After three BlackBerry models, I have to say I’m giving up on the platform.
I just got my BlackBerry Tour in Aug. of 2009, and I have pretty much given in two to three months ago that this would be the phone that would be the albatross around my neck until June or 2011 when I was eligible for another upgrade. What was wrong with it?
- The trackball was a nightmare to get to work properly
- Slow to respond
- The trackball was a nightmare
- Seemed to take forever to download any applications or access any Web content
- Have I mentioned the trackball was a nightmare?
- E-mail was a pain to keep up-to-date with, and I rarely had less than a thousand e-mails I needed to be cleaning up
- No Wi-Fi
- No touchscreen
- Laughable Web browser
- Hey, did I mention the trackball was a nightmare?
I started off with a BlackBerry 7290 several years ago, moved on to a BlackBerry 8830 eventually and when the Tour was announced, I was more than a bit excited. The problem was it arrived just as I was leaving for a vacation, and it’s slowness and lack of features quickly got annoying when trying to navigate around a city you aren’t wholly familiar with. When my friend I was visiting asked to borrow it to look at a map and tapped the screen to expand it, I had to explain that it wasn’t touchscreen. This was then I realized I had saddled myself with antiquated technology out of brand loyalty.
Thinking I would stick it out, I made it to Feb. of this year before I just finally had had it with the issues. When it mysteriously nuked itself last month, I really was getting annoyed, but when my Mother’s BlackBerry Pearl nuked itself beyond repair this week, and it is only 18-months-old, I really had had it with the BlackBerry brand.
To replace her now dead handset, she picked up an HTC Hero running Google’s Android OS, and long story short, my own Hero is on its way to me now. (I was able to swing an upgrade by using one of our other lines with Sprint) I was thrilled with the responsiveness, it has Wi-Fi, touchscreen, a healthy (and responsive) app store and just the overall feel of the phone was more what I was looking for.
The other thing that puzzles me is the seeming lack of app development. Yes, there are apps coming out for the BlackBerry, but they always seem to be an after thought by developers to the iPhone and Android platforms. For as big as the brand is — it is still the second largest platform in the smartphone market — it sure seems to get overlooked a lot.
It’s kind of sad I got fed up with BlackBerry, you would think with its enormous market, and huge brand recognition, that they would be working faster to innovate rather than trying to catch up to everyone else. The quality of the phones seems to be dropping, and although they have released a couple of touchscreen phones, they haven’t received the best reviews. I know they are switching out the trackball to a trackpad, but is that really going to matter? I also know they are working on a better Web browser, but at this point the company is playing catch-up with just about every other phone out there.
I really have to wonder how much longer the BlackBerry can continue in its current format. Yes, the physical QWERTY keyboard is a bonus over a touchscreen keyboard, but is that going to be enough to save it?
I don’t think the phones are going to disappear any time soon, but this week alone, the platform has lost at least two users.
(By the way, if you’re wondering why I didn’t go with the iPhone … as much as I love the iPhone, and would love to have one, my hatred of AT&T far outweighs my love for the device. Sorry Apple, but until you get away from one of the worst phone companies ever, you won’t ever get my business.)