January is an important month for us as BB10 turns 4 and UTB Blogs turns 3.
Four years ago, BlackBerry released BlackBerry 10, the most secure and most advanced mobile OS on the planet. It was an exciting time. I remember it all too well. I was a BlackBerry fan, using what still seemed like a relatively new BlackBerry Torch 9810. I know, it wasn’t new. But at that point in time, I was a user that bought on two year contracts and actually stuck with the same phone for the whole two years. I had every intention of continuing that pattern. But the new BlackBerry phone was unlike anything we had seen before.
Everyday I’d surf the internet on my trusty Torch reading the news about the new BB10 Z10. I went to the carrier store several times to play with the display unit. Yes, the Z10 was on display at AT&T at the time. I wanted it bad. But I was going to wait on the Q10. I was a physical keyboard guy, and I planned on staying that way. However, the Q10 was delayed. And that was fine, as I still had time left on my contract before I could purchase a device at a savings but as I read the news, as I saw what the Z10 could do, that my Torch could not, it became too much, and my Z10 was the first mobile phone I paid full price in cash for. I never once regretted that purchase.
That Z10 changed everything for me. This was the phone of the future. And I was lucky. I remember reading stories of random reboots and overheating during those first days. I personally never experienced those issues. Except for a too short battery life, my phone was perfect and I loved it. Unfortunately, it seemed the rest of the world couldn’t understand my love for my phone. My online homes for BlackBerry news started to change. They changed from places where fans would congregate and enjoy helping each other with their phones into places where people that hated our BlackBerry phones would go to harass those that loved our BlackBerry phones. It was a trying time. Those that were seemingly attempting to push people away from BlackBerry, actually pulled me deeper in.
I had been a fan of BlackBerry devices since my first Curve. I just loved the phones. I loved the quality. I didn’t follow the company. I didn’t really join in on the sites that I visited. I was essentially a lurker, looking for answers to questions. But as I saw the attacks on BB10 growing, I couldn’t stay quiet. I started participating. Soon I was participating in what would probably be considered an excessive amount, but I was having fun. I made friends with other BlackBerry users. Other people like me that were more than just a device user. Soon I was part of a rather large BBM group of likeminded fans, and it was amazing. I went from someone that had never really participated in online forums or online chat to someone that was in forums everyday and chatting all day within the BBM group. It was all done through and because of my BlackBerry.
That BBM group was a bunch of real BlackBerry fans. A group of people that would spend their free time defending and promoting BlackBerry across the interwebs. It was really amazing. But we felt like we could do more. We felt like we could really help. And so 3 years ago, UTB Blogs was born.
What a wild 3 years it has been! We jumped from forums to a really poorly put together site, and wrote with as much fervor as we had during our forum battles. In all honesty, none of us knew what we were doing, and it showed. But we were dedicated, and we were learning. Soon, we had someone that knew how to build proper site and forums. We gained friends and readers, and moved from a ragtag group of forum posters to a legitimate site for BlackBerry fans.
I’m not going to lie, we’ve had some rough times. We’ve had slow news periods, like now for instance, where it hurts to see the main page go stagnant for so long. We have watched as many of those things we had hoped for and fought for didn’t come to fruition. We felt frustration as we promoted the brand, only to feel that BlackBerry didn’t even know we existed. But if there is one thing we should all realize, it’s that good things don’t often come easy.
And good things did happen. Good things are currently happening. BlackBerry, under the direction of John Chen, has done things we would have never imagined. As many second guessed his decisions, he has brought BlackBerry back from the brink of destruction. He’s brought BlackBerry to whole new areas of business. BlackBerry is not fighting for survival any longer. Our favorite brand is safe, and with new partnerships, we’re on the verge of seeing BlackBerry phones hit the market in a big way. We here at UTB have been lucky enough to speak with BlackBerry C.O.O. Marty Beard, and BBM C.E.O. Matthew Talbot on our Blogcasts, and we love where BlackBerry is headed.
BlackBerry looks not at all like they did when they started BB10. A phone manufacturer which needed BB10 to be successful to survive, has completed a pivot to be a software company providing services that none of us would have imagined back then. BlackBerry has gone from a company which many thought would have been gone by now, to a company which is the absolute leader in secure mobility solutions.
Likewise, our BlackBerry community looks nothing like it did when we started UTB Blogs. We watched BlackBerry reach it’s low point, and we saw those that didn’t have the stomach for it leave our community during that time. We also watched and saw who have been dedicated fans during those tough times.
Yes, our mobile tech world has changed dramatically over the last few years, but BlackBerry is still here, you’re still here, and we’re still here. I suspect we’re going to see a whole batch of new BlackBerry fans soon, and when they arrive, those of us that have been here all along will be there to help them settle in for the long haul.