Many of you have heard about last week’s demise of Blackberry’s Legacy devices running BlackBerry 7.1, BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry’s Playbook OS.
Now there was a lot of news that the phones were going to die. Many media outlets claimed that this was the end of BlackBerry devices completely.
This is crazy talk. There are several BlackBerry Android based devices still on the market and recently OnwardMobility reconfirmed it’s commitment to releasing a physical keyboard BlackBerry sometime in 2022. They of course claimed the new phone had been delayed due to the pandemic. And I think that is perfectly reasonable.
Features on legacy BlackBerry devices may not be able to make phone calls, use cellular data, send sms messages or possibly even call 911. I find it hard to believe 911 capability would disappear since even unactivated phones have that capability.
Anyway if those features do indeed die that really does kill off those phones. Sure you can still browse the internet on phones that have wi-fi but the browsers on most of these devices have been handicapped for quite a long time at this point. Believe me, I put up with them for quite some time.
I have owned several BlackBerry’s.
My first was the 7130e. It was an odd phone at first glance. To differentiate the 7130e from the more professional entries BlackBerry consolidated the letters to two a button. This sounds odd but in practice is was still incredibly fast to type on and certainly faster than the terrible T9 on typical consumer phones at the time.
My next was a Rogers flavour of the Curve 8300 series which I loved quite a bit. Having a full keyboard was fantastic. It also had a small trackball built in aiding in web browsing. That was nice.
I then moved on to a Curve 8530 with Verizon which was basically the same as the 8300 series I had but instead of the small trackball it had a capacitive touch pad. It was great.
After that I had my BlackBerry Bold 9930 again from Verizon. This had a higher resolution capacitive touchscreen. This really opened up the usefulness of the phone.
I moved away from BlackBerry at that point other than buying a PlayBook. That was a great tablet. Pefect size and had all the guestures that were eventually made popular by Apple. Yes, PlayBook did it right and first.
After a bunch of Android phones I went back to a BlackBerry Classic. Even with how old the phone was it was still a decent experience. And to this day it’s still the best experience I’ve had typing on a phone. I do have to admit I am back with an Android phone. The Key2, while I really would love to have one, is just so expensive.
I have seen comments made my media that BlackBerry’s were lousy phones. Anyone who says this never owned a BlackBerry plain and simple. BlackBerry’s were simply business first, play later. They were incredible reliable when it came to hardware. BlackBerry 10 and Playbook OS were very good when compared to the earlier Java based operating systems.
Certainly when the iPhone came out and especially with it’s app store the support for BlackBerry phones really dropped off. That often happens when Apple enters a segment even if the competition is still decent.
I really don’t think BlackBerry deserved the reputation it eventually received. But ultimately the demise of BlackBerry comes down to a lack of interest from Research in Motion (the original name of the company now known as BlackBerry) to innovate.
But perhaps that’s what BlackBerry users liked? I know I always liked what I was getting in to when I bought a BlackBerry. Settings were always logically and similarly laid out unlike Android that seems to be different on every device. And if you never experienced a BlackBerry keyboard you really don’t know what you have missed. The keyboard on the BlackBerry Bold and later Classic series phones were fantastic to type on.
But I suppose I have to own up to the fact that my Bold 9930 and Classic are now really dinosaurs even if I still think a physical keyboard is the best way to type on a phone, or anything for that matter.
The good news is you can still pick up a used Priv (though technically discontinued as well), KeyOne or Key2 (in the case of the latter two you can still find them new on Ebay in a continuing to increase buy-it-now price). Of course these all run Android but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.