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Why I Don’t Hate Blackberry

Last week I finally decided to embrace the one thing I had been avoiding for a long time: getting a Blackberry. A few of my geeky friends have been quite disappointed and here is my justification to them.

I am a self-professed tech geek. Maybe it’s because Dad didn’t have any sons or he was working in setting up the IT infrastructure of Citibank in the early 90s, but I’ve always been surrounded by computers and gadgets. From the green-screened computers to the latest MacBook, I’ve used them all. It surprises a lot of people that not only can I describe the entire product line of Benefit cosmetics, but I can also code in HTML, C++ and Java.

One of the favorite conversation topics for tech geeks is to hate on Blackberries. If we aren’t trying to convince each other that the iPhone is better than any Android handset (which it is), we are laughing at those people who consider Blackberry a bonafide “smartphone”.  And I was gladly one of those people until last week.

My current iPhone was getting a little too sluggish and I was doubtful it would last until the next iteration of the iPhone so I limited myself to two choices: an Android-powered Nexus S or the Blackberry Torch. And I’ll admit my reasons for embracing a Blackberry are completely superficial.

A good portion of my friends exclusively use BBM. You might say there is WhatsApp, SMS, or even regular voice calls to access those friends but something about Blackberry users makes them a very tight clique.  I would still interact with these friends, but instead of being a part of the planning process of a night out, I would find out once all the details were done and dusted. And while I may be able to convince a few friends to switch to Apple, I can’t wage a war with the entirety of Dubai. Thus it made sense to at least give the Blackberry a chance. And perhaps due to the negative expectations to begin with, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the BB.

  • User-friendliness
    I love that the BB is usable right out of the box. I don’t need to register or connect it to my computer. The menus are straightforward and it only took a day to get used to the menus.
  • Trackpad-Touch screen combo
    I absolutely love the trackpad.  While a touchscreen is great, it’s nice having a trackpad which doesn’t require your entire screen to get fingerprinted. I’m guessing old IBM Thinkpad users will also appreciate the BB trackpad.
  • Cost-effective
    I activated my BB with the Etisalat social package for 50 AED per month. That allows me unlimited Twitter, GTalk, FB and BBM. 40 AED on the iPhone gives you about 50 MB of data, which is adequate for occasional use but definitely not near the unlimited social usage, not to mention the iPhone’s ability to use data even when you are not using it.
  • It’s all there
    It’s been 4 days but I still haven’t ventured into the BB App World because anything I really need from my phone is already there. If there is anything intensive I do need to do, I fire up my MBP and do that easily. While gadgets are evolving, a phone is still ultimately a phone. And even thought the iPhone app store is great, do I really use all those apps on a daily basis?

I’m not saying that the Blackberry Torch is the best handset on the market, far from it. I’ve already noticed its sluggishness and I haven’t quite mastered the physical keyboard yet. But can I make do with it? Yes. Will my opinion change upon the release of the iPhone 4G/4S/4GS/5? Probably.

So forgive me fellow geeks. I guess I’m easily impressed.

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