I know, by now this is old news. Earlier today John Chen took to Twitter to share that the Twitter issues we have been experiencing with images not showing up had been corrected.
We fixed @Twitter for BB10 today. More enhancements to come next month
— John Chen (@JohnChen) March 17, 2016
Prior to that, Mr. Chen tweeted a far more important tweet.
— John Chen (@JohnChen) March 17, 2016
“I care about BB10” It doesn’t get any plainer than that. He then linked to a very nice post on Inside BlackBerry, a post titled “Great Apps on BlackBerry! A Strong Commitment to BlackBerry Users and Developers“. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you do. In this post, BlackBerry is very forthcoming about the issues surrounding WhatsApp and Facebook.
“Recently, Facebook made the decision to discontinue support of their essential APIs for BlackBerry and WhatsApp announced they would end support for BlackBerry 10 and BBOS at the end of 2016.
We are extremely disappointed in their decision as we know so many users love these apps. We fought back to work with WhatsApp and Facebook to change their minds, but at this time, their decision stands”
The post, goes on to ask for users help.
“but let them know how you feel on social media, using the hashtag #ILoveBB10Apps”
The hashtag used by John Chen in his tweet, #ILoveBB10Apps. Once again, John Chen and BlackBerry have asserted their commitment to BB10, it’s users, and it’s developers. A mere two months after the last time John Chen wrote about being committed to BlackBerry 10.
Why must BlackBerry keep repeating that they are committed to their own platform? Probably because there are those that keep insisting that BlackBerry 10 is dead. This is nothing new to the fans of BlackBerry. Since the introduction of BlackBerry 10, many have been pushing the agenda that the BlackBerry 10 platform, and the company itself are dead. But this is different. This time, many of those that are pushing the agenda, are actual fans of BlackBerry. Why?
I have a few ideas. First and foremost, we BlackBerry 10 fans have been spoiled. Prior management was very loose with information. Between sneak peaks and leaks, the BlackBerry fan seemed to know what was going on at all times. Unfortunately, so did the competition. Surely everyone reading this remembers the iOS keyboard which was a clone of the BlackBerry 10 virtual keyboard, that actually arrived before BlackBerry 10? Add to this, that BlackBerry’s reputation for missing deadlines can be directly attributed to this. We knew goal dates. And goal dates are just that, and quite often, those dates aren’t met. Additionally, things like OS leaks led to problems. The constant argument for leaks is that statement of “we are beta testing for BlackBerry. Guess what. We weren’t. We were loading OS’s that were not yet deemed worth of public release. Beta testing implies actually communicating issues back to the developers. We weren’t doing that. What was happening, in reality, was that people were installing the OS’s, and taking to social media, forums, and blogs, to complain of issues. Issues in software that BlackBerry never intended to be released. Even the actual Beta Tester program, which BlackBerry did create for the purpose of collecting this information, was a failure, because of a few people in the program which chose to leak every OS version that was dispersed to them. These leakers chose for temporary fame within forums as opposed to holding true to their non-disclosure agreement. And these leakers who were thanked by so many in those forums for releasing stolen software to the public, can now be thanked for ensuring the beta program stopped getting beta releases.
In any case, the information flow has slowed. Bloggers who have made names for themselves by being “leakers”, have found that their faucets have stopped dripping. I don’t know if it’s an act of anger or ignorance, but they are providing a narrative to the community that BB10 is dead, that future updates will be nothing more than maintenance releases. Regardless of the fact that this is the exact opposite of what BlackBerry is repeatedly telling us. The community is believing them. The community that was used to knowing nearly every aspect of the company’s business, can’t seem to understand the reasons for keeping future plans close to the vest, and can’t seem to see a future for the brand if we’re not in the know.
Let’s look at what we know. BlackBerry has continually told us that they are committed to BlackBerry 10. We will be receiving two OS updates this year, with the first set to arrive soon. These are not maintenance patches. These are security focused OS updates in order to get further security certifications for the most secure mobile platform. These updates will allow BlackBerry 10 to be used in even more secure environments. Let’s make this clear, this is something a company does for future business. And you do not develop for future business when you’re planning on discontinuing the product.
But what about the fun stuff? What about SDK’s and UI updates and new colors and backgrounds? We need to be patient. We know that the BlackBerry device business was not profitable while selling only BB10. We know that BlackBerry users tend to keep their devices longer, this is one of the problems with making such a great product. We BlackBerry users are not running out and purchasing a new phone because our current phone has started lagging too much, or because we pressed too hard on the screen and it broke. Our phones on the wonderful BB10 continues to perform, year after year. Quite honestly, BlackBerry does not need to be putting out multiple BB10 devices every year, because there simply aren’t enough of us to rush out and buy them.
Go to any website, and look at comments by users. You shall start to see a pattern. The majority of those BB10 users complaining that they want to see a new device are wanting to trade up from their Z10’s and Q10’s. These are four year old phones? How many devices have come and gone in that time? How many phones did BlackBerry really need to put out, when so many users are still using these first generation devices. Sadly, I am seeing a lot of these very same users saying that they will not be picking up a Classic or a Passport because these phones are “old”. Apparently, “old” means more than three months. I wish these users would read other’s comments as well, because if you do, you will start to see another pattern. You will see Classic and Passpot owners, even Z30 owners, stating that they love their phones. They will state that these other users should give these phones a try. And you will see a lot of these users still bragging about the fact that these phones are amazing, and they have no intentions of moving on to a new phone.
And there is something else we all need to think about. These BlackBerry 10 phones outperform the other phones on the market. My Passport can run circles around a new Samsung or iPhone, and honestly, even my Priv. The majority of these annual upgrades to the Android and iPhones are due to competition. Phone A has a new camera so next year Phone B will as well. For better or worse, BlackBerry 10 is not competing with these devices. They are currently a niche device for a certain type of user. I’m proud to be that type of user. Regardless of what Samsung and Apple is doing with their phones, my BlackBerry 10 phone is better. It just is. Will adding different colors to my phone make it “more better”? No it won’t. Obviously, I would like to see new fun things in the OS updates. We all would. But is it necessary in a time when BlackBerry is still recovering? At a time when BlackBerry is doing something no other OEM has been able to do in the last 9 years by securing Android? No. It’s not necessary. What is necessary is for BlackBerry to complete this turnaround. What is necessary is for us to see a profitable BlackBerry so that BlackBerry can put out the next generation of the platform which John Chen cares about, and BlackBerry is committed to.
And what of the community? We can help BlackBerry to do this. We can be cheerleaders instead of critics. We can support and promote the brand and the products like fans do every day of the products they are fans of. Being hypercritical of something does not make you appear more knowledgeable or intelligent. It just makes you look like a complainer. We should join in with John Chen and BlackBerry in letting Facebook know that #ILoveBB10Apps. We should stop and listen to what BlackBerry is saying and doing, instead of listening to other’s angry interpretations. For those that think the coming of Android on BlackBerry means the end of BlackBerry 10, just remember, BlackBerry has stated several times that they are offering a choice. They are still supporting and selling BlackBerry 10, even though they smartly recognize that those that will buy it are a special breed that will go through direct channels to get it. Even on their own Blogsite, they continue to profile users who are choosing BlackBerry 10 over Android.
BlackBerry wants to bring us more BlackBerry 10. We can ensure they do, by supporting them, or make that reality less likely by pushing users away from the BB10 platform with fear, uncertainty, and doubt. It’s your choice, and we all own the consequences.
If you’re a fan of BlackBerry, now is the time to be a cheerleader, not a critic.