Why BlackBerry should (and is!) Ignore the “Spec War.”

I had a quick conversation with a co-worker today about his phone. This person is pretty tech savvy, but is always looking for the best phone to fit his “needs.”

The kicker though is that he REALLY likes BlackBerry, and has owned a lot of BlackBerry phones – but in the end, he doesn’t end up using them because they don’t (always) have the most updated specs. Based on our conversations, here’s what he would like in his ultimate smart-phone:

– full touch screen, at least 4″
– bright, vivid “eye catching” screen
– good – great rear-facing camera
– “OK” front facing camera (at least 3 mp)
– All day battery life
– Fast, efficient OS
– Least important – according to him, App availability

As BlackBerry fans, you have 30 seconds (though you won’t need that much time) to list at least two. Ready? Go……………………….What did you come up with?

Here are my 3: Z30, Z10, Z3:


His responses – z10 and z3 “underpowered” notquite the battery life he “would like.” For the Z30 – has everything, but the OS “lags,” and the AMOLED screen isn’t “vivid” enough for his taste. Also, all 3 don’t have the best battery or chipset or antenna that they could have that would “make them better.”

Here’s the thing, though. Show of hands, how many of you with the newest OS (10.2 or 10.3) have seen lag on ANY of the phones I listed above that HAVEN’T BEEN the result of the user doing something weird on the phone (bad app, half-baked OS install)?

Why SHOULD BlackBerry be putting in the “newest” chip/processor/antenna into their devices when the devices already run excellent without those things? What if the device DOESN’T run better with the “latest and greatest?” I’m pretty sure that the BlackBerry R&D squad is able to get their hands on latest and greatest things to try out in the devices. Often, the newest isn’t the most stable anyway. Might as well wait for the next version that could potentially be more stable, right?

You can’t have your cake and eat it too (yet). If you want a bright, flashy screen, you have to sacrifice battery life, because most devices aren’t made large enough to have a big enough battery for the extra power needed. If you want a high res. camera, and 1080p recording abilities, guess what? That will effect your battery life!

Want to know a secret?…Listen close…The Z30 takes this into consideration by having an AMOLED screen – while not quite as vivid, it is still a stellar screen, and uses less battery life.

Alas, that is still “not good enough” for “spec” lovers. The thing that separates them from any other user is that they are willing to sacrifice an excellent phone and go with a substandard one with less battery life just because the substandard phone has the “latest” antenna and chip-set. My question is why would you do that? Every time I ask that to a “spec lover” type user, they can’t give a solid answer, and just go back to talking in circles about specs, and how it would “theoretically improve” the device.

BlackBerry ignoring the “Spec War” is a smart, savvy business move. Otherwise BlackBerry would just be wasting development time and money chasing phantom, theoretical “improvement.” They would constantly be in a no-win situation no matter what newest fancy-pants chipset / battery/ antenna goes into their device.

To quote the impeccable Henry Ford:


Thanks for reading! Hit us up in the comments below on what you suggest the “ultimate smartphone” should be, and what you think about “Spec Wars.”


Graphic Designer | Photographer | Digital Artist | coffee:me::gas:car.

  • Blackjack

    Good job MMF!

    As i”ve always said, it isn’t about specs it’s about the efficiency of the code it’s running. DO more with less.
    Less spec’ed out phones tend to use less battery, and efficient code needs less specs.

    QNX is all about custom tailored micro kernel efficiency.

  • nnik

    Your coworker definitely lost all credibility when he said laggy os and crappy antenna….
    Both which have been proven to be the BEST Available!

    • Blackjack

      Can you say “Paratek” ?

  • Bigglybobblyboo

    I don’t have lag. I have a Z30. As for the spec war, it’s done. Over. The Note 4 didn’t exactly pull up trees in that department.

    Android going nowhere, Apple stagnating. The stage is set for BlackBerry.

  • missoulamarinerfan

    Exactly what I was getting at Biggly – MAYBE there was slight lag with just straight up 10 or 10.1, but even then, it still runs miles better than any other phone. The whole “spec” argument is predicated on it COULD BE better, not necessarily IS better.

  • jrohland

    You can have super specs, big bright screen and long battery life. Pick any two. Or pick BlackBerry for no compromises.

    • missoulamarinerfan

      Yes! Exactly, Jrohland!

  • G-bone

    Really, the only OS that “needs ” the latest and greatest specs is Android because it is so loose. The others, in theory, can be optimized, thus enabling them to do more with less. For some reason, Apple can’t seem to optimize battery life. And now with even thinner phones, I’m sure it will be worse (despite their claims) .
    My Z30, despite everyone panicking when the specs were released, is exceptional.
    I have a Z10, and, with all due respect, I believe it is a little bit under spec’d.
    I believe, going forward, that BlackBerrys will only get better – whatever the specs.
    But, of course, that’s SPECulation…

  • Great article MMFan. I’ve seen big corporations have this same “spec” mentality as a policy for running their I.T. departments. It happened in the mid 90s when the internet was really exploding. This one company in particular was just throwing money at all the “latest and greatest,” and then getting all pissy with us for problems they were having integrating all of it and getting it to work together. They wasted precious time and money going down tangents that never worked out.

    This “spec” mentality is similar. People being so concerned over what specs a device has, they forget their use-case and wind up with a phone that likely doesn’t suit their needs. BBRY is too smart for this. Frankly, I don’t believe your friend about the OS being “laggy.” I never had that issue…although I will admit, the OS didn’t start fulfilling it’s promise until about 10.2 IMO.

    One other thing- in life, you can NEVER have everything. There are always constraints. You want the best battery life? You’re not going to have the biggest, brightest display or whatever. You want the most security? You’re going to have to give up some functionality somewhere. Maybe you’re like me and this doesn’t bother you, but it’s still the case. Everything in a product is an advantage and disadvantage. And there are ALWAYS financial considerations. Every tech or spec you add to the equation increases the cost.

    The best thing to tell your friend, IF he will listen, is to ask himself a question. “What does he want the phone to do for him? It’s the same question you ask a CIO when you’re selling him an IT solution. What does his organization need out of this tech? No one buys hardware anymore in the IT industry. It’s evolved to the point where it’s all business/solutions driven. The hardware is a commodity. This will happen eventually with mobile tech too. Your friend has a lot to learn. BBRY is too smart to get involved in the “Android-spec-wars.”

    Great article! Cheers!

    • missoulamarinerfan

      Trust me. I’ve tried. Ironically enough, my buddy is a poster example of why (IMO) BlackBerry has a really difficult time in the United States. I would say about %75-80% of smart-phone users have that mentality, %10 have no clue what smartphones can do, and just get the cheapest one and deal with it, and %10 are well informed BlackBerry users.

  • ital1

    My thoughts are that the specifications need to match what you want the device to do today, and x number of OS iterations further. From what I have heard is that spec war is primarily an Android issue; you have a number of handset manufacturers that need to differentiate themselves amongst a sea of competing handsets, not to mention that these manufacturers also apply custom skins to the Android OS. Take also into account that the OS ins’t optimized for a myriad of handsets, chip sets etc.

  • crazycanuck

    I regularly download shows from showbox to my Z30, while wireless la transferring another show to my media Centre while surfing the Web, chatting or even playing music on you tube at the same time. All with NO lag!
    I do like the look of the whites better on my Z10 better than the Z30 though, but that’s not a huge issue to get past.

  • Bastakiatavich

    Nice article MMF. I begrudgingly listen to a lot of Androidians in the office on why they need xxx and blah blah blah on their phones and why they are so much better than my Z30.

    Thing is they use their phones as an entertainment platform which I do as well listening via blue tooth to my music either on SD card or RFA to home computer. What they do not use their phones for is thousands of emails a day, calendar and document editing. I am not at my desk for a lot of the day, being able to easily stay on top of work loads and monitor staff that is local and out of state, while away from my desk is priceless. I do this everyday, all day with the help of my workhorse Z30.
    Today one of the Note 3 guys had to run back to his desk to check his calendar before he could answer a question. Seems on his phone it is too difficult and laggy to set up a synching calendar with our work email system; all those specs and he still has to use his feet first. While I can use my thumb, one handed and enjoy the fresh cup of coffee I am holding in the other waiting for his return.
    Specs – who needs them except those in competition with the Jones.

  • Anthony

    BlackBerry is in the spec race. It’s currently the price of admission. The Passport has great specs.

    The upcoming Z50 should strive to one-up top android devices.

  • Brad

    Welcome aboard MMF! *high-five*

    Your friend must be listening to clown-haired trolls at those other sites vs actually trying a BB10 device. Complaining that there’s lag on BB10 is like complaining there isn’t any plastic on a Samsung phone.

  • razrrob

    Androids are required to be overspec’d due to the inefficiency of their OS platform. I believe it was written by engineers, not programmers.

    Anyways welcome aboard MMF – glad to see you left the Cesspool Brotherhood