New Phone II

Well, it’s only been two days since I started using the new BlackBerry 9930 and I can now honestly say… I don’t like it.

Don’t get me wrong; for what it does, it’s very, very good. I can write my emails more easily, text faster, attachments are painless, though I can credit this to our IT department, which *cough* includes yours truly. I can modify office documents painlessly, take better notes, organize practically everything. I can properly multitask during a call, which was pretty shaky at best on the Vortex, and perform many other acrobatic feats.

But there remains one overriding fact that until now I wasn’t able to put my finger on.

It’s Sterile

When I go over my old LG Vortex : It’s slow, has abysmal local storage, a less refined GPS, no GSM capability (the BB can switch networks from CDMA to GSM on-the-fly) so it’s stuck to Verizon, no QWERTY keyboard. The camera is blurry on most photos without an excellent light source, no LED flash, has an average sound quality, freezes constantly when editing documents, doesn’t properly sync or syncs very late with my email (sometimes by hours). It’s got scratches all over from being shoved into my pocket with my keys.

Most of the time, when I really needed to depend on it for some heavy lifting, I couldn’t.

This is usually every Tuesday

By every conceivable measure, my LG Vortex is an order of magnitude inferior to the mighty BB, so I should be falling head over heels for it.

But I can’t love this phone.

A BlackBerry device just doesn’t have a soul, as arbitrary and cheesy as that sounds.

Using a BlackBerry is really like walking into a board room. You can be extremely productive depending on your dexterity and competence as well as the cooperation of the tools co-workers, but you’re still in a board room. It’s not your home, your room, your fortress of solitude. In the end, it’s all about work and productivity and a hefty dose of chest-thumping at owning the gadget (BRIAN!) and no amount of multi-color clips, cases, stickers, bedazzles or desktop themes will fix that.

Then there’s the Market

Or Google Play as it’s called now. No amount of browsing on “App World” for BB returned anything as interesting or creative as on Google Play. Granted, Play has a huge advantage due to the sheer volume of Android devices in the market drawing more developers, but App World draws crowds that just want to do work most of the time with a minor diversion here and there in between.

By far, the most interesting thing I came across App World is the Ghost Radar.

It’s taps into all the sensors of the phone, effectively turning it into a Star Trek style Tricorder of sorts.

And I’ve been living under a rock apparently, because this app has also been available for Android and on iTunes for some time now.

From the App World page,

Ghost Radar™ is an portable application designed to detect paranormal activity. Ghost Radar™ attempts to detect paranormal activity by using various sensors on the device on which it is running. Like traditional paranormal detecting equipment Ghost Radar™ employs sensors that measure electromagnetic fields, vibrations, and sounds. However, traditional paranormal equipment can be easily fooled when simple mundane bursts of normal electromagnetic fields, vibrations and sounds occur. Ghost Radar™ sets itself apart by analyzing the readings from sensors giving indications only when interesting patterns in the readings have been made.

Please visit http://www.spudpickles.com/GhostRadar for more information.

Note: results from this application can not be verified scientifically and therefore should be used for entertainment purposes.

I love the disclaimer at the end. But see, apps like these are numerous on Google Play, which makes its appearance on App World stand out a lot. Reading the comments on some of these apps, I somehow felt that most BB users, or at least the app reviewers, are unhappy people… even on the 5 star ones.

No Rooting

You can’t modify your BB software or OS in any way like you can on an Android. Even on an iPhone, it’s still a bit tricky due to the propietary setup and I have no experience with Windows Phones. You can even get an Android OEM phone (no label or label removed directly from the manufacturer) and got to town on it by modifying anything you please. You can even write your own apps for it if you wish so the possibilities are endless. The walled garden of App World, while it makes things more secure, leaves an odd taste in my mouth. Or maybe it’s just the color scheme?

It’s a bit like feeling like a boarder in your own home. Why am I a stranger, forbidden from exploring every nook and cranny where I live?

And Verizon didn’t help

Leave it to this company to add aggravation when there’s no room for more. After the 5th time deleting its junk applications from the Service Book, I finally managed to keep them out, I think. They haven’t reinstalled themselves yet, but I don’t think I’ll keep the service on the phone around any longer to find out. I still can’t seem to get rid of Bing search.

Just having Bing on the phone, when it didn’t before and now against my will, somehow makes it seem defiled.

My wireless provider in Sri Lanka is Mobitel (I got sick of Dialog even though they’re more popular) and when I switched to GSM on the BB, it automatically connected with AT&T. Apparently Mobitel roaming is provided by them here. I think I’m still able to receive text messages from SL on the Mobitel sim, so I’ll leave it in for now and use an AT&T prepaid SIM on this phone to make calls later.

I’m not too exited about about signing up for a 2-year contract again with Verizon just to get another Android phone, but it’s a better alternative than shelling out more cash to buy a different phone. Besides, on a few of my client locations, Verizon is usually the only provider with enough coverage.

Now if only I can figure out how to remove bloody Bing search from my phone.

4 thoughts on “New Phone II

    • I’m glad that it is less than tangible, because I don’t want it to be duplicated and commoditized. I feel like that “it” factor is the last remnant of control we still have on the wireless front.

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