By Jennifer Lynn
Looking around myself on the train, there’s a sea of bowed heads, all crouched over their smartphones texting, Tweeting, Facebooking. Standard. Who wants to make eye contact with each other on the commute? Certainly not me, particularly because I appear to be a bit of an outcast on this iTrain. Of the fifteen or so people I can see around me, without craning my neck and looking like a right nosy bugger, ALL of them are tapping away into their iPhones. Me? My name’s Jennifer and I’m a Blackberry-holic.
It started in my much, much younger years, before eight-year-olds had smartphones, when the 3310 was merely a glimmer in Nokia’s eye. My obsession with Hollywood was going strong, Paris and Nicky Hilton made all their calls on them, and that was all that mattered to me back in those days. I coveted the mini computer like nothing else, but back then they were reserved for business people and socialites, of which I was neither. Now I like to think I’m both (yes, that was sarcasm… sort of) and my beloved BB Bold has been helping me along the way for the past twenty-one months… which means I’m probably due an upgrade. But in our Apple-obsessed society, what’s a girl to do? Brand loyalty vs. the allure of Instagram? Buttons vs. touch screen? Heart vs. head?!
My first Blackberry was the Curve something or other, complete with the wee rollerball they stopped making because everyone’s got stuck, but mines didn’t. Nope, I loved that wee rollerball and everything it stood for: advancing technology, my own independence and just generally a step up from my Samsung Tocco. Then came another Curve affair, this time with trackpad, a Bold, a brief flirtation with the Torch, and back to the Bold. Not the fancy Bold with touch screen either, just a classic, black, trackpad Bold.
This has been my longest relationship with a phone to date; in fact, my longest relationship point blank. We got together in September 2011, the week before a wonderful trip to Milan Fashion Week, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. This was also around the time that Blackberry’s tablet, the Playbook, launched and I was given a free one with my new contract. Sat on the front row at Just Cavalli, I felt oh-so-chic tapping my show notes into it, and it was great for watching movies on the plane to boot. However, it never really got off the ground, did it?
That’s the thing about Blackberry; for all its email and internet goodness, there’s been a shortage of apps made for the platform in recent years, as developers chose to hit the iPhone and Android market hard. The same thing has happened with the Playbook – when the ever-popular iPad and any Android tablet can do so much more, why would you buy into brand Blackberry?
For me there’s an element of brand loyalty and sticking to what I know. I know I can email on my BB at lightening speed, keep up to date with the three Twitter accounts I need access to on a daily basis, take review notes at gigs… the list goes on. I’m not a major touch screen fan; I haven’t been since the days of my aforementioned Samsung Tocco, hence why I sold my Playbook after a couple of months of using it as a glorified movie player, and why the my relationship with the Torch was the shortest in the history of me and Blackberry. But, and this is a very superficial but, YOU CAN’T GET INSTAGRAM FOR BLACKBERRY. And when the rest of the world are ‘toasting’ their selfies before they post them, how’s a girl to compete with her bog standard BB camera?
I had hoped that this problem would be rectified with the launch of the new Blackberry Z10 and Q10, along with their fast, fancy new operating system. Research in Motion, the company behind Blackberry, promised 70,000 apps for the launch earlier this year. However, thus far, no Instagram.
The thing is, I really don’t want to sell out. I’ve been dreaming of the Q10 launch for months, skipping over the Z10 due to its lack of buttons, yet now here I am at upgrade time and I’m seriously considering taking a bite from the Apple tree. I mean, I have a MacBook that I treat like a child, so it kind of makes sense. I’m also badly in need of a new iPod, so a shiny iPhone 5 would really kill two birds with one stone. But can I go through with it? I just don’t know.
We’re all aware that Blackberry is at its pivotal make or break point, and I’m really not sure my heart could take it if they folded, especially if I was part of that process. But Marc Jacobs doesn’t make Blackberry covers, does he?! In the war of fashion over function, the iPhone is just a lot more on-trend, and I can’t quite bear the thought of being SO two years ago.
This weekend, when I enter my phone provider’s shop and prepare to haggle my butt off, I will remember a story my auntie once told me about her trips to McDonald’s. A slender-looking, well-kept woman, you would never have guessed how much food she could pack away, but she had one particularly problematic vice. She told me, “Every time I’m walking up to the counter in McDonald’s, I say to myself, ‘McChicken Sandwich meal, McChicken Sandwich meal. Then I get to the desk, they ask for my order, and out pops “two Big Macs please!’”
So in the world of Blackberry vs. iPhone, the iPhone is my McChicken sandwich, yet somehow this weekend I think I’ll be gorging myself on two Big Macs. No cheese please.