The iphone had been released sans any type of app store, and the thing was insanely expensive, but if you had eyes, working fingers and loved tech toys, more than likely you wanted one.
A year later RIM, sitting atop their high mountain of mobile dominance, noticed something was changing in the market place. A first inkling that their reign might have a contender. A year after the iPhone’s release RIM came up with the Blackberry Storm, its first touch screen device that included “revolutionary” haptic feedback in the screen (basically the feel of pressing a button without a button). The rumor mill called it the iPhone killer. Then it got released.
What a sad little device it was in comparison but amongst all the hype and the harsh reviews, the world was in a much stranger place technologically than most of us care to remember. At that time and for a few years to come, the iPhone was locked into AT&T. A cellular network that had grown too quickly for its own britches and left a trail of disgruntled subscribers in its wake. Then the current major selling point of the iPhone, the app store, was not even in existence yet, but this was still the device that you and anyone you ever knew wanted, craved and in some cases would kill for.
Then there was every one else, still locked into a contract with Verizon or other cell networks. The Blackberry Storm was really the only option if you were on Big Red. I received mine along with my father as we were on a family plan and we both liked the idea of new phones. Thinking about it now, had RIM released this same phone a month or two before the iPhone I strongly believe the outcome of the mobile marketplace would have been different today. Blackberry might still be in the game. So if a person were to turn a Blackberry Storm on, would their universe suddenly suck? Would the stars fall and cats and dogs finally make peace? Nope, we have what is now known on the interwebs as a first world problem: my smart phone is not as cool as yours.
For myself and my father who was a government employee at the time, and locked in the Blackberry infrastructure anyway, we honestly kind of liked the Blackberry Storm. Heaven forbid I write such blasphemy as there is tech editor wearing really tight jeans in a coffee shop somewhere in New York City, ready to kill me. Wipe away everything you know about Android, iOS and the arguments that both sides like to piss into each others yards. There is an App for this, there is a game for that. Our “smart” phones have so quickly made us forget the main reason we have these devices and love them so much; they let communicate from wherever we are.
I tend to make a lot less phone calls than I used to. I can make a phone call from wherever I want now, I just choose email because its easier. I can say what I need to say and have time to think about it. Sometimes I just don’t want to talk to people or only need a “yes” or “no” response without the conversational pleasantries. I know, I’m such a hermit. And this where Blackberry got it right; that silly phone was damn good at emailing and managing my calendars. Those are the two essential apps over any phone on any OS and for the two years that I used the device I was content, sometimes even giddy. That haptic feedback screen was a novelty of an idea but once you got used to its functions and using the two button keyboard in portrait mode, I was a typing machine. Long emails written on the train were no problem. To this day I wouldn’t even attempt something like that on iOS’s archaic keyboard.
So where does that leave me in the cellular marketplace considering the tension and close knit relationship most of us have with our devices? Still on the outside. I enjoyed the Storm also because it was different than everyone else. I was adding diversity despite so many people giving me fake vomiting face when they saw the device I used. Again so many people were using that App abundance as a selling point when in reality most people probably use 5 to 10 apps from the app store on a regular basis. The other million or so apps in that marketplace are just plain old garbage waiting for time or the app store police to come and end its languishing misery. Who remember when Fat Face was all the rage?!
I recall a much echoed sigh of relief from Jon Stewart on ‘The Daily Show’ when the iPhone was finally on Verizon. A year or so later people were trying to communicate with Siri, despite her being a cold hearted bitch. We all discovered Google, other big tech and the NSA were stealing our data and invading our privacy. So I decided to be different again and reignite my love affair with Microsoft. Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 928, check. Blackberry Storm, I’ll still miss you.