Goodbye Blackberry 8900, Hello Nokia N8 – Confessions of a techno-junkie brand-whore!

SmartbeanIn case you haven’t yet figured it out, I am not like most people. The vast majority of us tend to stick to what is familiar and comfortable. Most major brands count on this single fact for much of their success. The recent ‘I am a PC!’ campaign by Microsoft as a response for the fierce loyalty of many Apple users is testament to this fact. I, on the other hand, am annoyingly fickle. Let’s take cars for example. Over the years, we have owned (in chronological order) Mazda, Honda, Ford (German), Ford (North American), Dodge (Mitsubishi), Mercury, Honda, Chevrolet, Dodge (North American), Oldsmobile, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Audi.
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Not much brand loyalty there, is there?! The truth is, I don’t believe that any one brand will consistently have the best product for my needs, so why should I limit my choice to the brand that I currently own? Besides, if I stick with one brand, I risk missing out on a great many innovations! Those of us who do not believe in monopolies should spread our largesse around so as to encourage competition. I must admit to always having a soft spot for the underdog! Furthermore, being an ardent technophile, I am also what is commonly known as an early adopter. Some would say that this is someone who pays top dollar for something that does not yet have all its bugs worked out 😉

Which brings me to the case in point. A few months ago now, when Blackberry announced the advent of the Torch, I began to re-evaluate my then current handset the Javelin or 8900. Although it had served me admirably as a phone, I decided that it was sadly lacking as a smartphone. I had seen glimpses of other models and brands and realised that the screen, web-browser, keyboard, camera and media player were all under par. It was obvious that Blackberry was all too aware of this fact and the Torch was its attempt to play catch-up. And there, for me, was the problem. Even though this new model would address some of the deficiencies of previous ones, it was still lagging behind the leaders.

And so I started on a journey of discovery. For about 3 months, I spent countless hours on the web checking out all the latest and greatest smartphones of all sorts. Although I didn’t have it fully formulated at the time, I already had a fairly well delineated shopping list.

  1. Smartphone or not, this would primarily be a phone and therefore must have above average reception and call quality. This was the one area where I could not fault the Blackberry in any way. The phone and speakerphone functions were superb.
  2. The camera/camcorder function would be the second most important functions since there are times when I forget to bring my camera along. The Blackberry, although better than many with its 3.2 MP camera was sadly lacking in this department.
  3. Ease of connectivity to Wi-Fi was my third requirement. Again, the Blackberry was sadly lacking here, since most of the time, even when connected to Wi-Fi, there was no way to know whether or not it was using it or diverting data over the cell network. Since my then current plan only allowed me 1.5 meg of data without significant surcharges, this was a huge stumbling block.
  4. Decent screen real-estate was my final major need. Although the screen on the Blackberry was OK, viewing pictures, browsing web-pages or watching videos was generally a fairly painful experience. Since most movies are now in widescreen (16:9) format, having the almost square (4:3) screen as the 8900 does is also not optimal.
Blackberry Javelin 8900

Byebye Blackberry!

As time went on, I frankly became somewhat bewildered by the sheer abundance of choices. Although I was still not counting the Blackberry Torch out, it became clear that there was some serious competition out there, much of it with much more to offer. I often had to remind myself that I was not looking for a new iPad or netbook but for a smartphone. The state of convergence is such that it is now becoming difficult to know where one ends and the other begins. When I looked at the situation closely, it became clear that the main points in favour of Blackberry were largely irrelevant to me.

  • Blackberry Messenger was never an attraction for me. Although I do know a few people who use it, I never sent a single message and could never remember my PIN # to give it to anyone else.
  • I do not need to have access to a corporate Blackberry server as many others do.
  • Special data encryption is also not a big thing with me. If anyone wants to hack into my email transmissions, they are not going to find much worthwhile.
  • Finally, Blackberry’s supposedly more stingy data transmission footprint is moot now that Dorothy and I have 1gb of share data bandwidth each month.

Slowly but surely, it became apparent that Blackberry was almost certainly not the best choice for me but as you will see in our next instalment, there was going to be one final nail in Blackberry’s coffin that would come from an unexpected source!  (to be continued)
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