I have been a Linux and free software advocate for years, and I still am, but I also like to think that I am objective and not just like any other fan-boy.
When it comes to smart phones, I have tested Blackberries, Android Phones and even though I have never had an iPhone, I do have used an iPad, and I haven been using an iPod touch for years (upgrading it since generation two), so I think I can talk about iPhones.
I have always said that there there is not best smart-phone and I still support that idea, it will all depends on what do you want or need from your device. Having that in mind I have always read that Android gives their users more freedom than any other mobile platform, but it turns out to me that is actually quite the opposite.
For this comparison to make any sense I want to create an scenario.
I am considering a smart phone mainly as a communication equipment, and not as a pocket computer. Having said that I will mainly focus on email, instant messaging tools, and social networks.
Let's start with email, which is for me the most important feature at the time of buying a phone.
Blackberry is great when talking about email, right? Well, that is true on the Blackberry 10, prior to that version, you may need to tie your Blackberry to a Exchange Server using BES, in order to have a complete integration. Blackberry with Gmail or Google Apps also works great if you get some hosted BES for Google Apps, or if you use the Gmail support for Blackberry with Gmail or with Google Apps, the synchronization might be slow, but it happens. If you want to use Blackberry OS 7 or earlier devices with IMAP servers, then you will run into a lot of problems of syncing your device, so not a good experience.
With Blackberry 10, that have changed, now you can use Exchange and BES servers, you can use Active Sync (Google Apps support it), and you can use IMAP idle, so there is support for every platform out there.
With the iPhone you are almost at the same level that Blackberry 10 is. iPhone supports Active Sync for Exchange and Google Apps, you can even configure more than one account with Exchange servers. iPhone also supports IMAP, but not the IMAP idle protocol, so you have to configure your phone to poll your account every "n" minutes, not the best thing.
Well, Android is made by Google, and Google own Gmail, so Android is made with Gmail in mind, it works great with Gmail or Google Apps accounts, but what if you want to use any other provider? Believe it or not, not everybody wants their email managed by Gmail.
You can install third party clients, but I am talking about the stock client first, and in case of Android that is made only for Gmail.
Considering third party clients
To be fair, we have to say that there is a lot more options to install third party clients on Android than in any other platform, but let's be honest, almost all of them are ugly, the UI does not fits the look and feel of Android. K-9 Mail is maybe the best, but it does not support Active Sync. Then you have Exchange by TouchDown Key, It cost 20 dollars, and it does not integrate with Android's apps, I mean it has its own calendar, its own notes, so, not the best solution at least for me.
With the iOS platform, you can install Gmail app, Yahoo app, and others to improve the default mail client, but there is actually not need to do it, the default one works great, and have all the options.
When it comes to instant messaging all three platforms support the major applications, WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, Line and now also BBM is going to be supported by iOS and Android.
At least the two main social networks, Facebook and Twitter are supported and highly integrated into the three platforms. Instagram is not supported on Blackberry and Google plus is supported by a third party (not from Google) app.
All other apps
It is no secret that if you want access to all apps, you have to choose between Android and iOS, Blackberry is a good option if you consider that only the main apps are all you need.
With all the above in mind, I have to say that because I like a physical keyboard, Blackberry is still the best solution for me, and also considering that for me the most important features are email and instant messaging, having Twitter is a plus, but not a must. If I have to leave Blackberry an iPhone is my next best choice, the apps works better, and the support for the features I need the most are a lot better on the iPhone than on an Android phone.
There is only one think I like better on an Android device than on an iOS device, and that is sharing is easier on and Android than on iPhones. Having being using a Samsung Galaxy S3 for one year I have switched to a Blackberry + iPod instead.
Note: I have not considered Windows Phones, because I have never used one, and I can not write about what I have not used