Presumptions of BlackBerry dropping support for BlackBerry 10 are ENORMOUSLY exaggerated

I still use BlackBerry 10. Exclusively. Before you call me a Luddite, consider my use case. I am a mobile tech consultant. That means I move around a lot for my business, from client to client, from office to cubicle to lab to car to coffee shop to restaurant to couch. I rarely work in the same place for more than an hour at a time, before I am interrupted and redirected.

So for the same reasons as always, I still enjoy  the advantages of BlackBerry 10 as a COMMUNICATION operating system. I have little time for games, apps, movies, selfies, entertainment and if I do, there are other devices and OS’s perhaps better supported in those areas.

My day is spent reading internet references and PDF’s, texting, BBM messaging, emailing, and those messages have to be accurate (PKB) while on the go, and prioritized. Attachments and finding them have to be easy to locate and share and I need to know when those critical “respond immediately” contacts are trying to contact me, without picking up my phone (custom notifications by contact).

During my business day, I need to navigate quickly with gestures, I need to have multiple instances of BBM and other apps. I need to know that I can “open in” as a shortcut. I need to know that whatever I am looking at, there is always a Share button nearby to instantly attach it to an email or message, since sharing and locating information (pictures, links, documents) is 80 percent of what I do.

I need my physical keyboard shortcuts, with PKB predictions and spellcheck. I need active frames vs. widgets. I need to know that I have native functionality for music and photos and file manager, to know there is both a physical location, and an app location for certain file types. I need the fast integrated navigation of the Hub, I need native basic functionality, customization and reliable notifications integrated into the operating system. I need an efficient OS that will afford me the battery life I need to get through my long day. I need to know that the OS is stable and can handle true multitasking without compromise. I need to know that my apps can’t run rampant and can be given permissions and will not be malware and ad infested.

Most critically, I need privacy and security for confidential data that my clients entrust me with.  I need BlackBerry 10 Blend, because if I am not moving, I am working on my laptop. With Blend I have the same access to almost all of my phone’s abilities, without even picking it up or taking my focus off of my work. I can see the texts messages and emails rolling in and with a click glance to the Blend popup, decide if it needs attention or if it can wait, and I can transfer things between my laptop and my phone as if they were one single device.

Only BlackBerry 10 fills all of these needs.

So, where is it going? We’ve heard speculation and facts, we know that BlackBerry has promised to support it. But is that just to pacify the relatively few loyalists that remain? Well it seems to me that there are more BlackBerry 10 afficionados than it may appear, and they are hiding behind the mask of ‘prosumer’, as so many enterprises still rely on the top security and privacy offered by BlackBerry 10.

We got our promised BlackBerry 10.3.3, but support is more than that, it is putting your action where your words are.

So, lately I’ve been paying attention to @BlackBerryHelp on Twitter.

This is a support channel and if you look at the timeline, you can see that it is very active and supportive. People ask for help, BlackBerry Help will Direct Message with answers even if you use BlackBerry 10.

 

BlackBerry 10

 

But what has really caught my attention, is that @BlackBerryHelp not only supports, but promotes BlackBerry 10 very actively and currently with tips and information! It seems as much or more so than BlackDroid.

 

 

Here are some examples of the types of BlackBerry 10 tweets we see from @BlackBerryHelp:

 

 

 

 

 

Despite what you may have assumed BlackBerry 10 is alive, well, promoted and supported!

Because as we all know, there really is no substitute. #IchooseBB10

 

 

Blackjack

I am a long time BlackBerry user and fan. Beginning with the 7520, I have recognized the value of subtle productivity enhancements in BlackBerry devices for business communication and have never since strayed. Even when the iPhone took the market by storm, I was unimpressed, because it did nothing to help my business needs. Currently enjoying my one handed dream phone, the Classic! BB10 with a toolbelt! Today I contribute to UTB whenever I feel that I can help enlighten someone on the benefits of using BlackBerry over any other platform.

  • BlueTroll

    BlackJack, I have a very similar set of needs. I rarely play games on my device because I don’t have time for that; I’m too busy getting stuff done. So far as I’m concerned, I’m sticking with BB10 for as long as I can!

    • BJ

      Same! Still using it for the same reasons I always did.

  • aiharkness

    I don’t think it takes much to do the promotion cited, and it can be terminated today with no loss or apology. And that doesn’t make me confident about the future of BB10. I would hope to see concrete signs that BlackBerry is continuing to put significant money and manpower towards BB10, and I don’t see it.

    So far as BB10 and how it differs from the other mobile platforms, I agree it is communication-centric but I would add it is also an information device, built for the user to obtain, use, and share information. I write this as someone who appreciates those characteristics and BB10. But there are too few of us. And the problem for BB10 is that users who need what BB10 does well somehow do good enough with a different platform and also get what they want and can’t get with BB10.

    • BJ

      BlackBerry 10 is done, why does it need significant manpower and money?
      What do you suggest needs to be further developed?

      All it needs is maintenance.

      • aiharkness

        Sure, I would be happy with maintenance too. I would be even happier with incremental improvements. But what I will really need at some point is new hardware when my Passport SE and my backup original Passport eventually wear out, or the capability falls too far behind and I’m forced to find another solution. And same with my wife, who uses a Passport SE with Z10 as backup.

        What I would like to see is news of a partner who will develop, market and support BB10 hardware, or else news that BlackBerry is going to pickup the hardware part of the business again for BB10. I would like to see that news and then steady news of progress.

        I will use the BB10 hardware we have now until it becomes impossible to do so. Point being the software is all well and fine, but everyone is going to need hardware as well.

        • Bigglybobblyboo

          These are wise words…. we need access to BlackBerry10 devices…

        • BJ

          I will never close the door on the future of BB 10 as long as I am still able to use it and hope for the future. For now it is all I need. In the future you are correct. It will need hardware support. But it is so far ahead of its time, I don’t expect a need for that for some time.
          What is important is to remain optimistic and hopeful, and don’t close the door ourselves. Keep recommending and buying the hardware, keep having discussions like this one and keep up the awareness that no, the shift to Android is not an acceptable upgrade path for a large base of people.That’s why I write articles like this to keep it fresh, especially in the eyes of BlackBerry. It is important to show that we have not given up hope. or desire.If it appears that the user base has moved on and doesn’t care, why should BlackBerry? It is also important that the market understands BB 10 is unique, has advantages for professionals and is not for everyone.Thanks for your comments and insights aiharkness.

          • aiharkness

            Ditto. I’m optimistic, too, but realistic, or trying to be. I hope I have my wife and I set for the next 3-5 years as far as BB10 hardware. I have bet that between BlackBerry and some as yet unknown partners(s) there will be fresh hardware and I will be able to buy it when I really have to. But day to day I still try and guess tomorrow, and I will try to make course adjustments as needed. I’m in no way closing the door at this point.

            So really the only thing I took issue with is what I see as exaggerated interpretation of BlackBerry’s public statements and BlackBerry’s BB10 efforts on social media. Admittedly that is my opinion. But that is what makes for discussion.

            I should say something about myself so people understand my perspective. I don’t go way way back to the beginning of BlackBerry, but I go way back. Back to before BlackBerry App World which is now BlackBerry World. And back to before BBM. Back to a time I was using Google Maps on a 7100t using a bluetooth GPS puck to navigate on business trips. And to date myself, I learned FORTRAN using punch cards.

            As I say, I am BlackBerry’s BB10 customer. I was before the shift, and I am now after the shift. I value BB10’s selling points and I am ready to keeping buying. Also, I’m willing and able to pay a premium price for BlackBerry devices. The question is will I be able to continue buying. That’s it.

      • aiharkness

        I would add that the idea that BB10 is done is pretty much saying it is really done, as in doomed. No ongoing business concern is done if it expects to stay in business. Tech moves on. The product developers and manufacturers need to improve, constantly, and evolve, and meet customer demand for the capabilities of new technology. Incidentally, this is exactly where Lazaridis failed. The competition pushed the envelope while he and RIM were too conservative.

        While I’m happy to live with maintenance and small improvements, I say that because that is what I’m hoping for, at the very least. Do I think that’s enough for the rest of the marketplace? No.

        The future is never saying done.

        • However, the security upgrade on 10.3.3 was no small maintenance release. Yes, there was little to no consumer facing UI/gaming improvements, but that’s not what BB10 is being positioned as anymore. It’s being positioned as the most secure mobile communication device. This last update falls right in line with that plan, and does so well.

          • aiharkness

            Yes. But that is also beside the point.

            Additionally, when I talk about keeping up, I don’t mean necessarily games and the UI. There are all kinds of things coming, things we don’t even know are coming, that users will expect in a smartphone, any user will expect, that will have nothing to do with entertainment or the wow factor.

            I appreciate the need, or desire, if that’s what it is, to see the glass always half full instead of half empty, but reality is reality and one has to forget the glass and just see what is. I love BlackBerry products, but this love ain’t blind.

            Whatever the current support and development means, it isn’t obvious to me. It could be like the guy keeping the old car polished hoping to sell it, then tomorrow he decides the effort is worthless and he sells the car to the junkyard for parts. Or it could be there are deals in the works that haven’t been made public yet and what we see with BB10 OS is prerequisite.

            I don’t know. I’m just trying to look beyond the stupid glass and see reality. And reality doesn’t look good. I’m not going to sugar coat it. The software is all well and fine. But if we don’t get fresh hardware in a year or two the software doesn’t matter.

            But as I say, I’m in BB10 to the end, or ’til I die, whichever comes first.

            • But you’re completely devaluing the update that ensured BB10 is the most secure mobile platform. Lol.

              • aiharkness

                LOL?

                I disagree with the author, and with responses to my comments. I explain myself. That is devaluing the update?

                I think I’ve been reasonable and logical. (1) The promotion of BB10 as it is doesn’t deserve the import it is being given, in my opinion. (2) If BB10 doesn’t keep up and meet user expectations, it won’t matter. (3) Regardless, without fresh BB10 hardware in a short while it really won’t matter.

                I don’t deserve an illogical accusation that I’m devaluing the update, or the lol?

                Maybe all that is welcomed here is happy talk.

                • Excuse us for having a positive article about BB10 I suppose? No, this is UTB and we can write about what we like, and we like all of BlackBerry.

                  My point is that you’re speaking about BB10 needing to keep up, and that it’s not. I’m saying that instead of determining if the glass if half full or half empty, you need to look at a completely different glass.

                  BB10 is no longer trying to keep up in the areas a lot of us would like it to keep up in. It’s not a competitor to consumer phones, and it’s no longer intended for the consumer market. Look at the last update listed as “government release”.

                  No, BB10 is all about security now, and in that area, every other platform needs to “catch up”. Trust me, I love BB10 and would have loved to see it as the top consumer product out there, and see major consumer facing enhancements coming down the pipe. But it didn’t happen and I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Instead, BB10 has been positioned in a niche category where there truly is no competition for it right now.

                  Consumers that are concerned about consumer functions need to realize BB10 may not be the device for them anymore. For my own needs and wants I’ve moved to BlackBerry Android as my primary device, but keep my second line open as a BB10 because I love BB10. I understand where BB10 is going, and it doesn’t necessarily fit where I want it to go, but that doesn’t mean it’s dead. I It just means it’s not built with me in mind anymore.

                  • Oh, and “lol” was in no way meant as an insult. I’m just a generally happy dude. :)

                    • aiharkness

                      Doesn’t change things.

                      Context: I was not the individual who originally stated that BB10 is done and only needs maintence, and who asked what more could I want.

                      I responded to what I want, and followed up with an answer to the BB10 is done statement.

                      You responded to my followup with the fact that the recent update was more than a mere maintenance update, and implied that I’m talking about trivial things the BB10 user doesn’t want or need when I talk about keeping up.

                      I don’t disagree with the statement the the update was more than maintenance. But I do take issue with the assertion that I’m talking about games and stuff. And I answered and explained myself.

                      So, I’m told that I’m “completely devaluing” the update. First, the marketplace values BlackBerry, BB10, and the update. Not me. And the marketplace doesn’t place much value on BB10. But, to the point, I’m not minimizing the update, nor disparaging it, or whatever. Observing the obvious is not making an attack.

                      I’m simply trying to respond with my opinion as I see it. And I’m accused of something I in no way was doing or intended, and it is obvious that I was not doing that. That’s the offense, and why it leaves me with the thought that honest opposing views, even if negative, are not welcome, only happy talk.

                      Positive is good except when the positive is strained, as it is very strained in the original blog post and in the responses to me.

                      Don’t be delusional. The promotion BlackBerry is doing today, their PR and public statement are not hard evidence of real dedication to the platform. And the BB10 today won’t cut it 3-5 years for all but the dedicated fraction of a fraction of users, even with maintenance updates. But even that won’t matter when that dedicated user can’t get fresh hardware.

                    • The point I am attempting to make is that we need to recognize the shift. We are not the market place for BB10 any longer. We shouldn’t expect to see marketing aimed at us. It would be a complete waste. BB10 isn’t aimed at the individual user any longer, even though there are still numerous dedicated BB10 users.

                      It has zilch to do with ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ thoughts. In fact, I’ll grant it’s not a positive thing for us non-enterprise users who love BB10.

                      Everyday I see people upset that BB10 isn’t being handled the way they wish it was. The reality is, it’s not aimed at the vast majority of us anymore. That’s not saying don’t use it, far from it. Just don’t be frustrated that ‘government releases’ don’t have the same consumer facing bells and whistles that Blackdroid or other consumer products do. And don’t claim it’s a dead OS because it doesn’t.

                    • BJ

                      I actually like it even more for the reason that it isn’t aimed at the typical dumb consumer. Less of a marketing base to shoot arrows at, or to target for malware and ads.

                    • aiharkness

                      First, I can read the tech news, BlackBerry releases, and accounts of statements made by BlackBerry representatives, and I can understand them and make my own opinions.

                      Second, I do get it. I know the shift BlackBerry is making. But I am personally part of the market for BB10. And my employer, who has switched to iPhone, is a huge enterprise that is what people mean when they talk about the users dependent on BlackBerry (which is proven false by facts.) When I say BB10 needs to evolve to meet user needs, it is precisely that experience I am using as my reference. To me I’m expressing an obvious conclusion: Tech is expanding capability fast. There are things any smartphone user will expect. BB10 would need to meet those expectations or become totally irrelevant.

                      So, I get your point. Except it’s not relevant to the particular comment I made and the follow up responses to my comments. I’m not expressing frustration or disappointment. I’m making an observation. To repeat myself: My larger point is that nothing BlackBerry is doing today gives me confidence about the future of BB10. It keeps hope alive, but that’s it. But more importantly, we need to know there will be fresh BB10 hardware, and there is zilch on that score.

                    • BJ

                      By “done” I meant nothing more to be desired (at least by the prosumer for the current time). Sure we would like (don’t need) certain mainstream apps. But if I really need that I can ALWAYS get a BlackDroid. I prefer not to on my main device because too many are security and privacy risks.

                      I agree with all of your statements – we will need fresh devices, there are things we will expect a phone to have in the future etc, innovation never dies…

                      What I meant though is for NOW it leaves me nothing or little to be desired. Passport Z30 Classic – all awesome devices and fill the bill quite well for the time being.

                      In the future who knows what BlackBerry or a license will do with it?
                      I’ve seen some impossible unexpected things happen that nobody predicted. Brady pulling a win from the ashes. in the Super Bowl, Trump winning the Presidency, ..can’t the same happen with BB10? Never say never, never say done.

                    • aiharkness

                      Agree. At the moment I don’t need anything. Partly I believe that is because I’m not locked into the app mindset, and I always know there are multiple ways to do something and it doesn’t take an app for every little thing. And also, on my personal side, there is nothing I have need of that can only be done via an app.

                      I appreciate the clarification of the meaning of “done”. For me however, I will not use Android, not even BlackBerry’s variant. I only use an iPhone for work because it is necessary. For now it is the Passport as long as possible, with hopes that there will be fresh BB10 hardware in the future and updated BB10 or BBXX OS.

                      I have no clue, no inside information, no educated guess what BlackBerry may have going with BB10. Only what we see (and what we don’t see).

      • anthogag

        BB10 needs more features and upgrading like any other OS. I look forward to 10.4.

        • BJ

          What specific features do you need? I’ve racked my brain trying to think of ways to improve it and have come up empty. Not arguing your point, would just like to hear specifics.

          • anthogag

            BB10’s best features are flow and connectedness and productivity.

            There are many needed features:
            – the ability to peek back to the previous screen and with the other finger scroll the underlying screen to get/copy needed information then slide back to the top screen
            – the ability to open the camera from a folder and all pictures for that session go into that folder
            – the ability to handwrite and add text on pictures in the native picture editor
            – the ability to connect pictures together
            – an equalizer with volume control in the Quick Settings menu
            – the ability to save individual equalizer settings per song
            – the ability to add a name to a radio station in the music player
            – “list view” in the Pictures app, currently it’s only “tile view”
            – the native camera could have a portrait mode and live pictures like iOS
            – the native camera could have a small bubble level
            – app icons could update with relevant information (currently only the Calendar app does it)
            – the ability to edit all information/properties for a song
            – the Passport’s keyboard could change colours

            The list goes on.

            • BJ

              I like the way you think and I agree those would be nice features, and thank you for making the wish list.. I hope it will inspire someone to breathe new life. Still, I would keep them in the category of ‘nice’, rather than needed. You are getting into the category of app extensions and embellishments that I would expect to use a non-native app for. You are also into the more consumer camera and music/entertainment centric realm that appeals more to iPhone or Droid users. For this type of use I don’t even think BB 10 is the best choice. As a prosumer, I use the camera for only one thing, not creative: Documention. . .Just a photo and nothing but a photo.The basic recording of an event, a setup, a document…

              • anthogag

                They are “needed”. Consumers are bringing their devices to work and there are plenty of uses for consumer centric features in business. Consumer features in business are often the “pro” version.

                You can’t have a secure dull device. People prefer to add security to exciting devices.

  • anthogag

    A BB10 user is hardly a “luddite”. iOS and Android are previous generation operating systems, those users are luddites holding back progress.

    BB10 + Android player = bases covered

    • BJ

      Agree! Well said.

  • Well done BJ! There’s no doubt BB10 is the best OS for you! It is so strong in all those areas. I initially read this via Tapatalk and didn’t see the name of the author, but I knew this was you after the third sentence! LoL. I follow BlackBerry Help as well and also noticed all the BB10 related Tweets. Great post!

    • BJ

      Thank you sir!

  • NoSpamMcGee

    Perhaps highlighting BlackBerry Blend, a product which BlackBerry has brought to End Of Support status, is not the best way to show how BlackBerry continues to support BlackBerry 10.

    • BJ

      I used it to show how useful BlackBerry 10 is over android. Lack of support for Blend has nothing to do with support for BlackBerry 10. I use Blend more than I use my actual phone, no support needed, it works.

  • Timothius

    What is the reason that BBM video on BB10 is not compatible with Android and iPhone? BlackBerry’s failure to make BBM video compatible across platforms with its own OS is an unpardonable sin and an indelible stain on its commitment to BB10.

    BB10 is a great OS. Now, if only we could convince BlackBerry of that.

    • BJ

      Unless you don’t care one bit to have video calls with android iphone people ;)
      If I do I use Zoom or Skype anyway, because that is what most everyone else uses. I don’t find many iDroids on BBM, so video calls would not do much good.

  • Even though BlackBerry stated that BB10 would only receive security updates, I have just noticed a change to the Music app that suggests development on user applications may have been resumed in some capacity.

    I am hopeful that we will continue to see such Software development to my favourite OS. I believe current BB10 devices would be powerful enough to handle new software technologies, especially because the QNX core is very efficient so I don’t care if we don’t get new devices with the latest hardware.

    I think the designs of the Z10, Z30, Classic and Passport don’t need to be touched (just as other manufacturers reuse the same designs). If demand increases, they can just ask TCL to manufacture a batch of these, perhaps with hardware of the same class to keep prices where they are now.

    Software needs to improve much more than hardware to offer the kind of fast, interactive multimedia experiences we need in the world of computers so I’m glad BlackBerry is now able to focus on this.

    • anthogag

      What is the change to the music app?

    • BJ

      Agree! The Z10 Z30 Classic and Passport offer a great quiver of selections for every use case. I sure would like to see a BB!0 in the Mercury form factor though! I think it would be ideal. A slider like Priv would be nice also.

  • mngreen

    Certain aspects would need fairly regular updates to retain certain functionality. Browser, video, security certificates… Runtime.

    Totally get the economics of it all. I really thought that there would have been a good strategic fit with Sony, Microsoft, or someone else. Windows phone gacked. Sony – just another (decent quality) handset.

    I will use my BlackBerry until lack of update-support becomes too frustrating.

    I’ve dropped my Classic on its head a few too many times. External speaker and mic are spotty, and the charge micro usb port is getting grumpy.

    I’m due for a “free” upgrade. I’d like to find a good price on the blue Classic, but I’m wondering if reinvesting in a BlackBerry 10 handset is just boneheaded.

    I just really like the BB10 OS. Your like the android runtime. So I’m loathe to go Priv or DTEK.

    Passport. Classic Blue. The this just crazy thinking?

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