Times have changed. It’s time for us to change as well.
The birth and life of UTB Blogs is something I will always be proud of. Born out of BBM Channels, this website jumped onto the internet on January 21st, 2014. Having absolutely no knowledge of what we were doing, a small group started blogging like crazy, for a cause.
The cause was to fight for BlackBerry. BB10 was new, and it seemed that the world was out to destroy BlackBerry. We were fans, who saw that BlackBerry was offering us something which other manufacturers were not. We were tired of the constant trolling, the “fake news” that was being spread about our brand of choice. While you would expect the trolling to be spread on Apple and Android fan sites, the fact that the biggest originator of this trolling was coming from supposed BlackBerry fans at BlackBerry fan sites meant that there needed to be an actual fan site for the brand. And we wanted to make it.
Over the years, and with the help of numerous others, UTB became fairly popular. We became the voice of the fan. Sure, we made tons of mistakes over the years, things which I until just recently was still attempting to go back and fix, or even remove from our archives. But in the end, we were a group of volunteers, fighting for what we loved, and always attempting to do what we thought was right.
We started out tiny, grew to a size I never expected, became friends with the upper echelons at BlackBerry, and then, when things changed, began to shrink.
What changed was our reason for being here. BB10 ultimately failed. Not because of capability, but because of the market. BlackBerry chose to make Android phones which saw our first major split in staff. Whether we jumped on board the new platform, or fought against it, it was still a painful transition for all of us. But even that massive change was small compared to what was to come. BlackBerry, in order to survive, had to pivot to be a software company and not a phone manufacturer. It worked for them. I’m no longer concerned about BlackBerry’s survival. In their realm, they are doing great. But those things that we loved, the phones and BBM, were licensed off to other companies.
BBM was licensed to Emtek, and many of the BlackBerry folks that worked on BBM made the transition to BBM. They were great, were in constant communication with us fans, and listened to what we wanted. But sadly, Emtek chose to shut down BBM. The birthplace of UTB Blogs, BBM Channels was gone. The place where I had met all the people that were working on the website, was gone. It was a dark day for UTB Blogs.
BlackBerry phones were licensed off to three manufacturers. Two of the three were in markets where we had no one present, and we never did get much more than initial contact with those makers. The third, was TCL, who created BlackBerry Mobile. Under this grouping, we saw a few new BlackBerry devices come out, and they were great devices. Some of my favorite BlackBerry phones. However, TCL/BlackBerry Mobile were quite the opposite of Emtek BBM. They tied their stake to one website, and seemingly didn’t care about any other fan sites out there, or the fan bases that went with them. To say connecting with TCL/BlackBerry Mobile, was as pleasant as pulling teeth is being generous. And now, all this time later, we are still waiting for any news of BlackBerry phones to come.
Over the years, I made several changes to UTB Blogs, in an attempt to keep content flowing to the site, and to keep our readers coming back. We wrote about more than BlackBerry. We wrote about BlackBerry competitors, their problems, about the multitude of iPhones which went up with flames, geek news, world news, and some of our writers produced several different podcasts over the years. But even with all of that, UTB Blogs remained a BlackBerry fan site, ran by BlackBerry fans.
Unfortunately, there’s not much left for BlackBerry fans to write about on a BlackBerry fan site that BlackBerry fans will want to read about.
Unfortunately, it seems it is time for us to move on.
It is with great sadness that I have to say it is time for UTB Blogs to go offline. The content which we need to survive is not there. And those of us that are still left, and still fighting, don’t have the time we once had to continue the format which we have been doing for the last 6 years.
UTB Blogs will remain online for a few more weeks, more as a chance for our readers to stumble across this post. But, unfortunately, this is the end of the road for this iteration. I still hope that someday, some how, BlackBerry takes up the reigns and starts producing phones again. And if they do, you might just see UTB Blogs come bouncing back and tagging along with the greatest brand of smart devices.
For those of you that have read us over the years, and supported us with views, comments and shares, and for those that have volunteered their own time to help produce content for the site, I have two words for you.
I can’t express how much I’ve enjoyed our time together. We made something out of nothing, and it was amazing.
Well, as I said before, I’ve really enjoyed what we did here at UTB. While the world has changed, I still enjoy the process. More than the process, I enjoyed creating something new, and watching it grow. I’m going to try it again, although in a completely different format. Sadly, time is a commodity I don’t have enough of any more. The blog format of UTB is simply too much for a handful of people to do and keep a site fresh with content.
Instead, I have started a new site. Call it a news aggregator with a dash of UTB attitude. At this site, I will be sharing the news posts which I find interesting, and including a small bit of opinion or commentary to each posting.
It will also give me a place to write those longer posts which may pop up from time to time. I’m still a BlackBerry fan, and if BlackBerry news hits, or any story which would have found it’s way onto UTB Blogs pops up, you will find it on the new site. I am hoping to see some of the old UTB Bloggers find their way to the new site. Erica and Michael have both already posted there, and Robert who helped build this site from the beginning, was also there at the beginning of this new site.
I hope you will join me over at my new site, TheNewsApe.com where we shall be sharing the best news headlines, with a healthy dose of the UTB Blogs attitude, and hopefully, the stories and people that you are used to seeing here at UTB. And this time around, we even have the opportunity for a fun mascot.
Again, thank you for joining us on the wild ride that was UTB Blogs. And I hope to ride with you again at TheNewsApe.com