I have a confession to make. I am a crackberry addict. As much as I fought it for years and resisted the idea of ever having a “smart phone”, I eventually gave in. I hated the idea of being attached to my email at the hip (literally) and the only reason I got one at first, was because a client we did some subcontracting with required us to occasionally carry one in rotation (thanks Charles!) We had been a shop that relied on the old Mike network phones…you know the ones that were almost more walkie-talkie than phone? We felt it was infinitely superior to typing dinky messages on dinky keyboards with tiny text on them.
And at first we felt quite justified in our anti-smartphone ways…even though we considered ourselves techies. Luddite techies at the time…but still techies. We finally relented when Telus (our long time provider) came out with a Blackberry that mixed our love of the Mike phone with the messaging of the first real smartphone (sorry Android and iPhone lovers, but it is true). Admittedly…when you look at it from what a Blackberry is supposed to be we had one of the worst versions of the phone ever (I’m not counting the Storm here…shudder). I give you…the Blackberry 7100i!
It was a mixed bag for sure…but it worked for both our needs. The Mike button on the right, a full colour screen…and the joys of a half keyboard! Yep, you needed to hit each button at least twice to get the letters you wanted. No wonder we used the Mike end more than the BBM side. Over time however, we started having troubles with the Mike network…and it became time to finally, truly embrace what a smartphone could do for us…kicking and screaming though I went.
That brought us up to…the Blackberry Curve 8330…the phone that was behind the curve by the time we picked it up.
Admittedly, we had wanted the more advanced Bold model, but Telus wasn’t carrying that…so we went with what we could. Keep in mind this was still ages before the term App Store became synonymous with phones. This one did what Blackberry’s have always done best. BBM (Messenger) was the best mobile messenger and still is (don’t even think of arguing this you iMessage users). It was the most secure for email and yes it had a few rudimentary apps…but it wasn’t designed to be more than a phone for communicating. Sure that trackball would gum up easily, and any Blackberry user knows the routine of the battery pull…but it did its job well…until the trackball finally gave up the ghost.
From there…we moved into the vicinity of the coming superphone revolution. You see by now the iPhone was out in full force and RIM (at the time) was finally tweaking to the fact that they were falling behind the curve. Their first touchscreen phone, the Storm, was a total disaster on every level…so we waited it out…and ended up with the first generation of the BB Torch 9800.
This was RIM’s stumbling first attempt at moving into the superphone market, just as Android and Apple were taking it over completely. In many ways, you could see the start of something good…and as much as it lasted us two-year of heavy use…there were too many downsides for it to really get its teeth into the market. From the sliding screen that covered the physical keyboard, to a not great virtual keyboard, and processor was too underpowered…it did its messaging and phone job…but apps? Well sure there was a store and you could get some basic apps…but even the most avid Blackberry fan can’t really say it was an App Phone. That’s never what Blackberry’s have been about. It’s about the work, it’s about the messaging. Sure it had a camera and could expanded to a ton of memory…but it really wasn’t about the apps. Unfortunately, in the changing smartphone market…that really began to hurt RIM.
And that’s where the long-awaited BB10 came in…eventually…slowly…long awaited….yawwwnnn…when was it coming again? Oh wait! I’ve got it! I’ve had it for about three weeks! And it doesn’t even have a physical keyboard!
And the verdict is?? Well that is going to be another post in and of itself…but the long and short of it is…Blackberry really is back in a big way. This phone does everything I want and more…hell I might even finally start looking at *GASP* apps! It hasn’t lost the power of what it is first and foremost…a phone and messaging device (something I swear is an afterthought for Apple’s iPhone). It takes what it always did best and gives it a new spin. It takes some getting used to…and it is NOT a simple phone to learn.
It is what Blackberry fans have wanted and needed. All these years later, after never wanting a blackberry and never wanting to be a crackberry addict…I’m glad we got this phone. Promise, as it gets more use I’ll give a more in-depth look at the phone itself…with all my very biased comparisons to iPhones, Windows Phones…and my rather bleak experience with Androids…but suffice to say. I’m pleasantly surprised with how versatile and powerful it is turning out to be. Full review to come, warts and all (and trust me…there are some pretty serious warts *COUGH* Link *COUGH*), but there’s a quick look back at our Blackberry Experience. With much more to come!