So there i was on Christmas day, sat around the family table exchanging presents and hoping, for the love of god that my little sister would like her Blackberry.
Being the one member of the family other than the tech freak of a sister I have, Christmas day was spent setting up a Blackberry. No, before anyone starts this is not a bashing or fanboy article. I spend what resources I have to look for what alternatives there are in the mobile phone ecosphere however it seemed to feel like windows 95 in a windows 7 world, even more so DOS akin to Mac OSX.
Sure setup was easy enough and there was really no need for a technical person to be involved but it was the whole first moment, hands on experience which shows why Blackberry have lost market share. Yes, life isn’t all about looks, presentation yet when it comes onto making a first impression with a mobile device, it so is. Take Android for example the whole premise of an open source development arena sounds great with the ideology being non arguable. Walking into a mobile phone store people have expectations and the first experience comes with the UI interface. Like going into a bar and meeting someone in this day and age, anything less than perfection is a waste of time.
I can’t say the interface was slow yet there was a lack of engagement, setup felt like a slow, processional chore of a task rather than the excitement of waiting till the end when I could do the most basic of tasks, read email, reply to Facebook etc.
Once setup for the features that a blackberry eludes to there is really no fault to be found. Instant message, notifications along with a learning curve of sharing a PIN made for an experience. In non blackberry world a PIN is something you keep safe and secure, not sharing with the rest of the world. I get the idea but in a world of security it would be more than easy to misconstrue sharing a PIN (aka a ATM number)
It wasn’t the worst of time nor the best of times but a good experience that I had with competitors hardware and every engagement I have with a none Apple device I enjoy, wanting to prove me wrong for my like of all things Apple. In order to remain insightful avoiding the pitfall of fabboi’ism I try to engage with as many devices as I can. So yes I try devices to say, prove me wrong, show me I am wrong for owning my iPhone?
So when I hear about stories that say young kids are embarrassed to have an iPhone due to the older generation having one I have one word to say… Bollocks
As my 13 year old little sister demonstrated, its not the technology but its the apps that make a phone. Getting all the cool undiscovered apps that none of her friends have was paramount, next to that of sending messages in a BBM style. My god it took US ages to try and find how install Apps from the Blackberry world. Come one and say it, ” It shouldn’t have to be spelt out to you” wrong yes it should!!!
People harp on about the Apple lock in with the Apps eco system and the hand holding. Before I could setup the Blackberry I HAD to get an exclusive Blackberry phone plan, not a data plan but a specific data plan just to allow usage of BBM. That might be a touch picky however slapping a sim into an iPhone that had data enabled on it worked, without any hassle.
Three UK tried the same tactic with me, telling me that a specific sim was needed to use with the iPhone 4s. A normal sim card cut down to size has done the job now for 3 months!
When you get a new device you want to tinker, play and explore with the minimalist of fuss yet the Blackberry didn’t give the feeling of wanting to erk outside their echo-sphere. It took a bit of googling, trial and error to get to a point of bookmarking the Blackberry Apps website to start seeing what we could do with the phone. In short it lacked the engagement provided from Apple and Android. Windows phone doesn’t get a mention here as the tiles see the be all and end all but that;s another article when I spend a few days with one.
From the mouth of babes and god bless children for having an opinion on everything as they are spared from the experience of life and just say things how they are. I asked her why not an iPhone instead of the Blackberry and the response resonated like that of many apple haters, the cost. From a 13 year old she realised that it was an elitist gadget despite all those who say its for adults and that;s why the iPhone works. Creating desire to own such a gadget.
Desire aside, engagement of the device is more important to me. I want the device to hold my attention and crave my desires in an efficient way. iPhone 4 form factors sucks compared to how gorgeous the 3gs felt on day to day usage.
Embarking on the 170 mile trip home I knew that the phone was doing the basics that a 13 year old sister wanted it to do, spend a stupid amount of time engaging with her friends online, ignoring her parents (and brother) doing what teenagers do. Though I still wish she had an iPhone.