I was having a conversation with a few friends recently all of whom know that I am really into smartphones, the BlackBerry in particular. One of them had just gotten a new iPhone 4 and was trying to convince the rest of us, all BlackBerry users, that the iPhone 4 was going to crush the BlackBerry and put RIM out of business. Being the smart Alec that I am I asked if he was using the term “crushed” loosely like when he said the iPhone would crush the BlackBerry, the iPhone 3G would crush the BlackBerry, and the iPhone 3Gs would crush the BlackBerry.
After my BlackBerry using friends and I stopped giving it to my iPhone buddy for being oblivious to reality when it comes to his iPhone fanboyism, one of them said that an Android device with a good keyboard would make them move off the BlackBerry a lot quicker than an iPhone ever would. Everyone, myself included, agreed…
This post is not really meant to bash the iPhone 4. The 4 is an incredibly cool iPod that you can often make phone calls from. Android devices, however, are pretty darn cool themselves and the ones with “good” keyboards are of particular interest to BlackBerry users that simply won’t go to a device with a touch screen only, but, might be looking to make a move to another platform.
I know that the keyboard on the Motorola Droid kind of sucks, however, rumor has it that the keyboard on the Droid 2 is vastly improved. HTC is starting to pump out Android devices with keyboards as well and we know from their work on some of their Windows mobile devices that they know how build slide-out as well as good QWERTY keyboards.
A June Nielsen survey of smartphone users showed that less than half of BlackBerry users, 47%, want their next phone to be a BlackBerry. Although I doubt seriously that more than 1 out of 2 BlackBerry users will leave the platform when the time comes, many BlackBerry users have bought their last BlackBerry and I am willing to bet that the lions share of those that do switch will find Android devices with good keyboards more appealing than the iPhone.
That’s my opinion… I’d love to hear yours.