I am a simple creature, but it’s only today that I’ve realised just how simple.
I’ve been using my BlackBerry Passport for nearly 15 months now, and I still love it to bits for several reasons that remain valid.
I love its real keyboard. I love the way it organises all my emails, texts, WhatsApps, LinkedIns, calls and just everything into one brilliantly accessible hub.
And perhaps most of all, I love its ridiculous wide, square screen which is so good for browsing I’m constantly having to track it down and snatch it back from all the other members of my family who prefer it to their own inferior, skinny viewing panels.
That boxy size had most of the tech media in stitches when it was first spotted but trust me, it’s back-pocket perfect, especially when wrapped in a wallet. Something you can’t say for any of the enormous conventionally shaped smartphones.
I recently needed to download an app to review a product the app was attached to and because the product was new, obviously the app wasn’t available on BB10, or the hokey Amazon App Store that “supports” it.
As it happens, at the same time, BlackBerry offered me their first Android – the Priv – for a test run and I found it extremely pretty.
Somebody in the office muttered something about “appalling lag time” but I cared more about a piece of hard gum someone had stuck under my desktop because lag times mean nothing to me. I figure I’ve got an extra half-second to wait for pretty much anything I know might be useful.
But I still got angry with the BlackBerry’s Android Priv. So much button pressing. I’ll take a microsecond of lag on a conventional BlackBerry any day over what it takes when you get an alert on Android: wake up button, swipe, press, press, press only to find out someone’s friend’s dog fell asleep with its private parts pointing upwards.
So many tiny, annoying things that probably only apply to me.
When I hit the Facebook button, I want to see the latest Facebook update, not the last thing I looked at. Same applies for Google; I want fresh starts. BB10 understood that.
BB10 understood I liked being no more than two gestures away from anything, and gave it to me, which is why I felt so sorry for the poor BlackBerry developers who had to be dragged onto getting an Android version to market because the majority of the market wanted something, well, cheaper.
The Priv isn’t terrible. It is, however, pointless, because you buy a BlackBerry because it’s not Android.
— Peter Farquhar (@FarkersFarkers) December 14, 2015
I gave it back and even promised not to review it, mainly because it was such a pointless phone. BlackBerry will say things like “Oh, but security as well” and 99% of their desired new young market might well rush to it.
It gets worse.
The app I needed an Android phone for wasn’t ready, and then it was, the day after I gave the Priv back.
And suddenly, I also needed the PayPal Here app so I could fire up my shopfront PayPal reader. That app isn’t available on BB10 (the Passport), which prides itself on being a business phone for business people. Go figure.
As it happens, someone else in the office didn’t have time to review Google’s bloated new Nexus, so I took it off their hands. Honestly, I don’t even know what it is. I’m assuming it’s a “P” because that’s the latest.
And to be fair to my colleague, the lack of lag was noticeable, and it’s possible I had some stress tension that I never knew needed easing, which is now eased. A little.
The agony of so much pressing remains, but – and here’s where the bit about me being simple becomes important – today I made an important discovery.
BlackBerry isn’t the only phone that has one of these:
The difference is, because BlackBerry are thoughtful, LED notifications are native on their phones, and because they care about that sort of thing, I care about BlackBerry. More importantly for me, they’re already switched on, out of the box.
Today, annoyed at watching my Passport’s LED flashing every five minutes while the Nexus gives me a cold, blank, black stare, I finally got around to Googling “nexus led notification”.
And not only switched it on, I took the rare step of checking the Play Store for something to fancy it up. I just grabbed the one at the top of the Play Store list – there seemed to be many – and it works fine, so there’s another free lesson for someone, somewhere.
And now, all that uncertainty of not knowing if I’ve missed an important text or Like because I refuse to take my phone into the loo has gone. As is all the frustration of firing up a phone from sleep just to find out I didn’t miss anything.
A clear case of the best ideas being those you didn’t know were great until they are suddenly taken from you.
For that, BlackBerry, know that I still love you.
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