Friday, December 02, 2005

RIMM versus PALM

So what is it—Blackberry or Treo?

That’s the question before the house, and I am looking for informed commentary, which is to say you actually own and use one or the other wireless device, and are willing to share what you like about it, what you don’t like, and whether you plan to switch from one to the other (or to a third).

Blackberry dominates the Wall Street world, but I have found the Treo in heavy use in all kinds of places I hadn’t expected to—radiology conventions, for one.

I am not a fan of PALM—I think management is, well, let's just say that while they're not as out-there as the Overstock crew, they don't inspire confidence. But if the product works at its basic mission, which is delivering email to busy people around the country, then perhaps the company is worth a harder look.

The biggest complaint I hear about the Treo is the phone being clunky to use. With Blackberry I get some complaints about the phone and other complaints about back-office issues.

So let me know, if you will, the following:

1. How did you get your device—is it company supplied?

2. What do you use it for—email, phone, calendar, contacts?

3. What do you like best about it? What do you dislike about it?

4. Are you/your company staying with it or planning to switch?

We’ve done this before—audience participation—and it worked pretty well in sorting out the satellite radio companies (Sirius versus XM).

The more feedback, the better for everyone.

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

© 2005 Jeff Matthews

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews' recommendations.


Dan said...

1. Company Supplied

2. E-mail, contacts

3. What do you like best about it? Great battery life- don't have to charge it but once a week.
What do you dislike about it? Too big, poor internet functionality.

4. Are you/your company staying with it or planning to switch?
As far as I know, my company will be staying with BB. said...

I work as one of two IT guys for a firm with $15 billion under management. Just for context.

1. How did you get your device—is it company supplied?

Company supplied. We maintain the software.

2. What do you use it for—email, phone, calendar, contacts?

Mostly for email, but I do use the phone and calendar. Others in the office do more phone stuff. The web browser is useful for settling bar bets and checking on who won the Arsenal game.

3. What do you like best about it? What do you dislike about it?

Really, really great when working with Exchange. The Bloomberg apps are also decent if you want real time quotes. Server software is, uh, horrible, and this is in a smallish office running Exchange 5.5. I can't imagine what it's like in a larger place with more complex email servers.

4. Are you/your company staying with it or planning to switch?

As long as the email is working this well I'd need a blowtorch to get them out of the hands of the principals. Personally I wish we could use a device that was better at web browsing and phone calls. I also would like more control of devices over the air when they're lost or stolen.

AllenCap said...

Personally i use a blackberry

1. Company supplied

2. I use it for email, contact manager, tasks, etc. The same exact things i use ms outlook for except mobile. I have phone minutes...i never use them but i could conceivably if i wanted to send a text message to a cell phone. I wouldn't use the phone functionality b/c it looks like i am holding a pancake up to my ear.

3. I love the key pad. All of the buttons, the functions, the scroll wheel, were easy to learn and are essence i can use it quickly and effectively. I also like the color screen. It was the first mobile email system i could actually use efficiently. I could have used a palm earlier but they made everything much too hard.

The only thing i don't like is the size i guess. It's too wide to easily slip in my pocket and i have already managed to crack the screen on one even though i am very careful. Would like a slimmer, more durable version.

4. My company (and i)are planning on staying with blackberry as long it's available. Pending whatever happens in the legal system.

Having said that.....

I am noticing tremendous product adoption for the Treo from places i never thought i would see it...young people.

In the last 100 or so days i know three people who bought them and love them. All are early-adopter types, guys in their early to mid twenties, have a little disposable income to throw around and are the kind of guys you would expect to see latch on to the next big thing first. For instance one was the first person i knew with a cell phone (which probably sounds pretty funny now). All three had the ipod just before it really started to gain critical mass, but after the old clunkier type of ipods were out. I want to say the first quarter of 2004.

This is in the order of guys i know who bought a treo:

First guy got it because he thought it was cool. It has a good camera, big screen, you can easily text (big deal these days), and you don't look like a total ass making a phone call. Doesn't use it for business at all.

2. The next guy got it for the above reasons but also b/c he could use it for work. He is paying for it but probably does use it for work a lot. He's an accountant if that helps.

3. Next guy bought it because he thought guy #2's was really cool. Only he got his company to pay for it because he explained how he needed one. He did need something. He is a sales and marketing type that is always on the road and makes about a million phone calls, sends a million messages, and needs to keep a lot of apointments, and tasks,etc.

4. I actually forgot about this guy that i don't know personally but through #3. After #3 got one his boss got one too through work.

I'm keeping my blackberry but i think the Treo is going to get some critical momentum behind it soon.
Just from my personal experiences in the past with similar things. That and i feel like a tool for never getting into apple in december of 2003, even though i made the case to load up in a big way to a couple personal friends.

I don't know if anyone has factored the consumer market into their thinking, but if you know young (under 30) guys that fit that early-adopter profile you should ask what they think. You might be surprised. I didn't think these guys even knew what a treo was. And while business use was some consideration it wasn't the deal maker. It was the fact that it was 'really cool.' These guys could have bought BB's years ago if they had wanted. Believe it or not...really cool moves stuff off the shelves. Ask steve jobs.

Anyway, just my 2 cents.

tahoe kid said...

1. Company supplied, but I paid $150 of my own money to upgrade (to a 7290)after 12 months of using the older "BlueBerry" model (which was B&W).

2. Use it for email, calendar and web browsing.I don't use the phone at all per company policy.

3. LIKES: It's great for be able to communicate with clients, co-workers on a 24/7 basis without having to log in on a desktop or laptop. It's invaluable on the road because I receive about 125-175 work related emails per day. DISLIKES: Minor dislike - Not all attachments are viewable as clear as they could be, but most are. The browser is not as good as some of the new generation smart phones such as the Samsung i730 which has a spectatular web browser (via Verizon's new EVDO wireless broadband which I use and so does my wife on her laptop).

Company Staying with BlackBerry? I would be surprised if we switched. With over 15,000 employees and I think we are a Top 15 customer.

Brendan said...

I've actually had both.

Blackberrys were company supplied; Treo I bought.

Both do email, contacts and calendar well. Both sync with your PC well. For me it boils down to this: If you need to have a real-time exchange via email, go Blackberry. (That’s why Wall St loves ‘Berrys.) Treo doesn’t come with “push” email out of the box. I give Treo the edge in terms of Web browser, but neither one is terribly good at that stuff.

If you want to customize a Berry, you’re not going to have a lot of options. Treo has literally thousands of programs you can buy or download. It’s much more like a PC. I run Documents To Go (which lets me edit or create Office files on-the-go), GPS software (which gives me directions when I drive. Yes, it talks.) I carry the Zagat guides, digital video clips of my daughter, etc. Treo also let’s you use SD cards to expand your memory or carry big files.

If you routinely carry a laptop, spring for the Berry. If you are sick of carrying the laptop, Treo is for you.

Oh, and there are all kinds of rumors floating around about Verizon having a new Treo 670 sometime in the New Year. You may want to hold out for that.

JoeC said...

1. Company supplied -- I own the company so am the decisionmaker on keeping or switching

2. 80% email 15% phone (my only mobile) 5% todo list when on road

3. like best -- email functionality is great. Easy to update contact list from outlook. Like worst -- internet access is ridiculously bad

4. staying

Neil Harris said...

I have a Treo 650, paid for by my firm but chosen by me. I had a Treo 600 before and upgraded for Bluetooth (which came with my new BMW), and had Palm PDA's before that. I use it for telephone, PDA features, and many others. I like the integration of PDA with phone - have 1100 contacts on my PC along with schedule, and it syncs beautifully and makes it easy to call people. I also like the ability to use other apps for the Palm OS, like Express (access to news, maps, free 411 information), Vindigo city guides, airline flight status. It also can play MP3 files and movies, take decent photos and movies. I have a dictionary and an encyclopedia and a pile of games. It's the closest thing to a PC/phone combination that you can carry in your pocket. The 650 is a bit smaller than the 600 and has a much better camera and higher resolution screen -- I didn't expect the screen to make much of a difference, but it really does. Text messaging is easy. The Sprint Treo came with an email app that work with my desktop PC to get my company email while I'm on the road, and it works reasonably well, but not as well as the Blackberry setup.

css said...

Treo - currently use a 650 (and have used a 600 and 300 previously). Have never used a BlackBerry.

1. Bought it myself for business use. I was working with an investment bank earlier this year (as a consultant - but basically on staff) and had an opportunity to switch to Blackberry on their dime but stuck with my Tro.

2. All of the listed functions - basically it's a small and very portable PC.

3. Best - the size and form factor - very sharp screen, relatively fast. Virtually unlimited add-on capability using SD card(s). Lots and lots of third-party apps (keep reading). Overall it's very versatile.
Worst - the built-in e-mail program (VersaMail) is awful - so you'll probably want to buy a 3rd party product (there are a number of good ones). Basically Palm's software in general stinks - particularly the add-on utilities - but because there are so many Treos out there it's not hard at all to replace the apps you don't care for.

4. Not sure - I want to see what the new Microsoft version Treo (700) looks like. Am strongly considering switching to the MS OS - at which point the hardware becomes a commodity choice (waiting to see the new Motorola Treo-killer among others).

I probably WOULDN'T switch to BlackBerry - at least until they get the situation with NTP resolved. In addition, if you run Microsoft Exchange as your mail server, it's becoming increasingly unnecessary to go through the expense of putting a Blackberry server in place.

Jeff Matthews said...

"JoeC": which device do you have--Blackberry or Treo?

Excellent and interesting feedback so far. Those who haven't, please add your feedback. Thanks to all.

Tim Knows How to Make Stuff Up said...

1. How did you get your device—is it company supplied?
I have owned several Treo/Palm over the years. Last year, I switched to BB, the 7100t model. My firm supplies BB to Partners like me.

2. What do you use it for—email, phone, calendar, contacts?
All the above plus Internet.

3. What do you like best about it? What do you dislike about it?
The 7100t is the best devise for all the above to date. Interestingly, for the first time in years, I have had this device for a year and have no reason to upgrade. Definitely the push email is best, but I think BB's window is closing in this area.

4. Are you/your company staying with it or planning to switch?
My firm only wants BB, but we are small - 100 people of which only 30 use it.

gvtucker said...

I have used both in the past. I had a Treo 300, and then a Blackberry.

1. My company purchased it, but since I own 100% of the company, you could argue that I purchased it myself.

2. My use was probably 50% phone, 30% email, 10% web browser, 10% calendar.

3. The Blackberry was better for email, but unlike a lot of others, I didn't see it as significantly better than the Treo. The Treo had a better web browser, and still does, IMO. The phone isn't very good for both. The Treo was a superior phone, but both were inferior to an average cell phone.

4. I switched from the Treo to the Blackberry for the supposed high email advantage that the Blackberry provides. I didn't see a great difference. I pulled the plug on the Blackberry when I started to carry another cell phone along with the Blackberry because the Blackberry phone was so bad. I've gotten along fine with just a cellphone. I rarely carry a laptop with me, either. For one or two day business trips I don't even access email any more. If someone needs to find me urgently, then can track me down by cell phone.

trevor said...

1. Personally supplied Treo 650

2. Email 50%, Web Browsing 40%, Calender / Contacts 10%.

3. Blackberry works better as push email as long as your company is running Blackberry server, which I believe is several thousand dollars. Otherwise, you have to use a desktop redirector - which means youre computer must be on. The Treo 650, with 3rd party software will sync over the air with Microsoft Exchange Server.

The best thing about the Treo is one handed typing. Not the most efficient, but works if you need it. Also, there is a ton of third party software available to do almost anything - even streaming real time stock quotes!

Dislikes - Still too bulky to carry as a phone out to dinner, etc.

4. I actually just switched to the Sprint Pocket PC 6700, which has a very small form factor and big slide out keyboard.

econjohn said...

i don't own either, but there's a gushing write up at in their gift guide about the treo:

Palm Treo 650:
Far too many mobile platforms do one or two things right and royally suck at everything else. The Treo 650 is the closest to finding the sweet spot, at least for anything we've tested first-hand. [Cue personal moment of in-field techno-ecstasy:] We're at an outdoor cafe . A friend answers a call on his 650, quickly takes some notes, and returns a text message from a paramour on another continent. "I freaking LOVE this thing," he enthuses. "This is the only device I need." After dinner, we get into his Prius and it acquires the phone through a Bluetooth connection so his car can field calls.

DaleW said...

I use the BlackBerry.

1. Company supplied.
2. Email, contacts, phone, to do list, web.
3. Like the battery, all-in-one integration of phone and PDA (hated carrying two devices previously), one-click calling of contacts in database, qwerty keyboard, user interface. Dislike the horrible web browser and attachment handling.
4. No idea what our IT plans are.

Captain Obvious said...

My company recently switched from Blackberry to Treo. In both cases, the devices are/were company supplied.

I use(d) both of them primarily as an email tool. Secondarily I used them for contact mgmt and calendar functions. Web browsing is/was down the list for both. Both have been my emergency phone only (both are horrible phones, ergonomically).

Pros: Great battery life, solid email appliance, acceptable for contacts and calendar, very durable. Thumb wheel makes scrolling easy. Overall, just very usable...if limited.

Cons: Can't view PDFs and certain formatting in emails. Not really an internet device. Dim screen (true of color and B&W variants). Synching via cradle a pain. Deleting a large number of emails freezes the device for minutes at a time.

Pros: Color screen much more readable than Blackberry. Much broader functionality. Web browsing possible, though still vexing at times. Can view most email contents, though formatting still can be an issue. Can open PDFs and other document types with optional memory card. Wireless hot synch is no hassle.

Cons: Battery life is very short, due to brighter color screen. System/network instability much more of an issue than with Blackberry. Scrolling through emails using pen-type stylus requires the precision of a brain surgeon.

We have already switched from Blackberry to Treo. Overall, there are things I like a lot better, but also a lot of drawbacks.

Calonego said...

1. How did you get your device?
Purchased myself, RIMM 7105

2. What do you use it for?
Email, phone, text messeging, web

3. What do you like best about it? Email is great
What do you dislike about it?
Web is really slow, abit large

4. Are you/your company staying with it or planning to switch?
Will buy the new 8700, staying with RIMM

goodwill said...

has anybody tested the motorola Q phone yet? this is supposed to compete with rimm and palm

ostiguy said...

1. Own a Blackberry 7230 after having blackberry pagers supplied at last job.

2. Email, contacts and phone.

3. Blackberry software pretty much works - the desktop app if you are not running a blackberry server, and the server itself are fairly solid. The web browser isn't much fun, but I am on a GSM network, and GPRS is very slow for data.

4. I am the IT guy tasked with figuring out where we are going, as we have both Treo 650's and a couple Blackberry's.

Key issues:

If you have a desktop at the office running 24x7, buy whatever you want as it will either work wirelessly to your server, or you can run the client software on the desktop.

If you are a laptop user, then you cannot run a software client 24x7 to get wireless email. So you need a server side solution. Exceptions to this:

If you have a Blackberry, and run Exchange 2000 and have Outlook Web Access available, there is a mode where your Blackberry uses OWA to check your email. Not as real time as a Blackberry Enterprise Server, but beats manually checking.

If you are running Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2, Microsoft gave a lot of push email features that Palm is supposed to be taking advantage of for the Treo 650's. How many of those features work this instant is not quite clear - I heard seen chatter that Palm needs to update the Treo's operating system to have full use of them.

So, if this sounds painful, yeah, it is. If you have users with laptops, you probable need the Blackberry Enterprise server or Good Technologies's server product. The Microsoft server side stuff might be there, but it doesn't seem like the Treo's support for it is.

I have not looked at devices running Microsoft's mobile OS because my head already hurts enough.

jockgunter said...

The real question is MSFT or Symbian, because major cellphone makers will dominate smartphones. MSFT is getting into lots of their phones. And Symbian is majority owned by Nokia, who has (per forbes) 3,000 programmers working on mobile business applications. At some point I think Pam and Blackberry will be swept away by the high-volumes and low-prices of the major cellphone makers!

Jeffery Kelly said...

vnxgt1. I pay. Not company supplied
2. Email and contacts. I actually have my contacts on an old blackberry and use the new one for schedule and email.
3. great battery life. dependable email. great reception through nextel.
too big. really unusable as a phone. I have a razor.
4. will stick with it at this point. will be very interested in a "razorberry"

Hans said...

1. own company and treo

2. all note taking and music and podcasts

3. crashes all the time, eats addresses

4. hm (it's my 3rd gen treo), we'll see

Dreaded Pirate Max said...

1. BlackBerries for all my men! (well, most of our 150+ employees). Haven't seen anyone buy their own Treo to replace it.

2. Phone, e-mail, contacts, calendar.

3. It does the job well with great battery life and very robust e-mail functionality.

Form factor. My berry blends in with my attire (no flashy "hey, I am cool, and this thing makes great coffee" look) and honestly feels comfortable when I use it. More of a utility rather than a toy -- which in some ways is great most of the time, but when I really want to track my stocks or surf a few blogs it sucks. But that's not horrible, maybe it does me a favor by focusing on the essentials. The keypad is also more comfortable than the Treo, not as cramped although my thumbs will soon be crippled.

The Ugly. Well, everyone's said browsing and it's true. I feel at times I am carrying around a Tandy Radio Shack on my hip. Yes, it's the first true mobile device but that Commodore 64 can actually do stuff. I have uploaded a few personal photos that are grainy, stopped using the browser and use Google SMS for stock quotes.

Asides from the lack of key functionality Rim is going to have problem as an earlier commenter said. Early leader but the "hmm, interesting you're still using THAT" looks are going to get embarassing for most of us.

4. We're definitely staying with it for the simple reason that we're a small company and would rather not wipe + replace everyone's mobile device. But, hey, maybe I should but a bug in someone's ear about it. Thanks for the tip.

ostiguy said...

Jockgunter, I don't see that happening in the US. The cell phone makers do what the wireless companies tell them to do - if Verizon Wireless thinks they can charge you for downloading pictures off of your camera phone, then a bluetooth enabled phone locked to Verizon's network will have bluetooth limited in software to disable file copying. In the US, with all the different technologies, phones are generally tied to carriers. In GSM centric areas, innovative phones might take off because the consumer can "bring their own" phone instead of the US model of changing providers = changing phones.

Burgundy Al said...

1. I chose and bought a Palm Treo 650, reimbursed by my business.
2. I use it as my primary phone, as my organizer, frequent email when I'm OOO and occassional web info access.
3. I looked at the Treo and Blackberry, tested both and chose Treo. Partly it was easier since I was a 10-year Pilot user. But - better phone, better organizer, better web, just not as good for email.
4. Got the Treo 650 last December - the firt week it was for sale. I'm sticking with it until there's something better. What's amazing is this is the first time I can think of a single device being the "best in the market" for a full year.

BelowTheCrowd said...

1. Treo 600, bought myself. Single-person business with limited technology capabilities: no exchange server or anything else like it. Just plain pop/smtp and a laptop.

2. Primarily as an organizer and phone. The email capabilities are there, but are a real pain unless you have back-end server support for it.

3. It's a compromise device that allows me to have a phone and organizer in one, rather than carrying two devices, which is something I refuse to do. It does everythig OK, nothing extremely well. Even the "contacts" and "calendar" sections are not as good as in my previous older palm device.

The email has been the biggest pain. Unless you have a server-side solution -- which many smaller businesses don't, or simply don't have the sophistication to manage -- then your options are limited. You can leave your desktop turned on and have it linked back into the phone through the network (essentially allowing the phone to mirror what's on your desktop). That doesn't work if your primary email is on a laptop which is off much of the time, or if you just prefer to keep your computer off when you're not using it. You can setup the Treo to retrieve all your emails from the mail server, but you will also receive them on the PC, and there's no way to "sync" your activities: what's been read, replied to, etc. You just get a copy of each email. Alternately, you can just set up a seperate email address for the phone. That worked OK for me, since very very few people can't wait a few hours for a response, and all of them tend to know where I am and whether I'm online. For everybody else, I can get online with my laptop at any Starbucks, so I'm rarely away from "regular" email for more than a few hours, unless I'm on vacation in which case all this crap stays home anyway.

Bottom line from what I've seen in my consulting life is that if your primary purpose is email, and you have the back-end support for it, then you should go for Blackberry. If you're looking for all the other features, the Treo is better. Both are compromises.

Also, I've noticed in testing the Treo 650, that it's phone is not as good as my older 600.

Battery life is very good. I purchased an accessory "hotsync/charger" cord that replaces the normal sync cord and transformer. It allows the phone to charge (albeit more slowly) through my laptop's powered USB port. When I'm traveling, I will usually just plug in the laptop, plug the phone into the USB port, and charge them both simultaneously. Why this isn't a standard item is beyond me.

I'm elibible for a "free" upgrade right now, but I'm waiting for a few things:

1) Want to see the Moto Q phone, which looks promising.

2) Want to see the next generation Treo which will also be MSFT-based. (This is expected out early next year, and probably called the Treo 700. The Treo 670 -- if it's ever actually released -- will merely be a warmed-over 650.)

3) I'm in the middle of a career change right now. There might be a new "employer standard" to contend with, or if my job is lighter on travel, I might decide to chuck the whole thing in favor of a more standard phone with some organizer features and the ability to sync contacts and calendar to Outlook.

Jeff, feel free to get in touch if you like. Advising on this stuff is my business, and I'd be happy to give you some more detailed thoughts, depending on your specific circumstances (like, what other stuff are you running in your office).


mark said...

1. Company supplied BB, I would have to pay for the phone service

2. e-mail, contacts, calendar, browsing. It's phone capable but I find it big and not comfortable so I didn't get the phone service.

3. Great battery life, email functionality

4. As far as I know, no plans to change.

Albany Lawyer said...

I have a Treo 600. Will be upgrading to a Treo 650 on 12/17/2005.
1. I have a solo law practice and bought it for my practice. I bought it through Sprint. I wanted it so badly that I left my Verizon Wireless contract early to go to Sprint because Verizon didn't have it yet.

2. I use my Treo for a number of things, roughly in this order:
A. Phone
B. Receive text messages from my answering service
C. Calendar
D. Checkbook & expenses (Ultrasoft Money, works with MS Money)
E. Solitaire (when I'm waiting in court and have nothing to read, and to settle down before bed)
F. Occasional memos
G. Taking pictures - need very good lighting
H. Sending text messages
There's probably more, but that's what comes to mind
Oh yeah -- I. Flashlight - better than nothing when you don't have a flashlight- gives off a surprising amount of light.

3. I love the combined functionality (as should be obvious from my answer to #2). I also love the keypad. Battery life is good, until the phone starts crapping out and then the battery gets worse. It's also durable if you drop it.
I dislike the poor reliability (650 is supposed to be better). I'm on my 3rd refurbished replacement. The phone part keeps crapping out. I have some other minor quibbles -- the phone doesn't ring if there is an unsatisfied alert - I think the phone should ring through that.
I would prefer to have one without a camera, but they're not good about providing a varied lineup.
I'm very disappointed with their management for not recognizing what a great phone they have, and making a greater variety of them.
All the criticism one reads about MBAs, and it seems that Palm is the posterchild for that. So many good managers out there - why'd my product have to get the dopes?

4. I'm addicted. Will stay with it as long as possible. Nothing comparable out there in my eyes. Can't stand Windows. Love the Palm OS.

NY Personal Injury Lawyer Warren Redlich

Roberto said...

1. I got my BB free after signing up for a wireless data package (if anyone wants to know how to get a BB free stop by my blog and drop a line). I work for myself, so not company supplied. 7100t

2.I use it for streaming stock quotes/trading, emails, phone, text msg, instant msg, contacts, and to scare my cat with the speaker phone. I love using it for searching for phone numbers when I am on the go using Google local, web browser for news, sports scores, and blogging. I think a lot of the people complaining about the browser have older versions, although the 7100t isn't perfect for browsing its dam good. Also I can read PDFs just fine on mine. It's very convenient to read the weekly options watch from Goldman (PDF) at Starbucks without having to drag my laptop with me. That alone makes it worth every penny.

3. I like the keypad, instant emails, speaker phone, size is great not like the other calculator BBs, scroll wheel, screen is crystal clear, third party apps (not sure why someone said the BB doesn't have options for apps, again drop by my blog if you need some help finding them) and GPS. The only thing I dislike is that BB doesn't work well with Mr. Softie apps. I can't believe I just said that.

4. You couldn't pry my BB from my cold dead body. Oh one interesting thing I found out this week, if you use a BB and you're not getting your email off a corporate server (i.e. BB server, or corporate account), the NTP injunction, if it happens will not affect you. At least that is what T-mobile told me.

A. Saxena said...

Hi Jeff,

I see there is considerable amount of information already here. Here's my two cents.

I have had a BB 7100t (the thin model) for more than a year. The service provider is T-Mobile.

1.) My company uses it, but I got mine on my own.

2.) I use it for reading email, calendar, phone, contacts, and to view a website occasionally.

4.) My company's going to stay with it till they can't; not sure if they are still issuing new BB's.

3.) When I was choosing my device more than a year ago, I considered the Treo 600. Critical factors for me were size, weight and ability to operate it without removing my hands from my gloves in the winter.

I work and live in NYC, and during the summer I am often not in a suit (and hardly ever on a weekend), so whatever device I carry has to fit in my pant pocket and not feel like a brick. I decided, after considerable experimentation, that 3.5 oz (about 100 gm) works best for me. The BB is 4.2 oz, the Treo 600 is about 5.9 oz. Also the BB 7100t has a considerably smaller form factor.

As for operating with one hand, you can practically run most of the critical functions (reading emails, making or receiving calls, adjusting volume) on a BB by just using your thumb. This is something I find very handy moving about in NYC. Also, in the winter, I don't have to take my hands out of my gloves! The 7100t is not very good for sending emails, but if my input is critical on a subject, I just call it in. For example, if I am reading an email and I need to call the sender, I can scroll down to his signature and the BB will highlight the number so I can place the call. All this using the scroll wheel. The menu system on a BB is extremely intuitive. Most often, when you open the menu, the operation you want to perform will be automatically highlighted for you to select.

Web browing is painfully slow on T-Mobile, however the service availability is great when one is travelling internationally.


Jeff Matthews said...

These are terrific responses: I appreciate everyone's participation thus far.

There are broad themes that emerge between the RIMM vs PALM user base.

RIMM is more a corporate buy, highly email-instensive, and--as our government has made clear by requesting that their BBs be kept going during the legal wrangling with NTP--virtually non-negotiable among users.

PALM appears to have a strong user base, more among smaller companies and individuals, especially those who value web browsing and contact lists. Reliability is clearly more of an issue with the TREO than the BB: PALM appears to absorb a significant number of handset returns, based on these comments.

Both the TREO and BB devices share a vulnerability in that their phones being less-than-adequate.

This raises the question about new devices, particularly the Motorola Q, a smaller form-factor BB that is coming soon, as well as the upcoming Microsoft-based Treo.

I would like to hear from beta-testers of any of these devices for their feedback.

{For the record, I am leary of Treo's reliance on Microsoft operating software for their next generation--Microsoft is known for being late, trying to pack too much into a device, delivering buggy product, and trying too hard to push MSFT software apps. Consequently--and I am not bashing Microsoft here, I am merely being realistic--I wonder if Palm is making a mistake betting on MSFT.)

Informed opinions are welcome.

I appreciate all those who have taken the time to provide us with their experiences already!

BelowTheCrowd said...


The MSFT software that Palm is moving to has already been in use on lots of other devices and is relatively bug-free. Certainly, any implementation of it on new hardware could have its share of bugs, but the core system and functionality are pretty well tested.

The question to me is whether Palm can be competive in a world where everybody but Blackberry is using the same Microsoft OS. It then becomes like the PC world where you either have to do something really unique with the hardware piece (as Moto is trying to do with the "Q") or try to compete on price in a crowded marketplace. In fact, that kind of crowded, generic marketplace is exactly the kind of thing I'd expect Dell and the Koreans to do well in, not niche US manufacturers.


billo said...

I have had both a blackberry and a treo 650 recently; I jut switched from blackberry to treo.

Both were/are company-supplied.

i used the blackberry for email and phone; i use the treo for email, phone, contacts, calendar, and Robert Parker wine notes database.

the blackberry has the best email reading and sending capability ever.
everything else about it pretty much was horrible beyond belief, including battery life, PIM functions and phone.

the treo has acceptable email (using a good aftermarket email package) and is an excellent PIM (can sync with anything, including macintosh) and has 47 million applications you can get (the only one of which i really care about is the aforementioned robert parker).

i hear that treo will be getting RIMM/blackberry mobitext email in 2006, which would make it the easy choice.

between the two, i slightly prefer the form factor of the treo, but that is purely subjective.

WallStreet1978 said...

I have actually used both the Treo 650 and BlackBerry 7250. I can say that without a doubt I prefer the BlackBerry. I think that the email function is much better and the keypad also for quicker typing in my view.

To your questions...
1) I bought my own but the company will supply it, however, if you leave the firm they take it away.

2) I use the email, phone, calander, contacts, and web functions.

3) Overall, as I mentioned I like the BB the best, however, I do think the web browser is better on the Treo.

4) Staying with the BB due to the higher security level.

zoomgaligali said...

1. Treo 600, bought personally but bill company-paid (used to like RIMM, but not flexible enough)

2. email, contacts, calendar, newspapers (tks to avantgo), mp3s, note-taking (using the foldout keyboard accessory)
3. Best: not having to carry around a laptop for simple notetaking, spreadsheets and e-mail. MP3 fidelity also not too bad.
Worst: crashes about every other day (though resetting simple), web browsing painfully slow, data coverage spotty in some lesser-travelled areas.

4. Would only switch if I were dragged kicking and screaming.

esprit d'escalier said...

I have a Treo 600 and it is dial-up speed slow, so I do not use it to go online. Would rather watch paint dry.

Now I am thinking of getting a newer Treo, or maybe the BB 8700c.

Does anyone know if either of these devices will get me online faster?

The Treo 600 is a fine phone and a good way to get e-mail, but it's browsing experience is Jurassic.

BelowTheCrowd said...

Both BB and Treo are limited by the speed of the networks, which isn't that great. You won't improve your browsing speed much by switching, though different carriers have different capabilities, so switching carrier might help somewhat.

The only way I could usefully browse the web from my Treo was by turning images off and dealing only with the text. This didn't work well for image-intensive websites, but was fine for most of my needs.

Jeff D said...

My two cents.

1. Bought the Treo 650 because I needed a new phone and a PDA.

2. email 10%, phone 40%, PDA functions 40% texting/other 10%. I generally channel all email to my laptop so this is not a big problem for me right now.

3. The flexibility is amazing. Many sites have popped up regarding the Treo and the gadgets necessary to be a "power user." and are amongst the best.

A lot of these gadgets are being replaced by software. Originally to get MP3s on the Treo you needed to move your SD card to a card reader, drag the files, then put the card back in the Treo. There is now software that costs no more than a card reader that allows your computer to see the treo as a plug in drive. Problem solved

As I'm currently getting an MBA I was looking into buying a remote for my laptop to unchain me from the front of lecture halls while giving presentations. I decided to do a web search for Palm software that might replicate this. Sure enough it is out there. Works through the Bluetooth connection and costs less than the remote.

You can also, if you are so inclined, convert DVDs to a file format that is readable on the Treo. Not too bad for long plane flights and the like. I've also viewed some video I took on my honeymoon this summer on the Treo though it is uncompressed so the framerate needs to be slowed considerably.

3. Problems:

It can be difficult to hear the person you're talking to using just the phone so I often use an earpiece instead. But again, you can buy a software package that boosts the volume of the phone over the factory settings.

Battery life is pretty good. I have a file manager that lets you dim the screen to whatever level you wish, which I do to save battery life. I've gone three or four days without recharging and not had it die on me. And the Treo is the only phone I have. No land line.

Versamail does suck but there are some apps out there (Snappermail) that are better and do allow if not "push" email than something that checks the server every minute or so I believe.

I haven't had many problems with applications not working. My phone has done a soft-reset on occasion but that has been the extent of my problems.

4. No plans to switch. While I share some of Jeff's concerns about Palm, the great thing is that there is a HUGE user-base for these machines and that user-base often solves problems that PALM hadn't even though existed. Heck, there is even a way to remove Versamail and other useless applications (Welcome, tips, etc) from the ROM and put your own email client in there (though it's not Palm-approved and doing it wrong can brick the phone.)

Right now my preference is for the Palm OS mainly because of the huge depth and breadth of software available and the large number of user/programmers who are constantly looking for ways to make things better. This goes a long way in solving some of Palm's problems and Microsoft by its very nature is not going to engender the same zeal and dedication in its user base IMO.



Anonymous said...

Scanned this list of comments again in August 2011. Reminded me that Palm really had something back then, but they lost it somehow. Alas, Palm is no more. It would make an interesting casestudy to consider how a well-known brand could die so quickly.