An Ode to the BlackBerry User


So I work at a technology company, which pretty much guarantees that whenever you get the latest gadget or gizmo, people here go nuts. They want to share with you their experience with similar products, poll you on how you are enjoying said product and ask you to try it out. After all, a bunch of us are self-described tech geeks.

So you can imagine some people’s excitement when I came to work one day with the new Motorola Droid Razr MAXX 4G Android, a phone that burst onto the mobile marketplace earlier this year and was touted as the thinnest smartphone ever designed.

“So what do you think!” excited -- and maybe jealous -- co-workers asked.

“Eh. I miss my Blackberry.”

Yes, you read that right.

I miss my BlackBerry. A lot.

My name is Carrie Schmelkin and I am a BlackBerry-aholic. Okay, a former BlackBerry-aholic and only because RIM failed me enough times that I finally had no choice but to cave and go the Android route… reluctantly. Very reluctantly.

As I am sure any of you BlackBerry users out there can attest to, saying goodbye to your BlackBerry is like saying goodbye to that old ratty sweater you have had for years. You love it, find it comfortable, are eerily attached to it and forgive its shortcomings in keeping you warm because it has an awesome design.

Similarly, BlackBerry users are often devout consumers, find the phone easy to use, are eerily attached to it, and forgive its shortcomings – like being able to deliver you emails, grant you access to the Internet and allow you to receive all text messages –because it has BBM (an instant messenger for BlackBerry users that is nothing short of awesome, trust me).

But after the umpteenth time of having to take the battery out of my phone because it froze, apologize to friends via phone call for never responding to their texts because my BlackBerry decided to stop sending iPhone users responses, and uttering expletives in public places when my phone would not connect to the Internet, I knew it was time to look into getting another sweater.

My decision to get the Droid Razr was not a conscious choice but one that was pretty much made for me when I marched into Best Buy and demanded the cheapest phone that would deliver emails and allow me to check the New York Times on my phone sometime this decade. For reasons I can’t understand, I somehow ended up with a free Droid Razr (I only had to pay $40 for the activation fee, thanks to my friends at Best Buy in Norwalk!) And with one signature, I became the latest BlackBerry user to kiss RIM goodbye.

I can only describe these past few weeks as reminiscent of the grieving process. Allow me to explain.

1.       Shock and Denial: The first few days after my purchase, I found myself staring at a phone that, while beautiful, is way too smart for me. And I am not being self-deprecating when I say this. Questions started flowing through me like crazy such as “How do I silence my phone?”, “How do I make a call with no keyboard?”, and “What do all these apps do?” Then came the denial part as I convinced myself that in the 10 days I had left to bring my phone back and reactivate my Blackberry, RIM would get its act together and allow me to once again enjoy a simpler time.

2.       Pain and Guilt: About two weeks into my Droid journey, guilt overtook me. What about my few friends that were still on BBM? Would they feel abandoned? Would we really have to resort to “What’s App?” I started wondering why the human race even needs such a glorified phone. Surely we could all save our hundreds of dollars and help out a charity or something.

3.       Anger: Anger soon kicked in, particularly since using a touch keyboard is nothing short of frustrating. After all, if my Droid is so “smart” how come it can’t tell that I am pushing “s” on my touch sensitive keyboard instead of “d” as in “shame on you Carrie for giving away your BlackBerry that has a keyboard.”

4.       Depression and Loneliness: Yes I am reluctant to admit that depression sank in as my 10 days passed and I realized I was stuck with my Droid. My depression became extremely intense when I came to terms with the fact that I would never again hear that glorious BBM chirping noise -- or have a phone that was inherently simple. I was now fully immersed in “smart” land.

5.       Upward Turn: As my co-workers promised, suddenly I caught a glimmer of hope and it came in the form of a live wallpaper setting. I chose a background in which with the tap of my finger I can always know the temperature outside. Little did I know that my phone also illustrates the weather. Specifically, one inclement morning I glanced down at my phone and it was raining. Yes. Raining. The wallpaper on my phone was drizzling and as the rain outside picked up so, too, did my rain as my background went from drizzling to torrentially pouring with lightning. Yes my phone lightnings. Okay, that’s pretty cool.

6.        Reconstruction: Then came the adjusting stage – accepting and adjusting to life sans BlackBerry (a step that was made easier when two of my friends also left the BlackBerry club). It’s sometimes a dark road to reconstruction but phone features such as voice recognition software, GPS apps that talk, and a browser that allows me to bookmark make things a bit sunnier.

7.       Acceptance: I can proudly say I have entered the acceptance stage, which of course leads me back to the first stage of shock as I cannot believe I am adjusting to life with my new smartphone. I am enjoying the quickness of the phone, the fact that I can upload music, that I can watch YouTube clips and that my emails are not getting lost in cyberspace. I even find myself smiling now when my phone “rains” and bragging about the feature.

So to my co-workers… fine, you were right. You said I would learn to love it and while I am not there, I am slowly entering into the “I’m OK” with it stage. Love has to around the corner right?

And to my few sole BlackBerry users: Cherish your time with your BlackBerry and its keyboard glory. Unfortunately, RIM no longer has our back and you will be forced to start your journey and seven stages of grief sooner rather than later. But don’t worry. We’ve all been there.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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TechZone360 Web Editor

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