Hello, my name is Matthew, and I might buy a BlackBerry (updated)


HARRISONBURG, Va. — That’s a mistake.


That’s embarrassing.

Don’t. We care about you.

That’s what my family and friends said to me when I told them I’m considering buying a BlackBerry Q10 to replace my iPhone 4s, which is using Apple’s new operating system to kill itself.

To be fair, the worst phone I ever owned was a BlackBerry Storm. It was what was then called Research in Motion’s answer to the iPhone. And it was terrible. I still remember pulling out the battery once a day to restart it after the touch screen froze.

But I’m ready to give BlackBerry a second chance.

BlackBerry has a new overlord (John Chen), and the Canadian company whose U.S. market share remains puny has been renamed Blackberry Ltd. It also has a new operating system (BlackBerry 10) that appears, after my one trip to the Verizon store, to work smoothly.

The Q10 is a snug fit in the hand, and the specs are comparable to the fanciest smartphones — the ones with better reputations and a more leanly muscled sex appeal — notably the screen resolution and camera. It has a real, physical keyboard, and that’s attractive. I like buttons.

Superficially, and perhaps most importantly, the BlackBerry Q10 just looks cool (to me; no one else is giving it a chance). People buy bottled water based on the shape of the bottle. Apple is popular because its products are pretty. They work, too — and that’s important, but if the iPhone, MacBook and iPod weren’t so aesthetically alluring, they wouldn’t have their status. It’s important for stuff to work, but it’s also important for them to look good.

It also helps if there’s a lifestyle attached. Right now, BlackBerry has no lifestyle. And if it has a lifestyle, it isn’t hip. It has my dad, who is a reluctant iPhone owner but misses his buttons. It has business people and it has Obama, but he’s not allowed to have an iPhone for security reasons. Still, the BlackBerry is a power phone. Just watch House of Cards. And if you have, you might also say that BlackBerry is the phone of homicidal Congressmen and his henchmen.

I haven’t committed to a BlackBerry. I have concerns — transferring music from iTunes, how the square screen limits Internet scrolling, and the app selection, which is weak. But that’s OK, at least with me. I call, I text, I email, I tweet — I occasionally Snapchat pictures of food (tonight, I made lemon muffins) and funny-looking people to a couple of friends, but I can go on without Snapping.

I haven’t decided if I’ll go BlackBerry, but I am thinking about it, despite the indignation of my family and friends who may or may not be planning an intervention.

And, just for fun, the aforementioned lemon muffins, individually wrapped for ease of distribution.

photo (1)Update, Feb. 7, 2014, 2:53 p.m.: I bought an iPhone 5C for $99, not including tax. It was a shame purchase.

Two Verizon-store employees, independent of each other, told me I would be an alpha-level moron (not exactly those words, but it was implied) if I bought a BlackBerry.

As reasons to buy anything other than a BlackBerry, they cited — from a list long enough to sort alphabetically — the phone’s embarrassingly small market share, the fact that the company would likely be solely a government contractor in coming years, and that I am not an affluent businessman or Obama.

So I bought a 5C, which I like, except for the color. I wanted black, but it does not come in black, only white, pastel blue, pastel green, pastel yellow and pink. After asking if Apple wanted men to buy the phone, I picked white. It’s neutral and doesn’t make me look like a 14-year-old girl.


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