Apps I Love: Milanote

I know I’m not the only one that adds things to my to do list that I’ve already done just so I can immediately check them off. I’ve tried so many ways to keep track of to do lists, whether it’s keeping them in a physical notebook or downloading an app. Because I have this overwhelming knowledge of to do list options, I figured I would share my most recent find!Read More »

Why Physical Keyboards Matter in a World Full of Glass

Once upon a time, there was a world where having a full physical keyboard was a very big deal. You no longer had to use T-9 to text, and you could fill the entire 140 character limit with ease! Keyboards quickly became the norm, and trying to type on anything else seemed like a ridiculous idea. Today, the scene is a little different. Most people are complacent typing on glass, their fingers never truly getting the satisfaction of feeling a button click down and pop back up. For these people, I feel sorry. After seeing the glorious physical keyboard on my BlackBerry, they almost always exclaim, “OMG is that a keyboard?! On a phone?! Oh man I used to love my BlackBerry.” And as my new favorite commercial states, I reply, “I still do.”

Most people are very familiar with the BlackBerry keyboard. Almost everyone has owned at least one BlackBerry in their life, whether it was for personal or work. Unfortunately, glass screens became more and more popular while the keyboard faded away.

Or did it? I think the physical keyboard is more important now than ever. With numerous glass screen options out there, BlackBerry is our only hope for those of us that love to “click” keys. While the KEYone that I’m currently using boasts an amazing keyboard, the KEY2 has upgraded even more. For those of you who “used to love your BlackBerry”, the KEY2’s keys were modeled after a Bold 9900!

It seems like typing on glass is something we put up with because that’s what phone makers are giving us. As noted in my very official research study via a Twitter poll, when people do have a keyboard, they absolutely love it.

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 8.52.00 PM
Sorry, camera.

If you’re one of those people who “used to love your BlackBerry”, but are now attempting to type on glass, it’s definitely worthwhile to check out the KEYone, or better yet, the KEY2. Because your fingers deserve it.

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BlackBerry KEYone Review

Now that I’ve owned the BlackBerry KEYone for two months, I thought it was time to write a complete review of it. I think the fact that I haven’t switched to a new phone yet is a very good sign! Read More »

New Year, New Phone (Again)

A new year means a time for people to have an excuse to reinvent themselves. Some people work on their fitness, some people will change their style or hair color, but I use it as an excuse to try new technology. After trying out the Pixel 2 at the end of last year and really disliking it (which you can read about here), I knew I needed a different phone, but didn’t know what direction I was headed in. In typical Lauren fashion, a new opportunity was presented to me. An opportunity with a keyboard and long battery life (without paying $29 to replace the battery). Read More »

The Ideal Phone

With all my back-and-forth switching from BlackBerry to Android to BlackBerry to iPhone to Android to iPhone again, I’ve come to realize what I want in a phone doesn’t exist in one device. So, if I was going to create my ideal phone, here are the features it would have:Read More »

BREAKING: Lauren Kortbein has switched platforms…again

A long, long time ago, I was a BlackBerry addict. I had numerous devices, from OS 7 all the way up to BlackBerry 10. I was such an addict, that when I switched to iPhone, it became a “thing”. (You can read my reasons to switch here.) Someone actually wrote a blog about why my reasons to switch were invalid and how getting an iPhone made me an “iSheep”. I was hounded on social media for weeks about being a traitor to BlackBerry. So while I would prefer not to live through that experience again, I do have an announcement: I’ve switched platforms yet again. But I’m getting ahead of myself…Read More »

Tough Love: Why We Left Our BlackBerrys

As you have probably noticed, we have recently made the change from BlackBerry to iPhone (which you can read about on Lauren’s blog and David’s blog). We’ve gotten a lot of questions and comments from this switch, and because of that, we decided to write a blog post about the reasons why. Since we both got BlackBerrys at the same time, and then switched to iPhone at the same time, we thought it only appropriate that we create a unified blog post about it!

How We Got Involved in BlackBerry

Lauren: I’ve always been a huge supporter of BlackBerry, and absolutely loved their phones. My first smartphone was a BlackBerry Storm back in 2009, and I’ve had BlackBerrys ever since. The #TeamBlackBerry community was just another reason I chose to stay with BlackBerry. They helped me with issues, supported me in my various endeavors, and became some of my closest friends! As iPhones became more and more popular, I swore I would never buy one. My friends eventually all switched to iPhones, even the ones who were as dedicated to Android as I was to BlackBerry. It was hard constantly explaining why I continued to love BlackBerry, why their devices worked for me, and why I hadn’t tried an iPhone yet. Since I had never used anything different, all I knew was BlackBerry. I thought they were the best phones for me, and no other phone would even come close.

David:  My intrigue with BlackBerry began in 2008 when my mother brought home a BlackBerry Curve 8330.  I was fascinated by a phone with the ability to load full web pages and one that had a full QWERTY keyboard.  In 2009, when it came time to upgrade, I chose a Pearl Flip 8230 to be my first smartphone and my first BlackBerry.  The more I used my BlackBerry, the more I loved the experience, and that experience is what brought me back in 2011 to a Torch 9810, a Z10 in early-2013, and a Z30 earlier this year.  With every passing BlackBerry device that fell into my hands, the more entrenched within the #TeamBlackBerry community I became and, soon enough, I found myself surrounded by some of my now-closest friends and the only thing which brought us together were our BlackBerry devices.  The allure of the iPhone and other competing operating systems normally felt distant, for a long time because BlackBerry’s experience felt better, but also because where BlackBerry lacked in a truly encompassing ecosystem, it excelled in forming a tight-knit community of users, most of whom cared about each other.  With every new BlackBerry came a renewed resolve, a resolve that I would never use anything but a BlackBerry in my life.

 

What Made Us Switch

Lauren: When one of my friends switched to the iPhone 6, I decided to test out his iPhone 5. After using it for a few days, I realized that this was actually the best phone for me. I was worried that I liked this phone so much! I was always defending BlackBerry against Apple, saying how you couldn’t possibly be productive on an iPhone, and how they were for people who wanted to conform. After using the phone for a few weeks, I realized what I should have realized years ago. Just because you support a company and appreciate the products they create doesn’t mean it’s the best product for you.

David:  In mobile, there are only two (well, three, now) companies that develop the software and manufacture their own hardware; Apple and BlackBerry (and now Microsoft).  As such, I’ve always found every iPhone since the iPhone 4 fascinating.  However, the experience (combination of both hardware and software) was never enough to pull me away from BlackBerry. Still, I levied my opinion on the iPhone as if I had used one.  As someone who loves technology, especially mobile technology, and a computer science undergraduate student, I recently began feeling that it was unfair of me to do this.  Admittedly, it became harder to say why my BlackBerry was the best choice for me, let alone my friends, family, and anyone else who asked for my opinion on the matter.  BlackBerry’s new enterprise-focused direction and target market further convinced me that it was time to explore other devices, OSs, and ecosystems.  It’s difficult to say that this was fueled by a dissatisfaction for my Z30 or BlackBerry 10, but it was a feeling of alienation that pushed me to fulfill a wish 4 years in the making; the wish to give the iPhone its fair share of a chance.

 

Why iPhone is Currently the Best Phone for Us

Lauren: Social media is my passion, and it’s the career path I plan on taking after college. Because there are so many new platforms and apps designed every day relating to social media, I need to stay up-to-date with them. This is the critical area that caused me to rethink my phone choice. BlackBerry doesn’t have the major apps that I need and want, like Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr. Yes, there are Android apps that can be sideloaded, and there are native versions of these apps, but they just can’t compare. As much as I risk sounding like Jony Ive, everything on iPhones just works. The apps work as they should, the OS itself is lag-free and it has all of the features I want and need. Sure, there are things I miss on my BlackBerry, but things like the hub and LED come second to apps and compatibility.

David:  When I used to tell people why I chose a BlackBerry over other devices, I would say that I didn’t use many apps and that I didn’t need them.  Well, the fact of the matter is, I never knew what it meant to have many apps to use and the world’s largest, most polished app library from which to choose.  Now I have access to apps for services that I’ve used while on my BlackBerry, like Pinterest, WordPress, and all of my tennis apps. Of course, there are certain things about my BlackBerry that I miss; swiping to reach the BlackBerry Hub, the flashing LED, the typing experience, and BBM on BlackBerry.  However, when it comes to the most consistent, most polished, most power-efficient operating system on the market, it’s very difficult to make a case against iOS.  Everything really does just simply work as you’d like it and, for the most part, in a very elegant and efficient fashion.

 

The Future

We can’t predict what will happen in the future, and we certainly can’t predict what phones are coming out in the upcoming months/years.  When it comes to what devices we’ll be picking up in the future, it’s difficult to predict with much certainty.  Right now, iOS is our operating system of choice because it works the best for us above its competitors.  With that being said, the door is never fully closed on the possibility of returning to BlackBerry.  We’ll be ever observant and supportive of the company that made us passionate about smartphones, hoping that it fully recovers and wins in the enterprise.  Even more than that, though, we desperately hope to see BlackBerry return to the consumer market with devices that can compete for the hearts of consumers like us with a version of BlackBerry 10 that exudes the polish and elegance of iOS while, at the same time, does so in a very BlackBerry-like fashion.  Whether it be through carrying one of its devices or purely through our sentiments, we’ll always support BlackBerry and our #TeamBlackBerry community.