I don’t remember the exact model number, but the first smartphone that I actually enjoyed using was a BlackBerry. That full keyboard, the trackball (!), and just the way the universal inbox made everything so easily accessible. I loved that BlackBerry, and there’s been a few of the BB-branded devices over the years that have grabbed my attention and managed to keep it for a lot longer than I thought they could. Which is one reason why, last year, I was ready to say that I was still rooting for the underdog, Research In Motion.
Now, that’s changed a bit, but in the back of my head I know that I’m still intrigued by what is happening inside the labs at RIM. BlackBerry 10 still has some aspects to the OS, what I’ve seen so far, that don’t make me all that happy, but I’m willing to look at the final product next year and see how it stands against the likes of Windows Phone, Android (4.2?), and iOS. If it can woo me, and yes, woo me, then I’ll give another BlackBerry device a shot.
I haven’t been shy about my love for the Bold 9900 series. I think it’s one of the best series of devices out there, both because of the sizeable display above that physical keyboard, and also because of the physical keyboard. It’s so ridiculously spacious and usable, that the word “comfortable” does it do it justice. I’ve written quite a bit on that phone, and it’s still a device that when I see out in the wild, I have a real hard time not asking the owner of it if they’d like to sell it to me, right then and there.
Because I’d do it.
That first reaction, though, the one where I immediately want to buy that particular phone, is quickly replaced (after I convince myself that I don’t really want to buy it) with the astonishment that I’m looking at a BlackBerry device out in the real world. It doesn’t even matter that I see them pretty regularly. All this talk on the Internet about how RIM is going away, and how the BlackBerry name will eventually go the way of the Dodo leads me to instinctively assume that no one in their right mind would want to use one.
But that’s not true, and we all know it. The BlackBerry Bold 9900 series is a testament to that fact, I believe. Not so much because it was a best-selling device, at least not in comparison to the iPhone, but because it’s such a good device. Even the BlackBerry OS under the hood, while still holding onto plenty of different features from previous versions of the OS, isn’t terrible.
For me, I used a BlackBerry mainly for the keyboard. And I’m not afraid to admit that, either. While I usually prefer a software keyboard, as long as it’s competent, sometimes a hardware keyboard is just too good to pass up. While some would say that there is a lot that RIM could do better in the software department, I think their hardware keyboards are second-to-none.
Also, and this may seem odd, but the mainstay social networking apps, like Twitter and Facebook, just work better on BlackBerry OS. Yes, better than Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Their notifications are top-notch, and while the aesthetics of the applications aren’t perfect, their functionality makes them worth it for someone who just needs to get something done.
(For the record, I’m not saying that other apps on other mobile operating systems are bad, or unusable. Not at all. I’m just saying that, through personal experience, the BlackBerry OS-based apps just work.)
So I want you to tell me, Dear Reader. If you do still use a BlackBerry, tell me why. Did you go to another OS and come back? Or, have you been a diehard BlackBerry fan from the get-go? Or, have you tried BlackBerry OS and left it for one particular reason or another? Let me know!