How Android Changed My Business

After a nearly ten-year engagement, I finally called things off with Blackberry. I just couldn’t continue in a loveless relationship any longer. As a business owner and installer, I had simply outgrown the platform. Until RIM CEO Thorston Heins gets with the program and releases BBM as an app, but more on that later.
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First off, this is not another on the long line of Blackberry bashing posts. It is a fantastic, rugged phone with plenty of strong points – standouts are the keyboard and excellent email integration, which in my opinion are still its raison d’etre. If you’re a current or past user, you know exactly what I mean.

But as for everything else that a smartphone is made for, it fell flat. With a THUD. And the platform was not helping our company meet simple goals on the road as HT installers. So , I bit the bullet and made a tough decision.

I now have the Samsung Galaxy S3, and it has been a revelation. Switching my contact list was a cinch. Email and other integration was just as good. What has continued to knock my socks off is the level of Google integration; any business owner should have a Google Places page already, and the obvious Gmail account that goes with it. But once you start down the rabbit hole, it is amazing the amount of services that the company has to offer, free of charge. Couple that with the amount of Samsung apps and support, and my first two days of owning the phone were spent in front of my PC adding dozens of helpful apps and services.

With the amount of popular Apple hardware and apps on the market, I have an iPod stocked with important apps and tools I use on the road (when needed). So there were a lot of cross-platform apps I simply had to find and add to my device. However, the apps that have completely changed the way I do business so far have been:

Inventory Droid by RomiSys: Fast, affordable inventory app that lets you scan barcodes and keep a running tally of inventory, real time. Using the companion desktop app, I was able to build a registry for each item, pull the barcode number off of my suppliers website, and then scan the item on my phone.

This has vastly improved my job quoting, costing and controllables day-to-day. Costs and retail amounts can easily show profits vs. true costs. I even use it for loose cables and misc items.

Samsung Kies: Fantastic phone management app – think Blackberry Desktop Manager without the authoritarian bent. It’s buttery, simple and inviting, and should be more than familiar to BB users. Plus, I can compose and respond to sms right on my PC, how cool is that??

Navigation: Again, Google Maps comes through for the win. There are more than a few aftermarket dashboard holsters for the S3 to replace traditional nav units with the phone. A customer in Bowmanville, ON just showed us his working nav with the Galaxy Note.

Speedtest & Wifi anylzer: Two apps crucial to streaming audio and video. Get them if you don’t have them already.

QR Droid: You may have your app of choice, I mostly d/l’d it to vet my own QR code.

Paypal: Once the mobile credit card scanner comes out in Canada, more customers will be able to pay on the spot with more payment methods. Who likes cheques anyway?


I also have about 25 remote control apps too numerous to mention.


All this after just a month of usage – I absolutely love my Samsung Galaxy S3. There are so many more things I need to get done with it, I just need to find the time.


Now, If RIM would just get off their duffs and realize the profit potential that a BBM app would yield them – once you have lost a user to either Android or iOS, there really isn’t any chance to get them back. So, what would all of you say to, oh, $40 app to be able to keep in touch with your curmudgeon BBM friends? Hell, even $30? I think I would pay that, even for the platform updates. Thorston Heins, I know you have a ton on your plate, but the fact this app is not available after much waffling is a major loss to your company; as a Canadian I still support you, but as a potential user I would only say “Shut up and take my money!”

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