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CrackBerry Kevins Hierarchy of Smartphone Needs

By Kevin Michaluk | 18 Dec 2009 15:47 | 51 comments

CrackBerry Kevin's Hierarchy of Smartphone Needs

* Note: My Android review will be coming up later today (Saturday afternoon). Had to get this article done up so I can refer back to it in this year’s Round Robin write-ups! *

Every year when the Smartphone Round Robin rolls into town I seem to unintentionally get off topic within one of my device reviews and spend a couple thousand words diving into smartphone philosophy. Since I’ve been a part of the mobile space, I’ve developed my fair share of theories (though these often happen while drinking and are forgotten the next day) that explain why things are the way they are and more importantly for an event like the Round Robin, help provide a clear framework that explains how I judge a new device when I pick it up.

There’s a reason why we don’t declare a winner in the Round Robin. It’s because there is no one best smartphone. What there is though, is a best smartphone for a person based on their priorities and needs and how they intend to integrate the device into their life. I’ve been BlackBerry diehard since the moment I laid hands on ‘ole blue (a BlackBerry 7290). That doesn’t mean I don’t get tempted from time to time by other platforms and devices that may offer better web browsers, more megapixels or more apps to choose from, but at the end of the day the things I personally value most in the smartphone experience tend to be what RIM excels in. In the 2007 Round Robin, I spent a lot of time talking about the BlackBerry advantage, which covered points like the BlackBerry’s one-handed ease of use and the blinking red LED which keeps you coming back for more (the crack in CrackBerry). In the 2008 Round Robin I focused my attention on the differences between RIM’s approach to the BlackBerry experience and Apple’s approach to the iPhone, where RIM focuses on developing a device and software platform that is optimized for on-the-go use (use it 100x per day for a short period of time) while Apple wants you to stop what you’re doing and really immerse yourself in using the device. This year, I’m going to take things up a notch with my latest theory, called Kevin’s Hierarchy of Smartphone Needs.

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