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My BlackBerry Can Beat Up Your Treo

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Broken Treo


I’m a Phone Snob

Anyone who knows me well, knows I love BlackBerry’s. I’ve been carrying one since 2002 when it first went from a messaging-only device to a smart phone. I’ve also carried Treo’s and Windows Mobile phones, as well as a ton of non-smart-phones. I always come back to BlackBerry. In my experience (and according to the close friends I still have working in all aspects of the wireless industry), BlackBerry’s have the best battery life, the best signal strength and the best durability. Now, a new study just came out that found that the iPhone is 6% more reliable than a BlackBerry and for a single quarter actually outsold BlackBerry’s. Many people misinterpreted this as iPhones have completely outsold BlackBerry’s, but it was actually just for one quarter.

Get a BlackBerry

No one who has tried all four (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone and Treo) will argue that the BlackBerry is hands down the best for email. And if they want to argue, they’re wrong 🙂 Now with the Bold (AT&T) and the Storm (Verizon) either out or about to be out, this is the perfect time to get one of the best business tools you can add to your arsenal.

Here’s a few of the reasons I can strongly urge you to make the switch:

  • Incredible battery life. My AT&T BlackBerry Pearl can easily last me through heavy usage for 3-5 days.
  • Insane durability.  I have literally drop-kicked my BlackBerry (several times) and it barely has a scratch on it.
  • Ease of use.  Why is there a CrackBerry epidemic? Because once you’ve used one for a few days, you just want more More MORE!
  • Applications. You iPhone and Android users love your app store. Guess what? BlackBerry’s have over 4,000 applications currently available. I think Google may even love BlackBerry more than Android. Gmail, Google Maps, GTalk and Calendar Sync are just a few of the awesome applications available.
  • Sync-ability. They will sync with just about any PIM (Personal Information Manager) software AND much faster than a Treo.  The newest versions will even sync with iTunes.
  • eKey. Supra has announced that there will be BlackBerry compatibility with eKey by the end of the year.

That’s the short list.

Your Training Begins

There are BlackBerry users and there are BlackBerry Super Users. For those of you who have had one for a while or for those of you placing one on your holiday wish list, I will be detailing some of the best applications and shortcuts for BlackBerry’s in the coming weeks.

I also hope to acquire a Bold (if my local store can get one in stock) and will offer a complete review from a very heavy user.

Photo Credit

Nick runs a new media marketing consulting company helping real estate professionals learn how to implement new media tools into their marketing arsenal. He frequently gives presentations on generational marketing, green marketing and advanced online promotion. Nick is active on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Christina Ethridge - North Idaho Real Estate

    November 13, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Several years ago I started out with a Treo – liked it but disliked it’s size. Then I transitioned to a Samsung Windows OS – again, mostly liked it, disliked it’s size. About 5 months ago I bought the Blackberry Pearl.

    I’M IN LOVE. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this phone. I love everything it does – I have never used so many features on a phone before. The size is the best ever. I keep adding features that I’m using regularly. LOVE IT! I will never switch phones. When I need to replace this one it will be replaced with a BB. Although I am totally coveting the newly debuted BB, I will restrain myself.

    I had never used a blackberry before and frankly, never really felt the need to have one. I can not express loudly enough how much better this phone is than the Palm OS/Windows OS phones.

    Did I mention that I love my BB???

    (iPhone isn’t an option for me at present, I’m with Verizon and will not switch to ATT).

  2. Matthew Rathbun

    November 13, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    I just got my first BB last month, after years of a treo – I refer to those as my lost years. Blackberry’s rock!

  3. candy lynn

    November 13, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Nick: what do you think about the BB storm? will the touch screen be as esy to use as the curve?

  4. Gina Tufano

    November 13, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    My husband just switched from a Treo to the Bold. He loves it! I am unwilling to give up my touch screen and will have to wait until AT&T can come up with a touch BB – given how long the bold took to come out….

  5. Ron Ares

    November 13, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    If anyone wants to see the Supra – Blackberry integration effort, I have a beta version of the fob they are going to release.

    I recorded a Seesmic video (originally on Rain City Guide) showing how it works:

    https://seesmic.com/video/4ZmiUhkInb

    Not perfect, but a better solution for BB users than the ActiveKey.

  6. Derec Shuler

    November 13, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    You still didn’t do much comparison with the iPhone. I finally made the switch with the new generation being very sketchy about all the hype. Since they enabled Exchange support, it’s now an official business tool with wireless synch of mail, calendar, and contacts (like BB).

    BB gets better battery life but the iPhone is better for the multimedia. I’m curious to see more about the new generation of BB’s coming out.

  7. Michelle DeRepentigny

    November 13, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    I really love my BB and am anxiously awaiting the Storm, one of my lucky family members will probably inherit my Curve.

  8. Bob Wilson

    November 13, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    I have used a Treo for years, but need to switch. I played with both the Iphone and several BBs this week at PubCon and did my own informal survey.

    I didnt meet any Iphone users willing to part with their phone, but found a handful of BB users looking to switch for the media aspects of the Iphone. I watched users of both manage servers and networks from their phones.

  9. Jim Gatos

    November 14, 2008 at 6:08 am

    I’ll stay with my Moto Q. I can’t stand M$ Outlook and I use Mozilla Thunderbird with a $30 paid extension named BirdieSync. If I went to BB I’d also have to buy Outlook and I hate Outlook..,

  10. Lisa Sanderson

    November 14, 2008 at 6:16 am

    eKey compatibility will seal the deal for me. Hope they hurry-my Treo is getting muy annoying.

  11. Christina Ethridge - North Idaho Real Estate

    November 14, 2008 at 9:10 am

    Jim –

    My hubby has the Moto Q – he finds it just “ok”, but not likely to switch until his dies.

    For the record – I no longer use outlook – I only use gmail calendar and it’s awesome with my BB.

  12. Missy Caulk

    November 14, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Nick, I love my Blackberry too.
    I am on the beta team testing the FOB for Supra on BB, so far so good.

    Should be released first of the year if testing goes well.

    If anyone switches to BB just ask for the FOB and you will get a 50.00 discount on the BB. The FOB will cost 50.00 to get. You are basically pre-ordering it.

    The app is easy to use, and no more sinking, cool features.

  13. teresa boardman

    November 14, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    I have used blackberry’s for years and am on my 3rd, the latest pearl, just like the curve but smaller. I hate to tell you but the kool kids use iphones. They are much cooler than blackberries. The treo wasn’t ever kool but the blackberry used to be.

  14. Craig Barrett

    November 14, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    I’ve had a Blackberry since 2003 or so. I’ve got the 8703e and love the push email and Qwerty keyboard. I once strayed and had a Treo 650… four days later I found the error of my ways and was back with Blackberry. It’s a stable platform and I’ve got plenty of apps.

    The Blackberry Storm looks interesting. I got an advertisement from my provider to check it out next week.

  15. Matt Stigliano

    November 16, 2008 at 7:31 am

    Nick – I am excited to read the rest of this series. I’m a blackberry user, but haven’t gotten into the nitty-gritty of applications (a few basics, but not a lot), so it will interesting to see what a self-described heavy user finds helpful.

  16. Nicole Boynton

    November 17, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Ohhhhhhhhh….I am so excited about ekey becoming crackberry compatible. Currently I use the Centro by Palm and really like it but it will sure be nice to have the opportunity to use more than just a Palm device. Curious though whether you have tried the iPhone and what you thought?

  17. Lesley

    November 18, 2008 at 9:45 am

    I love my BlackBerry Curve!

  18. Nick Bostic

    November 18, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    @Christina – I’ve bounced around and tried a few different options as well. I always come back to BB for reliability and functionality. I love the Pearl too, I wish they’d come out with a 3G WiFi version for AT&T.

    @Matthew – Glad you made the switch and double-glad it’s working out well for you!

    @Candy – The reviews of the Storm have been good so far. I’m personally a bit reluctant because it’s their first touch screen, so I’m going to wait for some more real-world reviews to come in. Plus I want it on AT&T, a true “open” network.

    @Brad – Exactly! I have several MicroSD cards, so I really have limitless storage capacity for a ton of music and movies.

    @Gina – The Bold definitely has been a bit of a saga. First RIM didn’t want to do a 3G BB, then they said okay, then AT&T said “fix your problems” so RIM took the time to fix it, then AT&T didn’t want to compete against the iPhone 3G for a while, then they said “Give it to us”, but RIM was behind on inventory. Whew. What a pain. Luckily, changing out the antennas is relatively easy, so once Verizon’s exclusive period on the Storm is over, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a (better) Storm on AT&T.

    @Ron – I would definitely agree it’s not perfect, but based on the horror stories of the Treo eKey, it can’t be that bad. When I worked in wireless, at least 3 times per day I would deal with R’s who had phones that froze every time they tried to use the eKey.

    @Derec – To say iPhone with Exchange is like BB is a bit of an overstatement. Die-hard Exchange sync users will fully admit that the BB push technology is still far superior, mostly in battery life. I also believe saying the iPhone is better for multimedia is a bit of hype – I can add music, video and pictures on my BB just like an iPhone. I can sync with iTunes. I can even send and receive picture messages and shoot video, try that on an iPhone out of the box! 🙂

    @Michelle – The Storm and Bold both look like some incredible devices for sure. And the Curve has been excellent, definitely not an embarrassing hand-me-down to have!

    @Bob – BB users, including myself, frequently get tempted by other options. I’ve tried iPhones (not 3G), Treo’s and WinMo devices, but I’ve always come back. Like I said earlier in this comment, I can do all of the media aspects of an iPhone on a BB, but email, durability, battery life and signal strength are still far superior on a BB.

    @Jim – I don’t use Outlook, I use Google Calendar and Mail for Domains. Works beautifully.

    @Christina – I’ll second that RE: GCal!

    @Missy – Thanks for the discount info, is that on the BB or the FOB?

    @Teresa – I know, iPhones are cooler, which is why I’ve been so tempted. But when I realize that the BB is a superior business tool, I push those iPhone thoughts out of my head 🙂

    @Matt – The apps are a ton of fun and really extend the business functionality of the BB immensely. It also seems like Google actually likes BB best, more so than iPhone or even the G1 (at least for now).

    @Nicole – You can already also use most WinMo devices. I’ve used the 1st generation iPhone for a while and it was definitely pretty and fun. But email is still better on BB, I like having applications running in the background, it works better with the various Google Apps I use, has better signal strength and battery life and is far more durable. Not as pretty though 🙂

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Instagram makes IGTV videos more accessible with automatic closed captions

(SOCIAL MEDIA) This new feature for Instagram opens avenues for viewers who don’t or can’t use audio on IGTV videos, creating more accessibility for all.

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Instagram live being recorded will now feature auto captions.

In an effort to expand accessibility efforts, IGTV videos on Instagram will now include an auto captions option. While its parent company, Facebook, has included auto captions on uploaded videos since 2017, this new-for-Instagram feature is expected to widen audience viewership and increase potential viewing by those who prefer watching sans-audio.

In a statement by Facebook, the company states: “While there is no shortage of information, not everyone can access it. It needs to be available to the hundreds of millions of people in the world who are deaf or hard of hearing. According to the World Health Organization, over 5% of the world’s population – or 466 million people – have disabling hearing loss, and that is projected to increase to over 900 million by 2050.”

Current events have made the need for auto captions even more critical for inclusion. “The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a spike in both the supply and demand of public health information. Several local and state governments, that were accustomed to holding live press conferences but didn’t have the resources, staff or technology to record, stream, and caption their live events, turned to Facebook Live. Several governments also discovered that video captioning was not just a nice-to-have, but imperative, especially in the absence of available sign language interpreters,” states the company.

Currently, Facebook provides auto captions for videos in 16 languages and has announced that Instagram’s IGTV will have access to the same features. The caption accuracy is determined by the video’s audio quality, although AI technology is constantly improving in both precision and speed.

Additionally, branded content ads are likely to see an increase in consumer interaction. Recently published data by Facebook shows ads visually designed for watching with the sound off have 48% more relevance to viewers and a 42% higher purchase intent. As auto captions normalize across social media, users can expect ad content to utilize this feature to the fullest.

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New tool organizes your Reddit feed (and makes it actually usable)

(Social Media) Reddit’s UI hasn’t always been super intuitive. ‘Deck for Reddit’ organizes your feed into themed columns, making it way more user-friendly.

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Deck for Reddit on display on laptop on desk.

Love it or hate it, the mass collection of forums on Reddit have some form of content for everyone. The simple UX design places content straight down the middle of the screen and the infinite scrolling feature allows you to view a limitless amount of content from cute puppy images to cringe-worthy videos. However, its simplicity isn’t very practical, and is something that I think should be voted down.

Yes, Reddit has come a long way from its previous text-heavy form, but there is still a lot to improve on. Charles Yang, a frustrated Reddit user, has created a web app that could change all that: Deck for Reddit, a desktop optimized, alternative way to browse your favorite forums.

“I built it to show as much content as possible at a glance, while respecting your screen real-estate,” writes Yang.

Currently, the web app is in open beta. With a very similar experience to Tweetdeck, this Reddit tool seems to hold some promise.

On the far left side of the website, there is a list of icons with all the subreddits you’ve subscribed to. Clicking on an icon will take you directly to that subreddit column. This is very convenient for users with a bunch of subscriptions. Additionally, by making several subreddits visible on the screen all at once, Yang succeeds in his goal of taking advantage of the vast empty white space that Reddit failed to use.

From this display, you can click on a post, and it instantly expands to show all the comments. Hit the back button, and the post collapses. Now, you are back to seeing all the posts related to that subreddit. And at the top of each subreddit, you can easily sort the content by what’s new, popular, and trendy. Engagement has never felt easier.

Along with everything else, this extension also adds another great feature in setting customizations. The theme can be switched from light to dark mode. Fonts, text size, and even the shape of the subreddit icons can all be adjusted. Preferences can be changed to hide viewed submissions and reduce animation motion. And if you’re slacking off at work or want to chill, you can set it to hide NSFW content.

Overall, Deck for Reddit makes the user experience smooth sailing, and it truly makes Reddit the “front page of the internet.”

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Social Media

Instagram now lets you create and share fundraisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) If you’ve been wanting to start a fundraiser for something you care about, Instagram’s new feature lets you do just that. Go check it out!

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Instagram Fundraiser

Instagram announced last week that it has launched a test for a Personal Fundraiser tool on its platform. The feature will allow users to start their own fundraiser if it complies with guidelines or choose an existing cause to support. The launch began in some US, UK, and Ireland markets and is available on Android and iOS.

In its announcement, the company confirmed that since January, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 across Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook), citing that donations on Instagram have doubled in the US in the past 30 days. The announcement said, “from people raising money to buy medical equipment for Black Lives Matter protesters, rebuilding Black-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 and funding educational resources related to racial justice, people are eager to mobilize around causes they care about.”

Personal Fundraisers are short-term and meant to serve time-sensitive causes, with the initial duration lasting 30 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days. Users must be 18 to create a fundraiser and have a designated bank account in which funds can be deposited. Donations will be processed through Facebook Pay, which also powers Instagram’s new shopping features. The platform covers fees for non-profits, but not for Personal Fundraisers. Donors can choose to keep their information hidden from the public, but organizers will be able to see user names and donation amounts.

To start a Personal Fundraiser, users with access to the feature can tap “Edit Profile”, “Add Fundraiser”, followed by “Raise Money”. They can then choose a photo, select the fundraiser category, and write out a story to encourage donations. When approved, users will be able to raise funds.

Instagram says it will expand the number of users who have access to this feature in the months ahead, as well as give users access to share fundraisers both in their Feed and within Stories. Fundraising features already offered by the company include Donation Stickers for Stories and a Live Donations feature for live streams.

This feature is similar to the fundraising feature already available on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

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