BlackBerry: Keep moving



Marco Arment is a well known Apple apologist who shot into fame as a developer for Instapaper (and sold it off to Betaworks) and co-founding Tumblr. He’s an influential voice in Apple’s developer community (depending on whose perspective you wish to believe).

He authored a flaming blog post about BlackBerry suggesting that the company from Waterloo didn’t deliver what the masses required. Frankly, Apple released its iDevice in 2007 with stunted capabilities; so much so that the onus of delivering what the “smart-phone” had to do was shifted to applications. Need email? There’s an app for that. Need phone? Another app. There’s tonnes of fart apps to impress your friends and then the app ecosystem grew with a few trending apps and millions others which brought absolutely no objectivity to the ownership experience. However, this was further perpetuated by Android which made the ecosystem worse.

A BlackBerry Curve or Bold can easily outlast the iPhone 6 in terms of connectivity options or battery life- much more than the apps are required to do. The limitation of the Java Based BlackBerry OS was evident; thats why they released their new iteration based on QNX. Blackberry 10 was a failure of perception, not the capabilities. Something that has changed drastically with Priv now.

Their only mistake? They didn’t dumb down the phone. Instead BlackBerry made the device actually smarter. It gave us true multi-tasking, the beauty of hub and the whole closely tight knit ecosystem which wouldn’t have required “apps” to work. Fine grained granular app permissions were available at the outset; they made genuine efforts to port over the popular applications to their store front. They persisted with developers and gave them all out support. However, not everyone has the utopian idea of free and open internet; it isn’t the fault of BlackBerry though.

Marco writes (emphasis mine):

The BlackBerry’s success came to an end not because RIM started releasing worse smartphones, but because the new job of the smartphone shifted almost entirely outside of their capabilities, and it was too late to catch up. RIM hadn’t spent years building a world-class operating system, or a staff full of great designers, or expertise in mass production of luxury-quality consumer electronics, or amazing APIs and developer tools, or an app store with millions of users with credit cards already on file, or all of the other major assets that Apple had developed over a decade (or longer) that enabled the iPhone.

Indeed! It’s laughable.

The Z10 is as capable a device as ever. BlackBerry has won EVERY single design award for its iconic BlackBerry 10  device including the most coveted design awards. Native BlackBerry 10 apps wins hands down over other mobile operating systems (which is a no-brainer). Marco has never coded for BlackBerry 10 so his statements are false. As for an app store, BlackBerry ALSO has millions of “credit cards” on file with not a single breach, so far. (I endorse and use BlackBerry Passport).

Apple hasn’t introduced ANY innovation in iPhones except for varying the size. It deliberately limits its ecosystem, stunts the interoperability and makes it worse. Typing on iPhone is self inflicted torture; you may graduate to being able to type “fast” but you adjust to system defined limitations. Has Marco ever tried a BlackBerry 10 device?  I don’t know but I wouldn’t hazard a guess.

Marco feels that Apple hasn’t invested in the buzz words like AI or other data sucking machines. He feels that it is the next wave of “innovation” for which the devices need to be geared up for. The privacy, of course, goes out of the window.

Apple isn’t slow to the game of collecting information about its users- its using it for setting up its own advertisement business. It has tonnes of data on file on its users (hardware and software being tightly controlled by it).

Marco writes further:

Saying Apple is “bad at services” in general isn’t accurate — they’re very good at services that move data around in relatively straightforward ways at a very large scale, such as iMessage, push notifications, and the majority of iCloud.

We can excuse him for his naiveté.

iMessage remains on the fringes. I haven’t encountered any Apple user claiming anything good about it. Push notifications are dumb (a concept borrowed from BlackBerry 10, by the way, albeit in Apple’s own stunted way) and iCloud? He has a short term memory loss. Everyone on UTB (and it’s galaxy of readers) knows about the “fappening”.

Marco writes further:

If Google is wrong, and computing continues to be defined by a tightly controlled grid of siloed apps that you poke a thousand times a day on a smooth rectangle of manufacturing excellence, Apple is fine. They’re doing a great job of what computing is today, and what it will probably continue to be for a long time.

Sadly, thats what a smartphone does for rest of the non-BlackBerry owners. You poke on the rectangular slab. Manufactured to excellence in bending (which has affected a “small number of devices so far!) You poke at it like a lab rat because it gives you gratification- unlike us, who get notified. You poke at the home button because thats what you know; unlike us because we operate by gestures and jump to hub when we have to. You search for apps and their unread notifications whereas we just glance at our hub for communication.

You do it because you form the majority (with Marco as one of the cheerleaders). We do it because we are the non-conformists; the square pegs in the round holes and because using BlackBerry makes us do things productively. That actually makes us “above average” in getting things done as well (oh! we don’t need Getting Things Done app for that!).

Good luck Marco. With the decline in sales, you are likely to join the other end of spectrum, sooner than later because Apple is hell bent on harakiri. Good for the mobile ecosystem, really.

BlackBerry is getting from strength to strength. Securing the technological world instead.

Something that Apple (or its cheerleaders) would possibly never understand.


BlackBerry Forever!

  • Anthony

    Marco Arment (a.k.a Marco Armpit) is a dumbass. He referes to BlackBerry as “RIM” in his 2016 article. locco_smiley_36

  • RobcThbay

    McNish and Silcoff’s book “Losing The Signal” has some very interesting info from Blackberry’s early days. At the time, RIM was all about trying to conserve bandwidth and network resources. Apple’s devices didn’t worry about bandwidth and overloaded some of the networks. It seems like Apple basically bullied the phone companies into accepting their network hogging device.