Leaving My Blackberry Behind (Or How I learnt to Leave BBM and Love the Web)

phoneMcNulty is a regular commenter on this blog, and I think he's been participating for at least five years now. McNulty once lent me his DVD collection of The Wire, earning him a special place in my heart for all eternity.

On McNulty's blog, he wrote an entry on why he stopped using his Blackberry.

Then the internet was on the phones. I realised that surfing the internet on my Blackberry was slow and pathetic. I grew tired of it pretty quick and I didn’t even bother. It was weak and sad. I saw a friend with an iPhone viewing YouTube videos and surfing the internet and my Blackberry seemed like that old Nokia flip phone that I gave to the boys to smash in the street. As time went on and I learned about apps and other benefits of the iPhone, I began to hate my Blackberry.

Like McNulty, I loved my Blackberry four years ago, but in 2011 it seemed more than a step behind. iPhone and Android phone users were doing all this cool stuff like watching YouTube videos, and using cool apps and surfing the web without delay or issue. Those smart phones seemed a great deal smarter than my Blackberry.

Three months ago, I switched to a Samsung Galaxy S II. I missed BBM for about six hours, then moved on to enjoy a phone that never needed its battery removed to reboot it, accessed the web like a speedy tablet, and had great mission-critical apps like Skype that truly made it a smart phone. I understand iPhone users feel the same way.

I'll leave the last word to McNulty.

I will make one final comparison. If you liked a local restaurant and served great food and the service was great, you would keep going back to that restaurant. However, if the food became a little dull, the service was weak you make question returning. And then a new place opened up that was a little further but the food was better, they gave you more for your money and the service was fantastic. Where would you eat? Keep going to the place that gave sub-par food and service or the new place that wanted your business and made great food?

I've left Blackberry behind and don't miss it in the least. Are there any other former Blackberry users out there with a story to tell? Any regrets?


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Comments (35 - click here to join in!)

Andrew

I had been a loyal BB user since the original Blueberry 7290 came out. I loved that device. I travel a lot and it was a great way to keep in touch and stay connected to my business.

Two years ago I switched back to Mac from PC after a long time, mostly because of I got tired of dealing with XP and Vista was joke. Up until that time my BB synced and loved the PC. It didn't like my MacBook. The final straw came last year when I was in Calgary for a week and had to sync my calendars and for some reason the BB desktop software went off the deep end and created hundreds of calendar entries on both my BB and laptop. Needless to say I was pissed as it took me close to 5-6 hours to rebuild my entire calendar.

The day I flew home I went to the Mac store at Sherway and bought an iPhone 4 and haven't looked back. With MobileMe I was able to wirelessly sync all my calendars and address books and notes and I no longer had to manually update anything (other than software updates - although I don't have to do that anymore with IO5.).

I'm very happy with the switch. The only thing I miss is the physical keyboard. The 7290 was the best keyboard RIM ever designed and I wish there was an iPhone that had one.

Also, I use an LG Android G2x in the US. I can't wait to see what the Ice Cream Sammich update will do to the device. I like the phone, but as of right now, I like the Apple product better.

I'm sorry to say, but I've left RIM for good with no regrets whatsoever.

Cheers!
Andrew

January 27, 2012 @ 10:20 AM

Ryan

I'd almost flag this post as uncanadian...but I get it.

Comparing a Galaxy S or a iPhone 4 to a BlackBerry circa OS5 is not a fair comparison.

The Browser in BlackBerry 7 has stepped up and on most webpages, beats the iPhone 4S load time. Even BlackBerry 6's load times were 25% of what they were on OS5

I find it unfair that you guys are comparing old BlackBerry's to newer devices. When the old devices came out, they were spec'd to compete with technology that was out then.

If you want to do a comparison, be fair. Compare your Galaxy SII, iPhone 4S and a new BlackBerry Bold 9900.

2010 was a silly year for RIM and 2011's results reflected that. We have changed.

Its OK tho...I'll just laugh at you when you have to keep pulling out your wallet to pay for things, or to open up HID badge secured doors at your workplace. I can use my 9900 as my Mastercard PayPass, Visa Paywave and my HID security access badge. I really don't care that I can't play Angry Birds on my BlackBerry...thats what my PlayBook is for.

BlackBerry does Communication better than everyone out there right now. No other platform does it like we do. Content and apps are coming in BlackBerry 10.


The future at RIM is bright, and BlackBerry 10 will show you that.

January 27, 2012 @ 10:49 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Ryan

I hear this "unpatriotic" angle all the time. We should buy RIM b/c it's local, right? Even if it's inferior?

And I think you hit the problem on the head. We shouldn't have to carry around both a Blackberry and a Playbook. One device should be sufficient, even if we want to play Angry Birds!

Oh, and I feel obligated to disclose that you're a RIM employee. You had to drink the kool-aid. :)

p.s. No hard feelings... I know at least one person who won't give up his Blackberry b/c he won't give up BBM...

January 27, 2012 @ 10:55 AM

Ryan

@Mike

I'm not saying buy RIM because it is local...there is no perfect smartphone, only ones that do most of what you need them to do very well. Whatever that platform is, matters not to me. For me, that is BlackBerry. I don't play many games, and when I do, I enjoy a larger screen.

I would point out that bashing RIM is not a good thing for the Canadian economy. We know our faults...believe me. The issue I have is kicking a company while its down and fair comparisons of products. Don't compare an old curve to current devices....compare it to Android 1.x (ie: HTC Dream or similar)

No one has had to start from the ground up to build their software platform like we have. QNX is the kernel, but thats all. Everything else had to be built. Android had lots of Linux to pull from, iOS had OSX and they pulled lots from them. I'm not making excuses, just outlining the mountain of work that our Software team is digging thru.

I'm saying that when people go in to buy a new phone, they are usually comparing the BlackBerry they have been using for a couple of years to the iPhone or Android phone that is on the wall at their carrier, and that really isn't fair especially in the current smartphone landscape. You have to try all of them before you buy - and saying no to BlackBerry because of a 2-3 year old user experience you currently have is not giving them a chance. All I'm asking for is that chance, because BlackBerry 7 is a million times better that OS5 and a few thousand times better than OS6... that's all.

I do drink the Kool-Aid, but I don't have to. I've used iPhone 4 and a LG Optimus 2X. I openly admit that yea, they have a tonne going for them that we currently don't. I really enjoy Android and I loved some of the silly apps in iOS. I used both phones for about a month each...and if you don't believe me, check my twitter posts and where they came from. After that month of use, I willing went back to my Bold 9900 because when I needed to send all those emails or texts, it took me longer to do on those platforms and for me, that's a waste of time and ultimately, its why I went back.

Again, go with the platform that is best for you. I just ask that you don't say you're never going back. When the BlackBerry 10 devices launch later this year, give them a try. This is a totally new direction and it is nothing like the BlackBerry OS of the past.

January 27, 2012 @ 11:26 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Ryan

If one wanted a device merely for emails and texts, Blackberry very well may be the best option available. It's a very good emailing and texting utility, and I understand the security is excellent. I don't think Blackberry can be beat for emailing and texting... although I didn't actually notice a drop-off with regards to emailing and texting, except for having to leave my BBM chums behind.

And yes, we should compare apples to apples. When I was recently in the market, I looked closely at the current iPhone, Blackberries and Android phones.

January 27, 2012 @ 11:42 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Ryan

Oh... and I wouldn't say I'm never going back. I'd never say never. If someone handed me a free iPhone 4s I'd definitely try it for a while... same with a new Blackberry.

Who knows what the smart phone market will look like in 2 years....

January 27, 2012 @ 11:43 AM

Cambo

The delays in OS release are what will be the demise of RIM. 10 has been delayed already, and reports suggest it won't be release now until October or November. By then, Apple will have already released a new version (or 2) and Android will keep rolling along with ICS.

Remember what happened with Windows Phone 7? Delayed, delayed, delayed while the competition blasted them by. I don't know anyone who has one now.

Suggesting that you're delaying it to "perfect it" doesn't work. If you haven't perfected your devices' core OS by now, you're in deep trouble.

January 27, 2012 @ 2:01 PM

Justorbs

I'm a loyal blackberry user.

I have an ipod touch (which I love), and the building I'm in all day as well as my house have wifi. 90% of the time when I want to surf the internet on a mobile device, it's on my ipod touch. There's some awesome apps I depend on every single day from my itouch such as my RSS Reader, the apps from newspapers, TSN mobile, and of course echofon.

I also love BBM, and that's main reason I got a BB in the first place. BBM is why I'm sticking with it even though I have to go take it in over the weekend because it sometimes doesn't ring anymore...

Can't wait until Blackberry 10 comes out!

January 27, 2012 @ 4:16 PM

MrFascination


Ryan - Give it up... Don't call them "Silly App's"... Their very cutting edge and life changing apps too... Something RIM hasn't been able to do in years.

Stick to your BB BOLD just like all those who still play their ATARI's.

January 27, 2012 @ 4:20 PM

Cheryl

I don't have a Blackberry or any cellphone. I don't need one. We were without those things years ago. Why would I need one now. I have my trusty Primus for Internet and phone. People can leave messages. I'll contact them. That's how it works. No Blackberry for me. I don't want one. go Habs.

January 27, 2012 @ 4:22 PM

McNulty

It's diehard loyalty like Ryan's that makes me more upset at Blackberry. And I can compare my iPhone to my Blackberry all I want. I still have a work Blackberry and it sucks. It's slow and useless on the Internet. I'm comparing apples to apples and Apple kicks Rim's ass.

I'd love to support RIM but their product is crappy.

January 27, 2012 @ 5:09 PM

McNulty

Oh and thanks for the shout out!

January 27, 2012 @ 5:09 PM

Andrew

@Ryan,

I had a 7290, Original Curve, 9000 Bold and I left them while using the first Torch.

Will I be able to wirelessly update calendars, contacts, notes, etc with BB10 on my Mac? I have a good friend who's a director at RIM and when I was asking him these exact questions a year ago he couldn't tell me the answers. Not because of confidentially issues - it was because he didn't know.

If RIM licensed BBM I'd be all over that like a dirty shirt - it's a great feature, however, I can't buy a phone on one feature.

It's funny, I wrote my first post this morning sitting in a hotel in Gatineau, Quebec and now I'm in Ottawa working away when I spent 25 minutes trying to teach a lady here on our crew how to fix her BB.

I've lost the love - unless they blow me away with the new OS and new devices, I'll be staying put.

Cheers!
Andrew

January 27, 2012 @ 5:35 PM

Ryan

@Cambo
We didn't give BB10 a launch date, just said 2012 but yea, its behind what was intended. At launch, it will be ahead of things currently in market.

@Justorbs
Cheers! We can't wait to bring BB10 to you.

@MrFascination
I didn't say anything about silly apps. In fact, I believe if you look at our app strategy, you'll see the light. We've brought Android apps to BB10 and PlayBook 2.0 and are leading in HTML5 with our current browsers...but I guess learning the difference between their, there and they're would be a good first step for you

@McNulty
What phone do you currently have? If you have the chance, test drive a BB7 device..I think you'll be surprised. UI is similar, but the engine has been totally redone.

@Andrew
I respect that. Like I said, there is no perfect smartphone , only the best platform for you. I think you'll be blown away and I look forward to that :)

January 27, 2012 @ 6:32 PM

Sammi

My new Blackberry is great. I would never join the annoying IPhone or Samsung culture and the posers who use them.

January 28, 2012 @ 5:49 AM

Pigeon Toed Dave

A couple of quarters in your pocket and your ready to go at any payphone, if a real emergency arrises.

January 28, 2012 @ 7:33 AM

Zach

As a web developer the sooner these dinosaurs take their last breath the better. BB is in big trouble and despite Ryans claims its unfair to compare OS5 to its contemporararies he must have forgot BB knew OS7 sucked so they had to delay it for a year.

No innovation means a dead company, and BB hasn't inovated in a decade. They don't have a Steve Jobs to pull them out of their 90s apple style tail spin.

January 28, 2012 @ 10:15 AM

Zach

And as far as saying bashing RIM hurts the Canadian economy... NO - RIM resting on their laurels in an industry they built while Google and Apple made obvious advances they should have in 2004 is what hurt the Canadian economy. Don't blame the people because you put out a crap product and they pointed it out.

January 28, 2012 @ 10:17 AM

Ryan

Zach, you are clearly misinformed. Are you actually a web dev? Lets look at the real numbers.

http://html5test.com/results-mobile.html

There are your results. The browser in OS7 scores higher than Android ICS(4.0) and Gingerbread(2.3). iOS does have a higher score, but not by much.

I'd then point you to check out the tablet scores. BlackBerry Tablet OS 1.0.8 scores a 273, again higher than Android but a little bit behind iOS. I'd then point you to the future browsers...Tablet OS 2.0 is listed as 329, but its actually higher and for proof, check out the pictures on my twitter. We are currently scoring 344 in the test - that 39 points ahead of iOS and only 29 points below Chrome, which is the best scoring DESKTOP BROWSER.

Get your facts straight.

If you think bashing RIM doesn't hurt the Canadian economy, maybe you should look at who owns the most RIM shares. RIM going under = 17000 people unemployed, almost 10000 of them from Canada and over 50% of RRSP's in Canada are invested in RIM stock.

You say we have a crap product. Does a crap product achieve a 0.8% return rate? That is the lowest of ALL mobile phone manufacturers. Our hardware is world class...and the software is going to be as well when BlackBerry 10 launches.

No one is resting on their laurels any more but before you blab, read the FACTS.

January 28, 2012 @ 10:44 AM

Ajax Mike

@Ryan

The facts might be on your side, but perceptions are not. RIM may not have a technology problem, but until they fix their marketing problem(s), it won't matter one little bit.

January 28, 2012 @ 2:03 PM

Cheryl

yes, a couple quarters is a good idea. Oh well, I don't need any of these devices. I can check messages elsewhere. Who needs a cellphone anyway. go Habs.

January 28, 2012 @ 2:28 PM

VegasGeoff

"There are your results. The browser in OS7 scores higher than Android ICS(4.0) and Gingerbread(2.3). iOS does have a higher score, but not by much."

iOS5 = 305
OS7 = 266
Android 4.0 = 256

If you comparison of iOS to OS7 is "not much", then your comparison of OS7 to Android should be "a negligible difference".


January 28, 2012 @ 2:56 PM

Mookie

Unfortunately I would suggest from a consumer's perspective RIM is just about dead.

Interesting article in today's Globe. If true, talent is fleeing a bloated corporate environment which does not bode well for current or future prospects.

Sounds like a classic case of "smartest guys in the room" syndrome. Some early sucess leads to more time admiring themselves then continuing on with what got them there.

I'd suggest the recent management changes were uninspiring, at best. The value of the company is down 75%. So I would say the death spiral has begun.

January 28, 2012 @ 4:44 PM

Ryan

@Ajax Mike

I completely agree.

@Mookie

The is no such thing as a death spiral. GM got a bailout, but came back and is back on top. RIM doesn't need a bailout...no debt, and 1.5 Billion in the bank

January 28, 2012 @ 6:40 PM

McNulty

Ryan-
You keep telling us that we are wrong and the Blackberry is so much better. You are the exact reason why RIM is suffering. They are convinced their course of action is right when the marketplace is disagreeing. Keep that attitude and the fortunes of RIM will continue to fail.

I am saying the product is inferior to Android and iPhone. I have compared both and the iPhone is better. You telling me my perceptions are wrong won't change my mind. It just makes RIM sound desperate.

January 28, 2012 @ 8:54 PM

Zach

@Ryan,

Once again, RIM is the one hurting the Canadian economy by pushing trash for the last decade. You can't blame people like me by stating the facts, and you can't push RIMs fuck ups on the public perception - it's ALL THEIR FAULT.

Yes, I am a web developer, and your products suck for people in my industry. If you think I should be impressed by your negligible inching out of Android you must have forgotten that Google updates their OS with far more regularity than BB, as such they will be leap frogged once again.

Seriously, as a developer am I supposed to be impressed you guys FINALLY decided to go with a Webkit based solution? Is this 2007? This just proves my point further, you're finally taking steps that you should have five years ago? Sorry but you guys are certainly in a death spiral, hell on CTV news more people were planning on buying a WINDOWS phone than a BB this year in Canada. Feel free to keep living in denial though.

January 29, 2012 @ 11:11 AM

Mookie

@Ryan

You find one company, albeit a much more important one to the Canadian economy, which received a bailout and survived, you think that has any correlation to RIM?

Got news for you, RIM ain't getting no bailout. And I am afraid it is a death spiral. A company that has lost 75% of it's value in a year, losing market share by the boatload, constant delays in producing new technology that lately has been unimpressive, ya, I would say it is only a matter of time.

The company may continue to exist, but either in pieces, or as a niche player serving a fraction of the market.

January 29, 2012 @ 4:21 PM

joel

I may be off here, but I think the one thing that BB needs to do is refocus their marketing strategy, and focus on their business users. While I realize that market share is important, its the business users that are the companies bread and butter. BB is a great tool for business and does email better than anyone.

Within the last 4 months, I have ditched my BB in favor of an Android. While I enjoyed my BB, I just wanted something that was more fun. Some of BB's strengths weren't of that much importance to me (and probably aren't to much of the general public using their phone for non-business purposes). BB does e-mail probably better than anyone. (but I don't use my phone for work) BBM is great, but it only a great feature when others are still using a BB. When I ditched my BB, my BBM list was down to 4 people from over 20 as everyone had moved on to either an Iphone or Android.

As someone who has recently bought shares in RIM I would like to see them turn things around. Sadly I'm not that optimistic about that happening. I feel it is a safe investment at this point. If the company turns things around, I make money. If the company doesn't, the current stock price is not that far away from book value, so if a take over should happen I should end up about even on it.

January 29, 2012 @ 5:14 PM

Ryan

@MrFascination

My apologies - I did say "Silly Apps" but I wasn't referring to all applications as being silly. I was meaning I enjoyed the fart apps or the aging picture apps.

@McNulty

Actually, my exact words were "Like I said, there is no perfect smartphone , only the best platform for you". I'm not saying BlackBerry is the best and if you don't think so, you are wrong. I respect your choice...and we are not desperate and to be honest, we don't need to be.

http://www.the-techbox.com/quicknews/infographic-chart-understand-mobile/

There are ~250M wireless users in the US. ~90M are smartphone users. So, theres plent of fish in the sea for all the smartphone platforms.

@Mookie

First, stock price does not indicate a company's true value...stocks were basically a tool for RIM to get money to grow. I think we can both agree that RIM has done this, and still is doing this. In fact, the last Fiscal year, we grew our subscriber base 35% year over year. RIM doesn't need a bailout and never will - No debt, and 1.5B in the bank.

@Zach

Unless Android and iOS pull their scores into the mid to high 300's for the HTML5 test, there won't be any leapfrogging. BlackBerry Tablet OS score = BlackBerry 10 and again, OS2.0 scores a 344 and there's about 8 months to improve upon that. I'll continue to live in denial - thanks. Windows Phone isn't even a major platform - They would have to at least get past Palm first.

@Joel

Your idea is great, but we are not going to limit ourselves to enterprise. We did that already and then our consumers adopted the platform. We'll be refocusing our energy on true consumer marketing...and I think you'll be surprised.


Everyone....
Again, I'm not saying go BlackBerry or die. Pick what you like. If you're going to bash, just have the facts. No one is resting on their laurels in Waterloo. We'll be working hard forever because the facts are even if we level out, RIM isn't going anywhere.

January 29, 2012 @ 7:27 PM

McNulty

@ Ryan

I will end my side of this discussion with this..

You have been arguing about the greatness of RIM for three days and no one is convinced. I really think you embody what is wrong at RIM. They are convinced they have the best product and don't see their flaws.
I live in KW and have done so most of my life. I know the RIM culture and I know what RIM has done for the community.
Manipulate the scores of OS all you want (You never did respond to Vegas Geoff for calling out your scores) but it won't change that the regular consumer is begining to want better devices than the Blackberry.
I love my silly apps. Blackberry should get some.

January 30, 2012 @ 7:33 AM

Cambo

@Ryan

You've kind of missed the elephant in the room. BB10 has been delayed. Again. By the time it is released, it would now be 1.5 years behind the original release date.

And the fact that RIM has not even released a "release date" yet suggests they can't get it working properly, and potentially could be delayed again.

Your delays are killing your business. You can only announce something and delay it so many times before your customers get fed up and your competition blows you by.

January 30, 2012 @ 8:00 AM

Zach

@Cambo,

He probably doesn't want to touch on the scores because Firefox mobile 9 renders even faster than iOS - a browser available on Android and iOS (not BB though!). It kind of defeats his argument.

@Ryan no matter how much rhetoric you spit out, nothing changes the fact that in 2011 the biggest feature BB touted was an ANDROID EMULATOR. You guys knew your platform was so bad and no one wanted to dev for it you had to install an emulator to support the app community.

I'll say it again. RIM is the only one to blame for this mess, I'm not sure what kind of culture they promote when an employee feels the need to come on here and blame the public for his companies repeated failings.

January 30, 2012 @ 10:18 AM

MrFascination


@Ryan, Deal I'll Fix My There and Their Issue And You Learn The Difference About A Good Smart Phone And A Piece Of Crap. In The Process You Can Teach Your Friends At RIM Too.

January 30, 2012 @ 11:16 AM

the brother

you'll be back, you'll ALL be back!!!! MARK MY WORDS

#BlackBerry4Life

January 30, 2012 @ 4:16 PM

John

Ryan,

I have compared the current Blackberry products and frankly, beyond being a good phone, everything else is pretty weak though the browser is tolerable now.

I will capture your point though, BB10 will be amazing. Actually it may be amazing, but what you are pretty much telling me is that if I buy a new BB today, I am buying a boat anchor. RIM has publicly stated that you are waiting for some new chips to to come out for BB10. So already you are calling your users stupid expecting them to believe this hogwash. The playbook seems to work without this chip and if a dual core 1gig+ chip is not fast enough, then just how slow is QNX (it's not but I am point out how ridiculous this statement is).

I don't want to buy a boat anchor so i don't see the value of a device that will never have a rich ecosystem. Perhaps when BB10 is out + 2 years after my contract is up, I will reevaluate. I just hope you show app developers some respect after the disaster of the current app system.

That $100 of free apps thing was also an insult. The average rating on most of them was 3/5 or lower. I mean really, what an insult. To add injury, most don't work.

Oh, and speaking of apples to apples, my daughter 4 year old IPOD touch is still leaps and bounds ahead of my recent Blackberry in terms of I/F, responsiveness, etc.

February 11, 2012 @ 5:20 PM

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