The "iPhone versus BlackBerry" debate isn't just something I talk about during work hours.
It's a heated match on any given weeknight, when my proud iPhone-owning fiancé goes into debate-team mode over the merits of his touchscreen wonder.
The iPhone is pretty amazing, no doubt, but the of lack of pressable buttons that make grammatically perfect e-mails easy to pound out was reason #1 I choose the sunset-pink hued BlackBerry Curve 8330. The second, as noted, was color. Oh, and I also love my service provider, Verizon Wireless (I switched over from Sprint PCS in 2003, when I lived in Washington, D.C., because I needed to make calls while riding the Metro).
But when it comes time to upgrade in 2010, I'm going to need more than a pretty pastel color and press-easy buttons -- and not just because I don't ride the D.C. Metro anymore.
It's a good thing I got in touch with Mike McAndrews, vice president for product marketing at RIM, who spoke about the criteria one should use when picking their best BlackBerry.
"We tried to create a portfolio of smartphones because we feel that one size does not fit all," McAndrews told me, as we spoke about the differences between the touchscreen Storm line, the "BlackBerry for everyone" Curve line (RIM's most successful product to date), the Pearl (for traditional cell fans who need some convincing), the Tour (for world traveler types) and the Bold models.
"One of the first things a user needs to consider is the carrier," McAndrews said, validating at least one of my criteria for choosing my Curve, and suggesting consider the advantages of each network based on location.
For example, let's say your folks have a mountain house where there is coverage from just one carrier. If you like to visit them more than once a year, that's the carrier you should use ... especially if you need both voice and data capabilities.
Another factor is lifestyle: Ask yourself, do you travel for business or take vacations? And if so, where?
The BlackBerry Tour "is a true roaming phone" that features a sophisticated technology layer to work all over the world. Tour and Storm phones have GSM radios in them, too, as GSM is to Europeans what CDMA is to Americans, plus UMTS technology.
The Curve, pretty as it may be, doesn't have the network technology included to work overseas.
The third decision-making factor is preference on input technology.
The Storm is for touchscreen fans, and the Pearl line (including the Pearl Flip) is for "in betweeners," with its abridged Qwerty keyboard (featuring two letters per key).
Finally, if you decide to stay the course with BlackBerry and don't get distracted by the next generation of iPhones, Android-infused cells and so on, you can consider color as well as size.
"The Curve is an in-between size," said McAndrews. "It's nice and pocketable with a decent-size screen."