I had a difficult relationship with my two Blackberries over the past few years. I was a long time holdout against the Crackberry craze, even going so far as to buy the Motorola Q in order to avoid buying a BB. I believe the Q was the end of the road for Motorola in terms of smartphones – if not it certainly should have been – and mine drove me into RIM’s arms. And initially I was pretty happy with the BB experience.
Ours was a difficult relationship from the beginning and yesterday it came to an end. There were two main frustrations for me:
- No apps. Its not that there aren’t any BB apps but more that the platform is so ill suited to creating easy to use apps and as a result there aren’t as many to choose from and the ones that are out there aren’t cool. And for the most part they weren’t free either.
- Unstable OS. I don’t know what else to call it. You’d think that after all the years that RIM has been creating software they’d have it figured out by now but they simply don’t. Every BB owner knows what a battery pull is and I counted on doing one at least once a week. I tethered my BB for computer access and when tethered I had to pull the battery probably every 6th time I used the phone to access the internet. And talk about a cludgy access system – hook the phone up by cable, run the BB Desktop software, wait for Desktop to connect to the phone – sometimes a long wait – sometimes requiring a battery pull to complete – and then finally connect to the internet. If a battery pull was required you could literally drink a cup of tea while the phone rebooted.
On Friday we drove up to Saskatoon in the afternoon so that Marilyn could attend a memorial service for a woman she worked with at SIAST. That evening we stayed with Doug and Jo. Doug calls himself “retired guy” now but despite his age he’s always been my techno-geek hero. So there we were Friday night sitting on his couch with him showing me the wonderful shit his iPhone will do. And telling me about his son-in-law who has an Android that he think is even better than the fruit-phone.
I’ve always thought that if you were going to own an iPhone and make use of all its features then you needed to drink the Kool-aid and go the whole hog with the Apple experience. I’m simply not prepared to do that. I’m quite happy with my Windows machines and I have several of them. I’ve got a lot invested in Windows software that I’m not prepared to give up in order to start over on an Apple. But Android is another matter altogether and I had seriously considered that whenever my BB finally puked completely I would likely replace it with some kind of Android phone.
That’s probably as far as it would have gone except for one of those strange twists that fate often puts our lives through. Saturday morning we had a leisurely breakfast with Doug and Jo. About noon we finally got motivated to start back to Regina but Marilyn wanted to check in on a friend that she hadn’t been able to contact for a couple of weeks so we went around by her apartment and Marilyn ended up getting the building supervisor to let her in. It turned out that her friend was actually in a fairly serious emotional crisis so Marilyn ended up spending the rest of the day with her & I needed to keep myself entertained. Somewhere along the way I ended up standing at a Jump.ca kiosk in the mall talking to a kid about phones and it wasn’t a great leap from there to me walking out with a new Galaxy SIII Android phone.
And what a phone it is – I can’t believe I have waited this long. The only part of the process that was even remotely challenging was figuring out how to sync my Outlook calendar, contacts, tasks and notes to the new phone. That’s not completely seamless and it wasn’t with my BB either. The Android solution is significantly different than the BB solution – I’m not sure which one is better but it appears that the Android solution works. OK – figuring out how to answer the SOB was a bit stressful too but I’ll come back to that later. I’ve got a couple of weeks to evaluate it after which I could return the phone but I doubt that will happen. The apps are wonderful.
I’ve got a weather app that works – I can see cloud cover, look ahead, get wind speeds – all the stuff that should be easy and was next to impossible on my BB. Last night I followed the Rider/Pussies game on my Rider app. I had the CFL app on the BB but it was a joke c/w the Android version. I’m really looking forward to getting back to the boat so I can try out some of the nautical apps. And best of all it was almost free. The kid in the kiosk hooked me with “free” and then reeled me in for about $130 but it was such a pleasant experience I never felt he had deceived me.
OK – I do have one bitch. When it rings the screen lights up with a big green phone on one side and a big red X on the other side. That seems simple – touch the green phone to answer – touch the red X to ignore? Right? Not a freaking prayer it could be so simple. It rang once yesterday and I couldn’t get it to answer but I didn’t think much about it because it was all so new at the time. However this morning when it rang multiple times with an Alberta number I was getting more than just a little frustrated with my inability to do something as simple as answer my phone. Of course the “manual” that came with it was no use. If you can imagine this – the so-called manual never once mentions the fact that this is actually a phone – you know – for making phone calls. No, it talks about how to text and how to browse and how to take pictures and and and. But never once does it mention that when that green ringing phone appears you have to wipe it, not touch it. Thank goodness for Google. And thank goodness for some other poor sap with the same problem I guess.