Anyone fortunate to have used a BlackBerry device will have a nostalgic feeling reading this piece. I intend to awaken the good old memories and invoke the thrill that only BlackBerry phones could give.
I do have a great love for devices like iPhone, Samsung, Nokia and others. Even with the sophistication and popularity of these devices, a lot still reminds us of BlackBerry phones. In this piece, I won’t be dwelling on the fails and shortcomings that bedevilled the once blossoming tech company, rather I will be embossing the gains and innovations they brought into the telecommunication space.
Canadian owned BlackBerry Limited (formerly known as Research In Motion, or RIM) began operations in 2016 as a Limited licensed third-party company to design, manufacture, and market smartphones under the BlackBerry brand.
BlackBerry was indeed one of the most outstanding smartphone brands in the world amassing over 85 million subscribers worldwide as of September 2013. BlackBerry’s market share plummeted from 23 million to 11 million subscribers in March 2016 after it lost its leading position due to the success of the Android and iOS platforms.
What We Miss In BlackBerry Phones
I miss a whole lot about BlackBerry phones, even with an iPhone and an Android phone by the side, the feelings ain’t the same nor will the experience ever be.
A lot made BlackBerry phones unique in their glory days. Some of those distinguishing features include:
The Balance Feature
A BlackBerry phone serves as both work and personal device. The phone’s “work” profile can be managed by your employer to keep you posted with tasks, updates and also ensure that you are accessing the right information and following company policies. While the “personal” profile is yours to manage. This is to say that you can work on your mobile as well as enjoy your personal life undeterred on your BlackBerry phone, what an innovation!
No matter how little or old a BlackBerry phone maybe, you can always trust that the camera won’t disappoint in giving you beautiful photography. Funny enough, photos shot with 8MP Blackberry phones competed so well with those captured with 16MP on some android phones. Before the advent of iPhones, BlackBerry phone cameras were just too good to ignore.
The sharpness of Blackberry graphics combined with strong, realistic colours, excellent viewing angles is one beautiful feature most modern phones haven’t been able to beat.
If you ever browsed with a BlackBerry device, you will agree with me that the browsing speed though 3G can compete favourably with the speed of some modern 4G phones.
From experience, Blackberry phones consumed fewer data during browsing. How the manufacturers were able to make it less data consuming remains a wonder. Just imagine the impact that would have made in this present time.
3 Features That Made Blackberry Phones Special
No manufacturer wants his product to fail; in fact, every manufacturer desires that every product succeeds at all levels, from production to the hands of the end-user. Knowing this, a manufacturer engages all that is required to make that happen.
Competition makes business interesting, opening doors of creativity, improvement and most especially making customers a central focus for decision making. BlackBerry Inc failed due to poor decisions and implementation, lack of sustainable ideas and foresight. Moreover, I think we should applaud them for coming through and revolutionizing mobile phone technology.
We will be missing a lot in Blackberry phones that I think no other smartphones have been able to substitute completely. Some of these features we will be missing are:
1. THE KEYBOARD
BlackBerry phones are known for their excellent physical keyboards, however, later versions of BlackBerrys like the Q1, Q10, Z10 and others are touch-screens. These newer Blackberry versions were beautifully designed that it had blank areas between the rows of keys to make it easier to type, and one can readily adjust the keyboard to make it match the position of your fingers.
With a physical keyboard and a touch-screen, Blackberry was so easy to use by all and sundry – the flexibility was wow. Those who felt comfortable with physical keyboards enjoyed their phones as well as having a touchscreen as an alternative. Another interesting thing about having a physical keyboard is, even with a shattered screen, you can comfortably operate your mobile phone undeterred. What can beat that?
Blackberry manufacturers guaranteed protection of subscribers’ privacy and data, little wonder it enjoyed the patronage of former President Barack Obama. President Barack Obama speaking at a youth summit on healthcare said “
For security reasons, I am not allowed to have an iPhone,” according to a CNBC report, he still had his BlackBerry from 2009.
President Obama in an interview with CNBC said “
I'm still clinging to my BlackBerry. They're going to pry it out of my hands.” His phone only has 10 contacts, and officials have declined to discuss what the encryption on the phone entails.
Blackberry had an end to end encryption as well as being a small OS that focused on security. Statistically, it was futile trying to hack a BlackBerry than an iPhone based on numbers. A few years ago, BlackBerry has claimed that their BB10 phones couldn’t be rooted. According to the German Interior Ministry, it is the only phone that has not been unencrypted by any foreign intelligence agencies, due to specially developed software that is not compatible with iPhones.
“It’s based on the Secusmart Security Card, a micro SD card with an integrated SmartCard chip,” writes Hans-Christoph Quelle CEO of Secusmart, the software company that designed the encryption according to SeekingAlpha.
“This miniature crypto-processor takes care of the encryption of voice and data communication within the mobile phone including authenticating calling parties. Its 128-bit AES encryption enables 340 sextillion different keys-imagine 36 zeros after the number 340.”
If you still think Iphones/androids have some security fortifications, please think again. The security sophistication of BlackBerry phones was top-notch beating every imagination.
3. BLACKBERRY HUB
BlackBerry Hub consolidates messages from your email accounts, instant messages and social media updates from apps like Facebook, WeChat, Twitter, LinkedIn and WhatsApp into one unified app. It does extra in handling your calls, voicemails, upcoming calendar events, text and messages from BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and allows you to see all your all in one location. BlackBerry Hub also manages your
messages with ease – snooze messages so that they reappear later
As I conclude, I must say that it did hurt to realize that we will be missing BlackBerry phones this bad, knowing all that it stood for.
With a teary eye and loads of nostalgic feelings, I will like to reiterate that BlackBerry is the face smartphone industry, pioneering many of the innovations that we see today. We will forever miss the balance BlackBerry phones brought into work and private life, the beautiful camera piece that made photography amazing, the topnotch screen display, the sophisticated security, handy Qwerty keyboard and a hub that organised just everything.