Since Blackberry introduced their first phone to Lebanon in 2009, I have had one by my side as an indispensible business companion. It is a serious tool that offers pragmatic and secure solutions to my fast-paced business life. And yet, resisting the move over to the iPhone has not always been easy.
The Blackberry Messaging (BBM) service has always set this family of telephones apart from their competitors. In the past year, however, I have seen the number of my friends on BBM drop from 112 down to 86 as more and more people make the move to the — let’s admit it — sexier iPhone. Not me though. With the arrival of the new Blackberry Z10, I decided to make the upgrade and embrace what is clearly an attempt to fuse the brand’s solid functionality and sophistication with the aesthetics and versatility of the iPhone.
There is surely a lot to offer in the new package. The touch screen dramatically changes the ergonomics and opens up the interactivity of the device, and the 8 mega-pixel camera with 5x zoom and 1080p HD video recording represent major steps forward. Under the surface, the device has an impressive dual core 1.5GHz processor and 2 GB RAM with 16 GB flash hot-swappable microSD slot.
Excited by the offerings of the Z10, I headed to Class in downtown Beirut to make the upgrade. However, half way through transferring my contacts, I found out the Z10 didn’t support WhatsApp or Spotify. In an instant, my flirtation with the Z10 was over. With the number of my friends, family and colleagues on BBM ebbing away, WhatsApp has become an essential communication tool. I have 1774 contacts on WhatsApp, including my children, yet only 86 on BBM. It would seem my BBM contacts almost exactly reflect the 3.5 percent market share that Blackberry enjoys.
And so it is that, despite the great advancements of this new generation Blackberry device, I will stick with my trusty Blackberry 9790 until the Z10 app developers catch-up and provide me with WhatsApp, an essential communication tool, and Spotify for my music. Then I will definitely take part in this new step in Blackberry’s mobile computing revolution.