Back in January of 2010, I purchased a Nexus One to see if an Android device could replace my trusty BlackBerry Pearl.
I’ve been using an Android device for over 3 years now, but with the new BlackBerry 10 OS, I figured it was worth giving BlackBerry a second chance. I’ve spent the last two weeks using a BlackBerry Z10 to see if it was possible to extract myself from the clutches of Google and its Android OS.
Unfortunately, there’s no going back.
I’ve been unable to find one compelling reason to switch back to BlackBerry. In fact, I can’t identify any reason why anybody who already has an iPhone or Android device should switch to a BlackBerry device.
Sure, the Z10 hardware is head and shoulders above any consumer-oriented touch device that BlackBerry has produced. The hardware is solid, but not exceptional. It’s not the lightest or thinnest phone on the market, but the build quality has just the right amount of weight and balance to make it feel great in the hand. The touchscreen display is responsive, clear and vibrant. The OS is pleasant to use. I especially like how you can navigate throughout the operating system using only one thumb and swiping from the edges of the screen, whether its from the top to access the Settings, left or right to access apps, running processes, or the “Hub” where all of your messages are stored, or from the bottom to dismiss active apps. The user interface is so good that the latest and greatest versions of many popular apps have copied the user interface gestures from the BlackBerry UI.
My biggest problem is that I’ve become accustomed and used to the integration of Google’s services with Android. I’m reliant on Gmail and Google Voice, and these do not play well with the BlackBerry. Sure, you can make it work, which I did for the last two weeks, but it isn’t as seamless as it is with my Galaxy Nexus. Even the integration with Google Calendar is just enough off to cause minor irritations in my daily use.
Additionally, the lack of app support is extremely noticeable, and this is coming from a person who doesn’t rely on many apps. Outside of the Google apps, which include Gmail, Voice, Music, Maps and Authenticator, my only other “go-to” apps are Evernote, RunKeeper, Starbucks and Mileage – an app I use to track my car’s gas mileage. Outside of Evernote, which integrates into the included Remember app, I wasn’t able to find suitable alternatives for the others. I’m sure I could, but the problem is that I’ve amassed quite a bit of data in these other apps that is not easily portable to the Z10. In other words, in order to maintain my productivity, I’ve had to carry out both the Z10 and the Galaxy Nexus – not an ideal solution.
Bottom line, I couldn’t make the switch, even on a temporary basis, without taking a serious productivity hit. So after two weeks, I’m calling it quits and switching back to the Galaxy Nexus.
So who should get the phone? Well, if you’re still using a BlackBerry, both the Z10 and Q10 will be welcome hardware upgrades that I would unconditionally recommend. It’s also worth looking at if you’re moving up from a feature phone, although I would recommend trying an iPhone, Android or Windows Phone device first.
As I said back in January, BlackBerry is making every effort to become relevant, but it’s too little, too late. If they aren’t able to provide a compelling reason for existing iPhone or Android users to switch, their share of the smartphone market will continue its decline as they fade away into the sunset.