Why I Use (And Love) A BlackBerry

“Wait,” *snickers* “what is THAT?”

“It’s a BlackBerry.”

*chortle* “You should get your office to give you an iPhone or an Android.”

“This is not my office phone. It’s my own. I bought it.”

*stunned silence*

I have this conversation at least once a month. And, granted, it is prompted by a legitimate argument in a 4G-laced America. Why on Earth would I, given a choice, willingly choose what conventional wisdom has decreed to be a sub-par technological product suited, at best, for non-internet-savvy middle-aged government workers and, at worst, Kim Kardashian?

The answer is simple: just like the average-looking person you hook up with at the all-inclusive resort after two days of sitting alone at the bar, the relationship I have with my BlackBerry is mostly out of convenience. It fits my needs perfectly while dispensing with the now-standardized expectations one might have of a smartphone in 2012 (or, for that matter, a one-night stand in Cancún.)

I am currently the proud owner of a BlackBerry Bold 9900, the top-of-the-line offering from Research In Motion, the Canadian company that produces these phones. It is light-years ahead of what people perceive about BlackBerries. It is thin. It has a very responsive touchscreen and an amazing QWERTY keyboard. Its operating system is rock solid. I have never had to pull its battery to restart it. No, it does not have a lot of apps. No, I cannot watch Netflix on it. No, it does not have Instagram, though the camera is a decent 5 megapixels. Yes, I get that camera filters are the new awesome thing. Yeah, I know. I know.

Before continuing, I would like to point out that, yes, I find iPhones and Android phones (at least, the high-end Galaxy Maxx Droid Captivate Nexus III Sense X-TREME! ones) to be the superior technological product. Two cores beat one. Retina screens rule. I deny none of these things — it really would be stupid to do so.

But just like there are different models for Swiss Army Knives, there is something to be said about having a tool that does only a few things, but do them well. Do I really need one with a magnifying glass, a ballpoint pen, a USB flash drive, fifteen different kinds of screwdrivers, a saw, a bit wrench, an altimeter and whatever a “pharmaceutical spatula” is? (No kidding, that exists. Look it up.) Not really. Not all the time. I’m not Katniss Everdeen.

“Whatever,” you say. “You can just not install apps and keep a barebones iPhone.” But what’s the fun of that? An iPhone without Words With Friends, without Instagram, without one of the thousand versions of Angry Birds installed is an iPhone gone to waste. And being the tech dweeb that I am, I take full advantage of all my tech and push my gadgets to the max. My iPhone would not have just some apps, it would have ALL the apps that Apple has to offer. Even the fart apps.

This brings me to why I would not be very good as an iPhone owner. Despite my parents’ many protestations, I have very mild attention-deficit disorder, which translates to (again, despite my parents’ protestations) a very hard time accomplishing things I should be doing. I can only deal with so much awesome before I raise my middle finger to the world and engage in Omega-level procrastination. Thus, if a BlackBerry can be equated with crack cocaine, to me an iPhone would be highly refined, Afghan-produced heroin as pure as snow in Narnia.

If I had an iPhone, I don’t think I could ever go to sleep. If I did, I could never get out of the bed; if I did that, I would never get off the toilet. You’d find my skeleton in the throne, what remains of my thumb still flicking left to right in an Angry Birds-launching motion.

The (very obvious) limitations that my BlackBerry has are what keep me connected to reality. It does what I need it to do. I can write long emails and documents with the keyboard while the phone is in my pocket. I can buy movie tickets and make dinner reservations. I can use Twitter and Foursquare and Google Talk seamlessly without distractions. If I have hours to burn, Bejeweled is always available. If I need any more power, I can use a computer, or an iPad, or my PlayStation 3.

Most importantly, my phone helps me keep in touch with my family and friends from home who are still on the same platform. Peru is just getting 4G, and the costs of an iPhone or an Android phone are still prohibitive for some companies, let alone individuals, so it was through the pooh-poohed BlackBerry Messenger, for example, that I found out through a group chat that my best friend’s baby was born. Sure, we could all use WhatsApp or whatever, but that would require getting everybody on it, which means teaching my father how to use it. The man is brilliant, to be sure, but technology stumps him. You teach him how to use it.

I could go on and on with the tiny things that I think this phone does that distinguishes it from the other offerings out there. (Two stand out: a little LED that tells me whether I’ve gotten a tweet or a text depending on the color it lights up, and a little-publicized feature called WiFi Calling that allows me to make calls from anywhere in the world with no roaming charges provided there’s a wireless internet connection available. Yay for saving money!) But it all boils down to one simple fact: this phone works for me.

I get that I have very specific needs not applicable to a large percentage of the smartphone-carrying population. If another phone does the things I need better, I will consider switching. But for now, I will eschew the glass slate monoliths and stick with my Canadian-designed QWERTY keyboard. It may not be the fastest or the coolest. People may not line up for it at the stores. But given the choice between the popular and the bespoke, I will always go for the latter. And so, I think, do a lot of people, who stay in the shadow to avoid mockery.

Do not despair, fellow BlackBerry owner. You are not alone. Let’s face the snickers and laughs together.

(Author’s note: this piece was written and edited in its entirety on a BlackBerry.) TC mark

image – Mr. T In DC


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  • SS

    This is exactly why I stick with (and love) my Blackberry. It does what I want it to do, and it does it well. A phone is not a toy, or a mobile gaming device – it’s for communicating with people, and I honestly believe that Blackberry excels in that regard (BBM 5ever).

    Plus, I like having buttons. Pushing buttons is fun. You KNOW that you look forward to pushing buttons in elevators. With a Blackberry, it’s like I have a bunch of elevator buttons ALL THE TIME. SO MUCH FUN.

  • gabyxcore

    Thanks for this. I’ve been berated by so many iPhone users about how I suck for not becoming one of them… but the bottom line for me  is… I NEED A PHONE THAT I CAN DROP. Without guilt, or a shattered screen. I’ve dropped my Blackberry at least 30 times, and we’re still going strong.

  • guest

    I had an iPhone and switched to BlackBerry. It baffles people. 

    • http://twitter.com/james_killough James Killough

      I did the same with Android. I like baffling people, to that was a wonderful bonus.

  • Maybeemily

    You can pry bbm out of my cold dead hands.

  • Michaelwg

    I’m right this very second watching Jay Leno feed a baby otter a bottle of milk(?)
    This has no bearing on anything. It’s just super cute.

  • hrfe

    I specifically asked for a Blackberry for my high school graduation. I have an iTouch so I find iPhones really, really pointless. I absolutely hate phones with touch screens, so I have a Blackberry Curve. Sometimes I do have to pull the battery, its true. But I can go on Facebook, I can go on Twitter, I can text super easily (even whilst drunk), and I can play lots of sudoku. I can drop my phone and it does not break). It also fits easily in my pocket. Bam- my phone needs have been met. I LOVE my Blackberry, and IDGAF if someone else doesn’t.

  • rr

    I now feel ashamed as a Blackberry Bold owner, for contemplating the switch to an iPhone 5 when it releases. ): Your post has reminded me why I picked the Blackberry in the first place. To communicate with people. Not to take a million photos for Instagram, or to play games all night. Most importantly, I LOVE the QWERTY keypad. A touchscreen is dumb and autocorrect produces the dumbest mistakes ever, rarely get that problem with a BB. Oh yeah and I agree with gabyxcore, I need a phone I can drop! I’ve dropped my BB so many times I lost count and it’s still surviving, 1.5 years and counting!

    • rr

      Okay not dumb. A touchscreen is really difficult to adapt to and almost impossible to use with gloves on in cold weather. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VYDVROKY4PUBOKUHB3QF42FH2Y Paul S

    Another BB owner/user here (a Bold)! Mine’s not even a touch-screen – I love/need ACTUAL buttons.  Call/text/mail/pics/web; that’s all I need and it does them all quite well and most importantly, it does them all SIMPLY.  For anythimg more, I have a PC and/or a gaming console.  iPhones/Androids are nice, but just not for me. I’ve never been a gadget guy anyways, and am a bit of a luddite.

  • Kennedy

    I had a blackberry, made the switch to an android-powered phone, and then switched back to a blackberry… the only bad part about my bb is that most of my friends have switched over, so I don’t utilize BBM nearly as much as I used to

  • Anlon

    I’m going to start volunteering at the electronics recycling depot in my hometown. On my first day, I’ll collect a bunch of the old, grey flip phones nobody wants anymore and stash them in my backpack. At night, when I’ve collected enough phones, I’ll walk around the downtown core in khakis and an Eddie Bauer jacket and glasses. I’ll receive imaginary calls and text messages, and then snap each phone in half and drop it in a garbage can, mid-stride. Maybe I’ll take a silver marker and write “Pollos” in big block lettering on the screen. On my way to work the next morning, I’ll fish out all of the cell phone pieces and return them to the depot during my next volunteer shift, because I have a guilty conscience and recycling is cool. Or maybe I’ll just buy a smartphone.

  • ellen

    I had a Blackberry. Loved it, but switched to a fancy Android when the BB finally died. I hated the Android. HATED IT. That sucker was Gone before the trial period was up. Back to Blackberry, a Bold this time.  It’s a tough little fellow. I dropped it from about 60 feet up while rock climbing, no damage &  it’s still working fine.   I like that it does what I want: it’s a phone, I get messages pretty quick, and I can text. Don’t need a bunch of other stuff. The only thing the Android had that I miss is the app that identified the stars, that was cool.

  • ST

    I switched to an iPhone 4 at Christmas, after my beloved Blackberry Bold died. I hate it passionately and cannot wait to return to a Blackberry.

  • emilie

    i constantly get mocked for my phone, which is deemed sub-par by even my less than technologically advanced parents. sure, it was made in 2003, and the battery lasts about 5 hours maximum, but it does everything i want – i call, i text, and it also means i spend more time talking to people face to face, which i think can only boost my personal relationships. i might not be able to play draw something, but i could own anyone’s ass at tetris :)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RTHJ2ONAI2XOI45MV6SXC772HY AndrewA

    I’ve never read a blog that so exactly fits my thoughts.  You rock!

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    I’m still in the Bronze Age with my flip phone, but I don’t plan on trading it anytime soon.

    With a flip phone, what I lack in my vocabulary during a heated
    argument, I make up for in dramatic effect with a fierce “CLICK!”

    • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil Caillaux

      Truth. It’s no longer as satisfying to hang up on someone on a touchscreen.

  • Anonymous

    I switched to an iPhone when my blackberry’s keyboard kept falling out and freezing became what it did best, well that and drop calls. I’ve heard the case is the same for most.

    I have no idea where all the BB love is coming from. But more power to you all I suppose.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=726295377 Mercedes Villanueva

    I have a blackberry because I’m incapable of using touchscreen phones properly. Seriously. What I would have intended as the word “had” would turn out like “hadhskjadsda”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=726295377 Mercedes Villanueva

      I should also note that I have a Curve 9300. *Represent*

    • Alice C

      I like buttons… a lot

    • Susiesavalot

      Same here!! And I’m a girl with relatively delicate fingers… I have no clue how huge men with bear claws for hands can type ANYTHING on a touchscreen. I got my Torch with the hopes of easing myself into the touchscreen thing, but if there’s typing of anything involved, that keyboard’s coming out. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=726295377 Mercedes Villanueva

        I’ve played around with a Torch at a cellular shop before and it got me thinking about doing the same thing; if I had to send a BBM for example, I would use the keyboard.

  • Monamonita

    I like bb. But my phone never last long enough. Max 1.5years. The trackball broken,error,very long time restart,slow,etc. But i Still using it

  • http://artfeedsmia.blogspot.com/ mia nguyen

    My blackberry has gone through hell and it still looks perfect.

  • shs

    an iPhone is useless when you own an iPod touch or iPad, so what’s the point of getting one?

    • http://noosiekins.tumblr.com/ Vanessa

       I have a iPod Touch… that’s the reason why I still have a berry and not an iPhone

  • anonymous

    Yayyy! I can’t count how many times I’ve heard “When are you getting an iphone?” When you buy me one! Blackberry works perfectly. 

  • Actiongphoto

    I love my work BlackBerry and my former personal one. However as they age you do eventually have to start pulling that battery out to fix things. I feel bad for RIM’s decline. 

     As a dual iPhone and BlackBerry owner, I’m glad my BlackBerry is my work phone. It’s quick and efficient.

  • Anonymous

    if you can control your iphone addiction, fine, you’re allowed to have an iphone and i am not chagrined by your presence. but almost no one is capable of this feat. for chissakes I was AT A BAR last week and ALL FIVE of my acquaintances (all of them. all.) were in silence because they were too focused playing ‘draw something’. fuuudfifglhfdlihvlrvnvnv.

    no, i am not covetous of the iPhone or it’s plethora of applications. put down the phone and stop using your subpar comprehension of physics to launch birds at things. angry birds makes me want to launch your iPhone at your head. stop living in your virtual reality when you’re submersed in the physical one. unplug, disconnect. plug into some physical outlets *wiggles eyebrows* YEAH GURL.

  • Guest

    i have all three, but im a drug dealer.

  • ana gaby matz

    Well, I still have a BLOCKberry

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