iPhones, Blackberries and email

By November 24, 2010 3 Comments

I lost my Blackberry last weekend and everyone keeps asking me whether I’m going to swap and get an iPhone.  In fact I’ve been carrying an iPhone as well as a Blackberry for eighteen months now and whilst I’d love to go back down to carrying one device if I could it isn’t a practical possibility for me.  Everyone gets why I want to keep my iPhone – superior web surfing and superior apps (Daily Burn, Fitfu/Gymfu, Facebook, Spotify, Kindle, Amazon are my favourites), but everyone is surprised that I also feel the need to keep a Blackberry – so I thought I’d explain.

The reason is email.  In my opinion the iPhone isn’t yet fit for purpose as a heavy duty email device, and as with most VCs I have to process a lot of email.  For me the iPhone has two fatal flaws as an email device (and I suffer from them on both Microsoft Exchange and Gmail):

  • Filing of emails – I store emails in a lot of different folders and the Blackberry has an intelligent system that allows you to file most emails with two key presses.  It is brilliant.  The iPhone has no such system and filing emails takes four screen taps and often a lot of scrolling – and there is no way I can find to collapse nested folders.  I just tested and it can take up to 15s to file an email with this system – way too long when I hope to clear 100 or more emails in a session. 
  • Doesn’t work well offline – the Blackberry works seamlessly offline (including for text messages) whereas the iPhone throws up all sorts of errors when there is no network connection, or even when the connection is dodgy as it is for me right now on a train from Cambridge to London.  I like to do email on the London Underground so this is also a big deal for me.

Note that typing isn’t one of the issues.  I prefer the Blackberry keyboard but I’m pretty fast on the iPhone and if this was the only difference I’d ditch the Blackberry.

I would imagine they are not beyond the wit of Apple to fix, and a bit of surfing on the web quickly shows I am not the only one who is suffering.  Here’s hoping they will come up with a solution.  After every OS upgrade I go straight to email to check (which reminds me I need to download the latest).