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Becoming a BlackBerry fan when it's not cool to do so

Most people seem to be adopting Android or iOS as their mobile platform of choice. Am I a sucker for the underdog or do I just want a phone that gets things done?

As you know, I use mobile devices from all the platforms, but always seem to stick with the underdog -- as demonstrated by  my usage of Nokia Symbian and Microsoft's Windows Mobile platforms.

I am a huge Windows Phone 7 fan, but have pretty much given up on Nokia's Symbian devices and Palm's webOS smartphones. I enjoy Android, but grow tired of low battery life, constant app updates, and all the different user experiences.

iOS devices are great, but I am not a huge fan of the current application-focused UI. I think iOS 5 is very appealing and I may pick up a iOS 5 iPhone if I can get one on a carrier that fits into my plans. The funny thing is that I am now becoming a RIM BlackBerry fan -- at a time when people seem to be writing off the company and device as past their prime. Let me explain why.

I purchased a BlackBerry PlayBook on launch day and for the most part I enjoyed using it, but grew a bit tired of not getting stand-alone email or PIM support; RIM has been pretty silent on when to expect the update for this. I sold the PlayBook a week ago, as I was trying to consolidate my large tablet collection (I have an iPad 2, HTC Flyer, and HP TouchPad) and thought I could give it up. I was then sent the three new BB OS 7 smartphones to evaluate (see my review) and fell in love with the fantastic design and QWERTY keyboard of the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 . I decided to give up LTE and my Samsung Droid Charge to purchase my own Bold 9930, which I will be doing next week.

I then contacted the guy who bought my PlayBook and he was kind enough to accept a refund and a fee for his troubles to send me back the PlayBook and it arrived back home yesterday. The combination of a PlayBook and Bold 9930 is killer for me since I get the full BlackBerry Bridge support for PIM; web browsing without need of a tethering service; BBM on a large screen; enjoyable QNX UI and multi-tasking; and rock-solid hardware in a tablet and phone. Battery life is  good enough that I can go at least a full day with both, unlike my Android and Windows Phone smartphones.

On Tuesday, I explained why I thought there were still several reasons to consider a BlackBerry smartphone. In combination with the cutting-edge QNX experience, I am getting the best of both worlds while avoiding having to pay an extra WiFi hotspot tethering fee. The PlayBook browser is one of the best out there and I personally find the UI to be even better than the TouchPad webOS UI that it appears to be modeled after.

I've talked about apps on smartphones and, as I explained in my review of these OS 7 phones, I have nearly all the apps I need and do not find much lacking. There are not a ton of apps on the PlayBook yet, but I am also quite pleased with the available ones there and believe it will get better as we know the Android App Player is also coming to the PlayBook.

Jason just recently wrote that he see three scenarios that can play out for RIM, but as I posted I honestly think RIM will do just fine remaining an independent company. Their sales have been down over the last year, but it has also been a year since they released new devices and these OS 7 devices are all the best ever in their form factors for RIM smartphones. I am not sure if people will choose them over Android or iOS, but current BB users should be extremely happy and want to upgrade. I am a BlackBerry convert; could there be others like me?

Are any readers not currently BlackBerry users planning to pick up a new BlackBerry OS 7 smartphone ?

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