Sunday, September 23, 2012

BlackBerry By Choice - Test

As faithful members of #TeamBlackBerry, we know that one of the most difficult things to deal with lately is loosing a friend to another platform. We've all gone though it, and lately it seems to be getting worse. With the most recent BlackBerry Bold being a year old now and new phones like the iPhone5 and Samsung Galaxy III offering some pretty enticing screens/features its almost to be expected to see your BBM contacts dropping like flies.

But what about the people who NEED a physical keyboard? Surely they still exist right? There must be people who have left #TeamBlackBerry for a full touch device and don't like it? Right? The big problem is carrier contracts. If you want a good deal on your new phone you have to sign a 2-3 year contract. So basically you're stuck with what ever device you choose for a long time.

This brings me to today's post. What if you could switch back to #TeamBlackBerry for free for a 3 month trial? Would you try? Would you like it or hate it?

Last Christmas one of my dear friends who had been #TeamBlackBerry for years, bought matching iPhone 4s for her husband and herself. I'm not sure who was more upset, me hearing those words, or her having to say them to my face. Since leaving she has somewhat struggled with the virtual keyboard (me making fun of it along the way). While she likes the iOS platform, she misses things about her old BlackBerry 9700. Especially the keyboard, and BBM. She also pointed out that she found she was less "social" on iOS.  Enter the number one #TeamBlackBerry fanboy with a mischievous plan. I have setup a new BlackBerry Bold 9900 for her to use for 3 months. Her iPhone will be set aside for now. Being a full-time sales manager and running a small business in the evenings will she find that the BlackBerry helps her get things done? Does action really have a symbol? Do I really want to know the answer?

Will she stay? Will she go running back to her iPhone in a heartbeat? Stay tuned to see!

(you may be wondering why now? Why with a 9900? Why not wait till BB10? The answer is simple...because I have a spare 9900 and BB10 is still 3 months away. If all goes well, she will choose to stay #TeamBlackBerry and we can get her right on to a QWERTY BB10 device!)


Update:  After 2 months my friend has decided to go back to her iPhone again.  I'm I surprised?  Not really.  Disappointed?  Absolutely!  I asked her if she would mind telling me the reasons she was going back.  here is what she wrote:

"I first want to thank you for the opportunity to go back and try the blackberry Bold 9900. My old Blackberry did not have a touch screen so I was excited to have the opportunity to try out the phone. The best way I can tell you about my experience is to let you know the positives an negatives I found with each phone and then what ultimately made me decide.
Easy to navigate Social Media
Easy to download music to my Itunes Account
Larger selection of applications
Applications have better graphics (this is important to a 5 year old)
Camera is easier to work with and I like the ability to see the picture you are taking
Internet is closer to a computer format and easier to navigate
No Keyboard
Touch key board is harder to work and I often make mistakes
The auto correct does not work well for me
Emails are sometimes harder to view
I loved my keyboard
I liked the light that indicates you have a message
I loved BBM and keeping up to date with friends beyond social media
I like the weight and size of the blackberry
The layout of an email is easy to read
The phone would often freeze
For the first part of my trial I could not open instagram pictures (since has been fixed)
I am not sure how to download music on this phone
I found I still needed to carry my Iphone
I find social media difficult to navigate through
The ultimate decision came from carrying two phones. I often would forget to charge my iphone and go to teach and have no music and scramble to get the phone charged. I would be in the middle of teaching and need a song only to find no way to download it. I also use the iphone at times to entertain my 5 year old son when I was in a sto e. The BlackBerry games were not as user friendly for him. I am sad to leave BlackBerry as I do believe in the brand. I hear good things for the future of the product through Mark. I will always keep an open mind but for to day I need to return to the product that works for my current lifestyle."
The good thing? All that she complained about a BlackBerry is fixed with BB10!  I will get her back again! 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Project: PlayBook in a car

If you follow me on Twitter you've probably read about my latest project.  Being a big #TeamBlackBerry guy AND a car guy brought my worlds together for the first time.  My car, a 1992 Plymouth Laser RS- AWD (think Eagle Talon/Mitsubishi Eclipse) has been a hobby of mine since new.  Over my 20+ years of ownership the car has been transformed from a stock car to a highly modified street car.  Friends know there is little left on the car that has NOT been modified in one way or another.  One of my pet projects years ago was to install a computer in my car.  This was way before we had mobile media devices and was at the very beginning of the MP3 movement.  I dissembled an old computer (P200mmx) and installed the pieces in the car.  I used a small screen in the dash where the radio used to be and installed a smaller head unit in the A/C vent.  It worked well for music, Nav and even movies.  Years later I redesigned the entire computer system and used a more up to date 1MHz computer and a small touchscreen in the dash.  One day I was staring at my PlayBook and know it's about the perfect size for the car.  Hmmmm,  the wheels began to turn. 

Move forward to the new 4g LTE PlayBook and some spare time with the car :-)  I have created a mount using the stock radio trim.  This mount allows the PlayBook to be inserted/removed and allows for the audio jack to be connected.  I've installed a few apps that are automotive related including a couple of navigation apps.  Future plans might involve a BlackBerry Music Gateway and a power source (currently no charger for the PlayBook).  Watch the video below and get a bonus tour of the car itself :-)

Here is my inspiration.  This is the QNX Jeep with a beautiful touchscreen interface...looks strikingly similar to a PlayBook doesn't it?