Holding the coveted iPhone 6 that technology reviewers are hailing as innovative and intuitive, I went to the website of the device most people consider terribly outdated: the BlackBerry. It was time for some window shopping.
Pursuing the iPhone 6
I’m the proud owner of an iPhone 4S and upgrading to the iPhone 6 seemed the natural progression, until the aggravation of obtaining it caught up with me. It involved:
- One trip to AT&T to look at the physical device
- A call to AT&T to review the rebate policy
- A call to AT&T to verify the phone options and upgrade availability
- A call to AT&T to change (uhhhh-emmmmm, increase) the data plan*
*Note: Increasing the data plan was only done because my “out-of-contract discount” is now unavailable. Needless to say, I was less than pleased about this.
This device wasn’t worth that effort. It is nearly identical to my beloved 4S. In fact, it is worse than my 4S. This iPhone 6 requires a purse just to transport it. It is costing my family more in monthly data fees. The taxes on it are absurd. I need AppleCare for fear of bending the device or shattering this screen. Not to mention all the new connectors and chargers I would need. $199 price tag? This device is going to run me that with a rebate.
New Pursuit: Blackberry
A friend recently pulled out his Blackberry and I was taken by surprise. I thought the company was focusing all its efforts on B2B ventures, not B2C transactions. Back in 2011, this was the smartphone I dreamed of, but with the company’s plummeting value and spotty service, the iPhone was the safer bet. Who knew if Blackberry would be doing business in a year?
Well, it’s been 3 years, and according to company specs and many tech bloggers, BlackBerry’s quality is on-par with Apple. What’s more impressive is the loyalty of Blackberry’s users, the Crackberry fanatics. A simple tweet one morning launched into a day-long conversation with the fans and the company itself.
Apple, and its millions of fans, never showed up in this conversation. It was enough for me to do some further research.
There are a handful of features with the iPhone that make me hesitate when considering switching to another brand. They are concerns you likely have as well. The Blackberries, specifically the Q10, resolved many of my worries:
- iCal: My entire schedule for work, classes, and even lunch dates relies on this notification system
- Solution: iCal can be imported into Blackberry’s calendar
- Apps: I’m a social media manager. Without my phone, I’m not doing my clients justice.
- Solution: Apps from Google Play and the Amazon Appstore work on Blackberry, and the majority of my favorites are available
- Battery Life: My 80+ apps wear my phone down pretty quickly. I charge it daily, if not twice a day.
- Solution: Almost 15 days of standby time, compared to the iPhone’s 10 days
- Size: My biggest gripe with the iPhone is its enlarged screen
- Solution: Blackberries are roughly the size of the iPhone 4s
- Memory: Minimum 16GB is required to hold everything
- Solution: Blackberry Q10 is available in 16GB.
In my research, I did discover some unforeseen issues with upgrading now. Among them:
- I will be charged a $25 restocking fee by AT&T for returning my iPhone 6
- The Blackberry Q10, although only $50, is already a year and a half old. I’m upgrading to get the newest, not the soon to be old-model
- The BlackberryQ20, aka the Blackberry Classic, is rumored to be released in November or early 2015
- I will receive $200 for my iPhone 4s through the end of October. The amount will drop after that date.
- The Q20 will likely be priced at $200
- Now I have a decision
- Return my phone now for full value and be phoneless until the Q20 is released
- Keep my phone and get less money for it, thus forking over more cash for the Q20
- I cannot try the Q20 even if it were out; Blackberries are only available online. I do not enjoy gambling on a 2-year commitment
Time to Switch…in 2 years
Too little, too late, Blackberry. I love your devices and I see the tremendous potential. The lack of synchronicity with my upgrade and the release of the iPhone 6 makes it a difficult to change devices. I adore the QWERTY keyboard and the durability. I would be joining a very loyal and enthusiastic user base. The price tag and the inability to try the phone prior to purchase are enough for me to say, “I’m sticking with the iPhone for now.”
In 2 years, I’ll likely be reconsidering all my devices. My college laptop may be coming to an end. My next phone contract will expire. I’m aware enough to know that much of Apple’s value lies in its brand, not its products. Therefore, even though your company has suffered tremendous blows (every person I told my story to–with the exception of the friend who owns a Blackberry–looked at me with skeptically raised eyebrows), I recognize that your products have many benefits. In 2016, I’ll be selecting the devices that best suit my lifestyle and career demands, not the ones with the prettiest light-up logo.
Live and Learn
AT&T, should you ever read this, please streamline your communications about upgrades to customers. I’m not someone usually befuddled by technology, but you stumped me.
Blackberry, please establish a showcase somewhere. I really wanted to try your devices, and I can’t commit to a phone without testing it in the store first.
Blackberry owners, I hope to join you in a few years. Thanks for the many pieces of advice via Twitter; perhaps I’ll be the one responding to a prospective Crackberry aficionado one day.