So you’ve decided to get yourself a Blackberry smartphone and you’re not too sure which one to pick from the current crop. You may be getting a Blackberry for business use, or perhaps because of its fashionable look, or maybe even because you want to replace your laptop with something smaller. Whatever the case, there are a few features which are essential for any Blackberry - and a lot which aren’t. Let’s take a look at the essentials and not-so-necessary features for any Blackberry.
You need: Email Everywhere
Well, that’s the point of a Blackberry, isn’t it? Wireless email coverage is the cornerstone of the Blackberry experience, allowing you to set up multiple email accounts (up to ten per phone) of all different sorts per device. The Push Technology which RIM uses for its Blackberries means that email becomes a complement to ordinary SMS, with your Blackberry notifying you every time you receive an email rather than you having to check your inbox manually. Be sure to check that your email account works on your Blackberry and that your local area has good network coverage from RIM, otherwise you might as well just get any old smartphone.
You don’t need: Instant Messaging
You might you think you do, but the email and SMS capabilities of Blackberries basically cover off live conversation, as do the social networking functions integrated into most Blackberries (more in this in a moment). Besides, instant messaging on Blackberries often proves clunkier and harder to maintain than the tried and true email support for which the devices are renowned.
You need: Social Networking Support
Which sounds somewhat facetious, especially if you’re a business user, but it comes in extremely handy and transforms the Blackberry from just a smartphone into a potential replacement for your laptop or netbook. Most Blackberries support the major social networking sites through dedicated apps, including Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, allowing you to stay updated and post information wherever you have network coverage. Given that many small businesses now rely on Twitter for marketing and Facebook’s ubiquity is starting to hit the corporate sphere, we think social networking on your Blackberry is a worthy investment indeed. Set it up just after email.
You don’t need: Voice Commands
RIM touts these as an essential desktop replacement feature, but we think the Blackberry’s voice command system is, well, a little superfluous. Most Blackberry keypads are pretty easy to manage (although some more compact models can be fiddly) and you can plug in external keyboards for ease of use - not that you’ll usually be sitting down to use them anyway. Besides, voice command systems make you look just a little silly when you’re in public telling your phone to “Send Message Stat.” Stick to the keyboard or stylus.
You need: GPS and Blackberry Maps
Blackberries are generally devices for people on the go, and getting lost just doesn’t cut it when you’ve got GPS support inbuilt into your device. Blackberry’s free maps are pretty decent, and can be easily updated whenever you sync your phone with your PC. Make a point to download the relevant maps when you get your Blackberry up and running, especially if you plan on going travelling.