iPhone vs…

Seems today’s meme is iPhone vs. Blackberry.

Dave Winer looks at ease of use for things we all consider on a daily basis – advantage BlackBerry.

For example, I brought only the iPhone with me to a meeting in Palo Alto last week. As I was driving to the meeting I could see that I would be a few minutes late, so I wanted to call the person I was meeting and alert them. With the Blackberry I would have been able to do this while stopped at a red light. Just search for the person’s name in my inbox, open the first message, highlight the phone number, click the scroll wheel twice (once to dial the number, the second time to confirm that I want to do it).

In comparison, the iPhone only keeps the most recent 25 messages in memory, and this person’s email was not in that group. No search command. And it doesn’t have a scroll wheel or a clipboard. The light turned green long before I found the email that contained the phone number. [Dave Winer]

Mark Hendrickson at Techcrunch compares mainly email – and it’s only due to Exchange sync that the Blackberry wins. With better email / PIM sync the iPhone would have come out on top.

Despite all of these criticisms of the iPhone, our venture capitalist admits that he would switch over to the iPhone if only it supported push email, calendar and contacts synchronization, and GPS. For him, the prospect of ridding his pockets of a separate device for music (an iPod nano), as well as enjoying all of the iPhone’s slick features (such as full-featured web browsing, stocks and weather apps, and its YouTube program), makes the iPhone very tempting. However, until Apple resolves these shortcomings (and perhaps Google makes its applications, especially Gmail, work as seamlessly with the iPhone as Microsoft makes Exchange work with the BlackBerry), others are going to have to pry his BlackBerry from his cold, dead hands (his words, mind you, not ours). [Techcrunch]

In my own usage, I am finding the email experience to be more than a bit anemic. The Gmail integration (or lack thereof) is horrendous. Gmail uses it’s own system which completely messes up the way you’d normally do POP mail – something I really don’t like to begin with… While the 15 min sync interval is fine for most people, in my experience it seems the iPhone is constantly in a state of connection – trying but not downloading messages. When viewing my FastMail IMAP account or Yahoo IMAP account things are more efficient and seem to connect properly and as expected.

I’ve been working with Gmail for quite a while now and while I was accustomed to some limitations on Nokia devices (not respecting my preferred email identity and no sending of attachments) things are amplified on the iPhone. As Dave mentioned, there’s no search, but there’s also no ability to view by tag / folder. Another critical ommision is there’s only one setting for checking mail on all accounts. I’ve been leaving three accounts active, but essentially live in Gmail. As a result I get multiple notifications for all my mail – first in FastMail which then forwards to Gmail. I need Fastmail on the iPhone for when I don’t want to send as Gmail, but Gmail is my main inbox where I want to get quite a bit of other stuff.

As much as I enjoy using the iPhone for all that it does – particularly the web and iPod functions, email is seriously annoying me. We need a dedicated app to manage Gmail – not POP and that will certainly require some changes (an actual application) on the iPhone. I don’t in anyway miss using a blackberry, but thinking about how nice the J2ME Gmail is on my Nokia N-Series devices does give me some pause over which device has my long term usage in its future. Why make compromises when there a choices of devices that can do it all?

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