Gear Corner: Bye-bye Blackberry, Hello Samsung Galaxy S3 (Android LTE)

It’s just about time to retire my Blackberry Bold 9900; my boss has upgraded most of our team to the Samsung Galaxy SIII.  I haven’t found the time to get it setup and activated yet, but the day is coming.  The new phone is LTE which means faster data, but that’s not the only thing I’m looking forward to in the upgrade:

  • Better accessories I hope.  It always boggled my mind how Blackberry supposedly wanted to conquer the consumer market, but somehow always seemed locked into use scenarios that could only really to a business executive.  I never found a running armband that would let me use the Blackberry while running; even if I tried to stuff it into a larger armband (like one intended for an iPhone), it might fit, but push all kinds of buttons on the way in or out, and inadvertently pause the music or something.  I’d end up using the belt holster with a water bottle belt… that was about the only solution I could live with.  The S3 is a touchscreen format, so hopefully it’ll work better for this sort of thing.  I’m looking at this Otterbox case, though I’m also intrigued by SPIBelt/SPIband.  Maybe I’ll get a working heart rate sensor even…
  • Better Apps.  The selection of apps on Blackberry was always meager.  The major social networks were there, but things like Instagram (even if that’s a dirty word now) were either absent, or only supported through the browser (Google+).  I still love Endomondo as my exercise tracker, but there’s tons more fitness apps (like Zombies Run!) that I could use to round out my training.  Music streaming, chat/video/VOIP (Skype), Blogging tools, I’m getting intimidated just thinking about the selection I’m about to experience.
  • Better Bluetooth.  Pairing the Blackberry with the handsfree in my car was always a crap shoot, maybe the Samsung will work better.  We’ll see.

That said, there are a few things I’ll miss about the old Blackberry.

  • QWERTY Keyboard Buttons – I don’t think I’d ever be able to type as well with a touchscreen.  Some of my blog posts were written (about 90%) on my Blackberry while I was killing time.  I’d email them as a draft, polish them and insert links then publish.  Typing out reams of text for a blog (or writing lots of emails) seems like it would be tedious on a touch screen (based on my experience with my iPad), though there are apps that supposedly make touchscreen typing more efficient.
  • Blackberry Messenger.  BBM is very cool; I seeing that the message has been a) delivered and b) read, plus group chats, sending pictures and files is no problem.  I didn’t use it so much for status updates and the kinds of automation on said status, though.  There’s plenty of chat apps, but at least everybody I knew who had a Blackberry, I could contact through BBM.
  • Supporting a Canadian Company.  I’ve got several friends and ex-colleagues who work for RIM, the company that makes Blackberry.  The last Canadian Tech Giant is fallen on hard times, and now I’m part of the problem.  Who knows?  Maybe they’ll bounce back and they can be my next  phone.

How important is your smartphone to your fitness?

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