My recent rant about ongoing shortcomings in Microsoft's ActiveSync -- generated a variety of responses, ranging from ''sucked in'' to ''tell me about it'', but there was one more complex theme: why not use a BlackBerry instead?
One anonymous poster was particularly enthusiastic, remarking that the BlackBerry was "secure, stable, reliable, user-friendly, intuitive, supported, market-leader, industry-standard, java-based (open standard) and very cost-effective and now on 3G networks".
I could take issue with several of those points, but "cost-effective" is the biggest one. The expense of running one is the single main reason I don't use a BlackBerry as my main device. I don't actually need right-up-to-the-minute access to my e-mail, and I can't justify the cost of paying for what amounts to a permanent GPRS connection just to keep my information synchronised on a mobile device.
If someone else is paying the bills, and you really do feel the need to reply to every e-mail within seconds, then the BlackBerry is undoubtedly the best option available at the moment. But how many people genuinely fit into that category?
Terms like "intuitive" are dangerous at the best of times, and I certainly wouldn't make that claim of the BlackBerry either. Yes, it's straightforward enough once you've learnt it, but (to give a single example) the existence of an "escape" key for cancelling is not something I think any BlackBerry neophyte would work out on their own.
I'm also not totally convinced by the "stable" claim. The BlackBerry I intermittently use for mobile web browsing tends to get caught in a browser security loop after a while, and the only way to get it working again is to remove the battery. A friend of mine has a BlackBerry that occasionally decides to switch the keyboard lock off for no apparent reason.
Obviously, the BlackBerry's ongoing success (Gartner gives it 25 percent of the worldwide PDA market in its most recent numbers) mean that it is working well for many people. But "working well" and "working perfectly" are not the same thing.