I’ve decided to switch gears a little bit today and talk about a subject that I’ve been neglecting for far too long at this point, and that’s talking about BlackBerry 10. When I first heard about BlackBerry’s (formerly RIM) plans to revamp the way BlackBerry worked and release an entirely redesigned platform I was very enthusiastic; BlackBerry was the latest craze when I was just starting high school, so it will always have a special place in my heart. I was excited to learn that even when their brand was tanking they were willing to turn around and pick up the pieces.
And they did alright, but not as good of a job as one might have hoped.
BlackBerry 10 is a nice platform, depending on the user. BlackBerry did themselves a favor by providing phones for both sides of the smartphone spectrum – you have the BlackBerry Z10 device, which is all touchscreen; and then you have the BlackBerry Q10 and even the new Q5, which also features touch screen but still includes that classic QWERTY keyboard. Since the Z10 was one of the more prominently leaked devices I had feared that BlackBerry was ditching their candybar QWERTY style in favor of the all-touchscreen phenomenon that had taken over at this point, but was relieved when I saw the plans for the Q10. While hardware is an important factor when it comes to choose which smartphone you want to carry with you for the next two years, what the platform has to offer in itself is probably the most important part of the equation; unfortunately, this is the department I find BlackBerry lacking in.
Lately I’ve been missing that clickety-clickety feel of a physical keyboard, and while I’ve been compiling comparison sheets (I know, nerdy) of which Android and Windows Phones I am considering upgrading to, I’ve mostly kept BlackBerry locked out of consideration after finding out that BlackBerry still has a long ways to go. However, as of lately I’ve decided to take a second look at what BlackBerry 10 really has to offer and after comparing it to the list of needs and wants that I have in a phone I’ve discovered that we could never work out.
I think I’ve found the true root of the problem when it comes to BlackBerry, and that’s the impression that it still mostly caters to the business consumer and not so much to the consumers who want to use it for personal use. Although BlackBerry did a nice job by incorporating profiles for business use while at work or a personal profile while not, it’s still lacking a lot of things on the personal side – like mainstream apps.
I don’t use a lot of apps on my phone. I used to, but sometime between getting a real job and becoming a parent I found myself with considerably less leisure time to enjoy a lot of applications. Given that my list is considerably small and primarily mainstream, I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal if I did end up going with a BlackBerry 10 device after all. Surely they at least have Netflix and Spotify.
That’s a negative, Ghost Rider.
It turns out that BlackBerry 10 is missing a lot of mainstream apps, even though they have over 70,000 apps available in their app store. Out of 70,000 apps they don’t have Netflix, they don’t have Spotify - they don’t even have Instagram (so that pretty much takes out every teenager and food connoisseur in the world). No native YouTube app, or any kind of Google app integration I imagine also greatly hinders the sales and popularity of BlackBerry 10. For the most part, that takes out every app that I use on a consistent basis. I can’t love a platform that doesn’t have at least some of these things – which is somewhat upsetting considering how much potential BlackBerry 10 really has.
I think BlackBerry 10 could have had a much bigger fan base if they had just been able to incorporate some of these mainstream apps in their App World. A lack of native video streaming apps really puts a damper on easy access to news, movies, and popular TV shows. Having no Google Apps takes out a huge chunk of possible Android (and iOS) converters. Even with a lack of Instagram, which likely has several alternatives on the BlackBerry market, can hinder sales simply because not everyone knows where to search for alternatives.
Although I wish I could consider BlackBerry 10 as a potential future mobile device for me, I don’t see that being my best option at this point in time considering most of my “must have” apps aren’t a part of that list. I want to love BlackBerry 10, I really do, but the lack of app support from so many mainstream apps makes it very hard to do so.
Readers, what are your thoughts on BlackBerry 10? With no known projects in the works to bring these popular apps natively to BlackBerry, would you consider picking up a BlackBerry 10 as a personal phone? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!