We weren't ready to declare BlackBerry dead. We had hopes for the once-leader, now-follower. They were the only company to take smartphones with keyboards seriously. They were also the only smartphone company not entangled in that PRISM nonsense. Plus, their BlackBerry 10 OS looks nifty, and can even run Android apps if you install them manually.
That's a lot of promise that will almost certainly not be realized. It's been less than a month since BlackBerry (formerly known as Research in Motion) announced that it was looking to sell the company, or go private, or do anything to survive. So far, there have been no takers. It was with a yawn then, that we received the news that their newest QWERTY keyboarded phone would be for sale at Sprint.
Q10, Months (or Years) Too Late
It's a bit obvious to say now, but BlackBerry is playing catch-up with OS 10 and their two "new" phones, the Q10 and Z10. At this point, their market share is close to zero, even lawyer loyalists have moved on (mostly), and they are essentially starting from scratch in an industry dominated by Google and Apple.
You shouldn't buy the Q10 at this point. For one, it's launching with a $199 price tag on Sprint. The phone was announced last year, was delayed until April on AT&T, and is just now reaching Sprint in late August, reports Engadget. The hardware, mediocre to begin with, is now dated and mediocre and expensive. Did we mention that the company itself is searching for a suitor? Dead company means no product support or security updates when the inevitable happens.
In six months, much like HP's Palm smartphones and tablets, these will be available for nearly nothing. If you really want to try the Q10, wait for the fire sale. And if the company does find a bailout, they'll likely start making new phones with up-to-date hardware, which will also make these Q10s drop in price.
You want a keyboard. We get it. Touch screen keyboards are awful, and we have yet to find a voice transcription app that understands slang, colloquialisms, profanity, or non-English names.
Though the phones-with-keyboards market is miniscule, word leaked last week that Motorola (owned by Google, so they aren't going anywhere) is going to release the Droid 5 on Verizon in the near-term. It has a sideways-sliding keyboard that tucks behind the screen when you are watching videos or surfing the web.
Keyboard? And a parent company that will be around for the next two years? The Droid 5 might be worth the wait.
- Grim future ahead for fans of "worthless" BlackBerry (PC World)
- From CrackBerry Addict to iPhone Junkie: A Lawyer's Tale (FindLaw's Technologist Blog)
- BlackBerry's Q10 Their Most Important Phone, Some Lawyers May Love It (FindLaw's Technologist Blog)