BlackBerry diaries: the verdict

With a week of the Q10 done and dusted, Nic Healey reflects on his experiences with the hardware and the operating system.

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Well, it's been a full week since I set up the Q10, and I have one thing to say: I was wrong.

I chose the Q10 to use with BlackBerry 10 because, to me, it was 'classic' BlackBerry. As an old Bold fan, I wanted to use something that felt like the quintessential BlackBerry experience, and in my mind that was the physical keyboard.

Heck, I've even often opined that BlackBerry should have lead with the Q10 instead of the Z10 to present people with a sense of being "back in business".

I was wrong.

The Q10 may echo the classic BlackBerry appearance, but BBOS 10 isn't a classic BlackBerry operating system. It's a very modern OS, it's a very good OS and I'm completely mystified as to why more people aren't using it.

I'm not suggesting that iOS and Android users need to fling their chosen phones into the nearest river and make BlackBerry CEO John Chen's dreams come true. But I'm struggling to understand why more BlackBerry owners aren't using it. Remember, when we first started this series, BlackBerry had just announced that under one third of the devices it sold in the final quarter of last year were BB10 enabled.

Heck, the company is committed to keeping the BB07-running Bold alive and is even going to manufacture new ones.

So I definitely should have chosen a more modern smartphone to use for this series. It should have been the Z30, probably.

But even on the Q10, this week has been an extremely positive experience. There's a steep learning curve using BB10. There's a learning curve with any new OS, and the BlackBerry is arguably steeper than many. But once you're across it, it's a highly functional, very clean OS that works well.

Would I swap over to BlackBerry fulltime? That's a difficult question. I've been mired in the Android ecosystem for many years, from phones to tablets to chromebooks. My big pause around BlackBerry would be the app selection. As I noted on day three , running Android apps on the BlackBerry works, but still feels more like a 'work around' than a true feature.

If BlackBerry can get a little more stability, and even offer the Android 4.4 runtime environment, then this would be a far more compelling offering.

But I have to admit that it's a far more tempting proposition than I would have believed a week ago.

I know that for native apps we're in a chicken or egg situation - lower usage numbers make it less financially attractive for the devs, while a slimmer variety of apps make it less attractive for a certain type of user. I'm not sure what can be done about that, to be honest.

But it strikes me that BlackBerry has a far better product than I'd given them credit for -- I've certainly not been leading any BlackBerry cheer squads recently.

But this week has shown me otherwise. John Chen says the company will be cash flow positive for the next four quarters and profitable again by 2016. BlackBerry certainly has the right product - let's see if it can make the right business decisions.

 

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