I purchased my first Blackberry, a 7800 model, in 2005. Even with a contract, it cost about $350. The phone could barely connect to the internet on a good day, and I can’t remember if it had wifi connectivity or not. I owned four different models of Blackberry after that first one, all with increasingly bad-ass names: the Pearl (not very bad-ass), the Curve (am I being graded on my choice of phone?), the Bold (now we’re talking…), and the Torch (oops, there go my pants!)
There was only one problem: beginning in about 2007, the cultural influence and general bad-assery of my phone steadily declined against that snotty upstart, the iPhone. I, like most Blackberry loyalists, didn’t see the allure. Why would I need an app to order pizza? I can do that with the part of my phone that sends my voice through the air to a cell tower, then across fiber optic lines and into someone else’s ear. I also appreciated the fact that the Blackberry still allowed you to type on actual (albeit tiny) keys, rather than ethereal spots on a touchscreen. During my lawyering years, the Blackberry seemed like the tried and true, wise choice for a professional. All of this changed one clumsy summer day.For one thing, I was beginning to notice that a few of the iPhone apps were pretty useful, and that Blackberry’s choice of apps was getting smaller (or so it seemed). I was still attached to the buttons on the Blackberry, though. You know what made me realize I could live without the buttons? My last Blackberry was the Torch model, which has both touchscreen and keyboard options. In June, I dropped it into a basin containing water (okay fine, a urinal), and the touchscreen stopped working. I realized how much I relied on the touchscreen for everything other than actual typing (i.e. scrolling, video games), and realized I did much more of that than actual typing. Plus, my fiancee and everyone else I know in the world uses the iPhone, so it was sort of like owning a networked Playstation when everyone else is on XBox Live.
In July 2012, I caved and bought an iPhone 4S. (I don’t care that I could’ve gotten an iPhone 5 if I’d just waited a bit. In the tech world, you can always get something newer and cooler if you’d just wait.) I got an iPad last year (an iPad 2, if you must know, a few months before “The New iPad” came out.) In August, I bought a Macbook. My journey to the Apple side is complete, although I still maintain that I can get by without 90+% of the apps.
The Blackberry holdouts have now come to resemble the dogged Apple loyalists of a decade ago. Except that Blackberry shows no signs of a miracle resurgence. You were good to me, Blackberry, but I guess I’ve moved on.