If you're an attorney with a BlackBerry, it might be time for an upgrade. Unless you like your smartphones bulky, boring, and poorly compatible with the rest of your life, that is.
Don't be fooled by BlackBerry maker Research in Motion's latest plan to shutter its consumer market division and focus entirely on business users either. As of late, the grand daddy of smartphones hasn't proven itself to be much of an innovator in the corporate world.
Now most of you lawyers out there probably started your career with a BlackBerry in hand. But don't let a false sense of nostalgia keep you from ditching that old clunker and getting something better.
The only question is, which smartphone is right for the budding and veteran lawyer alike?
For attorneys, and for that matter, everyone, the answer will be based on three factors: platform, carrier, and hardware preference.
1) iOS or Android?
At this point in the smartphone wars there are only two real belligerents, Apple's iOS and Google's Android.
Both platforms handle emails and messaging with ease. So there goes BlackBerry's only selling point.
Well that, and its tactile keyboard. But most users report that after a week or so using a virtual pad, the differences become minor.
Android's biggest selling point is its flash compatibility. The Internet will run like it does on your computer. Apple lacks this, but the tradeoff is a much larger and cheaper selection of apps.
A lot of hubbub has been made over Apple's Siri. Although commanding your smartphone with your voice may sound cool, don't let that be your only deciding factor. Especially since Android also has the same feature. The only catch is that you'll have to do a little voice programming before you'll get the same functionality as Siri.
2) Which Smartphone Carrier?
Whichever platform you prefer, the next big thing to decide is which cell phone carrier gives the best coverage in your area.
There are tons of great coverage map websites online, but this one from CNET is one of the most accurate.
Next, think of all the places you usually use your cell phone and enter them into the website. It'll show you the signal strength for each of the four major smartphone carriers: Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T.
3) Which Smartphone?
This may sound counterintuitive, but selecting your actual smartphone is the last thing you should think about.
This article won't go too in-depth about the differences between each phone as there are many other review sites that do so in great detail. But as a general guideline you should balance your usage versus a phone's processing power and cost.
Somewhere in that Venn diagram is the perfect attorney smartphone for you. It's just not a BlackBerry.
Best 5 Cell Phones(CNET)
iPhone v. BlackBerry: Apple Targets Big Law, Corporate Market (FindLaw's Technologist)