Commentary by Mark Stone at PinStack
In this modern age of smartphones, it is very, very unusual to use a single device for a 12 month period. Look around - The machines that were new, and so, so special and cutting edge just a year ago are already hopelessly outdated. Or, at least, the marketing departments in the smartphone world would like us to think this. Who uses a Xoom? Who even knows what a Xoom is?
It was June 1, 2011 when I bought my "new" BlackBerry Bold 9780 from T-Mobile, with a contract extension. The device was already considered old at that time. It had been out on the market for about 7 months. However, "old" in the smartphone world and "old" in my hands are two different things. With a heart full of excitement and anticipation, I posted boldly in the PinStack forums about my new Boldie on its way!
Of course, I was not disappointed. It arrived UPS overnight and was in my hot little hands that very afternoon. I carefully put in my SIM, and then fired up the luxurious little phone right away. Complete and utter BlackBerry. Bright densly-pixellated screen, awesome physical qwerty, that wonderfully welcome red LED at startup! A true BB. It took only a few minutes to transfer all of the data over from my aging Bold 9700 into the OS6 laden noob, and the ol' 9700 shipped to an Ebay purchaser a few hours later. My 9780 - In my hands, thank you!
A full year has passed. My Boldie, with its Case Logic camera case, has weathered 12 long months. Is there a single scratch on the little critter? Nope. Does every button work? Yep. Is the screen still little and bright? Yessir.
The logic of keeping a single smartphone for an entire year is simple. Well, twofold; Contracts last 2 years these days, so an upgrade is not available yet. Nevertheless, the device, like a true BlackBerry Champ, has done exactly what I have needed it to do. It has been at my side for the entire year and has recorded videos (about 300), taken 5MP pictures (about 4,300), and recorded voice notes. The Wi-Fi feature has given me hundreds of hours of Sports News, YouTube videos (my favorite: Tommy Emmanuel, the guitarist), thousands of facebook posts (both through the browser, and through the app) and email. Not one penny have I paid to T-Mobile for Data. If they want Data money they should not sell handhelds with Wi-Fi. If you have a smartphone with Wi-Fi and you're paying your carrier for a data package, you are destitute and silly. There, I said it.
During the year, the 9780s calendar has done a marvelous job keeping me organized. I have over 500 entries in the calendar app, reminding me about Birthdays, when to take out trash, what I'm supposed to get at the KMart, etc. The calendar marks historic events, too; this past weekend was the first anniversary of the untimely deaths of Harmon Killebrew, the great Minnesota Twin first baseman, and the legendary Macho Man Randy Savage. My little 9780 Calendar reminded me, so I can think about those sports heroes and reflect. I also do not - - repeat DO NOT - - forget the Wedding Anniversary, thanks to my Boldie.
As a musician and songwriter (Don't go into shock: visit http://www.myspace.com/apamarkstone) the Memo app was irreplaceable. Riding on the bus, or walking down the street, and a lyric or idea wanders through my head? Whup out the ol' 9780, open the MemoPad, record the thought. I never forget anyone's name when I first meet them!! Why? It is lovingly typed into the MemoPad, and then the next time I am going to see the person I look them up. People think I have a clear, sharp memory. Never forget names, never show up late, always remember the smallest details. Ha! My 9780 is my Frontal Lobe.
Sure, other smartphones have tempted. How can they not? The Android phones and the iPhones and even the Windows Phone Nokias are all amazing. Sometimes I see my Niece with her iPhone 4, which she is justifiably proud of, and she guides me through many of its features. Am I impressed? You bet! Apple did a great job. I have another niece that has a Verizon Droid by Motorola, and she carries it around like a status symbol. Is it great? Does it work? Is it amazing? Heck Yes!
Looking at other smartphones fills me with hope for our industry. There is so much innovation, whether brilliant (like the Motorola RAZR Droid, or the new Nokia Lumia 900) or misguided (like that silly Xperia Play). If I ever decided to leave BlackBerry for another phone, the possibilities are absolutely endless. Does Android, iOS and Windows have great calendars, Memo apps, Task managers? Do they surf the Internet with ease and are they able to send emails? Just like my Frontal Lobe? You bet your rosy red - - um, you know. Leaving behind the Boldie after its year and moving on really wouldn't be a bad thing, now would it?
About ten minutes ago I reached over and grabbed my Case Logic camera case and pulled out my BlackBerry Bold 9780. 12 months of investment and use. I looked at it for a few seconds, then said out loud: "My God these things are sure useful". I wondered whether I could keep it free of scraches for the second 12 months? I'll find out - - Starting now.
Did I mention that the little monster makes and receives phone calls? Dang.