Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Bit of Blackberry....for a Bit

Fresh off my happy transition from my Galaxy Tab 7.7 to Nexus 7, I decided to give the Blackberry Q10 a shot. My hierarchy of smartphone needs hasn't changed much from 2010  (Build, Homescreen, Apps, Notifications and Battery Life) so I felt that it was time to see if 3 years of changes to Blackberry could better align it to my needs. 

Once the pre-owned Blackberry Q10 I ordered from eBay arrived I was immediately reminded of how much I enjoyed the physical QWERTY keyboard. I powered it on and was impressed with the aesthetic changes. Icons seemed more modern and there was less of a 'glorified notepad' feel when navigating around. 

I waited a few days to get comfortable then downloaded and installed a leaked 10.2.1 OS to allow full installation of Android apps. This, I believed, would be the killer feature removing the biggest issue with my first foray into Blackberry. I installed a handful of my heavy hitter apps and retired my Droid Ultra to get fully into the flow. 

There were 2 things I absolutely loved- the keyboard and the colored notification LED. 

But, there were far more things that didn't work for me:

1. Cramped Screen
 Even though I love the keyboard, it definitely put a damper on having access to the touch screen. The Q10 has no trackpad so navigating is a fiddly affair. And when the Android apps adjust to work on Blackberry they don't all make the transition gracefully. An example is the Starbucks app which works, but won't show the balance unless you go to the reload screen. It got even worse on apps like Check.

2. Limited Apps...Yep, still
I went to the Q10 with the goal of being able to do 4 main things with my phone- Listen to Podcasts, Tons of social media (hey, isn't that why I got a keyboard?), Email and Calendar. That is literally all the expectation I gave this phone, really. First of all, the best podcast app I could find was one that required me to update it each night (more on that later), and had a very uninspired layout. The best social apps I find were the built in ones (more on that later!)

3. Lack of Background Work
This one really bewildered me- I couldn't get my phone set up to have time based profiles, update my podcasts on schedule or even my news apps with certainty. I don't remember this being an issue last time I was on BB but it may have been something I didn't miss because I never had it. 

4. The Hub. How I HATE the Hub!
This experiment has confirmed to me that I must keep my work and personal life separate. There is nothing more distracting that seeing a teaser of what is being posted on my Facebook wall while I'm trying to respond to a work email. By the same token, on the weekend I don't want emails from work in my face. On Android I am able to better curate this just by adjusting notifications, but on the hub- no such luck. I haven't used a unified inbox for years and this reminded me why. 

Yesterday morning I switched back to my Droid Ultra and I barely missed the keyboard on the Q10. In fact, the only thing I truly 'miss' is the money I spent on Blackberry apps. 

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