Meet the CrackBerry users BlackBerry is looking to retain with new OS

By Patrick Avenell

One of BlackBerry’s primary goals now that it has launched BlackBerry 10 is to retain and reclaim its traditional enterprise base, which have been lured away to other handsets and operating systems over the past few years. We spoke to three current users to find out their thoughts.

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Simon, a 35-year-old accountant working in London has been using a BlackBerry since it was first assigned to him by his employer, a major financial institution. He said he was “happy-ish” to be using a BlackBerry, although his work “bans app downloads which limits broader usefulness”.

Simon was originally given a choice of handsets, though he can’t remember exactly which models these were. That choice of models, however, is redundant, he said, if his work maintains such a stringent policy.

“I would change to another if I could, possibly an iPhone, but only if I could download apps and music,” he said. “Otherwise, it doesn't make much difference, a lot comes down to work policies.”

As for the BlackBerry itself, Simon’s main criticism was its build quality.

“BlackBerry needs to improve its robustness – the track ball stuff always seems to jam after a period of time.”

Like Simon, Nick, a 30-year-old lawyer in Sydney was assigned his BlackBerry by his company. He was the most positive of the users I spoke to.

“I am very happy,” he said. “The keyboard is great for emails and texts and I remember when I first used it, the improvement in call quality from my previous phone was astounding. It would be good if it was a bit faster on the internet for the odd bit of Googling though.”

Since the rise of iPhone and Android, Nick has been offered alternate models, though he is one of ‘true CrackBerry addicts’ that have resisted change.

“I like the proper keyboard too much and the prospect of having more apps and things to look at on a phone really doesn't grab me,” Nick said.

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At the same time that Stuart, a 34-year-old lawyer in Zurich was assigned his BlackBerry, he was also given an iPad. This experience with an iOS tablet has been so positive that even though he is happy using a BlackBerry, he would be “marginally happier” if he was given an iPhone.

“The BlackBerry is fine, and slightly more business focused, but it is also prone to break down more and its marginal benefits don’t outweigh the sexiness of the iPhone,” Stuart said.

I asked all three users if they were aware that BlackBerry was launching BlackBerry 10 this week and they all said ‘no’. This contrasts sharply with Apple users, who seem to have developed a sixth sense for when Tim Cook and Co will be updating the range.

When asked if they cared about BlackBerry 10, only Nick answered in the affirmative.

I'm interested,” he said. “I'd consider upgrading if it ticks all the right boxes. I'm in no rush though, the old one still works fine and is showing no signs of giving up yet.”

Parts of this story were originally included in our Minute-by-Minute coverage from earlier today.

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