If you are like my wife and like physical keys the Blackberry Bold is the best alternative to the iPhone you can get right now.
My wife loves Blackberries. She started with a 7230 (i had 5820 and 7230 and abandoned push email then). After that she switched to a Nokia E61 with Blackberry Connect (to some extent due to my advice). But she was never happy with this device, and i wasn’t either since i had to support it and it wasn’t great. E.g. the phone did not ring on a call reliably :- (. Useablity was also very low. Firmware upgrades an alike did not help. Hence, ever since the Blackberry bold was announced she wanted to have one. Luckily the Bold hit the T-Mobile Germany Store on August 7th. Since August 8th is her birthday i immediately went there and bought one as a birthday present.
In summary it was approx. 100EUR more expensive than the iPhone 16GB (with a slightly worse contract, only 200MB/month ).
After my experiences with the 7230 and the E61, i was already prepared to finally end up at the 3-rd level support because of some registration issues. And i did. This was due to some bug that displayed a capital “3G” instead of a lowercase “3g” signalling that it had registered with the Blackberry Server when the device actually wasn’t. Switching to an EDGE connection solved this. After that i was able to switch to the new device via the website and everything is working now.
Overall i have to say, that the Bold is the best physical key smartphone i have used so far. With the inclusion of consumer features like a camera an integrated media suite and an improved browser on a large screen (that matches the resolution of the iphone screen), HSDPA (useable as a tethered modem), GPS etc. it has all the features you may want.
Unfortunately. it is designed not to work with the Mac, at least until now. I tried the PocketMac Software available at blackberry.com and it didn’t work. I had to resort to the demo version of “The Missing Sync for Blackberry” in order to get the contacts etc. synced. I got the tethered modem working by using these scripts. I didn’t have the chance to test the scripts at fibble.org yet.
[Update:] I just read on TUAW that PocketMac has been updated but will still not work with the Bold. When will american companies realize that it is now a global economy :-(
Couldn’t test the media syncing with iTunes either. The included app only works with iTunes on Windows. “The Missing Sync” and apparently all other solutions for the Mac are only able to sync to an microSD card and not the internal memory of the Bold. So i have to buy a 2GB (or 8GB) card first in order to test it. I’ll keep you updated.