A BlackBerry is widely referred to as “CrackBerry” as a means of comparing it to the addictiveness of crack cocaine. Yes, it is that addictive. But what is it that makes such relatively underpowered smartphones so addictive?
For one, its large fan following is because of its BBM service and it’s comparatively speedy Internet access (over EDGE not 3G). The push mail feature makes it an ideal device for email-savvy people on the go. But apart from BBM, even an Android phone or an iPhone can do the rest.
Then what really sets a BlackBerry apart?

For that, you need to see the space and time in which the BlackBerry smartphones (list of BlackBerry devices) were launched. They pre-dated the Android platform and the iPhones by little less than a decade. Research In Motion (RIM) monopolised the smartphone market early on and because of that it’s one of the only smartphone companies that’s still in the game. (Does anyone remember those Palm phones?)
Personally, I am not much of a BlackBerry fan but there are at least 30 people in a group of 100 people around who have BlackBerrys. That’s the reason I read up some more. I did use a few BlackBerry phones here and there for limited periods of time (5 minutes to 1 week) and I must say they surely are user-friendly. I like that bit.
I think it was very clever of RIM to create the BBM service. They created an instant messaging platform for phones when none existed and made it an exclusive “BlackBerry thing” to increase the sales of the phones they sold. Honestly, the BBM service is not all that great, you have other apps like WhatsApp (multi-platform: BB/iPhone/Android/Symbian) and Kik, which RIM took off the BlackBerry App World as it did exactly what BBM did and did it much faster. It ran on almost all the smartphone platforms. With iPhone’s iOS 5, you’ll have iMessage which is pretty much the same thing but from Apple.
However, owning a BlackBerry PIN and using the BBM application is considered “cool” by many. The main reason for this is that BBM is so lightweight and well-optimised for BlackBerry phones that you hardly have any lags or delays. It works very smoothly unlike other messaging applications.
Also, the touch-screen BlackBerry had on the Vodafone-only Storm was brilliant. The screen actually felt more tactile than any other touchscreen I have used.

The Storm had a more responsive touchscreen compared to the iPhone
The Storm had a more responsive touchscreen compared to the iPhone

Where it kicks ass: The Apps work seamlessly and like the Android platform, notifications don’t close your apps (like in the present iOS version). BlackBerry Messenger, the superlative mail server options that BlackBerry offers with the secure mail push service, the brilliant full QWERTY keyboard (in most of the BlackBerry Devices), the flaunt value and the idea of owning a functional smartphone at less than 10000 INR (though it’s horribly underpowered).

Where it sucks: Apps on the BlackBerry App world are many but many of the useful apps are paid. Hence, people looking forward to a free meal are better off in the Android world. BlackBerry data services are more expensive compared to other internet options that service providers have and it is the only way you can use internet on your BlackBerry device. This raises the expenses of compared to owning other smartphones. Most importantly, BlackBerry devices aren’t exactly cutting-edge technology and hence they are not technically as advanced as the competition around them.

However, if you have some money to spend and are happy getting all the BlackBerry features under one roof, you should have no problem.

You can compare BlackBerry Devices on the official site.