My love-hate relationship with my Priv by BlackBerry has been well documented here at UTB Blogs. I can sum this relationship very easily with two sentences.
I love my Priv because it’s a BlackBerry
I hate my Priv because it runs on Android.
It doesn’t get much simpler than that, and I felt very comfortable in saying that. Until I started really using it. That’s when those lines started getting blurred.
I love my Priv.
Even today, I don’t really feel comfortable saying that. After all, I love my Passport. I love my Classic. I love my Z10 and Q5. I just love BB10. I feel like my love of my Priv is almost traitorous to my BB10 fandom. I’m pretty sure there are readers out there that would tell me it is traitorous. But it’s not.
You see, I want, no, I need BlackBerry to continue with BB10. BB10 is heads and shoulders above any other operating system out there. I’ll go in to why I believe that in a bit, and my reasoning is not what is commonly stated. But BB10 is, without fail, the most advanced OS, and I want it to continue. I hope that the market suddenly gets wise to this and BB10 can take it’s rightful place on the throne as the top operating system. The problem is, the market has not got wise, it’s got a long way to go, and BlackBerry needs to be successful. Unfortunately, it’s not going to get there with BB10. Not right now. Hopefully later, hopefully soon, but not right now.
Right now, BlackBerry is pushing ahead with it’s cross platform strategy. Right now, BlackBerry is producing phones based on what is currently the number one mobile platform in the world. It’s a genius move. They’d be stupid not to. And I didn’t like it. I refused to like it. And I was stupid for doing that.
Why should I feel traitorous for purchasing a BlackBerry and supporting the company I love? Why should I feel guilty for liking an Android powered BlackBerry, when success of the Android phone is needed to ensure the continuation of BlackBerry phones? Why should I hide that BlackBerry has made a great efficient,safe, and fun phone using an OS that others have utilized, yet not been able to make safe or efficient? I shouldn’t.
This is not a BB10 experience, this is a BlackBerry Experience
The biggest issue which I, and I’m sure other’s have faced going in to the Priv is that it is not a BB10 experience. It just isn’t. But it is a BlackBerry experience, there is no denying it.
BBOS was safe. BBOS was efficient. BB10 is safe. BB10 is efficient. So is BlackBerry Android. We have all heard the stories and tales of android malware. These are not fairy tales, they are true. There are many scary stories of apps rooting phones, stealing people’s identities, robbing users of their money. And it’s all true. But there is more to the story than that.
We BlackBerry users have been extremely proud of the fact that BB10 has not been hacked. We tell tales of the hacker that promised he would hack BB10, and then went silent when he could not. Here’s the thing, BlackBerry Android hasn’t been hacked yet. It hasn’t been rooted. Don’t think for one moment, that people haven’t tried. There is a bounty to do this very thing over in the XDA Developer forums. Guess what. It hasn’t happened.
I have heard numerous stories of BB10 users, frightened that there will be no more BB10, tricked by the media both from outside and inside our little BlackBerry community that tells them BB10 is gone, moving on to iPhones. Their stated reason? That they won’t go to Android because it is not safe. So they go to iPhone. Please. This is the epitome of being gullible and uninformed. Yes, Apple is fighting the encryption debate. This does not mean the iPhone is safe. Encryption is one thing, vulnerabilities are another. When hackers are looking to hack, are they checking for encryption? No they are not. They are looking for vulnerabilities. And there is no other mobile platform that has as many vulnerabilities as iOS. A quick visit to CVE Details will show anyone that spends a few minutes looking that iOS has more vulnerabilities than BlackBerry, Android, and Windows Phone combined. iPhone safer? I think not!
I’ve heard other that are leaving BB10 moving on to other Android phones. Their reasoning that if they are going to get an android, they might as well get the highest specs. Another laughable argument. As BB10 users should already know, specs aren’t everything. We all know that Samsung can and will put out the highest spec devices, however, their Touchwiz interface ensures that the phone will be excessively lagging within three months time. We know that it is how those specs are used that matters, and we know that BlackBerry is smart. They know what they’re doing. And the Priv proves it.
The Priv is not BB10. It’s not. There’s no denying it. There is one thing that keeps drawing me back to BB10, and it is not safety or security. As I stated before, at this point, the Priv hasn’t been rooted. At this point, it is still as safe as BB10.Where BB10 wins for me is it’s efficiency. There is no substitution for the gestures which BB10 utilizes. Hitting those three home buttons all the time on the Priv, is a chore. I won’t lie. It’s frustrating and I hate doing it. It feels like I’ve stepped backwards in evolution going from BB10 to BlackBerry Android. However, with the current software, I feel that this is the only thing I am missing. And there are areas where the Priv makes up for this.
The Priv Gives Me Freedom
Getting over the lack of gestures is the hardest thing I had to go through using the Priv. However, once I stepped outside the anger and frustration of losing this truly forward thinking innovation, I found that the Priv offered me more of what I was looking for.
The Priv offers me something that no other phone offers, and of course, it would take BlackBerry to do this. The Priv offers me a choice. Exactly what BlackBerry has always done. While other manufacturers have limited the choice they give their users to essentially the size of screen and color of case, BlackBerry has provided me a phone that can act in various ways.It can act like different phones. At any given time.
The slider phone is amazing, and for the first time, I’m using a slider to it’s full potential. I’m not new to sliders. I carried a BlackBerry Torch for years. First a 9800, and then a 9810. I never used the virtual keyboard. I tried it. I didn’t like it. I was a physical keyboard guy. The screen was simply too small to lose half of it to use the VKB. And like it’s competitors in that time, it just wasn’t that good. The physical keyboard could be relied upon being accurate, while the virtual keyboard could be relied upon to give some funny typos.
The Priv is different. The virtual keyboard is the amazing BlackBerry virtual keyboard we’ve all grown to love from the Z10, Z30 and Leap. It is the same keyboard, and it is beautiful. It also has the added bonus of all those strange little Android emojies which are lacking on BB10. I use the virtual keyboard often, usually for quick replies, or when I’m using my phone one handed.
The Priv’s physical keyboard doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Many that come to the Priv from BB10 are coming from the Passport. There can be no contest. The work wide size of the Passport is like the first class seats of keyboards. The Priv just can’t fit that keyboard. However, the Priv keyboard is the same exact size as the BlackBerry Classic keyboard, which I still say is the best, most comfortable keyboard on any phone ever. The Priv is slightly flatter than the Classic, as should be expected, just as the Torch was flatter than the Bold. I’m going to let you in on a secret, the Priv keyboard is great. It takes a little getting used to coming from the Passport. It is smaller than the Passport, but it absolutely dwarfes any keyboard on the old school BBOS devices, which we all loved. Once I got used to using it, which took a while since I was so used to my three row Passport keyboard. I grew to love it. I love having my fourth row back. Something I never thought I would say. I love the click that happens after the keyboard is broke in. You all know what I’m talking about. I love that I can in fact type on it one handed should I choose to. And I love that it, like the Passport, is capacitive. I actually do flick words on my Priv, I never did on my Passport.
The Priv allows me to use it as two phones. As a full touch slab, or as a physical keyboard candybar. That’s no surprise, it is a slider. I’m just surprised how good it feels to flip back and forth. It is true freedom. I missed the PKB when I was on my Z10. I missed the VKB when I was on my Passport. Now, I don’t miss either.
But that’s not all, there is a bigger choice here. A much more important choice. It’s a choice of what your phone is. If you wish to use your Priv as a typical BlackBerry, as a productivity machine, you can. Those BlackBerry PIM functions you love are all there. Are they a little different? Of course. But there is less of a difference going from BB10 to BlackBerry Android, than there was going from BBOS to BB10. Hub, contacts, calendar, it’s all there. All ready for you to use your BlackBerry as you always have. To get sh*t done! But, say you want to use your BlackBerry for fun? Say you want to play Pokemon GO (why oh why). Say you want the Facebook, or the Instagram, or the Netflix, and use your phone as an arcade instead of a work tool. You can. With ease. Without having to figure out how to do it. I hate to say it, but it just works.
BlackBerry has always given us a choice. Choice in devices, and now choice in operating systems. The Priv gives us a choice I’ve never experienced before. It gives me a choice of what type of phone I wish to use at any given time. Be it a keyboarded productivity beast, or a full touch arcade in my pocket, the Priv does it. And it does it the BlackBerry way. Safe, secure, and efficient.
Am I a traitor?
No. I am not. I’ve already been called that, but I don’t see it that way at all. Am I all in on BlackBerry Android? No. I currently own 5 BlackBerry phones. I currently use two of them daily. A Priv and a Passport. They both go with me everywhere. Will I get the new BlackBerry Android phones? I hope to. But I also hope to get a new BB10 device when it arrives.
I love BlackBerry devices, and I want to be able to enjoy all of them. Was I happy that BlackBerry began to make android devices? No I wasn’t. But I can now see how well they’re doing it. And I can now enjoy them. Right now? I’m enjoying the heck out of my Priv.