In the past 9+ months, I’ve managed to switch from iOS (4.0+) to Android (Gingerbread & Honeycomb) to iOS (5.0+) to BlackBerry (6.0). Part of it was an intentional attempt to gain an indepth understanding of how these platforms actually play-out and partly because of work compulsions. I’ve tried to capture my experiences by taking a neutral stand and providing an honest opinion about all these things.

Smartphones used: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, Google Nexus S and BlackBerry Curve 9300

Things that I loved!

The simplicity and UI of iOS and the fluidity of switching between apps and everything ‘just working’! Even while my phone was jail-broken, unlocked with ultrasn0w, it did not impede the working of the phone one bit. The battery like on the iPhone 4 is rock solid and it seems to take everything that I threw at it head on and emerge unscathed.

The ability to customize each and every element of the UI on Android combined with the flexibility to change your phone’s appearance whenever you want to. Surprisingly, the Nexus S was also quite a power horse and was able to handle everything that I threw at it.  The social media integration into the Android platform is quite phenomenal – you can post, like, chat, message and do pretty much anything from anywhere in the phone.

The BlackBerry Curve was the most challenging transition I’ve had to make (even more challenging than my move from US/UK to India). Despite its complicated appearance, there is something about the BlackBerry platform that makes it tick (at least in India – you can spot it EVERYWHERE!). I bet that if you tested the hypothesis that ‘Indians believe that the more complicated you make something with options and buttons, the more value it carries’ it would have something to do with the success of BlackBerry here. The BBM and integrated messaging platform that helps you keep messages crisp and to the point is something I love about the BB.

Things that I hated!

Ok, hate is perhaps a strong word and shouldn’t be used.

Things that I hated didn’t like!

The social media integration is still lagging miles behind on the iOS platform. Even though Apple has gone a long way in integrating it trying to integrate it, it lags behind Android big time. App management and cross integration is also another feature where iOS lags behind Android but this could be a deliberate attempt in sandboxing apps and preserving performance.

Sometimes, the complex nature of the Android core rears its ugly head resulting in slower performance, crashes and errors. Rooting the phone and loading Cyanogenmod was an interesting experience (could be compared to the Jailbreak process) but it definitely did not improve the experience one bit.

BlackBerry is not designed to be a social media beast. Despite RIM’s efforts to integrate Twitter, Facebook into the messaging interface of the BB, it still lacks the refinement and the simplicity of Android or for that matter even iOS.

Closing thoughts

Over the past 3-4 years, these platforms have evolved quite well to find their niches and will continue to do so. The market segments are beginning to become clearer and people who stick to one segment are more likely to continue to use it in my opinion. The only platform I haven’t tested out is Windows Phone and I am hoping to do so in the near future – especially the Nokia Lumia series that looks quite promising.

Disclaimer: Any links, images and sources are from 3rd party websites. I use a MacBook running OS X Lion as my primary computer at home and work accompanied by and Windows 7 (running on Parallels within OS X Lion). I use Ubuntu as the primary entertainment engine and iPhone 4 (iOS 5) as my mobile computing platforms. I am also currently beta testing the developer version of OS X Mountain Lion.


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