it has a full safari web browser. But I didn’t consider getting a Blackberry. My husband has had those for a while and likes them (in general – he doesn’t the particular model he was just given by work as much as the previous one – it’s not a Bold btw). He says the browser isn’t great but he doesn’t use that so it doesn’t seem to be a big issue.
    I don’t know what the relative monthly costs for each phone are – that would be a consideration for me if one is going to cost significantly more than the other.

  2. Sarah January 29, 2009 at 8:51 am

    “President Obama uses a Blackberry. I wanted to follow my president!” (I knew that would get a rise from a few of my more conservative friends and it did, to my pleasure.)
    -haha! 🙂
    There’s a reason why people nickname it the Crackberry… very addictive!

  3. Dave Moorhead January 29, 2009 at 11:34 am

    First, thanks for not calling me to ask me my opinion. I have a simple Motorola phone and still don’t know how to use all the features on it!
    Second, Mia has a Mac computer and she has nothing but trouble with it and I can’t make heads nor tails out of it.
    Therefore, I vote that you will stay with your Blackberry because you’re not a Mac kind of guy. You’re a guy who makes his living with words, not pictures.
    Therefore, I predict you will go to the iphone just to prove me wrong.

  4. J. R. Miller January 29, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    What about the Blackberry Storm?,2933,461265,00.html
    I love my Mac, but if I had the money I think I would get the Storm because of the better data management.

  5. John March January 29, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    I have an iPhone. The primary place I believe the iPhone has a leg up in comparison to the Blackberry is in the software development ecosystem. There are literally 1000 of apps for the iPhone (many of which are free), and the App Store is seamlessly integrated with the phone’s operating system. I have 4 screen-fulls of apps. I have never paid for an app. I download new ones frequently, and delete the ones that don’t add to my productivity. From what I’ve read, the Blackberry’s software development platform and distribution point hasn’t generated the same number of apps.

  6. Jessica Fick January 30, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    I’ve had an iphone since they came out. My husband and I initially bought Blackberrys but found the keyboard too cumbersome and the phone itself not very intuitive to use. I like the iphone’s visual displays & as another person has commented, the ease of adding applications and access to the changes of applications is stellar. Plus, I just think it looks cooler! I could go on about why I have enjoyed many of the iphone features but overall I’ve had a very positive experience with it.

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