When the first iPhone came out I happened to be in San Francisco and I ended up buying 16 of them. This photo shows the original 16 iPhones, still in their boxes, on my hotel bed. I spent the next 24 hours trying to hack the iPhones, ruining mine in the process. Once I got back home I distributed the iPhones among friends and I ended up getting one to work.
Up until that point I was a happy and loyal Blackberry user. I loved the realtime email, the keyboard, the camera and the ability to blog from anywhere in the world. But most of all I loved the keyboard. I could type complete paragraphs and blogposts without even looking at the screen, and most of the time I only had to fix a few small typos before I was able to publish my posts or email my emails. The keyboard just worked, and I loved it.
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But then I started working with the iPhone. The screen was beautiful and the interface was amazing. It was clearly the best phone I had ever owned.
And about two months later that was exactly the reason I gave my first iPhone away and switched back to my trusted Blackberry.
See, the ‘phone’ aspect in the iPhone was great, but not what I was looking for in a device. I still hardly ever use the iPhone to make calls. I use it for email, browsing and a bunch of other things, but the ‘Phone’ app is probably one of the lesser used apps on my iPhone.
After I switched back to the Blackberry I told people ‘The iPhone is the very best mobile phone out there. But the Blackberry is the very best email machine, and that is more useful and important to me’.
Of course, the ‘other stuff’ makes the iPhone a better device than any other device on the market. Its app store is unparalleled and the integration between the apps and the operating system, and the whole iOS and OSX ecosphere, is something I will most likely never abandon.
But the keyboard? Typing anything on the iPhone? As nice as the demos are, and no matter how hard I try; if I’m honest, I have to admit that 3 out of 9 words don’t appear on my iPhone the way I intended them.
I want to type ‘not’ and it turns into ‘jot’. I want to write ‘be interested’ but apparently miss the space bar and it turns into ‘benjnyerstjf’. I type ‘not’ again and get ‘lot’.
I have a lot of tolerance for the iPhone but lets face it; the keyboard just sucks.
That also explains why there is some love left in my heart for Blackberry. That cute little device with the amazing keyboard and the simplistic but effective operating system that catered well to the professional and less to the amateur. There is so much love left for Blackberry that I sincerely hope they will survive as an independent company. Blackberry is one of those brands I have a connection with, no matter how bad they are doing.
I can also imagine getting a Blackberry again (yesterday evening I reached out to Blackberry PR to see if I could test a device. Bad timing?) just to handle email and typing. I don’t see it replacing my iPhone, but I can see it supplementing it. I would get one with a data-only subscription and use it just to do email and write blogposts, or notes, on the go.
I’m not sure what the future will bring. Maybe Apple will buy Blackberry just for the patents and some of the technology. Or Google, for the same reasons. Maybe Microsoft will step in, and donate the remains of the company to Nokia. Or maybe some nameless group of investors will step in, buy whats left, and give it another go.
Whatever happens, I will keep track of Blackberry, and remember those times when I was happily typing away on my trusty little device.
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