E-mail on BlackBerry vs Android

Bold (BlackBerry) vs Android (HTC Desire). First of all you’d be interested in e-mails. In my test, I’m taking 5 different accounts (3xIMAP, 2xGmail). That’s a lot, but take into account all historic bususiness accounts as well as one private Gmail and one tailored one offered by my university, you inevitably end up close to this number.

Requirement: complete e-mail synchronisation within 10 minutes

Ten years ago longer lag might have been acceptable with Nokia’s OBEX, the first generation of Communicator. The second, third and maybe even the fourth Communicator were synchronising accounts just couple of times daily. This was due to high GSM network charges and general acceptance of the fact that e-mail on mobile was amazing back then. These days you take mobile e-mail for granted and subsequently you’d expect more as a bare minimum for a modern smartphone. So how’s that achievable on each of the phones compared here:

Android: delivery time: 600-780 seconds delay between pulls, including 3 minutes to for full synchronisation of accounts, battery drain: 4hrs (!) to re-charge (You can decrease frequency of pulls to gain extra 4hrs). Number of crashes: one each three days.
BlackBerry: delivery time: 10-20 seconds between e-mails. Including download of content for all accounts, battery drain 11hrs to re-charge (E-mails are pushed so there’s no way of decreasing interval). Number of crashes: one each one week or ten days.

Now, clearly BlackBerry provides quicker e-mail, but how does it actually translate on usability? BlackBerry’s advantage in fact allows e-mail access similar to SMS, ie. with a lag of 10 seconds allows parties to exchange e-mails almost as fast as SMS (in fact writing SMS and e-mail is done using the same application and the same interface). BlackBerry compared with Android just feels like a complete different device, however it must have been noted that Gmail account for Android (via dedicated application) doesn’t require any special synchronisation and is pretty much instant, however obviously that’s not representative for the scenario we’ve tested.