Smartphones + Groupwise = What Rocks?
December 3, 2009 8:45 AM   Subscribe

I'd like your input on choosing a smartphone. The biggest priority is access to my email and calendar on Groupwise. I strongly prefer a physical keyboard, also.

I've checked previous posts on smartphones, which have good advice, but don't address my biggest concern. I would like to know which platform (Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Android, etc) will allow me the easiest access to my email and calendar on Groupwise 7 (soon to be upgraded to 8). My university has BES, which I gather will sync email and calendar, so I'm curious about my other options.

I currently have an LG Vu and love having a touchscreen -- I find it more efficient to press one thing than have to scroll to get what I want. But I hate typing on it. I've actually grown to dislike typing on it more and more as time goes on. Granted, it has a rather small screen and smartphones tend to have larger screens, but I was still unimpressed when I typed on an iPhone. Therefore, I would much rather prefer to have a physical keyboard -- unless Groupwise access on an iPhone is light years better than anything out there. Then I might reconsider.

Access to email and calendar would be a huge convenience for me. I am not a power mobile emailer or texter by any means. All this talk about apps does nothing for me. Google Navigation piqued my interest but is not a necessity (already have a GPS). Web browsing would really only take place when I'm bored waiting in line or if I needed to look up the answer to a random question that pops into mind while out and about.

I'm on AT&T and I'm eligible for an upgrade in a month. My contract is up in May, so I would have to wait until then if I want to switch carriers. However, from what I gather, I'd have to pay more for our family plan on Verizon and Sprint; T-Mobile would be the same price. Therefore I would prefer to stay on AT&T because the addition of a data plan is already going to put a li'l dent in our budget.

So right now it looks like the frontrunners are the Tilt 2 and the BlackBerry Bold 9700. Because I've recently moved to a rural area, I have only been able to handle dummies of new phones. The Bold 9700 felt like velvety heaven in my hand, the DROID's keyboard was way too stiff, and I wasn't fond of the Pre's keys either. The N900 looks nice but I simply cannot afford to buy it unlocked.

Sorry for the long post -- you'd think I was asking relationship advice (I guess I am, kinda). Thanks in advance.
posted by puritycontrol to Technology (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
One vote for switching to Verizon and getting the Droid.
Mine is now 3 weeks old and I love it and want to kiss it and marry it.
The keyboard slide-out bothered me at first and then after a few days it was totally second nature.
Touchscreen, keyboard, great web and video viewing, syncs with your mail calendar AND work calendar, merges all your contact info seamlessly across multiple email accounts, phone numbers, and even facebook accounts, flash on the camera which makes it actually useful, endlessly customizable.
Plus it is very shiny.
I don't like how blackberries handle the web and other email accounts and I don't like their little scrolly buttons, but maybe that's just down to taste.
posted by rmless at 8:55 AM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]

I just got a Curve 8900, and I get my work GroupWise email and calendar synced, as well as my Gmail. Works great, types much better than the touchscreens I've tried.

How's the reception in your rural area? Although the WiFi works great for internet access, AT&T doesn't support UMA calling, which kind of sucks.
posted by Mountain Goatse at 9:05 AM on December 3, 2009

Response by poster: Reception is pretty good and AT&T just bumped us up to 3G (a couple of months ago!!), probably because we're a university town.
posted by puritycontrol at 9:17 AM on December 3, 2009

The T-Mobile G1 has a very good keyboard. I think I've read reviews of modern android models that claim the G1's keyboard is the best of all of 'em. It's last year's model, so you can get it cheap on a new contract.

Android's native Gmail client is great. The non-Gmail POP/IMAP client is acceptable but not as slick. You should be able to get mail from any POP/IMAP service.
posted by zippy at 9:26 AM on December 3, 2009

Best answer: Have you spoken to someone in the university's IT dept? They should be able to assist you

Also, does your university have groupwise mobile server? That may be required for you to access groupwise data. I don't know anything about groupwise unfortunately.

In any case, here's the list of devices that are supported by that product:
posted by reddot at 11:52 AM on December 3, 2009

Best answer: Bold 9700 all the way. I just upgraded to that from the 1st gen Pearl, with which I was quite happy. The Bold just blows it away in every sense (except it's a tad bit bigger than the Pearl, but smaller than most of the other RIM products).
Screen is excellent
Keys a bit small for my fat fingers, but getting used to it - AWESOME predictive text that learns the words you use whether your typing text messages or emails.
AT&T 3G coverage in my area is great and downloads are blazingly fast.
The Bold uses a surprisingly easy to use and responsive fingertip touchpad for navigation, replacing the troublemsome trackball on previous units.
Battery life is phenomenal so far.
Lot's of nice built in aps, and my favorite download so far is Pandora, which provides me with streaming, uninterrupted stereo music tailored to my personal tastes.
Sorry - I would list a negative if I could think of one!
Good luck!
posted by walleeguy at 12:56 PM on December 3, 2009

I don't know how Verizon works in your area, but I'm seconding the Droid. Of all phones I've ever used, this one takes the cake. I'm impressed at the simplicity and its functionality. You basically get three keyboards... the small one (a la iPhone) where you hold the phone portrait mode... perfect for short messages or single hand typing. Don't like that, need to type faster? Rotate the phone... BAM. Wide keyboard with predictive typing and very good auto correction. Want to type accurately? Or gonna type in another language and don't want autocorrect in the way? Slide open the physical keyboard. Rejoice. Also has a d-pad, useful for spreadsheet programs or selecting difficult buttons if they ever arise.

The screen is absolutely gorgeous, the firmware (although a beta) is very stable and functional, although not as smooth as the iPhone's UI (but that's gonna be fixed in the next firmware update dec 11). The integration with online services is very cool. The app store is cool too and is thriving wildly, new programs coming in all the time and very easy to search from.

I've checked email on it as well and it works good, mostly thanks to Verizon's good 3G coverage. Thanks to that, actually, I used my phone to transmit Pandora internet radio from my phone to my car's bluetooth. It's like having free xm radio :D.

The sound quality is very very good in both the speaker and the headphone jack. Phone calls sound superb, smudges are very hard to see on the screen, battery life is very good (even with heavy use and abuse), built in wifi, FREE google navigation system that can be manipulated by your own voice (and let me tell you... voice recognition is unbelievably accurate).

Overall I'm very very very content with the droid and it catches everybody's eye, and any annoyances have been very minor. Also, you'll have fun exploring any other hidden features or faster ways of doing things with this...
posted by Zeker at 4:15 PM on December 3, 2009

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