The BlackBerry 8700c was my cell phone before my HTC Touch Cruise. Comparing the two is unfair; the 8700c is a significantly older device. Nevertheless, I still use it as a backup phone because the BlackBerry has advantages over a Windows Mobile (WM) device. Here are some:
Blackberry allows one-handed operation with its track wheel. WM devices often require two hands, though their enabling of one-handed operation is improving.
BlackBerry does not have a camera. How’s this an advantage? For security reasons, courts and other government buildings (and some corporate facilities as well) won’t let you bring in a cell phone that has a camera.
BlackBerry has a reputation for security, and hence are used and trusted by government agencies.
There are other differences which, depending on your usage and point of view, could be viewed as disadvantages of using a BlackBerry instead of WM. An obvious one is the lack of a camera if you want a camera phone. Here are some others.
The BlackBerry does a poor job of multi-media. It’s a messaging workhorse, not an entertainment device.
The BlackBerry does not have a touch screen. I find I don’t need a touch screen because of the track wheel, but others might feel differently. The next major (rumored) BlackBerry model, referred to as the 9000, may have a touch screen.
There are fewer model choices. Partly it is because Research in Motion (RIM), the maker of the BlackBerry, takes its time to make sure each new model is secure, etc. As a result, while there are many WM devices that are 3G or faster, BlackBerry is just getting there.
There also are fewer software choices, one reason being RIM’s strict security requirements. For example, WM devices can use Voice Command, which I use to dial my contacts by talking to my phone. BlackBerry doesn’t have anything similar. Another example is that the ability to review PDF files on a BlackBerry is surprisingly difficult.
If you have a Hosted Exchange Server account, you may have to pay extra for synchronizing with a BlackBerry Exchange Server (BES), while there may be no extra cost for Direct Push.
Which is better? As with most device decisions, it just depends on your usage. For me, as with Tablet PCs, I dither between BlackBerry and WM (dithering being a common theme in this blog).