Coming home

Toronto Skyline
By Simon Sage on 9 Feb 2013 02:35 pm EST
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I'm on a train to Ottawa after spending three weeks at CB's BlackBerry 10 launch campaign headquarters in Toronto, and naturally, the idea of coming home is on my mind. I can't help but think that there are a lot of people in the same position as me: I started the smartphone journey with BlackBerry, flirted with other platforms, but returned thanks to the prospect of the BlackBerry Z10. Even though I kept using my Bold 9900 throughout my time on Android Central and iMore since starting at Mobile Nations a little over a year ago, it was easy to feel out of touch with what was going on in the world of apps without an Android or iOS device nearby. That said, the last week has been really great, if only because I can go back to carrying one phone around again and not always have one foot out the door.

The story of a plucky Canadian underdog that revolutionized an industry, fell on hard times, and made an inspiring comeback sure is compelling, but I think for individual users that are picking up BlackBerry Z10s, it's going to be something much more personal. Pretty ladies all over the place are likening the situation to meeting up with an old boyfriend. They had a good thing going for awhile, but she got distracted by a little somethin'-somethin' on the side. The original couple drifted apart, but bumped into each other haphazardly down the line. Hoo-whee, had he been working out. They got back together and happyfunsexytimes were had by all.

Somewhere... near CB's TO HQ

To me, the BlackBerry 10 situation is much more like our living arrangements at CrackBerry headquarters in Toronto. When we told locals where we were set up, reactions ranged from mild surprise to genuine concern. That part of town had a reputation for being sketchy and run-down. Behold the shock of visitors when they arrived to find that it wasn't the place they remembered at all. Significant investments had been made, the work had been put in, and now in there was a gorgeous landscape of modern condominiums. The surrounding neighborhood still had plenty of the old shops open, which would both be unwelcome to the new people moving in and the last vestiges of familiarity for the locals that had stayed there through the hard times, but a few promising new businesses were getting in early and already seeing plenty of success.  

Fan Night!

Some braved snowstorm conditions to visit the area based solely on the BlackBerry-lovers they knew in the area, while others, understandably, couldn't justify the effort of hauling ass across town in a blizzard. Maybe next time. While I'm excited for the new people moving in, the visitors checking things out, and the new stores opening, I can certainly appreciate the dramatic (not necessarily good or bad) changes that have to be consolidated by the people that have been living in the neighborhood for decades. It's a lot of construction to have to deal with, even now with the core residences built. Though development firms are no doubt trying to retain what gave this neighborhood its character, many things are bound to be lost to the sands of time.

They say you can never go home, and under those conditions, it's easy to believe. After a lengthy time away from home myself - both Ottawa and BlackBerry - I'm eager to discover exactly how much has changed and how much more is due in the coming months.

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone 

Reader comments

Coming home

29 Comments

With no complaints, I was carrying my BB 9900 and Playbook around to meetings for the past few months. Even purchased a backup Playbook to be sure to keep the system going! LOL

Now, I have this Z10, I feel naked without the Playbook and still long for its nice screen size. But this phone is a killer ............. I mean this phone is so much better than my i Phone was. I hate the i Phone OS now that I have tried this BB 10 out. I used to think that the i OS was too boring for me, it was efficient for sure but boring, now, after only 4 days on this BB 10 software, I know what "efficiency" is all about. It is so much faster than i OS, huge difference. Yet, strangely enough, I'm not bored with it like the i Phone. I have pictures, music, videos etc., on it, plus, my usual 9 winndow apps open, just like the Playbook is setup for. It's like a playbook on steroids though. A great phone.

I wrote in the CB Rehab forum about comparing my BB with reuniting with a lost love as well. Glad Alicia Keys and Rachelle Wilde feel the same, and other ladies out there too! Thanks for sharing your CB HQ experience! :-)

You should have used the time shift feature to fix a few of those head shots. Some look under the influence.....lol

I really love my BB9900 and my Playbook. I hope I still have time for my Playbook when BB10 and devices become available to the US. Simon just made it evident that home is where the heart is for all BB users and fans.
#BoldB

In US, never gave up on BlackBerry, waiting patiently for my Z10. And know that a newer more badass phone is being developed now, so that I will upgrade next 2 years again to BlackBerry. Where's my BB10 playbook upgrade?

No way, that second picture is of my building! Was the Crackberry team really that close to me!? hahaha

Whoa, double analogy in one write-up. Returing home to ottawa (and bb) and reinvesting in to a run down area (bbs new platform).

You can already see a big change in perception from only a few months ago. With the competition resting on its laurels its only a matter of time till lots of people are back.

Everyone who has this phone almost speaks like they just had an out of body experience, my self included. Don't know exactly how to put it but it's like being a part the invention of the wheel, the switch from horse and buggy to gasoline cars, etc. This is the reinvention of mobile I feel. Everything else seems so ancient now. I'm glad to be part of this and those who share the same enthusiasm.

Does everyone remember hearing about the stories of the first gasoline cars? They were always breaking down. The new BlackBerry platform will develop just like the gasoline cars did from the early days to now. With today's technology, it will happen much faster than the car though.

Welcome back to Ottawa Simon and thank you CrackBerry Team for making this BB10 journey a memorable experience!

What has hurt BlackBerry the most is the drop in perceived brand value in what is one of the most lucrative smartphone markets in the world, the U.S., where the company has now lost its 3rd position to Windows Phone. According to Strategy Analytics, Q4 2012 saw Windows Phone make good market share gains on some high-profile smartphone launches to overtake BB for the first time ever. BlackBerry will he hoping to reverse the losses now that BB10 is out but delays in launching the first BB10 smartphones on U.S. soil is going to make it much tougher. According to the company, the first BB10 device won’t be launched in the U.S. until mid-March at least.

In such a scenario, where BlackBerry will be looking to push its latest smartphones is to its installed subscriber base. Despite falling market share, BlackBerry has been able to retain most of its 80 million subscriber base. It is on the back of its huge subscriber base that the company has been able to sustain cash flow through steady high-margin carrier fees despite reporting net losses for three quarters straight. And with BB nowhere near its peaks of customer appeal, RIM will be primarily looking to get this installed base to upgrade to BB10 initially.

Great post. As far as the US launch it is somewhat tough that there is a delay but at this stage they will be out to market in a month. My guess is the fight with with Windows 8 handsets can be won by Q3. I may. Not too concerned with that in platform.

See any developers making apps for it? Not so much.

I am still using my iPhone 5, but I have to say that I really enjoyed this post. I have had several blackberries over the years and several iPhones, too! I have dabbled and gone back and forth. When I left iPhone and went back to the Bold 9900 I had a similar feeling. It just felt like home. Blackberry was my first smartphone and I still loved it. But I was once again swayed back to my iPhone for the lack of apps and certain features that I just had become so accustomed to living with.

Now, here we are, a little over a year since that last switch and I am once again on the fence about whether to put my iPhone aside and use the new Z10 as my main smartphone of choice. I went with a couple friends to pick up theirs on launch day, and despite their complaints over battery (they have never used anything besides blackberries using OS 5, so I dismiss this as a legit concern after using full touchscreen phones for years), I am really interested in making this investment. So perhaps I will soon be sharing the sentiments of other people who have posted that coming back to Blackberry has felt like coming home. And that, to me, is an exciting reason to want to rejoin the family!

Look at it this way: if you buy a Z10 try it for a few weeks... if you don't like it sell it on ebay to an eager US resident and make a tidy profit... you don't have much to lose if you're not chuffed about dealing with an eBay sale.

i remember Mobile Nations podcast some months ago when Simon said that RIM is not doing anything on Blackberry and that he doesn't see them making it for much longer. It's awesome seeing how BB made non-believers become full time BB10 users. :D
Welcome back buddy.

it was awesome meeting all you guys and im glad i came that night you guys were very friendly and informative and generous with knowledge and drinks/food and i also made the picture ive become famous around my friends :-) thanks again!!!

Epic post Simon! The week I was in Mexico City, I missed toronto on the final day and I was so glad to be home. I also missed the city I never been to before. :)