Smartphone hivemind: Treo, Blackberry, or iPhone?

Okay, my friends. My two years of imprisonment are up. I love my Treo 700p but it is time for me to make a change. Any reviews of new Treos I’ve seen tell me that I need to attend a funeral.
So, if I am to change, let me tell you first what I love:
1. a good synch-able scheduling function – I look back at this schedule when composing my annual report of scholarly activities for The Man. I like to synch it with my personal computer but NOT with the corporate Outlook.
2. keeping my personal stuff far separate from my business stuff (but I like the real-time push of business e-mail)
3. a real typepad *plus* my love of the treo touchscreen (I liked my demo of the Blackberry 8830 WorldPhone *except* for the lack of the touchscreen – couldn’t get used to the friction ball.).
4. a half-decent web interface (just to access the blog, moderate comments, and check Gmail).
5. a phone that gets a signal in most metro areas but not at my desolate, vacant ranchland between Albuquerque and Pueblo.
My brothers Orac or DrugMonkey would certainly implore me to go to the iPhone. I just demo’d the Blackberry Storm today which got a “sucks ass” review from the NYT according to PharmGirl. However, I was surprised pleasantly and I quite liked the combo touchscreen and “pressable” keypad.
I’m looking at the Blackberry Bold that has a keypad but not a touchscreen.
Everyone ’round these parts (including The Real Paul Jones) raves about the iPhone but our AT&T coverage apparently sucks ass.
I don’t care. I’m month-to-month right now with Verizon and just want something that doesn’t piss me off too much (man, have I been hanging too much with PhysioProf or what?).
Let me also tell you something about me: I am not a fidder with web tech. I even hate the html I need to learn to run this blog. I want something that allows me to quickly do what I want but I won’t spend more than 10 minutes on new code or uploading auxillary apps.
Yes. I have now become an old codger. Surely some provider wants to suck up to my tech-challenged but revenue-reasonable demographic.
Give me a new smartphone without the attitude.


12 thoughts on “Smartphone hivemind: Treo, Blackberry, or iPhone?

  1. Who needs WiFi if you have a dataplan with good coverage?
    Pinch-zoom is fan-boi crap.
    ATT’s crap coverage doesn’t make up for the iPhone’s “cool”.
    Recently exchanged my Treo for a BB Curve … all I miss is the touchscreen (still instinctively touch it). Overall, I’m happy to have changed. E-mail me if you have specific questions.

  2. Profs Lynch and Drug, I guess you gents have hit on the crucial issues for which I must decide.
    Re John, I’ve been fortunate to have good dataplan coverage but several blogerati have warned me about AT&T’s poor coverage, such as when Orac went to SD for the AACR last year. Otherwise, it seems like iPhone is still best according to local hipsters.
    Brother Drug – I like the front button links to SB 24 hr, Terra Sig (yeah, right), DM, and CPP, Gmail, Drudge (yes, I admit) but don’t know what day-to-day would be like with a Crackberry.
    But, Prof Lynch, I sat there today with the Blackberry Storm and liked the hybrid touch/press interface despite PharmGirl’s caution and the NYT review.
    Let’s face it: I see that my Treo is destined for PharmGram’s place in the soil – God bless her soul – but if she knew enough tech, she’d say to lean toward a Blackberry touch interface. I guess I’m looking for fuel to go iPhone despite the local and national cautions on restrictions to phone coverage.
    Hep me – whoaaaaahhhh!

  3. Pinch-zoom is fan-boi crap

    Far from it. In fact, now that I have it, I don’t know what I ever did with out it.
    As for the iPhone, if you’re willing to shell out for MobileMe, it’s an excellent solution to be able to synch with your Exchange account and your home schedule, keeping them separate on the phone. In fact, that’s what I do with it. I synch to my Exchange account, which has my work schedule on it, and to my MobileMe calendar, which has everything else. Ditto contacts. My work contacts are on Exchange, and all my family, friends, and personal business contacts are synched through MobileMe.
    It’s true that the iPhone 2.0 software was buggy as hell; but it’s up to v.2.2 now and pretty stable, at least in my experience. In addition, there’s the App Store. Laugh if you will, but there are some truly killer apps there, ranging from a simple client to search the White Pages in an intuitive fashion to Urban Spoon which uses GPS to find your location and then lists all the restaurants in your area to iTV, which uses your location to list what’s on TV in your area. Many of these are free. There’s even an application that will record a snippet of a song you listen to and identify it accurately approximately 90% of the time or more. I also can’t emphasize enough the Safari web browser. It is a full, real browser, not a “mini” version of a browser. The e-mail client also handles far more like a “real” desktop e-mail client than anything I’ve seen.
    That’s not to say that the iPhone’s perfect. Its Exchange support is not complete, and I wish it had a more convenient way to switch between e-mail accounts. (I have five.) As is the case with many smart phones, if you surf the ‘net a lot with it on 3G and use push a lot, it sucks the battery down at an alarming rate, although if you use it mostly just as a phone its battery life is more than acceptable.
    Then there is AT&T. In some areas its coverage is decent; in some it’s pretty bad. Where I am it’s great around where I live, not so great around where I work.

  4. Depending on how much you like Gmail and how good T-Mobile’s coverage is in your area, you might want to take a long hard look at the T-Mobile G1. The G1 uses Google’s new Android OS and has a great web browser and just about every sort of connection you can buy: Wifi, 3G, and GPS. I have one and I’ve been very impressed by how seamlessly it switches between the different radios.
    Unfortunately, it doesn’t sync with your computer but it does sync with Google. Again this is quite seamless, stuff shows up in the G1 minutes or even seconds after you enter it into Gmail and Google Calendar and vice versa.
    The keyboard is fairly nice. It’s big and relatively comfortable to type on once you get used to it.

  5. Shawn, thanks for coming by – you’ve got an outstanding blog – I’m not a gamer but I loved your phone coverage. That TomTom One 125 GPS rig seems like an incredible deal for the car.
    I’ve done a little more reading, including Shawn’s review of his new BB Storm. I think I just have to go try out John’s suggested BB Curve (and the Bold), as well as the iPhone. I like how the type keys are separate like on the Treo as opposed to running together as they did on my demo BB 8830. Thanks, Orac, for all the updates on the apps and how you navigate these. I’ll have to go mess with the pinch-zoom thing and see what works best in my hands.
    John, I do indeed understand your point about the relative lack of need for Wi-Fi if you have good coverage but after reading more reviews (such as for the Storm, which lacks Wi-Fi), speed might also be another issue. I will take you up on your offer for more e-mail info.
    Robert, thanks – I hadn’t even considered the T-Mobile G1 – will check it out.
    Isis, you really need to investigate that containment apparatus for Little Isis – still must be cute to find the phone in the potty.

  6. OK, my friend, here’s my take:
    If your ATT coverage is good, get an iPhone, like yesterday.
    If not, you’re probably best served by a blackberry curve or worldphone.
    The synching software is not very intuitive as it is with iPhone, but if you use a google calendar, it’s very, very easy. I read my blogs (via viigo, a great piece of software) or via the web on my google reader. I have my epocrates, which i can’t live without.
    The new google phone is sure to do what you want, if t mobile is any good where you are.

  7. One other piece of advice would be to make sure your ATT coverage anecdotes are recent. When I first got my 3G iPhone, I would turn off 3G whenever I entered the Philly suburbs because coverage was pretty much nonexistent. I no longer have to do that and I’ve noticed my reception being better in some places in the city where it used to drop out occasionally. This all makes me think that either (1) Apple fixed something with a firmware update or (2) ATT is rolling out a fair number of new towers at least in my area.
    Aside from the (mostly resolved) coverage problems and the bizarre lack of out-of-the-box support for to-do lists, I can’t say enough good things about my iPhone.

  8. Greg is right, peeps – check your current AT&T coverage because ours turns out to be far better than it was when the iPhone was first released.
    btw, the Christmas choice was indeed the iPhone! A post will follow.
    Many thanks to all of you who have weighed in and helped me make my decision.

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