Three reasons I miss my corporate, managed BlackBerry
Posted on September 26, 2011
I have used every BlackBerry RIM has made over the past 10 years. So, when I set off to buy my very first BlackBerry I was prepared for the challenges and frustrations that I would experience with the carriers on my own. However, I wasn’t prepared for the completely different BlackBerry experience as a consumer versus a business user. Here are the three things I miss the most about my “work” BlackBerry:
1. Email Delivery and Synchronization – I use Outlook on my PC, which is connected to a POP3 mailbox from my email provider. At RIM, emails would routinely arrive on my “work” BlackBerry before arriving in Outlook. Now, my computer is always the first to pick up email and in some cases by several minutes.
On top of that, I desperately miss the email synchronization between my mailbox and my BlackBerry. It drives me nuts that I have to go back through one mailbox or the other to mark items as read. When I tried explaining this to my family (who all have BlackBerry smartphones) and they looked at me in wonder that this functionality even existed at all. It makes me wonder if RIM’s customer base truly understands what the product is capable of. Perhaps more importantly it also signals that as a RIM employee I had no idea about some of the basic missing functionality for our end users. RIM employees don’t use the same solution as our consumer customers in the market.
It took quite a bit of effort to replicate the email synchronization that I enjoyed at work. At first, I attempted to use the BlackBerry Desktop Manager, which supports synchronization with Outlook, but it doesn’t provide any email sync at all. Second, I investigated moving back to a hosted exchange mailbox and BES hosted by GoDaddy ($11.80 per month for anyone who is interested) but ultimately decided that moving to IMAP would solve the problem and was much cheaper (an additional $0.50 per month).
The only major downside is that email synchronization still appears to only work one way with emails marked read in in Outlook are still not marked read on my device.
2. PIM Synchronization – I had a similar experience trying to sync my contacts and calendar. In this case, the only solution is to use Desktop Manager. I find myself routinely connecting my device to my computer to synchronize between the two before I head out for meetings or before I go to bed at night. I asked friends and family how they manage this problem and the response was consistent: they don’t use the calender in Outlook at all; they simply store everything on their BlackBerry. This is a big loss of functionality and convenience for me and I would gladly pay RIM for a solution that would solve this problem.
3. Address Book Lookup – Over a period of 10 years at RIM I came in contact with thousands of people many of whom were never stored in my address book (including hundreds of key contacts at RIM). I find it incredibly frustrating that I no longer have access to the RIM Global Address List. This forced me to properly create an address book, but it also created an opportunity for solutions like Xobni and others to fill that gap.