Why Do Designers Hate Blackberries?

I don’t know about you guys but I don’t have an iPhone. I think that they are really cool devices, but they are just not for me. I used to have one of those old HP Pocket PCs, it was then when I learned to seriously despise a touch screen device. Try texting with one hand with one of those things, it’s not an easy task. I want buttons! I don’t like having to look each time I press a key to make sure I’ve pressed the right one. That makes a Blackberry the most obvious choice for me, not an iPhone.

In fact, I’ve been an avid Blackberry user for nearly three years now and I love it.  What saddens me however is how the design community seems to shy away from them.  It seems to me that no one in the design community uses them.  They surely don’t design for them but why is that?

Blackberries out-sell iPhones nearly 3-1 so why not develop background designs for them?  There’s certainly a market!  In fact, most of my friends use a Blackberry.  So, it wasn’t too long ago when one of my friends, while looking on my website, sent me an email asking me if I had any backgrounds for a Blackberry.  I felt pretty stupid because I’m a designer and a Blackberry user but I didn’t have a single Blackberry background on my site.  Anyhow, to make a long story short; I went ahead and designed one and I’ve decided to give it away to my users.  Below you can download my first Blackberry background.  iPhone users, don’t worry.  I have an iPhone version for you too!


Blackberry Version
iPhone Version
Grant Friedman

Grant Friedman is a graphic design, blogger, and author. In addition to being the founder of this website, Grant is also the editor of Psdtuts, one of the world's most popular tutorial websites.

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  • Ressa

    Very pretty wallpaper but I would be interested in your source for the statement that Blackberry outsells iPhone 3 to 1.

  • Grant Friedman

    Ressa, sorry my numbers were just a bit off. In the 1st Quarter of 2008 RIM sales took up 44.5% of the smart phone marketshare while iPhone took up 19.2%. That’s just slightly over 2-1. Not quite 3-1.

  • Right up front, let me get it out of the way: I’m a Blackberry addict. Can’t say enough good things about my Blackberry Pearl.
    That said, I think that Blackberries are harder to design for than an iPhone. One of the things that make Apple products so friendly for designers is their consistency.
    With Blackberries (or all smart phones in general), PC’s, etc — you get a lot of variation. There are different models (ie: my Pearl won’t use the whole background that you’ve shared), different hardware, different software, etc.
    With an iPhone, there’s just one (ignoring versions here, since they are only marketing one at a time). Having just one makes it easier to develop for, and easier to design for. If you post a background for an iPhone, it will work on ALL iPhones.
    That’s my thoughts though. This is all coming from someone who has zero Apple products.

  • Grant Friedman

    David, I agree with you completely but do you think that designing for multiple Blackberry models is any more difficult than designing for multiple resolutions on a pc or mac?

  • Great point. I don’t think it’s harder (actually, I’ve written a script that resizes + crops wallpapers to multiple resolutions) — but there is a lot less demand for each individual resolution than we see with PC’s.
    There’s probably a market for it though :)
    Heck, I’m working on a project for 3840×1200 wallpapers — and there is very little demand for those from what I can tell.

  • Grant Friedman

    3840×1200? Is that like a 360 degree panoramic monitor? That’s crazy and kind of awesome at the same time!

  • use a HTC and a old sony w710i myself but cant wait for an iphone ;)
    great wallpapers kind of says ‘gooey fruit’ ;)

  • You’re very perceptive Style. The image was created from a photo of fruit ;-)

  • Cindy

    hi …very nice work & very interesting commentary…
    I have fallen behind on technology, so find your work/comments very interesting/intriquing!
    I am an artist/photographer who has become so disillusioned- because of ALL the competition out there…hmmm…I need to look at it from a new/fresh perspective..!

  • Bryan

    Though Im neither a user of a blackberry or an iphone. I do totally agree with buttons. I love buttons, they just work. Though I have more of a problem with having it on an mp3 player than a phone. My mp3 player stays in my pocket. touchscreen and buttons now thats a combination i can live with :)
    Love the design!

  • I agree Bryan. The best solution is probably a device with both buttons and a touch screen.

  • Personally I had an original iPhone and then upgraded to the 3G, and I picked up a Samsung glyde just recently, and I have to say, the fact that I have a full keyboard and not a touch screen keyboard is my absolute favorite. It is so nice to be able to actually type and not hope you didnt touch the wrong spot… the touch screen is nice but im a big fan of keyboards! :)

  • erick

    what about upgrading your blackberry to a bold one? i´ve had mine for about 3 weeks, and love it. My designs have never looked crispier than when i watch them on my blackberry bold.
    cool site man! i guess i´ll have to bookmark it right away. Greetings from Mexico City!

  • BlackBerry is actually more functional – iPhone – more stylish and innovative. With a new BlackBerry Storm the battle comes to a new level. Check the review BlackBerry Storm vs Apple iPhone 3G.

  • so what do you think about the Blackberry Storm that’s coming out next week? It’t the first touch screen blackberry and is being marketed, once again, as the next iPhone killer. I’m interested to see it in person and play with it, but I think any company that has to market their phone as an “iPhone killer” is taking the wrong path.
    Even if Blackberry does outsell Apple 2-1, I think most of that user base comes from corporate Americans who either (a) have to use it for their job, or (b) love all things Microsoft. I know where I work just about everyone I work with uses a Blackberry.
    But I think what makes the iPhone a better choice for designers, similar to what David said, is that it’s so streamlined. Everything on the iPhone is so integrated and works wonderful together. Granted I don’t own an iPhone, I’ve played with them many times as just about all my friends have one.
    So I’ll be looking at the blackberry storm when it hits stores this week, supposedly, but it will be tough to knock the iPhone off my “must have” list. :)

  • I may be biased but I think that people who own Blackberries, own them because they enjoy buttons. I don’t see many current Blackberry users switching to the Storm simply because it has a touch screen. I think Blackberry users like buttons. I do however think that it could help bring new customers over to the Blackberry. That’s who the Storm is marketed to in my opinion. They are just attempting to open up a new customer base and to stop the bleeding from their current customers.
    I do like the new Blackberry Bold. If I didn’t have a brand new Blackberry Curve, I would consider an upgrade, assuming I was also an AT&T customer.

  • Why Do Designers Hate Blackberries?

    ColorBurned asks the question: Why Do Designers Hate Blackberries? And I wonder it myself. The iPhone came out and it seemed like everyone had one (at least in my circles) – even I have an iPod touch, and I don’t have or want a cell phone! Prior …

  • Love ya colorburned(!) – but here’s my take:
    My deal with the buttons, vs iPhone? Touchscreen technology is the future – no matter how you look at it, it is here to stay and will be dominating in 5-10 years time. Yes, I am biased with the iPhone (I’m an apple geek-freak) But at the same time, I know innovation when I see it. Though not a thorough early adopter (I waited a year for the 3G) I love new technology that just works and makes my life easier and has software that makes it even more innovative. Google speech-to-search recognition is coming Monday for the iPhone.
    iPhone recently beat the Blackberry btw – selling 6.9M over RIM’s 6.1M. Oh and the new Blackberry Storm that supposed to be an iPhone “killer”? It isn’t WiFi enabled! Killer my rear.
    At the end of the day – it all comes down to what works for you. For that, more power to your Blackberry love.

  • Scientist

    Ok, Its always interesting watching the Iphone vs Blackberry chats going on. I’m a blackberry bold user, coming from an 1st gen Iphone. I started using blackberry’s a few years ago when i had a 7100, then got a pearl, then tried the iphone, went back to the pearl and then got a bold.
    Touchscreens are nice but I do not foresee it replacing buttons anytime soon. Same reason it hasn’t been replacing keyboards etc on desktops. If you really dig the iphone has not done anything new or innovative. It just presented it as something new.
    The blackberry is not difficult to develop for nor program on. It relies on technology and languages that have already been around on the mobile platform for many years to develop applications. My websites i develop have no problems displaying on a blackberry without loss of functionality.
    There is also a lot of apps out there for blackberry, only difference is, it is all centralized on the Iphone using apple’s app store

  • Shin

    No, I believe those two complimenting each other.
    I use my iPhone, i love love it.. but i want a blackberry. Why?
    Simple. Blackberry offers connectivity that none other (phone) offers. Even for Unlimited 3G plan on an iPhone.
    But that just about it, Blackberry is damn good for one thing.
    iPhone on the other hand (literally) have immensely large applications that can simple make easy on your life, work and play (very much).
    So answering your question. No. Designers don’t hate iPhone… we simply use it to call clients, receive email briefs and finding affair on BBM yey!
    We let iPhone do the Wow! and fun part.

  • this is so true… I was recently thinking about this. I’m an artist/designer and I consider my blackberry one of my most important “tools”. No, not necessarily to design with, but to communicate with other designers, twitter followers and readers.

    I’ll have to do something on my art blog to support this cause! lol Maybe we can expand on this and work together.

    David Silva.