With increased competition in the smartphone market, more and more consumers are looking at all BlackBerry phones as serious options, in addition to the newest slate of Android devices, iPhones, and other suitable alternatives. Is the BlackBerry only for corporate types on Wall Street or are these phones appropriate for the average consumer too?
What Do All BlackBerry Phones Have in Common?
The average consumers may approach the smartphone market with certain pre-conceived notions about what they can expect from this manufacturer or that. Some of these may hold up to be true, but not all of them will. For instance, many people may believe that all BlackBerry phones come equipped with full hardware-based QWERTY keyboards. These physical keyboards are there to make it easier to compose e-mail messages and type notes on the go. That makes sense, since the initial target market for Research in Motion, makers of BlackBerry phones, was for the corporate customer. However, that has shifted.
It is no longer true that a BlackBerry will universally have a hardware QWERTY keyboard. For instance, while you may find that feature on a BlackBerry Curve, you won't find it on the BlackBerry Pearl line. Those phones make use of what is known as a SureType keyboard. This maps two letters to each physical key, effectively creating a keypad that is somewhere between a conventional numeric keypad and a full QWERTY keyboard. Most BlackBerry devices still have full QWERTY keyboards, but the product portfolio is definitely diversifying.
So, what features are common to all BlackBerry phones? Here are a few examples of what you can find on every BlackBerry device:
- BlackBerry OS: This is the operating system that is installed on every BlackBerry device. There are different versions of the operating system and it continues to evolve and change with each passing year.
- BlackBerry Messenger: This is akin to an advanced text messaging platform exclusive to BlackBerry users. In addition to text, the system can be used to send images, participate in multi-person conversations, and more.
- BlackBerry App World: While it may not come pre-installed on all devices, it is generally available for download and installation on all current models. This is, by far, the easiest way to get BlackBerry applications, just as the App Store is the best for the iPhone and Android Market is best for Android phones.
- BIS/BES Integration: Standing for BlackBerry Internet Service and BlackBerry Enterprise Server, respectively, they represent the security protocols and infrastructure in place for BlackBerry devices. Data sent to the phones are generally encrypted and secure.
- Push E-Mail: The most powerful feature for the BlackBerry is likely its e-mail program. In tandem with BIS/BES described above, "push" e-mail means that messages received at a registered e-mail address are automatically "pushed" to the device immediately after being received at the server end. This is unlike other phones that have to "ping" the server (send a request) periodically to get updates.
Features Found on Some BlackBerry Devices
Just as different Android devices have some differentiating features, the same can be said about BlackBerry devices. Some have certain features that other models do not. Among them are the following.
- Touchscreen Display: The first BlackBerry touch device was the BlackBerry Storm. Since then, the BlackBerry Torch has also been introduced, which marries a touchscreen display with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
- Digital Camera: Most BlackBerry devices have an embedded digital camera, but certain enterprise-geared models do not. This is for employees of companies where digital cameras are not allowed in secure areas.
- Push to Talk: The walkie-talkie like service is attractive to construction workers, surveyors, movie set professionals, and other individuals who need instant contact with an entire team.
When looking for a BlackBerry phone of your own, consider some of the features that you do and do not need. From there, you will be better equipped to select the right model for your particular needs and preferences.