BlackBerry Keyboard On An Android Phone?: Enter The Motorola Droid Pro
Many BlackBerry users who are getting tired of the OS are jumping ship. While Android continues to gain momentum in the smart phone market, RIM is losing ground. Some BlackBerry users have jumped ship and Motorola is making the switch a little easier. Their answer to BlackBerry is the Droid Pro. An Android powered bar style cell phone with a BlackBerry-like keyboard. The keyboard looks strikingly similar to a BlackBerry Bold's keyboard. Verizon has said that the Droid Pro is "The first Android-based smartphone optimized for business use..." It sounds good on paper, but let's look at the love child named Droid Pro and see if this claim holds water.
Users who are bored or disappointed with BlackBerry have at some
point or another considered going to Android. The promise was there.
A great touch screen experience with great hardware to boot. Most newer
Android powered smartphones are powered by a 1 GHz or better processor.
The best BlackBerry processor clocks in at 624 MHz. In terms of raw
power, BlackBerry is behind. In terms of the touch screen experience,
they are still behind. Yes, the Torch is behind Android but that's topic for another hub.
Those who left BlackBerry for Android sometimes come back. Maybe the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Whatever the case may be, often times users would complained about the lack of a physical keyboard. Since Motorola is releasing the Droid Pro, would Android take more of BlackBerry's market share? Yes. Can the Droid Pro "out BlackBerry" the BlackBerry? No. Here's why.
Email. Nobody does email better than BlackBerry. On Android, you can get push email on gmail accounts but not other services. In order for you to get email from, say, Yahoo!, you would have to poll the Yahoo! Mail servers at periodic intervals. This drains the battery. If you want push email with Yahoo! you would need to purchase a premium account. Email is fast and reliable on BlackBerry. Email is sluggish on Android. It's even slow on some Android powered phone with gmail. My brother has a Samsung Moment. He complains that sometimes he gets gmail instantly and sometimes he has to pull it from his gmail app.
Most Android power phones do not have a physical keyboard. Those phones would be difficult and frustrating to type long messages on. There have been better keyboards available. One of the best keyboard on Android is Swype. Even with the speed of Swype, it's still rather uncomfortable to type on for an extended period of time. Android phones with keyboards have helped and BlackBerry users looking to switch will be naturally drawn to the Droid Pro's BlackBerry-style keyboard.
"Most BlackBerry smartphones lasts a full day, sometimes 2"
Another advantage BlackBerry has over Android and the Droid Pro is battery life. Having a fast processor and touch screen is nice but at the end of the day, you will be rushing to an outlet to charge your smartphone. Android phones have been known to be power hungry and all the cool widgets running in the background just means more time looking in the Android marketplace for a battery saver. Most BlackBerry smartphones lasts a full day, sometimes 2 with moderate to heavy usage. My BlackBerry gets me over 2 days of solid use. I had an Android phone in the past and it barely lasted a day with a task killer. I also dimmed down screen that made it the "experience" less enjoyable than promised.
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Reliability is the last thing BlackBerry has over Android. Having used both platforms, neither are perfect. There are times when I had to reboot my BlackBerry and it takes forever. Rebooting an Android phone is a bit faster but the problem with Android is its "forced close" freezes. I have gone months without rebooting my BlackBerry and it's usually the case when I'm installing an app. Yes it is annoying but I don't install apps everyday and only some apps require a reboot. With Android, I've never gone a full day without the dreaded "force closed". A "force close" is akin to a program not responding or glitching on Windows and you have to hit CTRL + ALT + Del. I can't stand FC's and it's very annoying.
It's a bit strange that Verizon is marketing this phone to business
people. I'd imagine a businessman needing a reliable phone that does
emails very well and would last him during a good day's use. I don't think
the Droid Pro will steal real business people from RIM, however I do
see BlackBerry users who are bored or fascinated by Android jumping ship.
Android is more like an iPhone than a BlackBerry. Android phones are cool,
hip and fun. They're all about entertainment and media consumption.
BlackBerry is about reliability and email. Personally, I think they're fun as well. Releasing an Android phone
with a carbon copy BlackBerry keyboard is not going to kill RIM. Personally,
I am neither a businessman nor a media hungry teenager. I'll stick
with my reliable BlackBerry. The grass is very green here... Now if only I was a vegetarian...