Before Apple became the dominant force in the mobile phone market, another fruit-bearing company was ruling the industry: Blackberry. Everyone wants one, and many will agree that it laid the foundations for what smartphones would eventually become.
As you can see, Blackberry offers users absolute freedom: they can access their email on the go. But, a decade later, the company’s stock has dwindled, and Apple and Android have taken control of the market.
Today, blackberries are a relic of the past. But, many users still have fond memories of their device. After using quite a few, here are seven things that only Blackberry users will remember.
1. That sublime keyboard
In a world full of touch devices, many still miss the tactile response from physical keys when typing. I, for example, certainly do. Blackberry has fully installed a physical QWERTY keyboard on mobile devices.
Sure, at the time, Nokia and most other companies were using standard T9 keyboard layouts on their devices, but Blackberry really changed the game. From writing long emails to almost full articles, the Blackberry’s physical keyboard was truly ahead of its time.
There have been a few phones released with physical keyboards, but nothing could match the uniqueness of Blackberry’s QWERTY keyboard. This iconic keyboard is what allowed people to reply to emails as if they were replying to text messages.
2. The undisputed superiority of BBM
Before iMessage, Facebook Messenger, or even WhatsApp, there was BBM or Blackberry Messenger. All the cool kids in school used BBM, eschewing texting in favor of a more robust and interactive option.
At the time, we didn’t know much about cryptography, although that’s what made it a popular choice for the business market. All you need is your BBM PIN, an eight-digit number that allows you to chat with others easily.
BBM ended consumer support in 2019, but it’s hard not to remember the sweet memories of chatting with friends for hours on end using this service.
3. Unparalleled security
BlackBerry devices were among the most secure on the market. In fact, the US president will continue to use Blackberry until 2015, long after the brand has faltered.
And no, it is not because at one time non-Blackberry users did not know how to unlock Blackberry devices. This was the time when the cybersecurity industry was still taking root, and Blackberry was way ahead of its peers.
All emails sent to and from Blackberries are routed through the Blackberry Enterprise Service, which provides end-to-end encryption. This is not all. RIM, the company behind Blackberry, used a tight integration of hardware and software encryption mechanisms, providing first-class data protection.
4. Send and reply to emails like a pro
Blackberry phones played an important role in fueling the rise of email after the turn of the millennium. A unified inbox brings all your communications in one place, allowing you to respond to emails, text messages, or BBM messages from a centralized hub.
The physical keyboard has made typing emails fun on Blackberry. And thanks to Blackberry’s great infrastructure, sending and receiving emails was a breeze. An issue to bring up here is that Blackberry also allowed employers to send emails to employees even after work, which eventually became an issue.
It’s easy to say that BlackBerry changed the perception most people had of mobile phones. These devices don’t simply offer calling or messaging services anymore, but it’s one of the devices you can use to write detailed emails.
5. Ping Annoying
If you owned a Blackberry in its heyday, you know what I’m talking about. The previous app for things like Poke on Facebook was Blackberry’s Ping. Once you send one, it will trigger the recipient’s phone to ring.
The concept was simple: If your friend doesn’t reply to you, just ping them. It would make their phone buzz, grab their attention, and hopefully get them to respond. However, most of us never use it the way it was intended. Instead of sending one and waiting for a response, we’ve been spamming and sending several at once, which often elicits angry reactions.
While I definitely remember Ping, I’m also happy to see the back of it. While it was fun to spam others, it was very annoying when your phone starts ringing constantly.
6. That battery pulls
One of the things I missed in my old Blackberry devices was the battery life. BlackBerry devices can easily last two days without causing any problems, something that even today’s most powerful phones can’t compete with.
but that is not all. Most Blackberry devices at the time had a plastic back, allowing you to remove the battery and put it back in. Unless you’re a really heavy user, carrying a spare battery isn’t a concern.
Blackberry devices have been subject to wear and tear from time to time. When that happened, you just had to open the back cover, take out the battery, and put it back in. Unfortunately, this feature is no longer available, as most manufacturers are now going down the planned obsolescence path.
7. There is no need to remember your own phone number
Most people don’t remember their phone numbers, in part because of the movement started by Blackberry.
In the early 2000s, the company revealed a feature where you could just type instead of having to type in your number. Digital, and will immediately replace it with your actual number. It doesn’t seem like a huge advantage now, but it was definitely one of those subtle quality-of-life improvements that Blackberry was known for at one point.
Technology has come a long way
Blackberry simply couldn’t keep up with the innovation rate of its competitors, which eventually led to its demise. Companies like Samsung and Apple have continued to introduce new features that meet market demand, while Blackberry has hedged its bets, focusing on its rapidly dwindling consumer base.
These companies now release new phones every year, while Blackberry is now focusing more on enterprise security.
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