Up until recently, I used a Blackberry Torch 9800 connected to a Blackberry Enterprise Express server. Let me just say this about Blackberry – I dare say that no one does email better than Blackberry. The functionality and ease of use with corporate email is hard to beat with the BES server integrated with Exchange 2010 SP1. However, being a techie geek, using the Blackberry, you just feel like you are missing out on all the cool stuff that others are able to do with their iPhone and Droid devices. There are simply myriads more apps and utilities for these devices compared to Blackberry devices.
Droid’s Email Failings
As of recently, I have been trying out a Samsung Infuse 4G model from AT&T, running the stock ROM running firmware 2.2.1 and kernel version 188.8.131.52, build FROYO.UKE3. The email setup to connect to Exchange via ActiveSync was easy and painless. Emails started coming through immediately. However, I will say that BES still reigns superior in the corporate environment. As quick as Exchange ActiveSync is, BES would push emails to my Torch before they would arrive in Outlook. EAS is just a tad behind that with the Droid. Also, a huge gotcha with EAS on the Infuse Droid is that Tasks and Notes are not synced OTA. I believe from what I read this is not Infuse specific and is a problem on all Droids. For many enterprise users who heavily utilize Outlook tasks and notes, this is a deal breaker. For me, I can get by without them but this would be a huge improvement to have these available. I have seen tons of message boards to Google developers and other Android Forums begging for this functionality. I am not sure why Google chose to leave this out as it is included with ActiveSync inherently. Maybe the cries will be load enough eventually the functionality will be added.
Another minor (could be major depending on how you look at it) issue that I ran into with the Android is that you can’t simply click at the top of your inbox and “mark all messages as read.” If you have an extremely active inbox, this can be a pain when you want to scan your messages and then mark them all as being read to save time. Also, it is frustrating as I thought I had stumbled onto the solution by simply placing a checkbox by all the messages and then selecting the menu button, you receive a “mark all as unread” however there is no “mark all as read”! Granted this is a small issue, however, it is these types of small issues that ultimately either leave an end user satisfied or unsatisfied. As system administrators, our time is ever valuable, so ever second and minute counts!
Where Droid Shines vs Blackberry – Everywhere else
Email aside, the Droid rocks! There is absolutely no comparison as to functionality between the Droid and Blackberry. Blackberry has long established itself in the corporate email world, however, the line stops there. The App Marketplace for Droid is far superior to the Blackberry Appworld. There are tons of useful system administrator apps for Droid that simply do not exist for Blackberry. Some of my favorites so far:
- ActiveDir Manager
- Multiple VPN solutions
Android devices are hardware wise and even software wise superior to the Blackberry counterparts. Blackberry still however, has the email functionality in this tech guy’s honest opinion. BES server is very hard to beat in functionality, stability and just “plain old works” value. The Droid devices are the epitomy of what geek nature is about – modding, tweaking, erasing, loading, burning, configuring. It allows us as admins to customize our mobile devices to fit our needs in the enterprise.