I recently checked out a BlackBerry Pearl and after spending a few days with it I have to say I don't think people are choosing BlackBerry devices themselves as much as they are being assigned them by their companies. If people are choosing the device themselves, then I highly encourage them to check out the more capable Palm, Symbian, and Windows Mobile offerings and prepared to be blown away compared to the BlackBerry devices. Fellow Mobian, Steve Sande, must have been reading my mind and his new blog entry titled, BlackBerry - What’s All The Fuss?, practically mirrors all my same thoughts on the platform.
The first impression I had of the Pearl was checking out the terrible fonts and very basic looking web browser and PIM applications and I couldn't believe that people were actually accepting them on their devices. You can tweak many of the fonts to make it a bit more readable, but what a terrible out-of-box experience for new customers. I also find it much easier to switch between applications in the other competing platforms that have much more available software to help you get even more functionality out of the device. BlackBerry devices have always been promoted for their email support, but I found the email interface to be quite poor compared to that seen on my Nokia E61 and T-Mobile Dash. And the argument that BlackBerry's get push email is pretty much moot now that Exchange has Direct Push support and even the BlackBerry server works on multiple mobile device operating systems. I know security has been a concern with IT people as well, but Microsoft's latest Windows Mobile update addresses much of that with the capability for remote wiping of devices too. It will be interesting to see if IT personnel start taking an honest look at the other mobile device solutions that are available and what RIM will do to improve their operating system as they start to feel the pressure from Palm, Symbian, and Windows Mobile.