Blackberry is betting on their BB10 operating system to bring their sagging line of phones into a state of relevance. In trying to appeal to a wider demographic and bring on more carriers to market their devices, their loyal customer base is feeling alienated.
The big problem with Blackberry 10 is the way it handles incoming and outgoing email messages. All prior versions of Blackberry phones sent data through the company’s own data servers. If you sent out an email, instead of being sent through your carrier’s own servers, it went to Blackberry’s. This gave you lightning fast pushed email, something nobody else was able to match. Since Blackberry’s own email servers are super secure, it was the device of choice in the business and government sectors. It provided a high level of encryption, and obviously this is important to people because of the entire NSA PRISM scandal. BB10 devices are anything but secure.
Blackberry 10 handles all data and email by sending it directly to your phone carrier. Instead of the trusted and quickest method of internally handling all data, you deal with your phone company. Since data is no longer being compressed and delivered, data roaming charges go up. We have heard from many travelers that their data roaming fees have increased over 600% compared to BB7. Slowness is also now a huge issue, as time sensitive correspondence is depending on where you live and how your carrier handles data requests. This is the main reason why Blackberry data packages are no longer being offered. Email basically on a Blackberry 10 device is handled the exact same way as every other smartphone.
Blackberry still provides secure email, delivered very quickly on BB10. The drawback is that you have to spend thousands of dollars on licensing it for your corporate network. It requires very unique equipment and the installation on very specific software. It is certainly not applicable for your average small and medium business owner.
It feels like Blackberry has lost their way. Since they’re trying to appeal to a wider audience, old school users do not have the same experience they once did. I have had every single Blackberry phone since the original Pearl and have been really loyal to the brand. After owning a Blackberry 10 phone and being severely let down by the way email is being handled, I bought an iPhone. Many other users have also claimed that they, too, have switched brands after upgrading to a BB10 device. Now, I use my Torch 2 for email and my iPhone for everything else.
I think Blackberry realizes that many users are still using older legacy devices because of the solid refinement of BB7. This is prompting them to release new hardware by the end of the year, with good hardware specs and the older operating system. It should deal with Blackberry’s own email servers and might appeal to people who rely on email more than other users.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.