When is a BlackBerry No Longer a BlackBerry?
This week RIM attempted to wow developers at its BlackBerry Jam dev conference, unveiling an alpha of the long-awaited BlackBerry 10. Rather than re-cycle what has already been said, I thought I’d address this upcoming change as a longtime BlackBerry user. My first BB was the very earliest unit made – it was beeper sized with a crude little keyboard. The fact that you could answer back your “beeps” was pretty amazing, and it all took off from there. Today I carry an iPhone for my personal use (texting and apps) and a BlackBerry for work (email and calls) – which in many ways highlights the crossroads these devices are at. I keep my BlackBerry because it does two things really, really well. First, the battery lasts forever. I can go away for a weekend and never think to bring a charger. The talk time is phenomenal, and if I set it to turn off at night and back on in the morning, I can get a work week off of one charge. Try that with any other smartphone. The second is email handling via the physical keyboard. I’ve tried various physical keyboards on other smartphones and they are clunky at best. The BlackBerry’s KB is why we all make that silly thumb gesture to mimic typing on a handheld. The auto text rules I have set up let me type in “ny” and get “New York” and all the first names of my co-workers set instantly to caps. It’s the text customization that helps me get real work done between planes or on the fly with legible, accurate responses. Which brings us to this week. So if the new BlackBerry loses the physical keyboard and has a gorgeous high res screen (battery hog) when does it cease becoming a BlackBerry and turn into an almost iPhone? And that, my tech friends, is the dilemma. Maybe we should ask Siri what it all means? Where do you stand on the new BB? Has time marched on, or is there new life in a new look? Post a comment below, or drop me a line.