Samsung Mob!ler 2011 – Mission 1 – Android vs Blackberry

Here we are back again for another Samsung mob!ler mission. This one kicks off the start of Samsung Mob!lers 2011.

The mission brief was to compare Google’s Android with RIM’s (Research in Motion) Blackberry.

I’m at a little bit of a disadvantage here as I’ve never actually owned a Blackberry device. So this comparison, at least on the RIM side is based on internet research, and a little play with them in Carphone Warehouse!

So what are they?

Basically they are both a different type of Operating system you can get on mobile phones / smart phones. They aren’t the only operating systems out there, but for the purpose of this comparison these are the only two we’re going to be focusing on.

What types of handset do they come with?

This is a good question.
Phones running Android come in all different shapes and sizes from QWERTY keyboard sporting, flip / clam shell style, to regular iphone-esque looking models. Most offer touchscreen capabilities. There’s a phone out there for whatever style you like.

Blackberry on the other hand seem to stick with the same QWERTY keyboard style phone. There have been a few deviations to this with attempts with the flip/clam shell style etc, but overall if you’re getting a Blackberry device, you’ll find there is a QWERTY keyboard in there somewhere. Which I have to say is one of the features I do like about Blackberry handsets – it makes the whole process of writing emails, editing documents and sending messages that much easier.

What about applications?

Both Android and Blackberry have their own app store. Android currently boasts 200,000 applications to choose from. Blackberry has about 36,000.
Both have the capability of allowing you to browse, buy and download apps straight to your phone from the marketplace.
However, you will find that the majority of the Android applications are generally free, or you can find a good free equivalent to a paid app. Most of the Blackberry applications are paid for apps.

In this regard, this makes me favour Android.

How customisable is the OS?

Android is very customisable. Aside from changing your wallpaper, themes and ringtones, you can add widgets (these are small programs that provide summarised up to date information) to up to 7 home screens. This can range from instant weather information, a news headline feed, or even an all-in-one social media feed – so you can keep up to date with your friends without having to launch a full application all the time.
You also have the ability to place icons / widgets pretty much wherever you like on your home screens. They aren’t restricted to being forced into the next available slot on the “grid”.

Blackberry on the other hand isn’t as customisable. Yes, you can change your wallpaper, ringtones and theme, but as this OS is more tailored to a business market model they’ve tried to keep everything else simple, and the OS seems to be a little more rigid in this regard.

If you like making your phone suit your personality, then Android would seem the way to go here.

What about Web Browsing?

Both operating systems give you a web browser for surfing the internet. However this is one area that Android surpasses Blackberry in as Android gives you the closest recreation possible of browsing the internet as you would from your desktop PC, right down to being able to view and run flash in the browser. Blackberry does not.

What about messaging and email?

This is where Blackberry excels – with BBM (or Blackberry Messenger) – that comes as standard across their devices. Swap your PIN with other Blackberry users and you can chat to them at no additional message cost over either your wi-fi or your data allowance. There are no message limitations associated with SMS – you’re not limited to a character limit. Conversations take place in real-time, just as they would with an IM program on your PC. It is this service that has allowed Blackberry handsets to flourish in both the business world, and with young teens keen to keep in touch with their friends without spiraling messaging costs.

However, the Android marketplace hasn’t been sitting idly by. They have a range of apps that do something very similar. Granted you have to download one of them from the marketplace. What’sApp is one such free application. Instead of swapping PIN numbers, it works on your contacts mobile number, as long as they have the app installed. You can then send messages just as you would with BBM – only this one is cross-platform – if your Blackberry, or iPhone using friends also have the app, you can chat with them too. You’re not limited to the confines of having to own a Blackberry.

Both OS’s offer email capabilities with push notification.

Conclusion

The good thing with a wide-ranging selection of mobile phone handsets and operating systems is that the user has a choice – you don’t have to conform, you can have something that suits your lifestyle, and you.

Both Android and Blackberry suit a different style of person, and neither is right or wrong, it’s all really down to personal preference.

What is clear however, is that where once Blackberry had the upper hand in the business market with a range of tools such as a QWERTY keyboard and BBM, the others are catching up and offering alternatives.

Personally, I like choice –  a wide range of free apps, and the ability to customise my handset the way I want to – so I am very pro Android. But I can also see the appeal for a no frills, business style handset.

Ultimately both OS have their pros and cons –  which one you go for is up to you!

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