On April 1, I became eligible to upgrade from my then-current phone, an HTC Evo 4G. I had many problems with the Evo, including its battery life, small hard drive space, tendency to put apps on that I would never use, habit of randomly deleting my data and giant size compared to my previous phone, a BlackBerry; but I did love one thing: The camera. A phone released almost two years ago had an eight megapixel camera that shot pictures of such a quality that it actually astounded people. As a journalist, I came to appreciate that the camera really helped me do more in the field.
But I was aware of the upgrade time and I decided to do research. I immediately decided that I did not want another Android phone because there was nothing about the operating system that wowed me. This left me with either an iPhone or a BlackBerry, so I began to do research.
I had previously owned a BlackBerry and became fed up with the fact that it once crashed and also wasn’t a shiny toy, but in hindsight realized what a great tool it was. It was easy to compose memos and emails on it and it was small. I could fit it easily into my pocket or a small purse. And the only time I ever lost data was when it crashed. It was easy to multitask without losing things on it and I need to be able to multitask. Also, when Advocate Illinois Masonic confiscated my BlackBerry I think it might have actually harmed my recovery in that facility.
The BlackBerry also proved to be physically durable. One day in 2009, I was walking towards the turnstiles at the Fullerton L platform when someone knocked my phone out of my hand, sending it skittering across the floor. To this day, the only evidence of that are small scratches on the top corners of the phone.
A BlackBerry seemed like the obvious choice, but I decided to research the iPhone. I was aware of the problems people had with it as well as the fact that most of the people I know who own iPhones have had their screens crack at one point. The battery life seemed better than my Evo, but still not as good as a BlackBerry. I finally decided to walk into an Apple Store in Chicago to try to have an associate sell me on the iPhone.
I explained my situation and immediately he started gushing about how cool Siri was and demonstrating it to me.
“But I could just type that in on Google,” I said.
He stared at me as he tried to think of something else to say about Siri. “You could also say ‘Call Mom,’ and she’d dial your mother!”
“So, it does voice dialing. Like Ford’s Sync system,” I replied.
“It’s a computer system in selected Ford vehicles,” I said. “What else is great about the iPhone 4S?”
“It has an eight megapixel camera!”
“Okay,” I said, nodding my head while feigning enthusiasm. The problem is that I had my Evo in my purse, which has an eight megapixel camera and has since it came out almost two years ago. An eight megapixel camera is old news for me.
“It also has a faster processer than the iPhone 4.”
This, by the way, was the only thing that seemed appealing about the iPhone 4S over the iPhone 4. I thanked the associate and then went home. On my way home, I realized that there would be two huge downsides to owning an iPhone in Chicago. One was that if my iPhone would ever be acting up, I would have to actually deal with the Genius Bar at Chicago Apple Stores. I’ve had such a horrible experience with the Genius Bar handling my precious MacBook Pro that I now take care of my Apple problems when I’m home in Wisconsin since the Genius Bar at the Wauwatosa store can take care of repairs in a timely manner and do it right the first time. Also, they’re really polite at the Mayfair Store.
The other problem is that owning an iPhone while living in Chicago would mean that I could never have my phone out while commuting unless I wanted my phone stolen. Even still, my life could be threatened by people mugging me for an iPhone, which does happen in Chicago. Since I am opinionated, smart, quiet, blunt and not straight, I’ve already encountered enough people threatening my life and wanting to ruin my career over the course of 20 years. I don’t need to add to that by owning a certain phone.
So on April Fools Day, I went into the Sprint store in Greenfield, Wisc. and purchased a BlackBerry Curve, as did my mother. I was asked by the first associate what iPhone color I wanted and then given a quizzical look when I said, “I actually came in to buy a BlackBerry.” The second associate, who was quite friendly, helped us buy our new phones that are dismissed as archaic pieces of technology that no one loves.
This is of course not true. Some of us want a phone that is advanced yet simple. Not all of us want a touchscreen phone that seems to work best as a toy rather than something to help us get work done. Some of us want a phone that will handle our natural clumsiness or the inevitable roughness of our jobs.
And in that event, an Android phone or the iPhone loses out. Maybe a flip phone is what you need. Or maybe an “archaic” piece of technology by Research in Motion is the answer.
So far, I love my new phone. It’s light, it does exactly what I need and it does it well and I don’t have to worry about forgetting to bring a charger with me to the office. In fact, I haven’t charged it at all today. I don’t care if I don’t have the cool toy that everyone else has; I’m proud that I own a BlackBerry.
Besides, Research in Motion gave us the greatest gift of all with the BlackBerry: Brick Breaker.