Forgive me CrackBerry Nation, for I have sinned... my last From the Editor's Desk post was September 10th....... which is frak'n CRAZY!
For those who follow me across social channels (Twitter / G+ / Instagram) or in the CrackBerry Forums, you know I've been as busy as ever (maybe more busy?!), which has had me hitting the publish button on far fewer CrackBerry articles than I'd ideally like to. In lieu of my regular editorials we have managed to pick up the pace on our podcasting efforts these past couple of months, so for those of you who enjoy my (self-proclaimed) dulcet tones, you have been able to keep up on my take of what's happening the world of BlackBerry. But for those who prefer writing, my words per month have definitely been on the low side.
I'm still in a bit of storm before the calm phase (you read that right) so it'll be another couple of weeks before my writing picks up again (but it will soon!!), so for this post I'm going to play catch up with the questions you've been asking me FAQ style. Let's get to it!
Questions I've been getting a lot lately...
Q1. Kevin, what have you have been up to lately?
A1. Most of you know I wear many "hats" around here, and in addition to running CrackBerry I'm also the Chief Media Officer of Mobile Nations, a roll which entails wearing many, many, many more hats, including overseeing the day to day of our other communities (Android Central, iMore, WPCentral) and a lot of other behind the scenes activities. With so much of my focus on CrackBerry the first half of 2013, this fall I've had to give a little extra attention to my other duties. I was back to suitcase living for a few weeks recently - in Asia on Mobile Nations business and in Miami to wind down Talk Mobile 2013 and for our annual Mobile Nations EiC Summit.
The first six months of 2013 I pretty much put my life on hold to tackle the BB10 launch. In January we moved "CrackBerry Headquarters" to Toronto for a month to cover the launch and initial Z10 review with gusto. Then it was back home for a few weeks of all-nighters while we launched the new CrackBerry site design. Then it was to NYC for two months to cover the US BB10 launch and get Talk Mobile off the ground. And from there it was right to Orlando where we brought CrackBerry Live to BlackBerry Live. I don't think any other website or community has ever gone as "all in" on a product launch as CrackBerry did around BlackBerry 10. So for those of you giving me a hard time the last few weeks for not writing enough... cut me some slack. Things need to balance out a bit, but overall I'm still way up on CB in 2013. And the good news is that while I've been tied up, I'm still around. Even if not writing I'm in the forums and watching all the news, and giving Adam, Bla1ze, Simon, Umi et al direction on what I want to see up on the site. Plus, the team has been doing this for year - Adam knows how to keep things running smooth even when I have to take my eye off the ball.
Q2. So when will you be getting your content mojo back?
A2. Soon! This week has me taking care of a lot of loose ends on both the work and personal front. We're getting ready for yet another crazy change in life. On October 30th I'm flying to Paris with my fiancée who will be staying there for the year to get her MBA. I'll be in Paris with her for three weeks to help her get settled. With her in class and North America still asleep while I'm up bright and early, I'm looking forward to the quiet time I'll have there which is when I'll get my CrackBerry content mojo firing in full force again.
And coming home from Paris I'll be flying solo, which pretty much means I'll just be working around the clock (and occasionally working out). So I'll be back here in full force, don't you worry.
But first I need to get through this week, and come Saturday I'll be flying to San Francisco with our Community Manager James Falconer so we can give Android Central's Phil Nickinson and Andrew Martonik a hand next week while they cover the Samsung Developers Conference. They're taking a page out of the CrackBerry book and are bringing Android Central Live to that event. Going live is hard, and we have experience with it, so will be lending a friendly hand. From there I'll be flying straight to Paris.
Q3. Did you really buy a Gold iPhone 5s on Launch Day?
A3. Uhh... yeah, of course. I happened to be in Miami during the Apple iPhone 5s / 5c launch, so took in the festivities. I wanted to put to test the video crew we were planning to use in Miami for our Talk Mobile wrap up video, so we put them to work to come up with a launch day event video for iMore. We weren't actually sure what sort of video we'd end up with and I didn't give them any direction in advance - they just took the footage from the day and came back with a pretty hilarious video. If you haven't watched it yet, check it out above. Add paying $1500 for a gold iPhone to the list of crazy things I've done over the years. :)
Q4. So what phone are you using these days?
A4. My main SIM card is currently in my BlackBerry Q10, which it has been since early May. Then I typically carry a second phone with me from another platform which I run off WiFi or via WiFi Hotspot from the Q10. I was using the HTC One as a second device for a while, then the Galaxy S4, now the iPhone 5s. Next week in San Fran I'll try and go exclusively S4 for a few days since I'll be repping Android Central while there. Hopefully by the time I leave for Paris I'll have a Z30 and will switch to that exclusively for the next few weeks.
Q5. You don't have a BlackBerry Z30 yet?!
A5. Nope, and I'm kinda pissed about it. Lol. I was invited to Waterloo to get briefed on the Z30 and pick one up, but that was the week I was in Miami for our EiC Summit so Simon Sage was the lucky one who attended (and got the Z30).
I spent three hours on Friday driving around Winnipeg trying to buy one, but had no luck. Future Shop and Best Buy were both showing one in inventory, but it turned out to be a mislabeled demo unit (the one that runs the set demo on it for putting out on the shelves). TELUS had a few units, but they refused to sell them to me outright, and I refused to sign up for another contract (already paying for too many lines as it is).
So I'm Z30-less right now, which is kind of crazy. Since 2006 I've always been the FIRST guy in the world to have the newest BlackBerry, and if not first I was likely second. This time around I'm way behind. What's funny is, I'm sort of ok with it. It's actually a testament to how much I like the Q10 and Z10. Before, every new BB was the answer. The new great phone that would offer an even better experience. With BB10 I've overall been very happy. It works well for me, so other than some missing apps my pain points are not very painful. That said, 10.2 has some great features (as Simon outlined here) and the Z30 is the newest hotness, so I'm excited to get it. Maybe I'll get it painted gold just for fun :)
Q6. Where the F&!$ is BBM for my iPhone / Android phone?!
A6. Today marks exactly one month since the day BBM was originally planned to be available for iOS and Android users. BlackBerry has been pretty quiet on the BBM front these last few weeks, but TODAY IS THE DAY. They JUST announced that they'll begin re-rolling out BBM for Android and iOS users. Click the link below for the latest.
Q7. What's the status of BlackBerry, the company?
A7. The answer to that question could take 15,000 words and still wouldn't be the full story. So I'll keep this condensed. November 4th is the big date everybody is watching in regards to the Fairfax / take BB private deal closing. We'll see what happens there. In the meantime, it's clear to me that everybody who is still at BlackBerry is FIGHTING hard every day and that all systems are a go. At the same time, there is a TON of change taking place internally. Lots of people / teams are being let go, being rearranged, and / or evolving. I've been giving a lot of interviews to the press lately as it feels like all the big media pubs are doing their what happened to / what's going to happen to BlackBerry stories. My answers have been pretty consistent. Looking forward six months, I'm honestly not to sure what BlackBerry will look like. A lot could happen in that time frame depending how the next few weeks ago. I do think the company will survive. It may be a different looking BlackBerry than we have known these past few years, but ultimately I think they're definitely working to make the changes to the company that are required so that they emerge with a sustainable business. In the meantime, they are still up and running as they noted in their recent open letter to customers. Z30 is here. BBM is rolling out to iOS and Android. 10.2 is getting queued up. New apps are hitting BlackBerry World. There are still plenty of things to keep us BlackBerry fans excited.
Q8. What happens to CrackBerry if things don't go well with BlackBerry?
A8. I always smile a bit when I see this question pop up in the forums (which seems to happen on a weekly basis), as I appreciate the concern from our awesome community for both our site and the people who help run it. Long story short, you have nothing to worry about. CrackBerry will be here for a long time to come. On the editorial side, we're obviously tied to the news and product cycles surrounding BlackBerry. As long as there is news and "customer lifecycle" content to post -- be it new apps, new devices, new OS versions that require help posts, tips and tricks, etc. -- we'll be busy. If there were ever a point where there is simply less to write about, we'll write less. But the site will keep on ticking. And the forum is the forum - as long there are BlackBerry owners out there, I know they will find their way to CrackBerry's forums.
Think about it this way... even if BlackBerry never sold a phone after today, those phones would still be in the hands of users for the next few years. They'll be needing help, etc and we'll be here to provide it.
Also, remember that CrackBerry is part of our larger Mobile Nations family of sites. We have already seen over the past few years that if BlackBerry owners decide to switch a phone from another platform, that they find their way over to our other sites (also, a lot of people own devices from more than one mobile platform these days). Take a stroll through Android Central, iMore or WPCentral's forums and you'll find a lot of usernames that have been active in CrackBerry in the past (or are currently active on multiple sites). Remember, with our Mobile Nations Passport login, if you're logged into CrackBerry you can visit our other sites and become a member in just a click. And you'll get recognized on your profile with all of your past CrackBerry posts. In reality, there isn't just a "CrackBerry" community. We actually have a giant Mobile Nations community that manifests itself out over multiple sites. And overall, Mobile Nations has never been doing better - with over 25 million visitors and 75 million page views per months and 6 million members, we have the biggest mobile community out there, and you will want to continue to be a part of it. We've done a lot, and have plans to do so much more. So don't fret the future of CrackBerry and its people. We're good!
Q9. Are you really going to write a CrackBerry Book?
A9. After recording the What Happened to BlackBerry Vector Podcast with Rene Ritchie, and also reading that Globe & Mail piece which got a lot of reactions (and was published literally at the same time as I was recording the aforementioned podcast), I definitely think I am going to take the lead on writing the ultimate book about BlackBerry. There are so many untold stories about BlackBerry out there, that it feels like the timing is right to start compiling them together. There are awesome CrackBerry stories that I have never shared before, but I know you'd want to hear. There are so many stories from BlackBerry people I have heard over the years (many of whom are now former BlackBerry people), etc. that I think it would make for an awesome book.
I don't have a title yet, but for now my project codename is CrackBerry Chronicles: The untold story of BlackBerry. If you have better ideas for titles drop them in the comments. And if you crazy insane and awesome stories to share about the history of BlackBerry, you can reach out to me at email@example.com. The Globe writers apparently talked to 20 "BlackBerry Insiders" before writing their article. I plan on talking to a couple hundred.
No date planned for release yet, but I've always wanted to write a book while in Paris. I'm going to be there for a few weeks soon enough, so I think I'll get it started.
Q10. What's in the Box, Kevin?
A10. Not saying. What was in there was awesome. But it's not in there anymore. #KEVINSSECRETS
If I missed any questions, drop them in the comments and I'll do my best to get them answered!
- KEVIN OUT!!