Any BlackBerry geek knows what outsiders think of the BlackBerry. In fact, many people won’t hesitate to tell you what they think about the BlackBerry, even if you didn’t ask for, nor care about, their opinions. Some of it is just pointless snark intended to generate a cheap laugh. Some of it is the misconception that everyone has the same needs from a smartphone. To the latter point, the dominant criticism centers on the BlackBerry application library. It simply does not measure up to the competition. That’s for many reasons, not least of which is that BlackBerry users don’t necessarily need such a large selection. Since most mobile apps don’t appreciably improve our lives, we can live without them. Yet at the same time, there are a few apps that BlackBerry does better than the competition. Here are three that I use almost every day.
It’s hard to believe, but the Facebookapp has been around for a very long time. We first wrote about Facebook for BlackBerry four years ago — almost to the day. Back then it was one of the only mobile Facebook options. Now it’s one of many. Yet it stands up to the Facebook app on any other platform.
Seriously, go grab a friend’s iPhone, and then another friend’s Android. Play around with the Facebook app. Notice many differences between those and the BlackBerry app? Probably not. Then hand your BlackBerry to them. If they’re honest, they’ll admit that the navigation is a bit better. They’ll at least admit that it provides the exact same experience. (This works even better on the Torch 9850, since it has the same all-touch interface as Android and iPhone.)
If they’re not honest they’ll make up some excuses. But make no mistake yourself. The apps are nearly identical across platforms. RIM really picked up on this one. If you don’t have it, you can grab Facebook for BlackBerry from App World.
This is an interesting item in the list, because I don’t know many people who use native Twitter apps. While the official Facebook app is clearly the best in the biz, the official Twitter app, no matter the platform, simply falls short of the myriad third party clients out there. And yet, when I browse through my timeline I see almost no Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android entries, but I see a fair number of Twitter for BlackBerry.
Sure, some people use UberSocial, while others use SocialScope. Yet I’ve found that Twitter for BlackBerry provides a rather simple experience that handles Twitter as well as I need it to. At the same time, I’ve found great deficiencies in the iPhone and Android versions. Maybe it’s because their third-party apps — namely Echofone for iPhone and TweetDeck for Android — are superb. But I could never get into the native apps on those platforms, while I continue to use it on BlackBerry.
The best part is that RIM and Twitter have continually updated the app, so it keeps getting better and better. It would be greatly improved if they allowed for a quick and dirty option to old school retweet something — that is, RT @username — but other than that it can handle basically anything you need. If you’ve seen the Twitter 2.1 beta you know there are plenty more awesome features to come.
This might surprise you, since iPhone and Android both have powerful platforms that would seem more ripe for blogging. Yet there is no question that the BlackBerry WordPress app is superior in to both of them in almost every way. In some ways they’re more or less the same. But Android has some UI issues, while both of them don’t allow the same level of comment moderation as the BlackBerry version. On top of that, the BlackBerry has more options, including an option to view your dashboard in the browser. It signs you in and everything.
If you want a more robust comparison of WordPress across platforms, you can read this guest post at WordPress Tavern. It also contains a review of all WordPress for BlackBerry’s features.
Surely there are other applications that are better on the BlackBerry than on Android or iPhone. That’s where our phenomenal readers come into play. Leave your favorite BlackBerry apps and let us know why they’re better on BlackBerry than Android or iPhone. If we get enough I’ll compile them into a post in the near future.