Thanks to the team at BlackBerry, I have taken delivery of a brand spanking new BlackBerry Passport.
You know the one. The super-wide one, with the keyboard. The one you’ve been wondering about. The one you’ve been quietly evaluating for just a few minutes, every now and again, before going back to your old iPhone, Android or Windows Phone, right?
Well I have.
This is exactly what I’ve been doing ever since I had a play with the Passport properly at Mobile World Congress earlier this year.
I finally dropped a note to BlackBerry and said I’d like to come home.
I was a huge, huge BlackBerry user.
I was a massive BlackBerry fan. Just search the annals here at MIR to read the tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands?) of words I’ve written about them. Oh, and I’ve filmed dozens of interviews with executives at all sorts of BlackBerry Worlds from places diverse as Rome, Berlin, Orlando and San Francisco.
I didn’t desert BlackBerry, rather than there was, if memory serves, a changing of the guard at BlackBerry PR. One moment I knew everyone and was in constant touch and the next moment, I didn’t. And then I got tremendously busy with consulting work.
And I didn’t upgrade my old Bold. Instead I diversified. I’ve always carried a ton of different phones and I ended up using a variety of Windows Phones, Androids (hello to Honor and Sony!) and of course, iPhones.
Another complicating factor: I stopped using a BlackBerry for work purposes. That was keeping me connected to the gorgeous messaging experience.
Speaking of that, I’ve long held that there is nothing better for messaging than a BlackBerry. If you’ve ever been a serious user, I think you recognise that too.
There was a hayday for BlackBerry. I was talking about this with fellow 361 Podcast member, Ben Smith just the other week. It was when the old Gmail app still worked on the old BlackBerry operating systems. Do you remember it?
Geez it was magnificent. Absolutely flipping brilliant. I got through so many emails on that with my ‘e’ (“archive”) key on overdrive. A tiny messaging fairy died on the day Google announced they were discontinuing support for the client.
You see I loved BlackBerry’s native email. I still used that. I had all my gmail arrive in there. That’s where I read and replied to stuff. But I used the Gmail client to quickly clean up my mailbox in flipping record time.
(Probably the biggest problem I’ve always had with BlackBerry is the lack of ‘archive’ key as I’m such a big Gmail user.)
However. I digress.
I’ve taken delivery of the Passport and set it up. I have to admit I was a bit rusty with the UI. Although after seeing IBM’s tip top super-genius social media expert Andrew Grill (“Global Managing Partner, Social Consulting, IBM… what a job title!) rocketing through his messages with his prized Passport, I had a quick refresher.
This evening I stuck on Gmail and Facebook. Woosh. It was all coming back to me.
I have three takeaways for you right now:
1. The screen size is glorious. Web pages, documents and emails look brilliant. The web browser in particular was like using a tablet or desktop. I was astonished when I clicked on to a Telegraph.co.uk article and found the embedded video playing there in the window. It really is ideal for viewing.
2. That keyboard. It is lovely actually typing again. Although I am still getting used to:
a) Holding the device properly. You need to hold the Passport much lower than you would an iPhone. It’s been coming back to me.
b) Remembering all the intuitive BlackBerry things. Long press for capital letters, that sort of thing. And the fact the keyboard is actually touch sensitive!
3. The battery: I haven’t had the opportunity to give it a decent workout yet but the battery is clearly sizeable and I think the ‘all day working’ point is likely to be valid.
Very interesting indeed.
I’m going to give it a proper work-out over the next few days. In the meantime I’d welcome your recent views and experiences of BlackBerry (not just the Passport).