The challenge for BlackBerry

Brian Lam on the new Blackberry: "If you like BlackBerry and keyboards, I'm not going to try and change your mind and I'm certainly not going to try to understand you. I accept you, and we can agree to disagree. ... You should not buy this phone unless you have emotional and cultural reasons to love Blackberry"


  1. TL;DR:

    “I haven’t used the phone.  I haven’t seen it.  I don’t like Blackberries at all.  But I’m upset that everyone’s talking about it, and not reading my reviews of iPhones and Android phones.  In order to get more pageviews, I’ll write a review of the new Blackberries with so little information that I have to quote a tweet about a review in order to fill up the screenspace.”

  2. I want Blackberry and RIM to do well.  They didn’t “invent” the smartphone, but they really did bring them into the mainstream.  I had two Blackberries before I got my iPhone.  Consumers are better off when there is competition.   For all those reasons, I want Blackberry to do well.  But I have an iPhone because they are better and there are way more good apps available for them. (I haven’t tried the new Blackberry.)

  3. This is why I hate TheWirecutter as a tech blog. Say what you will about The Verge supposedly having an Apple bias, but at least they review things before dismissing them out of hand. It bothers me that this site has gained as much traction as it has.

  4. All of you dude-centric gadget geeks should at least try to realize that touch screens will not work (easily) for you if you’re a woman with long fingernails…or a drag queen…not that there’s anything wrong with that!

    1. Ladies with long fingernails just need something with a resistive instead of a capacitive touchscreen. All the old Palm devices had resistive touch sensing,  you could tap things on the screen with the tip of your nail.

      Or you could always get a capacitive touchscreen-compatible stylus.

      1. Right, resistive screens were a much poorer technology, a $5 stylus (or keeping the thumbnails trimmed down more) would do her far better if she were to stick with touchscreens.

        1. I can see the headlines now: “Thousands poisoned by high-tech nail polish contaminated with heavy metals. China implicated.”

  5. Fingernails are something I hear over and over and over again. 

    Apple needs to release a non-toxic clear coat nail polish that is electrically conductive. I am not at all kidding here.

    1. Yeah, nobody ever bought an iPhone because they “have emotional and cultural reasons to love” it.

  6. Keyboards are excellent input devices for the written word.  Touchscreens are not.  When I switched to a touchscreen phone, my ability to communicate was reduced.  Instead of being able to easily draft professional email messages at over 40 WPM, I was time-limited to 1-3 line responses.  Almost everyone I know who has switched has admitted that their ability and willingness to draft content has vastly reduced.

    And for this, the tradeoff is more screen real estate to watch movies, etc.  I really don’t get it.  I can’t believe people who have had keyboards are so blase about losing them.

    1. Amen.  And that’s the thing with Blackberry.  I had an original Crackberry pager around the Dot Bomb era, and when you could thumb type with those things…it was almost better than sex.  

      No touch screen ever has approached that level of input.  They’re just too imprecise and lack any real feedback.  And the newer phone keyboards got it all wrong.  They scrunched the keys so close together that it was impossible to only hit one key.  Someone should go back and study that keyboard the next time they think about doing a phone keyboard.  If there’s no space between the keys, and no way to hold it so you can thumb type, it’s pointless.

      1. Sadly, the art of QWERTY keyboards is becoming lost. I just got a replacement for my old phone and the keys have less travel and less tactile feedback than they did before. Keys should be damn clicky, so you know by feel when you hit it. Even on those little thumb keyboards I should never find myself looking at where my thumbs are located, or checking to see if a key registered. I should be able to type full sentences with my eyes closed.

        What happened to that?

    2. I miss my keyboard very much so (I’m a slider fan). Swype like inputs and voice to text are surprisingly good, but still not quite there yet.

      My current phone is sans physical keyboard, simply because the current slider models are under powered (for me) or running manufacturer crapware that I detest.

      I could have made one particular model work, but it was just as much of a brick as my 3 year old phone. Perhaps a bluetooth keyboard that snaps onto the back of a phone would be interesting?

      I think the biggest problem is low sales for physical keyboard phones, combined with compromising many of the other key features of a phone- dimensions, weight, screen size, etc.

    3.  Amen here too.  I so miss my BB keyboard.  I have the same experience you had. 

      The friggin’ spellchecker on my company-issued iPhone drives me crazy – especially when I have to reply in French.  I’ve tried using the iPhone with the spellchecker off, but it’s impossible, because I make so many typing mistakes without (I have large hands, big fingers).

      I have to type a lot of part numbers, composed of letters and numbers.  Also, I like using punctuation – which is a pain to do on the on-screen KB. 

  7. Blackberry and Palm are the only ones which got the core PDA functions — calendar, contacts, notepad and phone — absolutely right and integrated. If that’s what you want, iPhone simply can’t do it due to the high firewalls between applications, and even finding *isolated* implementations which are as streamlined as the Blackberry or Palm is an uphill battle.

    And some of us do enter enough text that thumb typing — without relying on iPhone-style autocorrect and all its embarassing flaws — is a significant improvement. Again, that’s the business users.

    And Blackberry pulled ahead when they started offering business-level security.

    Maybe Android can be configured to this level of functionality. iPhone can’t, and as it’s architected never will.

    (Yes, I’m still using a Palm Treo. It does what I need well. I’d _like_ to do all the fancy newer stuff, but I’m not about to upgrade until it *IS* an upgrade across the board.)

  8. Maybe 6 months ago Brian Lam’s round up of LED light bulbs erroneously included a CFL he labeled as an LED.  It was clear that whatever ‘research’ he had done for the piece didn’t really involve purchasing or using any of the bulbs.  His name will forever stick in my head as a hack reviewer, and a lazy compiler of information.
    Lam might know a lot of things, but as someone who quite confidently thinks (and claims) he knows more than he does, he’s not to be trusted for an honest review of anything.

  9. Please fix the link, so we can all see what a complete and utter douchebag this guy is.

    A phone that just launched last week has less apps available than iPhone? You don’t say…

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