BlackBerry Bridge. How the purchase of a PlayBook led to my switch from iOS to BlackBerry

Well I thought I would share the whole story. How the PlayBook, that tablet I bought that was meant to be a cheap web browser, turned into a catalyst for major change in my mobile computing life.

I’ve been an Apple computer user since the beginning and I mean their beginning with the Apple ][. Growing up I continued using Mac’s as I got into Cubase and later on Logic Audio for recording music. I still remember the introduction of multi finder and the good old days of the extension manager, after dark screen savers, eWorld and the Newton (still have an eMate with a 4 meg upgrade and a working WiFi card). All the while I was into other systems as well like the Atari 1040 st, Commodore PET and 64, TRS-80 model 1 and I even had the Intelivision computer module as well learning DOS and then Windows as well. So I’m an Apple user but a well rounded computer tech in general.

I started working in tech support and IT not long after my studies were complete and have been doing it ever since, still using Mac’s for myself but servicing MS, Apple, Linux, embedded systems and more. So I’m still staying well rounded in the computer space.

I always loved cell phones once they got past the motorola brick stage. Got myself a StarTack when they were the new thing, had a couple cool Nokia’s and a few others like the Razr and then I got a BlackBerry. I had a few different models and it was great, nothing else like it but the day for switching did come and that day was iPhone release day.

I grabbed an iPhone as soon as I could and I thought it was the best thing ever. Nice big screen with cool touch controls, amazing multimedia features and a mobile browser that smoked all others. It was like having a SciFi gadget form some cool new movie right in my pocket. And its more than just the iPhone in my house, we have all the Apple toys. Mac Computers, Airport routers, Apple TV’s, Iphone & iPad so it all works together really well. Streaming media, file sharing, sync, iOS remote control of Apple TV’s and Mac’s and so much more. Once you have the toys its great but its also hard to break loose. Lots of app purchases, things like easy sharing and streaming and a familiar interface help keep people in the fold.

And that’s how things stayed until In late 2011 the BlackBerry PlayBook went on sale at $199.99 in my area and since our family’s iPad2 was more often than not in use by my son, I figured it would be a cheap way of having a second tablet on hand for news, quick info and due to its size its for portability as well. Well after a few days I found myself liking it more and more. Sure it had some software features missing but I found I was really liking the OS and the UI of the device and the build of the PlayBook itself. I found they battery life very good and overall I was surprised at how much I enjoyed just using it for no reason at all. No longer was I looking to see if Felix had the iPad as I was just grabbing for the PlayBook first.

So I decided to find a PlayBook forum to see what the power users were doing with it, I knew there must be things going on as the PlayBook had been released in early summer or whenever, and found Crackberry. It was here I discovered what Bridge could really do and I was very impressed, I arranged to get a cheap Curve 9300 to do a bridge test with right away, then while I waited I kept reading. I discovered there was an app for the BlackBerry phones called SMS Bridge that would fill in the missing Bridge piece, sms from phone on the PlayBook, sent and received, this makes Bridge amazing. So later that night the Curve get to my place, I get my unlock code and put in my SIM for some play time with Bridge and my PlayBook. Well, I wasn’t too impressed with the Curve 9300, average keyboard, no touch screen, slow cpu and small memory but the combination of it and the PlayBook Bridged was so unbelievably cool! Instant access to all the bridge apps was way better than any sync or cloud solution. Then the phone rang and I got a pop up on the PlayBook with the call display and an option to silence the ringer, great stuff!

So I tried to setup my email on the 9300 and it wouldn’t, back to the forums to be reminded of BES/BIS. Ok decision time. I went online and found a Torch 9860, having not liked the 9300’s keyboard it seamed the thing to do. Sold the iPhone, switched my phone plan to a BlackBerry data BIS and I was off to Bridge heaven, or so I thought

I didn’t like the Torch 9860 very much. Mostly it came down to the on screen keyboard and my inability to type anything on it without needing serious editing afterwards. I couldn’t stand it. I also found that the track pad being on the bottom wasn’t very comfortable to use and with the way the BBOS7 UI is designed it can be easier to use the track pad then tap the small menu, at least for me. So I was a bit concerned I had made a very bad decision based on one cool feature, Bridge, but all was not lost.

I went to a local cell store and played around with a few BlackBerries and decided although I liked the Bold 9900’s keyboard best I would go with the Torch 9810 as it had a larger more touch friendly screen, a choice I now find to be wrong as I do most of my typing on my phone and most of my touch screen activities on my PlayBook. So, I’m selling the Torch to get a Bold 9900 to have the perfect pair for me.

Well. After a months pause, let’s continue.

The 9810 wasn’t the right choice either. I was basing the decision on the screen size, not realizing that having both the BLACKBERRY phone and Playbook meant I didn’t have to have a big touch screen oin the phone and the keyboard should have been the deciding factor. So I shopped around and bought a bold 9900 and now my life in communications is perfect

Since starting this post Playbook OS 2 has come out and wow, now the BLACKBERRY and playbook combo is amazing. Remote is very cool but being able to type on my 9900 when the Playbook is on the desk or wherever is amazing. It changes the way you use and interact with the tablet. The two devices are now extensions of each other in a more complete way than bridge alone was. I’m in the process of switching my entire business over to the playbook abd phone combo to see how it goes. Need a few apps to fill a few gaps but it seams it will work out. Ill post again soon with some initial thought on how it works.

I had a big gap in posts for a bit there, fanily, work and so on all got in the way but there’s time in life again and so ill be posting regularly again. Hope you all enjoy

Thomas

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