BlackBerry 10 – Do you still use it and why?

Hello, BlackJack here.

I haven’t blogged for a while, because while the world seems to have “moved on” I have still been completely satisfied with BlackBerry 10 to fill all of my secure communication needs. It just works and will continue to. Does that make me a Luddite resistant to change? You tell me. But I won’t listen, because my needs are met. This is an editorial and it is based on my personal experience only.

First, I completely understand the multitude of things an Android device can do that BlackBerry 10 cannot, and BlackBerry’s reasons for going that way. I understand the Circle of Life and the march of technology. I fully support and applaud BlackBerry doing a proper secure rendition of Android -unrootable, app control , the hub, the PKB shortcuts, touch sensitive PKB and making it as much of the BlackBerry experience we have come to know and love as possible. These are things that are not available with any other brand, and I wish BlackBerry would market those distinctions.  I know many who don’t know the difference, think all Android is the same and happily jump onto other brands, not being aware of BlackBerry’s huge productivity and security advantages.

But as for me, I have a minority usage pattern. I do all of my heavy lifting on my PC, which is always with me and in my line of work, I am always on it. All day, all night. So I’m not at all an app guy as I prefer and need to work on a large screen with a real keyboard, with professional heavy duty CAD type software that requires a powerful workstation, not a little phone.

My phone is a merely a communication device -that is all I use it for, and a secure one. As a contractor trusted with company proprietary and government confidential information, I simply cannot take any risk of data hacks or my reputation is in the toilet, my security clearance could be revoked, and I am at loss for a livelihood. Exposing company proprietary, competition sensitive or government confidential information is a MAJOR career ending sin in any industry.

I don’t care about or use social platforms, amazingly functional apps,  games or videos so I don’t care about something like DTEK to monitor my apps. So it is BlackBerry 10 for me. Simple, secure and Google free. I don’t have to be constantly vigilant, keeping up with the news about the latest hack or malware attack, making sure my permissions are under control etc.  That gives me inner peace.

As an unsupported OS, is it still as secure as it should be without updates? I do not know, but I do know that BlackBerry 10 is certainly not a major malware target, I have no apps to monitor, so I rest comfortably with that assurance. If developers do not find it lucrative to develop for BlackBerry 10 because of a relatively lower user base, I imagine the bad guys also find equally little joy (or whatever benefit they may gain as a hacker) from attacking the platform.

Using my phone only as a communication device, all I need or want is a telephone, a secure email client, SMS, BBM, a browser.

Many have said that the unsupported non-updated browser does not act properly and does not render some sites well. Granted. But I don’t do my heavy internet surfing on my phone either, and have never found a website that is not functional or viewable. I will use the browser to do my primary searching for info, then if I need things to be more functional or rendered properly (such as editing a blog) , I will transfer the link through Blend to my PC and take it from there. If I need the browser to input or edit information, just give me a proper keyboard and screen where I can use all ten fingers and two eyes without squinting, pinching zooming panning etc..

Here I will outline the unique features that I continue to enjoy:

Gestures, peek and flow –

Somehow this never gets old and makes the UI fun, not dry and boring. It also helps me to navigate with one hand (actually, one thumb)

Native Basic Functionality

It works out of the box with trusted BlackBerry native apps. SMS, email, file manager, picture app, video app, all the basic stuff.

I don’t have to research to find what apps are the most optimal to do simple things, which ones can be trusted and which ones can’t. I don’t have time for that, I just need things to work and work securely. I know I can trust BlackBerry apps, and I know they do the job and are integrated with the flow of the OS. Shut down BlackBerry World? Go ahead, I don’t use it.

BlackBerry Blend

I am ALWAYS on my laptop, but I also need to keep an eye on the outside world. Who is trying to contact me? Usually many simultaneously while I am focused on work that requires isolation and focused concentration. With Blend I don’t need to be constantly distracted from my work to check my phone, or worry about not having checked it for too long. I don’t have to isolate myself from the world to get things done. I can simply glance at a pop up to see if it can be ignored, or if it needs immediate service without taking my hands off the keyboard or interrupting my workflow. Blend allows me to stay focused and productive. It also has the advantage of being able to stay in contact with my phone even if it isn’t with me, even if I left it somewhere else.

Notification by contact

This is critical to me, since I receive so many notifications all the time all day, simultaneously. I need to prioritize and program my notifications by who I can ignore and who needs IMMEDIATE attention. (important client, the boss, the significant other, etc.) The rest I can delay and look at later. I cannot live with the choice of ALL notifications (phone beeping, annoying me and others all day) or taking a chance of not responding to the others immediately. Those require audible notification, and ONLY those. BlackBerry 10, and only BlackBerry 10 will provide that.

So we have at least two more years … BlackBerry 10 will continue to function until then and beyond, we can count on that. We have received assurance that it will never be shut down, email will continue to work etc, but it will not be supported, nor will new phones be built.

Clearly BBM on BlackBerry 10 is becoming less functional every day, but that is not a professional concern for me, only social. I’m hoping as we all have been forever, for desktop BBM access at some point (hint to BlackBerry/Emtek). Blend provides that, somehow BlackBerry apparently does not  see the value in continuing development and support, or moving it to Android. Every BlackBerry user I know of would love to have this back, and with a larger market now I believe it would be very popular on other phones as well.

But if somehow BlackBerry 10 becomes disabled, (not by intent) or my phone stops working (slim chance – it’s a BlackBerry!) I hope by then that BlackBerry will consider the PC bound professionals and revisit their ABSOLUTE GENIUS idea of BlackBerry Blend for Android, integrating the phone with the PC, find some way to filter notifications by contact, and continue its great job of making Android secure and as much of a traditional BlackBerry experience as possible.

Until then…I continue to wish for #BB10FOREVER while completely understanding and promoting why most users prefer the expanded functionality that Android provides.

If you are still on BlackBerry 10 as well, I would love to hear why in the comments (Thank you for your comments below,  I do not have nor want a Disqus, Facebook Twitter etc so I cannot reply, but I can in our  forum.)

Peace out!

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.

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