iPhone vs Blackberry - Survey Sample Size of One

My daughter Emily was passed down the iPhone I bought when it first came out. It didn’t work for me so I gave it to her. That phone developed a small crack in the screen last fall but she kept using it. The crack got worse, propagated, and yesterday she dropped it again.

Now it’s shattered, it’s brains have been battered, splattered all over manhattan. Sorry about that, just couldn’t resist a little Stones lyrics fun.

So I asked her if she wanted another iPhone. Surprisingly, the answer was no.

She wants the new crimson red Blackberry Curve.

Fortunately, it looks like I can get an unlocked one on eBay for between $100 and $200.

I wonder what this says? I realize it’s a sample size of one, but I’ve heard that a bunch of her friends have also given up their iPhones in search of a better texting device which seems to be the one feature they value most.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. howardlindzon

    rachel loves her curve. wants the media card.

  2. davidbel

    I have both an iPhone and a much older, bigger and unhipper Nokia 9500 and I really only use the iPhone for surfing the web. The 9500 has a much better keyboard for both e-mail & texting. Unless Apple fixes the keyboard issue, I think it could become a secondary device for people. If Nokia didn’t price their phones so high, the E90 would be used by a lot more folks!

  3. Timothy Post

    While I love my iPhone, it is very very difficult to text while moving with the iPhone. Try writing a text while in a taxi or walking. I would imagine that Emily and her friends do a lot of texting while moving from place to place. Also, long fingernails make the iPhone a challenge. Women in Russia (I’m not making this up) are passing over the iPhone in favor of other devices because of their long fingernails. Who Knew? )))))

  4. sfmitch

    “I wonder what this says?” — I think this says that different devices will be favored by different users based on their needs & wants.

  5. Harish

    As a 19-year old college student who’s a heavy e-mail and text user, I recently made the same decision. The last phone I had was a Treo 650, and I highly valued the QWERTY keyboard, especially because I frequently use my device to jot down whatever I’m thinking (think Evernote).In addition, I already own an almost-full 30 GB iPod video, and saw no reason to downgrade to a glorified internet surfing device for an extra $150.If you value staying connected, the BlackBerry is the device for you- at any given time, I’m currently reachable by email, TwitterBerry (the Blackberry twitter app), text, Google Talk, and Facebook (though I rarely use it, most of my friends do).Maybe a bit unnecessary, yes, but I value staying connected with my friends and colleagues, and in a world with so many disparate platforms of people’s choosing, sometimes that’s what it takes.

  6. tim

    I agree with sfmitch. Different devices for different needs… Apple does need to address so key issues which I suspect they will do in the next 30 days … I happen to love the iPhone’s keyboard. I loath the blackberry’s keyboard (having owned three of them).

  7. WayneMulligan

    Fred,Ask her if it has anything to do with the BBIM (Black Berry Instant Messenger) service. I’ve been hearing a bunch of my little brother’s friends talk about it the same way the early-adopter college kids used to talk about Facebook (“Oh do you have BBIM yet!?” = “Oh, does your school have Facebook yet!?”).If that’s the case then I’m going long RIMM :)-Wayne

    1. markslater

      its phenominal -i use it more than texting.

    2. fredwilson

      Yeah, they all use BBIMIt’s a network effect of sorts

  8. coldspring

    Had an iPhone and traded back in for BB Curve. Needed more battery life and found I really didn’t much of the graphics capability when surfing for info. Enjoyed having the tunes and the UI but couldn’t type as fast and the email took forever to download often just getting the headers and failing to retrieve all of the message.FWIW my wife also traded hers in and she only uses it for casual use…

  9. Shreshth

    the worst thing i found about texting in iphone was that it doesnt let the texts go to drafts if the signal is not there. If you want to just draft texts while u sitting in subway, plane or anywhere with no signal, it is the worst thing. i love the blackberry for that reason. u can make as many drafts and they go out whereever it finds its signal.Iphone is the best phone in looks, snob value and everything in that dept, but not the best cell phone (as of now).

  10. Guest

    I actually have both and couldn’t part with either. The crimson Curve your daughter wants and an iPhone for web browsing/music/video. I’ve never used the phone, text messaging, or mail but I carry both with me always. If you need web access during the day for other reasons (not email), iPhone is king. It goes in my purse/briefcase. For messaging the Curve is more easily available and feels like a part of my arm. The 9000 is too big (for my taste).

    1. fredwilson

      If the ipod touch had a 3g modem, you could use that plus a curveWhich do you use for photos?Fred

      1. Guest

        iPhone for photos I show/keep, because it synchs with iPhoto. Curve to actually take the photos, and then I always cc: mail them to myself so I can get them in iPhoto later.I bought the iPhone before the iPod touch came out, or I may have made that choice – you’re right. If it had a 3g modem it would be great – but even suffering through EDGE is ok. Will buy new iPhone the day it comes out – but will keep my crimson curve for email/text/photo taking/phone.iPhone is just so incomparable for the web, and for overnight trips keeps me from needing a laptop (as much as I love my Air).

  11. Jevon

    I am switching away from my iPhone back to a BB (thinking about a Nokia N85 or 95) purely because of txt/email, and surprisingly, Twitter.My wife also thinks that the iPhone is almost too geeky,. and she is going for a crimson curve.

  12. Alex Kaminski

    I agree, I never write long emails on my iPhone. I wait till I get home to use my computer. However, the one feature that keeps me using the iPhone is the calendar. I’ve never seen another calendar app so well done and easy to use. I simply hate navigating the blackberry calendar, it’s hard to do anything. On the iphone, its really simple and it’s very well done. Also syncs with iCal which I use religiously.

  13. BillKosMD

    Function eventually wins over style.I wonder by how much the 3G iPhone will increase the popularity of this platform. Besides, the increased accessibility of Web graphics with the larger screen doesn’t necessarily translate into better information with Web surfing–they’re mostly ads or other worthless junk. The old signal/noise problem.

  14. iamverytall

    Just going to say that your daughter and your readership may not be a totally representative sample set. There’s probably a lot more emphasis on function over form in these circles. That being said, I have an iPhone and want to get a BB curve instead. The reasons are pretty much the same as the ones identified by RIMM’s leadership – it’s very hard to type on a pane of glass. I love the iPhone for web browsing and map functions, but find that the ability to write quickly and efficiently is very important to me.

  15. Michael Koby

    When my wife and I went in search of better phones, she told me she wanted the BlackBerry Pearl over the iPhone (and she had played with an iPhone on multiple occasions).I got her a Pearl and myself a Curve and we couldn’t be happier. The iPhone is a nifty device, but its just not quite there in my opinion. The only thing it has that I wish my BlackBerry had was iTunes syncing support. I am curious to see how Apple improves the iPhone because 2nd and 3rd generation Apple devices are usually MUCH better than 1st gen.

  16. chon

    I’m hoping that the new BB development fund will bring more apps like the slick Facebook application to the BB.cant beat it for stability and speed.

  17. Chris LaBossiere

    Just upgared to the Curve and added an 8GB media card for music. It’s about as perfect as a device as I can imagine. It is nice to see how many of the popular websites I use like Twitter, Facebook and Google have been optimized for the BB browser.iPhone seems like it woudl be a nightmare to type on.

  18. SOB denver

    Has anyone tried using Dragonspeak or other voice recognition software on either device? I realize in a crowded setting this wouldn’t be kosher and I’m not sure if this software is available for either. I have work related medial epicondylitis bilaterally, so I use this software at work and home and it delivers. It might be a work around for Iphone users if it is developed.

  19. gauss256

    Another similar data point: my three kids (ages 17-21) tell me that the only ones who get excited about iPhones are old people (like me).

  20. wannabe berryhead

    My main problem with the Blackberry is that I am concerned my company monitors all Blackberry communications….messenging and personal e-mail, in addition to the obvious corporate e-mail. Not a great situation.

    1. fredwilson

      You could get your own curve and run it through google mail/appsFred

  21. pierreloic

    Two worlds collide: iphone for coolness factor, web browsing and multimedia vs. BB for productivity and texting. Teenagers and young adults definitely set the trend here. For what it’s worth, I attended Parson’s design management thesis reviews yesterday and quite a few projects were about mobile devices and services, all prototypes built with the iphone – no blackberry in sight…

    1. fredwilson

      The iphone sdk/platform is a potential game changer for sure

  22. Chris Brogan...

    I’m a Curve owner and I wouldn’t trade it for an iPhone. I like the keys. I like that I can blast through my email. It gives me a lot of business power, and some web power. YES, I wish I had the iPhone’s UI. YES, I wish I had the better browser, but not at the expense of texting and email (and blessed Twitter).So now your sample is 2. : )

    1. grishick

      I would trade it with you. I have a brand new unlocked iPhone 🙂

  23. Cory Levy

    A few of my friends bought the iPhone right when it came out and immediately (within a month) switched to the curve. The major reason was texting was hard…and internet was slow.During Thanksgiving I went to pick out a new phone. On my way to the AT&T store, I knew that I wanted the blackberry curve. My family (who all choose the iphone) and two salesman talked me into purchasing the iPhone. In retrospect, I am happy that I currently own an iPhone, however, there are a few instances when I would of much rather held a blackberry.

  24. GeorgeT6

    I manage a bunch of 20 somethings who live and die by thier iPhones and I must say they impress me. The photo, web browsing and touch features are addictive. I receive -and respond to – just over 250 emails a day as a tech manager, I choose the BB over any other mobile device. If I could, I would carry both an iTouch and a BB and leave my laptop at the desk.

  25. RacerRick

    Texting/emailing sucks on the iphone. iPhone keyboard doesn’t keep up with the bberry.But surfing on the iphone/touch is awesome. Not worth it to surf on the blackberry.

    1. fredwilson

      This is absolutely trueSeems like blackberry has to fix its browser experienceFred

      1. markslater

        totally agree – i actually use the opera app for my BB which is marginally better. Also the BB falls short on alot of the multimedia functionality. Music player, photo user interface and so on.

  26. grishick

    I had several an iPhone for a week after using Windows Mobile for two years. I am not an MS fan at all, but I hated the iPhone. Texting is unbearable, especially if you want to type something that is not in its dictionary. Email is half-useful, because on the home screen I can only see how many messages I have total, not in each account. No over-the-air sync for contacts and calendar book with Exchange (in this case actually Zimbra) server. I loved the games on it though, once I got it jail-broken and unlocked 🙂 but otherwise… a pretty toy. And fragile too. I’ve dropped my HTC devices many times before they would give up, but an iPhone breaks immediately.

    1. fredwilson

      It shatters!!

  27. grishick

    One more thing – yes Safari kicks ass on the iPhone, that was the second thing I loved about it. Web surfing is MUCH better than on win mobile devices! But otherwise… nah… don’t like the iPhone

    1. fredwilson

      Seems like blackberry needs to show that it can deliver a similar web experience on its phones

      1. Guest

        iPhone’s “rockstar” status also allowed for some fantastic web pages adapted exclusively for them – ones I use every day that look and work perfectly on the iPhone browser. Amtrak, Bank of America, even Linked In – perfect little versions that drill robust web sites down to just the functionality you would need when/where you need it. Quickly make a train reservation, transfer funds between accounts – that type of thing.Blackberry’s WAP (do we still call it that?) browser and menu driven applications are pretty useless I think.

  28. Dan

    I have a similar experience with LG Viewty (U990). I wanted an iPhone, but wasn’t gonna pay the ridiculous UK prices, so opted for the Viewty.Great phone, but absolutely USELESS if, like me, you’re a texter.

  29. fakedjs

    If my iPod broke today, I would go buy a temporary replacement at Walmart for $50 until the new iPhone comes out in June.

    1. Jonathan

      When we updated phones recently, my 16 year old daugher only wanted a Blackberry Pearl. The two reasons were ease of texting and Brickbreaker. She doesn’t have e-mail connectivity since she only uses her school e-mail and can’t link the Bbery e-mail to the school servers (and doesn’t really want to). It is red and known in the house as the raspberry. The fact that ATT gave me a post-rebate price of $25 for the BBery didn’t hurt either.iPhones will never be big in corp america, especially the financial sector. IT depts. don’t want to support all those applications and monitor use/save communications. Our work Blackberries are prevented from receiving personal e-mail, have their SMS blocked, and cameras disabled. I can’t imagine that buying the more expensive iPhones, only to disable everything, will be appealing.

  30. Bill

    i am surprised that not many of the iphone or blackberry users mention music / multimedia as a reason to use one versus the other. Especially for those of you with kids, i would suspect the inability to use music purchased through itunes as well as the weaker UI would make the BB a nonstarter for most kids. I don’t see the logic in having two devices here. Are people not using the iphone for music?

    1. Mo

      I agree, it’s great for music, videos and oh yeah YouTube. You can’t do that on BB.

  31. CoryS

    Nice to have blog posts as a time-stamp. I may be proven wrong, but I still stand by the idea that multi-touch and touch screens are not going to be the reason Apple succeeds. Noted it here:http://www.crunchgear.com/2…I’m a big fan of the prioritizing of needs when creating and pushing out innovation. While the bigger screen is great, an equal, if not larger need for a mobile device is interaction over passive watching of media. No?

    1. Lad

      Guess it depends on the type of interaction. BB wins in keyboard based input but Apple owns just about everything else (music, video, photos, games, web) with a high quality OS to boot. On June 9th, expect a new mode of interaction from Apple, which could possibly be video-based communication to make good use of that screen and 3G connection.

  32. Michael Johnston

    The iPhone is probably the best Internet-viewing handheld ever introduced, but it doesn’t really make the grade as an input device. I use my iPhone to death with Google Reader, but shy away from writing emails or sending too many texts with it, simply because my fingers are too big for that on-screen keyboard.It will not surprise me if the forthcoming 3G iphone has a real keyboard.

  33. Vivek Puri

    Having used BB for 3 years, i guess i am ready for the change, almost :). Okay so the key issues with BB – Browser sucks big time, keys are too hard and you always need both the hands to type, quick navigation keys on the sides too hard to press, no music support, base icons are completely unintuitive(as compared to iPhone).I am not too much of a texter and rely completely on email. So, iPhone would work just fine making sure i can consume email as soon as it is received. Besides that, i need bigger and better interface for Google Reader, which iPhone delivers. And i am not too good at charging devices, and iPhone makes sure i dont ever need to charge my iPod. Only hesitation right now is that iPhone sdk will not allow 3rd party apps to run in background. Which means no Google Talk on iPhone. Since i am always ON on GTalk, that can be big factor next month when i have to decide for the upgrade.And personally i have seen people type on iPhone keyboard way faster than it is possible on BB. I think it is all about getting used to the device. For instance, i am totally ill-at-ease with HP laptop keyboards since i use Thinkpad pretty much all the time. In other words, that’s the “keyboard lock”….making sure you stick with device forever.

  34. Eben Thurston

    I have a Blackberry Curve and an Ipod Touch. I’ve found the Touch is better for reading emails because it has a more graceful interface and clicking away to links is a better experience. However, the Blackberry is better for sending emails because I make far fewer keypad errors. A few weeks ago I was out to dinner with a friend who owns an iPhone and I was trying to check the leaderboard at the Masters golf tournament. I used his iPhone because I assumed it would be easier, but the iPhone wanted to show me the full webpage which used Flash for the leaderboard. The Blackberry served up the “mobalized” version from Google. After trying unsuccessfully for several minutes with the full browser iPhone I was able to find the scores immediately on the Blackberry. The iPhone really need to get support for Flash figured out before it can claim to be a truly mobile browser experience.

  35. roberto

    I started with the 7100t, then to 8700 and now the curve with tmobile. I get so much done with this phone it still surprises me. The wifi at my home and any other open locations make me leave the IM on my computer off so I don’t get distracted as easily.When it is only on my phone it forces me to only say what matters and keep it to the point.Gchat + BB messenger + gmail + gmaps + wifi = getting shizzle done

  36. bryanthatcher

    I bought my daughter an iPhone for xmas, she never even opened the box (recently I gave it to my creative director), she went and got a blackberry curve. Yes it was all about txt, she never uses the phone for web, hardly even for conversation. Maybe when she gets older, (she is only 13), she will have the need for a phone with a good web browser and other media features…

  37. NICCAI

    A colleague of mine passed on it for this very reason – and she has nearly every gaget known to man. So, it isn’t just Russia.

  38. leigh

    I so agree with your daughter. It was my number 6 reason why i wasn’t going to buy an iphonehttp://tinyurl.com/4v7cb7

  39. Kevin

    Well most all of these comments point to the one solution…..if the iPhone ever had a version with a physical keyboard, it would get one heck of a lot of switchers from the BB. Personally, I think egos and stubborness will have to step aside for this to ever happen.

    1. fredwilson

      I think I’d switch in a heartbeatAnd move en masse to mac apps too

      1. tweetip

        steve better forgive you and do a keyboard – then we can return to our bubble of knowing no windows users :))

  40. scott

    My wife drove off with her BlackBerry Perl on the roof of the car today. It survived for 6 miles before flying off onto the road. Luckily we were able to recover the phone and amazingly it only had a little scratch on it. It sill works like a charm. I was completely surprised it wasn’t in pieces.I’ve dropped mine a few times but never expected the Perl to survive something like a fall from a car a 35 mph. Quite a solid phone.

    1. fredwilson

      WowYou can’t make shit like that up.I reblogged your comment on fredwilson.vc

  41. Antman

    It says there is no such thing as one size fits all . . . and thank god for that!

    1. fredwilson

      Indeed. And it also says that there are at least two strong camps in themobile device world. So those building apps for the iphone should also thinkabout the blackberry platform. I wonder how windows mobile would have fared?

  42. smbeebe

    I just bought a Blackberry Curve 8830 yesterday and I LOVE IT!! well built phone, with ample screen size and QWERTY keybd. Best part is 3G network – unlimited data and email — woo hoo!!! full internet access where ever I go… lots of goodies in this phone… just downloaded gTalk and slew of Google apps – very neat. Yahoo Messenger too. Need to get more accessories for it now. I’ve got a nice leather holster that swivels… phone is not bulky, real lightweight – terrific! Nice and BRIGHT screen too!

  43. PVBill

    It does seem like a new world for Apple to compete in. Previously, they could be best at a moment in time, then ride that for a few 1-2 year product cycles. Their competitors tended to be vanilla non-innovators (in PCs…arguably only HP put up a fight), or a hapless group outside their core domain (Zune, Zen, etc). Sort of like iTV.With phones, they’re squaring up against a group of companies that lives and dies by their ability to innovate/market on 9 month cycles. I’ll bet on Apple to out-innovate anyone, but even the slow squirrel gets a nut sometimes. If Apple misses an innovation cycle (think Motorola), can they really iterate rapidly enough??

  44. kenberger

    WinMo: IMO, one of the biggest ironies of the tech world is that today Microsoft offers arguably the most open mobile platform (at least today– we’ll see what happens w/ Android, or how the supposed “opening” of the iPhone SDK goes, though i’m skeptical of both).Just received a demo HTC Advantage X7510– huge screen, excellent web browsing experience, 3G, kitchen sink, etc. Too big and costly for many but a serious and slick WinMo device.

  45. mrtaxx

    I don’t own an iPhone or Rimm device. Maybe Apple needs a stylus for texting, that’s what the Nintendo DS uses. I would think you could text with something you have in your pocket rather then using your finger.This thread is definately pro-BB but it seems only because of texting and the iPhone for most other tasks.

  46. John Lazerow

    Fred – Have you seen the newest Blackberry, a touchscreen version. Check out http://www.boygeniusreport.com, this guy always has legit scoops.I have both an iPhone and a Curve and I use the Curve mostly because it delivers a better core communications experience. When I travel for pleasure and want a good web browser and don’t care as much about getting every email instantly, I use the iPhone. I think if RIM can get a better browser on the newer models, Bold and beyond, they will be a far tougher competitor than Apple realizes. Also, another factor to consider is that if you go to blackberrybold.com and look under multimedia, you will see blackberry media sync which can sync itunes files. I don’t know how the scope of this feature yet, but if done properly, this could be another factor in favor of BB.

  47. GeorgeT6

    and now :Blackberry 9000 to get iTunes Synchttp://www.cnet.com/8301-13…

  48. Guest

    Can not wait. ABSOLUTELY can not wait for the Blackberry Bold!!!

  49. Andre Charland

    I’ve basically done the same thing. I still have an iPhone that’s handy to have hooked up to my stereo and some recreational R&D. Otherwise I’m back to using my Blackberry pearl because it’s smaller, lighter, the battery lasts longer (much longer) and it’s much better for one handed use and texting.

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  51. pizza lover

    They both offer so many features… I’d have to study up before buying too!

  52. Neon

    I was going to get the iphone but now I would like a black-berry!