Thinking of ditching BlackBerry? Here's what you'll gain - and what you'll lose

Thinking of ditching BlackBerry? Here's what you'll gain - and what you'll lose

Summary: Given the choice, it would seem many BlackBerry users are keen to move to a different platform. If you're wondering whether to switch from BB10 to a rival platform, here are some issues for you to think about before you make your final decision.

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  • BlackBerry was once the king of smartphone makers. With its latest OS, BlackBerry 10, the company made a huge effort to bring the platform up to par with Android and iOS, yet BlackBerry remains perilously close to extinction — even its CEO John Chen only gives the company a 50-50 chance of survival.

    A recent campaign from T-Mobile in the US encouraging BlackBerry users to trade-in their devices for rivals' handsets raised Chen's ire. Initially, T-Mobile only offered users the chance swap to non-BlackBerry devices, but offered to make it up to fans with a new shipping deal for BlackBerry handsets after Chen blasted the carrier for its "inappropriate and ill-conceived marketing promotion".

    Sadly for BlackBerry, though, most people went to its competitors: an internal T-Mobile document revealed 94 percent of subscribers that took up the offer switched to a non-BlackBerry device.

    Most were probably ditching their older BlackBerry 7-powered devices but soon enough owners of the current BB10 line will have to make the decision whether to upgrade — if BlackBerry is still around by then — or move on.

    So if you're considering your next mobile move, what are the pros and cons of switching you should consider?

    Image: BlackBerry

  • BlackBerry 10 Hub and Flow

    When BlackBerry introduced BB10, it launched the platform on two handsets — the classic QWERTY keyboard Q10, and the all-touch Z10.

    The decision to not include a home button on the Z10 was a departure from iOS and many Android devices, and gave BlackBerry a chance to rethink how swipes and gestures could replace typical home button controls.

    Two features of that decision were BlackBerry Hub and Flow. 

    BlackBerry Hub provides a centralised access point for all BB10 messages, whether they're emails, calls, SMS, BBM or other messages on Twitter, Facebook and so on. Hub can be brought up by swiping a finger from the left of the screen.

    iOS and Android of course have their own native notifications centre, but there are a few differences. For one, their notification centres are not quite the central feature that Hub is in BB10 (more on that later). 

    BlackBerry Flow isn't really an identifiable feature in the same was that Hub is, but rather a term BlackBerry uses for how, using slides and swipes, BlackBerry owners can navigate between apps without relying on either Apple's double-click based home button or Android's multi-task soft button.

    In BB10, Flow operates within the context of apps running side by side, which can be accessed by swiping left and right to flick between apps. It's meant to make it easier to jump out of a half-finished email to find contacts and then pop back in to complete it.        

    The two BB10 features are about saving time and re-thinking control without a home button. If you're a fan of either, don't expect to find exactly the same features on either of the two most popular smartphone platforms.

    Image: BlackBerry

Topics: Mobility, Mobile OS, BlackBerry, Smartphones

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

20 comments
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  • henceforth

    Why I would never give up my BlackBerry Z10
    Georgefly97
  • 94% of T-mo's customers ditched because..

    Had T-Mobile been stocking BlackBerry 10 devices in the store, you wouldn't have had the tremendous number of people leaving the platform for a rival platform.

    However, when someone comes into the store with an old phone and is told they have to wait to get their phone in the mail, rather than walking out with a shiny, new iPhone or Android in a few minutes, moat are going to obviously choose the latter...

    especially given the perception that BlackBerry is no good, or bankrupt, as most people aren't close followers of the actual state of affairs. What they see is that the phones are missing from the store, and when the salespeople OBVIOUSLY push for iOS or Droid, that's where they go.

    I absolutely love my BlackBerry, and I'm not going anywhere.
    SupraTico
  • Missing more

    First I'm a multi device / OS guy. I have all the current devices to use and at the moment use a iPhone 5s, Samsung Note III and a Blackberry 10 device. A big thing you omitted that keep me using Blackberry ....

    Blackberry by far has the best integration with Microsoft Outlook. If there is a feature in Outlook Blackberry has likely made it available. The depth to how I can manage my Exchange Mailbox and content is second to none - period.

    Best Contact management - Blackberry
    Best Calendar - Blackberry
    Best Email - Blackberry

    At the end of the day and you strip your device down to what really matters - I use my Blackberry more than anything. I've tried - oh I've tried to equal this with iOS and Android and they just even come close. Apps and entertainment - no contest. Blackberry is not that device. Considering my day is 80% professional and 20% personal maybe I'm an out liner to the masses who enjoy Candy Crush Saga, Selfies and streaming video.

    I'm not saying Blackberry is better, as clearly the consumer market has different needs. But I run into people everyday that say " I used to be able to do this on my Blackberry ..." ha!
    MobileAdmin
    • Agree completely

      As a "professional" device, BB is still tops. I have a Q10 (personal) and an iPhone5 (business) and I dread having to use the iPhone for anything work-related - it is just less efficient than my Q10 on doing anything related to email / calendar / contacts / files, particulary anything that involvs an element of multitasking.

      I really hope BB can hang on, because I don't look forward to the day when I need to switch to a non-BB device...
      DBRem
    • I am also multi device

      my current 2 phone rotation is a Z10 and a Nexus 4. I love BBs OS, gestures make so much sense when handling a glass slab. My main concern with BB is the apps. I have several android apps on my Z10 but they are buggy. Blackberry needs to get google services on their devices. As for my work phone, (a Bold 9900) still the best typing experience ever. Everything else though is meh.
      2low_tech
  • BlackBerry Z10 also has the best specs

    BlackBerry 10 phones are superior phones.

    Compare to iPhone:
    BlackBerry Z10 has a higher resolution screen, higher pixel density, and a larger screen.
    More memory.
    A faster CPU.
    A multi-tasking, secure boot, Unix-based OS.
    A longer lasting, and replaceable battery.
    A microSD card.
    A mini USB connection
    A mini HDMI connection.

    Read the DadDoes comparison with the iPhone.
    bb_apptix
    • Nice

      Here's my list:

      1. Higher PPI than the iPhone 5s.
      2. Best virtual keyboard ever created (with "flick typing").
      3. Double the RAM than the iPhone 5s (2 GB vs. 1 GB).
      4. Removable battery.
      5. Expandable storage via microSD slot.
      6. Standard Micro HDMI port.
      7. World-class security.
      8. BlackBerry Hub, Peek, and Flow allow you to seamlessly check your messages from within any app without the need to go in and out of apps using a "Home" button.
      9. Flash.
      10. Fastest mobile browser (http://bgr.com/2014/02/06/blackberry-10-browser-test-iphone-android/).
      11. Most HTML5-compliant browser (including desktop browsers).
      12. Cross-platform BBM (also heading to Windows Phone and Nokia X platforms in a few months).
      13. BBM Video with Screen Share.
      14. Camera with Time Shift.
      15. Lower average cost.
      16. Standard Micro USB charging port.
      17. Above average battery life.
      18. Ability to run 90%+ of Android apps.
      Nate650
  • Why Would Anyone Want to Ditch Their BlackBerry?

    It's such a great phone!
    bb_apptix
  • Best Business tool by far

    I have been through Bold, torch, Iphone, Samsung S3 and S4 and then Z10 and now finally landed on the Q10.
    It is by far the best business tool I have ever used!
    I selfishly, really hope they stay in the game...
    nabihsalem
  • Wait for Q20 for multi-lingual input on one hand

    I'm still using BB Bold 9900 because Q10, was a good upgrade for the OS but the design had many flaws, it doesn't handle multi-language input flawlessly on one hand, in fact you needed three fingers to switch from English to other languages, and I input Chinese. Also there was not text message signature available, but they did add the ability to make an email signature in Q10. Q20 will be out mid-year and bring back the trackpad and Start,stop keys, Blackberry isn't Apple and Apple does have a solid QWERTY keyboard for productivity like Blackberry, end of discussion. If I were Blackberry, I would sell a QWERTY sleeve for the iPhone, that would have been a great strategy (Ryan Seacrest tried this, is being sued now). People also forget Blackberry security is much better than Android, although Apple security of their online store is excellent. I also have an iPHone. Between iPHone and Blackberry, you cna handle your job efficiently. Blackberry's camera is actually very good and the video capture quality good, but not as good as the iPHone.
    karljweaver
  • forget Documents To Go

    There's AndrOpen Office which is an Android port of OpenOffice, the computer version of the open document office suite which now belongs to Apache, but is free to use for everybody. The computer version can read MS Office documents, so I expect that its Android version can do the same. Probably better to use on a tablet, but could be of tremendous use on a mobile phone as well.
    bart001fr
    • Free for BlackBerry

      Docs to Go is free and pre-installed on all BlackBerry devices. It supports all the popular cloud-based storage ,with the unified share function and BBM Screen sharing in BB10 it is unmatched by its competitors.
      TheStoryUp
      • Docs to Go

        I hope it's better on Blackberry than on Android. I use many of the office packages on my Android phone (they have different strengths and weaknesses). I find Docs to Go the worst in handling my document, particularly spreadsheets and presentations. For example, many of my slides in Docs to go just consist of a grey background with a black rectangle with the diagonals drawn in as well.
        DJL64
  • Lies

    94%? What are the total numbers from this short sale? Please, this was all part of a war of words between Blackberry and TM. You want the truth about what you'd get if you switched to BB10. Watch this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ybhn4UbWUsE&list=UUG20rXlEUWfFI1p2B5n3akg
    xBURK
  • Always coming back to BlackBerry

    I bought a BlackBerry Bold 9700 from T-Mobile back in 2010, and it was such a great phone. Never crashed, always stable, email/SMS was easy. It was just a solid, solid phone.

    The next phone I bought was a Samsung Galaxy with Android. Hated it. Was like using a Windows 95 with the constant crashes and slowness. Android left a bad taste in my mouth.

    I switched back to the BlackBerry Z10. A sigh of relief. It is solid, responsive, fast, and hasn't crashed on me. My only complaint is that AT&T still hasn't released the OS 10.2.1 upgrade (which they promised would be released this month).

    I am rooting for BlackBerry to continue. I think I will always own a BlackBerry.
    IronManJoe
  • Nobody want to ditch their BlackBerry 10 ( that is if you actually have it)

    Blackberry 10 ( I am using Z30) is the best mobile platform on the market. If author of this article actually used it (at least for a week), this article will be titled "Thinking of ditching iPhone or Android? " My company is ditching Samsung Notes and getting mix BB Z10 and Q5 this month. And if want modern, secure, productive and stylish mobile phone, you should switch to new Blackberry.
    CathyWeir
    • Time to share your thoughts with friends

      I have written many a letter to the editor on the strength of BlackBerry products. Particularly BlackBerry 10. I think BlackBerry 7 was actually a dated platform, behind iPhones of even a few years back - but a good messaging machine. BlackBerry 10 does all the messaging while becoming as good a smart phone as anyone.

      Only one suggestion, Q5 a bargain for no contract kids to text like crazy. The Q10 is a premium business phone. Everyone at work loves the Q10.

      But let your friends know. The problem is BlackBerry is criticized by people who compare a cheap 5 year old Curve (whose even heard of a functioning 5 year old iPhone??) to the competition. The Z30 is really like what an Android COULD be, without malware and with a better intuitive design. The Q10, classic BlackBerry but with first rate smart phone cred!
      HenselM
  • BlackBerry 10 products are quite good

    I don't think "upgrading" from BlackBerry 10 is a fair term, as this is a slick OS, the Q10 a revolutionary update to classic BlackBerry with all the strengths and for those who have tried the Z10 or even better Z30, the reviews are great.

    BlackBerry allows users to import all Android apps, so # of apps is not an issue. As Android is finnicky and buggy, it is best suited to young people who could easily do the same on a more reliable Z30, with great battery life, good camera and intuitive interface. For us middle aged set, the Q10 is still a slick touch screen, secure durable and good gps, battery life and Open Table. Plus remains the Rolls Royce of email on your phone
    HenselM
  • Mobile providers have a stock of iPhones

    T Mobile and a lot of other vendors have a big stock of iPhones that can not been sold so thy are trying to get them out
    ponnet.jan@...
  • blackberry

    I used my business email on my ipad and instantly got tons of spam to by business email accounts, thank you apple - never happened on my blackberry.

    I used a samsung S4 and have tons of problems using my personal hotmail account, again never happened with my blackberry.

    my wife and daughter have gone through 6 iPhones in 2 years between them, I still have my 3 year old torch and it works fine. I stick the torch in my pocket with no cover and it keeps on trucking, the girls have elaborate cases, but the iPhones are delicate prices of art. The S4 is a nightmare, every "update" screws up the email, and it fails at the worst possible time.

    I need the phone and email to work, period, full stop. blackberry gets that, everyone else treats the phone as a fashion accessory and the phone working or getting email 24/7 is a maybe.
    berourke@...