I’ve been using a Z10 since BlackBerry launched the smartphone in February 2013. At the time, I was upgrading from a Windows Phone—which itself was a disastrous downgrade from an iPhone 4—and after the learning curve of BB10, it felt alright.
In fact, it felt pretty damn good.
I’ve never been a big app user, and while BlackBerry’s platform did come up short of even my hopes in that department, rare was the occasion where I truly felt limited by my mobile OS’ app availability. In most ways, BB10 won me over. I’m not alone: taking apps out of the equation makes BB10 the world’s best operating system, apparently.
Fast-forward a year-and-a-half and I’m looking to buy the next-generation iPhone when Apple unveils it early next month. I work on an iMac and a Macbook and an iPad, you see, and as much as I’ve enjoyed the Z10, it’s always been an outcast amongst my gear. Plus, one recently developed area of apps sorely lacking on BB10 has started to bother be: fitness apps. Virtually no tracking hardware includes a BlackBerry app, and I want to start self-quantifying.
Being familiar with iOS and having owned an iPhone in the past, I know what to expect. I also know there are a few things I am genuinely going to miss about my Z10.
1. The flashing red notification light.
This isn’t the first time I’ve swapped a BlackBerry for an iPhone as my day-to-day smartphone, and it’s certainly an adjustment to have to activate the lock screen to know if there are notifications waiting for me.
This is probably the most minor thing I’ll miss, but it’s always been a nice bonus BlackBerry’s offered. (It will also suck physically pressing a lock screen button as opposed to simply swiping up from the bezel on my Z10.)
2. The keyboard.
Typing with BB10’s keyboard has been a pleasure. It’s fast. It’s smart. It’s still the best damn smartphone keyboard out there.
iOS 8 promises improvement to the iPhone’s keyboard, which is actually among the worst currently (in my opinion). That should finally help bridge the gap, but I’d be rather shocked if the iPhone’s keyboard fully reached the level of effectiveness that BB10 boasts.
In all my travels I haven’t experienced notifications/communications consolidation on a mobile device as efficient as the Hub. It’s easily my favourite thing about BlackBerry’s OS: slick, intuitive one-finger gestures allow me to look at all of my notifications and communications at a glance—and respond to them, as the Hub is fully functional with all its actions. T
he ease with which I can check my email, texts, and social networks is unprecedented. The iPhone in this regard is apt to feel clunky and cumbersome. It seems that where BlackBerry is at its finest—typing, email, etc.—the chinks in Apple’s armour are biggest.
In the end I know I’m going to be happy with my new device and will eventually get over the lost perks of my old Z10. But it reminds me that no mobile OS has everything and they all have room for improvement—and that even the smaller players (considered stagnant or even dead by some) are still outshining the big guns in certain areas.