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My BlackBerry turns 1 / Economics of investing on a BlackBerry

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It’s been a quickfire 1 year for my BlackBerry. It seems like it was just yesterday that I went in for this purchase after my iPhone 3G fiasco.

My BlackBerry has served me well. Yes, it has not only increased my workload to span weekends (I always seem to be in touch with activities at work even while commuting to/from work) but also had other such advantages.

In addition to these social advantages, it has greatly improved my productivity proving it’s not just a gadget bought for pure frills:

Most critical: You can obviously make/receive calls that are of good audible quality and speakerphone is equally good. Voice quality is also good and depends on the AirTel signal.

1. You can get emails delivered on the BlackBerry device faster than even gmail delivery. It’s instantaneous. You are always in touch with your emails.

2. You can configure and centrally administer emails on web console and delete/add email accounts to your device from the web putting you in charge of your personal email accounts. This is with both BIS and BES. I use BES.

3. You can SMS and forward SMS’s as emails. How common is this? Yes, I have found a need for this many times.

4. The keyboard is what sets the BlackBerry apart from it’s competitors. The ease of use of punching in emails is really addictive!

5. I have Maps – from both Google Maps and MapmyIndia for navigation that serve well with the GPS. This is as good as it can get with any navigation device available in India today. So, it works as a GPS device.

6. You can take pictures that are of reasonable quality (2 mega pixel) and you can geo-tag them so when I download them onto my MacBook,  I can get the location details on the map. How cool is this? This is using the places feature of iPhoto.

7. You can record voicenotes. I did this extensively during some important sessions and while I attend conferences or to record minutes of some meet.

8. You can take videos though I don’t use this feature much.

9. BlackBerry Apps have been introduced in India. So, you can also download apps on the device as you would with an iPhone 3G from iTunes.

10. You can insert a high capacity mini-SD card into the slot and increase storage capacity of the device. This SD card is removable unlike the iPhone.

11. You can listen to music which is stored on the SD card.

12. You can remove the battery when you feel the device feels sluggish etc. and it reboots. My biggest grouse with Apple was that I could have probably salvaged my drowning iPhone an year back when it was lying in that drain water frying all it’s circuitry had it been for a removable battery. Alas, it did not have a battery that was removable and it basically fried itself. I could see that happen actually. An incoming call was coming and it was lying in that water.

13. Charges are decent for a full day use. You need to charge the device once daily for this kind of use for 12-16 hours.

14. You can access office documents on the go. I have used office documents on the BlackBerry and it’s usable unlike in case of my iPhone. This translates directly to improved productivity.

15. Despite the completely difficult web browser, I still use the web browser on my BlackBerry for information on the go. This is a great time saver. The iPhone Safari web browser beats this hands-down. It’s just a different web experience with the iPhone and no other Smartphone has even gone close to it and probably won’t in a long time. The multi-touch of the iPhone + the Safari browser rendering full screen pictures makes it a completely unique web surfing experience on the iPhone.

16. You can set reminders etc. for tasks as you would on an organizer. I have again used this and it’s useful.

17. You can use the regular alarm to wake you up in the mornings like an alarm clock and it’s useful!

18. You can use multiple connections – regular GPRS, Wi-Fi etc. to access the Internet/data through your BlackBerry device.

19. You can use instant messaging via Google Talk effortlessly. I use this a lot and it again translates into improved productivity.

20. You have Twitter clients for the BlackBerry, I downloaded UberTwitter. You also have Facebook apps for the BlackBerry.

The final verdict, the interface might not be as jazzy as the iPhone 3GS but the BlackBerry beats it hands-down in almost every other field it was used by me in comparison with my own iPhone.

Overall, from an economics standpoint, is the BlackBerry worth investing in? Yes, for the price you pay (Rs. 35K), the value you get is quite a good deal – but over a long period of time. There are no short-term benefits to realize it’s value.

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Written by Naveen Athresh

December 16, 2009 at 2:55 pm

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