Articles by Crackberry Kevin

And the winner of an IOU for a BlackBerry KEYone from CrackBerry Kevin is...

The time has come to announce the winner in our Win an IOU for a BlackBerry Mercury from CrackBerry Kevin giveaway

In total, we had over 12,000 BlackBerry fans enter the Win an IOU for a BlackBerry "Mercury" From CrackBerry Kevin giveaway.

Today, after recovering from a post-BlackBerry Mercury/KEYone launch party hangover, we put that list of entries into our contest winner picking machine to decide who would be the lucky recipient of the newly-christened BlackBerry KEYone.

The Best BlackBerry KEYone Video You Need to Watch

Want to get up close and personal with the BlackBerry KEYone? There is no better video on the YouTubez to watch right now than MrMobile's BlackBerry KEYone Hands On

The BlackBerry KEYone has officially been announced, which means the internet is beginning to fill up with tons of videos and first impressions of the newest BlackBerry. I suggest checking them all out and filling up CrackBerry's BlackBerry KEYone forum with your reactions.

That said, if you want to achieve BlackBerry-like efficiency of your precious review viewing minutes, the 4 minutes and 46 seconds you'll spend watching MrMobile's Hands-On of the KEYone will be time well spent. It's clearly the best hands-on video of the KEYone out there right now. Be sure to watch it!

As for CBK's video impressions, I'm not going to rush getting them up. I'll be heading home from Barcelona with a KEYone in hand so will be cranking out multiple videos between now and the time you'll be able to head out and buy one for yourself (we'll be sure to have a lot of fun killing that time together so the wait doesn't feel too long).

Enjoy the video. And if you're not yet following MrMobile, hit the links below and get on it!

Stay Social with MrMobile

You'll never guess who's hosting the BlackBerry Mercury Launch Event at #MWC17

CrackBerry Kevin to be the show host as BlackBerry Mobile officially unveils the "Mercury" to the world!

I'm incredibly excited to be able to share with everyone some fun news leading into Saturday's BlackBerry Mercury Launch Event in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress.

In honor of CrackBerry turning 10 Years Old at midnight on Saturday, the team at BlackBerry Mobile thought it would be fitting for the occasion that CrackBerry Kevin take to the big stage and be the Master of Ceremonies as the "Mercury" gets officially unveiled to the world.

It's truly an honor and I'm thankful for the opportunity. I've sat in the audience at numerous BlackBerry events over the past ten years. Never once did I imagine myself being on stage to help unveil the next BlackBerry to the world.

If you're in the audience in Barcelona, I look forward to seeing you there. And to BlackBerry Fans around the globe, I hope you tune into our CrackBerry-powered livestream of the launch event as we make BlackBerry history! I would love to have your support, even from a far. You can find the link to the livestream below and we'll be firing up a live blog and chat before the event. The livestream and chat will go live shortly before 7pm CET / 1pm EST on Saturday.

Let's do this!!

Watch the BlackBerry Mobile Launch Event

Win an IOU for a BlackBerry Mercury from CrackBerry Kevin!

This is your last chance to enter our IOU for a BlackBerry Mercury giveaway. We'll be announcing the winner on Sunday, February 26th. If you haven't entered yet, do it now!

Fill out the form below for your first chance to win a BlackBerry Mercury

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It's February 2017, which means CrackBerry turns TEN YEARS OLD this month. This wouldn't be CrackBerry and I wouldn't be CrackBerry Kevin if we didn't celebrate by giving away a chance to win the latest and greatest upcoming BlackBerry Smartphone.

That is of the course is the Android-powered BlackBerry 'Mercury' that BlackBerry Mobile will unveil later this month at Mobile World Congress.

To enter, all you need to do is fill out the form below (open worldwide). Come February 26th, the exact day of CrackBerry's 10 Anniversary, I'll announce the winner that will be selected at random from all the entries. As soon as there is availability, I'll buy one personally and ship it to you!

Last Chance to RSVP for Friday's CrackBerry Meetup in Barcelona!

We still have a room for a few more people to attend our CrackBerry Meetup on Friday evening in honor of our 10th anniversary. RSVP asap if you can make it!

All Systems Are A GO for the CrackBerry Meetup we announced earlier this month. Everybody who RSVP'd early is confirmed and in addition to Meetup attendees getting to have a CrackBerry blast on Friday night, they'll also be able to attend Saturday's BlackBerry "Mercury" Press Event in person.

When we first announced the event we didn't yet have a venue booked. We ended up getting a nice location that's going to be perfect (and the food and drinks are guaranteed to be delicious as well). The location is big enough that we can invite about ten more people into it than we currently have RSVP'd. So if you're in Barcelona tomorrow night and want to come hang out with a bunch of crazy and awesome BlackBerry fans, you're welcome to join.

Note, BlackBerry Mobile is at max capacity for their launch event on Saturday, so if you RSVP now you won't get that added bonus of attending the launch event on Saturday. That said, BBMobile's Steve Cistulli will be dropping by the meetup with a BlackBerry Mercury in hand so you'll still be among the first in the world to see it and get to hold it!

How to RSVP

Since our Community Events Coordinator, Michelle Haag, is currently on an airplane to Barcelona, we setup a quick Meetup on where you can RSVP. Hit the link below, login to, and Join and RSVP for the event. Hope to see you there!


We just surprised 10 CrackBerry members with a trip to Barcelona!

In honor of CrackBerry's 10th Anniversary and BlackBerry Mobile's "Mercury" Launch Event in Barcelona Spain at Mobile World Congress, we surprised 10 CrackBerry members with free trips to attend in person!!

If you're a regular reader of CrackBerry you know we've been bringing back the good 'ole days this month as we celebrate 10 Years of CrackBerry. Nothing screams the good 'ole days more than a new BlackBerry launch and the timing couldn't be more perfect with BlackBerry Mobile set to unveil their new Android-powered, QWERTY rocking BlackBerry "Mercury" this Saturday in Barcelona, Spain at Mobile World Congress. That same night at midnight, CrackBerry turns 10. Crazy, right?!

Our new friends at BlackBerry Mobile wanted to make sure the CrackBerry milestone would be one to remember, so they've financially supported us in pulling an Oprah Winfrey move to bring TEN hardcore CrackBerry folk to Barcelona so they could attend our CrackBerry Anniversary Meetup and be in the audience as the BlackBerry Mercury gets unveiled.

Here are the lucky members going from CrackBerry who I think were truly surprised and delighted to be contacted out of the blue: slagman5, Quizm, mainely_linux, pkcable, superfly_fr, FF22, BigBadWulf, Denise in Los Angeles, Elite1, and Shao128. We took a mix of regular members and our volunteer ambassadors and moderators.

Pretty awesome, right?! I can't wait to see everybody in person. Huge thanks go to BlackBerry Mobile for making this a reality for us. And to everybody who isn't there in person, we will be thinking about you and be celebrating in your honor. Lots of photos and videos to come! :)

Where to watch the BlackBerry Mobile MWC 2017 Press Event Livestream

This Saturday, February 25th at 1pm EST / 7pm CET, BlackBerry Mobile will unveil the newest BlackBerry Smartphone to the world. For those not attending the press event in person, you'll be able to watch the livestream right here on CrackBerry!

As we celebrate 10 Years of CrackBerry this month, we're going all out as we cover the launch of the BlackBerry "Mercury", which will be officially unveiled by BlackBerry Mobile at their Barcelona Press Event this Saturday. From what we gather, it's shaping up to be the biggest and most exciting BlackBerry event we have seen in years.

Wanting to make sure as many BlackBerry fans from around the world will be able to witness this historical moment, CrackBerry is the official community partner for the event and we will have a crew on hand to power the livestream action. In addition to watching the livestream, we'll also have a live blog and chat setup so you can participate in the fun. You'll be able to watch all the action at

Spread the word, and we'll talk to you on Saturday on the livestream!

BlackBerry Mobile MWC2017 Livestream

CrackBerry 10th Anniversary Podcast 02 - The Early Days of CB

For our second 10th Anniversary Super Special, we dive into the early days of CrackBerry and BlackBerry with some of our favorite memories and crazy stories!

Our first anniversary podcast was AMAZING with special guest, Steve Cistulli, from BlackBerry Mobile. If you missed it, you should definitely listen to that episode before you listen to this episode. Since we set the bar SO HIGH with our first show, for our second anniversary podcast we went the other way with a community focused show. We recorded it live and in video, with Craig Johnston, Bla1ze and myself fielding questions from the audience (at the end of the show we were even joined by some of the members of the community!). You can watch the replay or listen above, or follow the links below to find the CrackBerry podcast in your podcast player of choice.

One thing I realized as we recorded this episode is that there are way too many stories and memories from 10 Years of CrackBerry'ing to fit into an hour, so we'll be definitely be back with many more podcasts in March as we continue our anniversary celebrations.

Enjoy the show!

From the Editor's Desk: Barcelona Bound for BlackBerry Mobile!

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The Final Countdown is ON! Our CrackBerry Coverage heads to Barcelona, Spain this week for Mobile World Congress and most importantly, BlackBerry Mobile's official unveiling of the "BlackBerry Mercury".

We know a lot about this new Android-powered BlackBerry, but there are still a few remaining secrets to be learned and a few big questions that by this time next week we should hopefully have answers to. When will it go on sale? What will it cost? And while "Mercury" has been a pretty epic codename, what will the actual name of the phone be when it hits the market? [Please, Please, Please call it anything but DTEK70]

While we've already seen a few hands-on first looks of the Mercury from earlier this year at CES 2017 (I'll re-embed MrMobile's here for your viewing pleasure), this will be our first chance to really play with the Mercury and see how it stacks up to BlackBerry phones before it.

Everybody's Poop Smells (even Apple's and Google's and Samsung's)

The timing smells right for a BlackBerry resurgence

Two weeks ago today I had my first colonoscopy. If you're reading this and ever had the procedure, you understand why poop was on my brain. While the colonoscopy itself was painless and really easy, the colon prep process is umm… errm.. memorable to say the least. You drink a litre of powder mixed with water over the course of an hour, and before you're through it you're on the toilet for the next two hours. Then you do it again. Fun. :/

So why all the poop talk? Because it was while sitting on the the toilet cleansing my colon that the thesis for this editorial actually popped into my mind.

Watch the video and see if you agree with where my brain is at. The general premise? When BlackBerry fell from graces and took a brand beating several years back, it was during a time when other mobile platforms and manufacturers were going gangbusters with their mobile device success (iOS/iPhone, Android/Samsung, etc.). Now in 2017, nobody is smelling quite as clean and fresh and anymore. And the BlackBerry brand no longer has a stench to it. A lot of that smell neutralized during the lead of up to BB10 -- when there was a lot of excitement for a BlackBerry comeback -- and if anything, in the past few years the BlackBerry brand has been fine, if not just slightly forgotten about in certain markets. In this video I make the case why 2017 is the year where we will see BlackBerry Smartphones get back into the purchase consideration funnel for both enterprise and consumers a like in a meaningful way.

I hope you enjoy the video! And if you do, I really do appreciate any Shares and Thumbs Ups you can give to the video on YouTube (that'll help re-kickstart our channel a bit), and if you're not subscribed then PLEASE SUBSCRIBE! The more people who watch them the more we'll make! Be sure to turn on notifications so you don't miss any!

PS. SInce I know you now want your own Coffee Makes Me Poop Cup, you can Buy It Here.

"So if BlackBerry Mobile builds phones, what does BlackBerry sell now?"

Since bringing CrackBerry Kevin out of retirement to celebrate 10 Years of CrackBerry and cover the hell out of the launch of the new BlackBerry "Mercury", I've quickly reverted to my old CBK habits. One of those habits is that nearly every conversation I have is in one way, shape or form related to BlackBerry.

As I mentioned in a recent editorial, the BlackBerry story is more complicated these days than it used to be. When it comes up in conversation, I explain that BlackBerry is now a Software company and that thanks to a partnership/licensing deal, we now have BlackBerry Mobile running the BlackBerry phones business (for most markets around the globe), including the launch of the new Android-powered Mercury.

What's interesting is that when I talk to "normal people" now about the new BlackBerry, they don't get it. The quickly understand BlackBerry Mobile, though. BlackBerry Mobile manufacturing, marketing, selling and supporting BlackBerry Smartphones makes complete sense. Then they ask the question - "So if BlackBerry Mobile builds phones, what does BlackBerry sell now?"

Why We Still LOVE the BlackBerry Physical Keyboard

Valentine's Day this year has me feeling all lovey-dovey, so for my next CBK 2.0 video I decided to record a gush fest about BlackBerry Physical keyboards. Did I miss any reasons? Watch the video and let me know!

It's Valentine's Day today. We're less than two weeks away from the BlackBerry Mobile's unveiling of the Android-powered, keyboard-rocking BlackBerry "Mercury". I'm excited for it. To be honest though, for the last couple of years my smartphone daily driver has typically been a full touchscreen phone. Suffice to say I'm now pretty fast at typing on glass.

Typing speed is only one factor of the smartphone typing experience though. In this video I highlight 7 (maybe 8!) reasons why physical keyboards on smartphones still reign supreme for overall typing experience. Be sure to watch and see if you agree with my opinions. Did I miss anything? If so, let me know!

I hope you enjoy the video! And if you do, I really do appreciate any Shares and Thumbs Ups you can give to the video on YouTube (that'll help re-kickstart our channel a bit), and if you're not subscribed then PLEASE SUBSCRIBE! The more people who watch them the more we'll make! Be sure to turn on notifications so you don't miss any!

[CLOSED] Valentine's Day Giveaway: Tell us why you Love BlackBerry for your chance to win [Updated w/ Winners!]

Updated: February 15th. This was a quick event in honor of Valentine's Day - Here are the winners!!

10 Years of CrackBerry T-Shirts: Gert16, Matty, pheathon, samson47, Solar Trends

CrackBerry: True Tales of BlackBerry Use and Abuse Books: DanLevy, Maria Mavoh, Theopilus, Timbale, VeryBadTim

$217 Store Credit to use at Tricia Coleman

30 Minute Phone Call from CrackBerry Kevin to talk BlackBerry stuff: OriginalLucy

Our Events Coordinator Michelle Haag will be reaching out to all the winners via the email addresses tied to their user accounts to coordinate logistics and get them their CrackBerry loot. Congrats to all the winners!!

More DIY mockups will help you better size up the BlackBerry Mercury

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More homemade comparisons of the BlackBerry Mercury will give you a better understanding of how it sizes up to the Passport and Priv!

CrackBerry member Twopack was blown away by the community's response to his first BlackBerry 'Mercury' Mockup, so he went back to his BlackBerry Arts & Crafts counter to whip up a version two Mercury mockup, which is a little more accurate than the first one.

In addition to comparing it once again to the BlackBerry Passport, by popular request he also did up a model of the Priv (since he didn't have one handy) to compare it to with both the slider open and closed. There are also a couple of photos comparing the Mercury to a Note 4 that he had handy.

Overall, the models should help provide you with a better perspective of the size of "The Merc" as compared to other recent BlackBerry phones. And note, these are mockups so may not be exact. The good news is we're now less than two weeks away from getting our hands on the Mercury again for real and I'll make sure we head to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress with a lot of BB's in bag so we can do comparison photos.

Props again to Twopack for taking the time to put this together. Fun stuff!

Set yourself a calendar reminder now - BlackBerry Mercury launch event at 7pm GMT on Feb. 25th

Following their teaser that the BlackBerry 'Mercury' will be officially unveiled on February 25th, 2017, @bbmobile has just followed up with another tweet indicating the exact time of the event.

The event will kick off at 7pm Barcelona local time, which I believe translates into 1pm EST/10am PST (timezones be hard y'all). Put it in your calendars now as this will be the biggest launch event we've seen for a BlackBerry Smartphone since 2013's unveiling of the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10.

If you can't be there in person, the next best thing of course will be to tune into CrackBerry's coverage. With our 10 Year Anniversary celebrations in full swing, we're going to cover the hell out of this event! Even better, a big crew of our colleagues from @androidcentral will be there too, so the 'Mercury' coverage is going to be off the charts!

Just to make sure you don't forget, we've added a good 'ole fashioned countdown clock to CrackBerry's website. Let the countdown begin!

CrackBerry 10th Anniversary Podcast Episode 1: Who the heck is @BBMobile?

The CrackBerry Podcast is BACK!!! As we celebrate 10 Years of CrackBerry this month, we are pulling out all the stops to make it a month we'll remember for the next ten years.

Honoring the early days of CrackBerry, joining me this episode is Craig Johnston, my original CrackBerry Podcast co-host. Ten years later, Craig is an even smarter enterprise mobility expert, has published many more books and still possesses one of the most velvety-smooth podcasting voices around. Also anchoring the show is my boss, CrackBerry's Editor in Chief, Bla1ze!

In This Episode: Interview with Steve Cistulli, who explains what BlackBerry Mobile is and what we should expect from them!

To ensure the first of our 10th anniversary podcasts will be one to remember, we are kicking things off with an exclusive interview. Joining us on this podcast is Steve Cistulli, who is leading the charge behind BlackBerry Mobile and bringing The Merc to market. Steve's official title is President & GM of TCL Communication (TCT) North America, which is the company behind Alcatel & BlackBerry Mobile devices. Following my editorial on the aimed at Cleaning Up The Confusion Between BlackBerry & BlackBerry Mobile, Steve was more than willing to come on the show to further clarify things for us and shed a lot more light on the BlackBerry Mobile and their philosophy as the look to continue to build BlackBerry Smartphones for years to come. This is an episode you will want to listen to in full!

I hope you enjoy the show! Huge thanks go to Steve for joining us. He crushed the interview. Be sure to follow him on twitter @stevecistulli and give him a shoutout of thanks for hanging with us this week. And if you're not already following @bbmobile, get on it!

What's Your Favorite BlackBerry of ALL TIME?

If you haven't noticed, I've having a too much fun celebrating 10 Years of CrackBerry. Today I took it next level with CBK 2.0 getting back in front of the camera to shoot some video. I'll be honest, I wasn't sure how this was going to go. But one take and a little editing, I think it turned into a fun video that will likely have you feeling all nostalgic for BlackBerrys of years gone by.

For my first video back, I wanted to pick a fun topic that fit with our 10 Years of CrackBerry theme. So I decided to talk about MY FAVORITE BLACKBERRY OF ALL TIME. You'll have to watch the video to find out what it is and why.

Once you watch it, be sure to drop a comment and let me know your favorite BlackBerry of all time!

I hope you enjoy it! The CrackBerry YouTube channel has been a little stale, so really do appreciate any Thumbs Ups you can give to the video (that'll help re-kickstart it a bit), and if you're not subscribed then PLEASE SUBSCRIBE and share the videos! The more people who watch them the more we'll make! We're going to be doing a little revamping of the channel so you'll want to subscribe and turn on notifications so you don't miss any!

What type of phone will you be upgrading to the BlackBerry Mercury from? [Poll]

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So you're already thinking about getting a BlackBerry 'Mercury' when it becomes available. I want to know, what type of phone will you be upgrading from? Be sure to cast your vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments!

What are you upgrading to the BlackBerry Mercury from?

I don't think the purpose of this post can be any clearer. For those of you already sold on the BlackBerry Mercury or starting to lean towards getting one, I'm genuinely interested in knowing what you'll be switching to THE MERC from.

Sizing up the BlackBerry Mercury with a DIY Mockup [Reader Mail]

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Just because you can't get your hands on a BlackBerry Mercury yet doesn't mean you can't make one to get your hands on!

Since coming out of blogging retirement in honor of CrackBerry's 10th Anniversary this month, I've been blown away by both the warm welcome I've received by the community and also the enduring passion for BlackBerry that so many of our members have.

I see the passion in many places -- in the comments on articles we publish, within our CrackBerry forums, on social platforms like Twitter, Instagram and BBM Channels, and... in email. BlackBerry's original smartphone claim to fame was push email, so I've always felt it fitting when fans shoot me an email. Since CrackBerry Kevin has resurfaced, I've been receiving a lot more email.

A couple of emails this week came from Twopack, and I just felt compelled to share some of his enthusiasm with the community. His excitement for "the Merc" is REAL, to the point where based on photos and rumored sizes he went ahead and mocked one up so he could compare it to his BlackBerry Passport.

I've been going nuttz about the Merc. I've had my beloved Passport for quite a while now and I love it. But I'd be lying if I said that I didn't miss the traditional 4 row keyboard. I love how wide the Passport is and even though I know that's a big turn off for people, I love it! I also love the touch sensitive keyboard, and even though I miss having the fourth row, I've gotten used to the 3 row setup and I like it a lot too. While I love the width of the Passport screen I do wish it wasn't a 1:1 ratio, even though I know that is a BlackBerry trademark feature. BUT WAIT. HOLD ON. Here comes Merc and it comes bearing gifts of a 4.5" screen in a tall/widescreen format, a 4 row keyboard WITH touch, and it looks like the sharpest BlackBerry's twin brother, AND it has a fingerprint sensor in the space bar..... #MICDROP

This is literally the perfect piece of hardware to me. I'm very excited for the Merc, I think it has significant potential to be the best BlackBerry phone yet, even amongst the great many BlackBerry has had.

I've made a mockup of the Merc. This mockup was based off rumored size and a lot of guess work on my part. I'm very anxious to see how far off I am. It's not much to look at but I'm actually in the process of making an updated mockup, I'll be sure to give you pics of the new one too.

The time I spent $10,000 on 2 prototype BlackBerry Z10's and reviewed them on video before anybody else

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Here's a tech story you've never heard of before, which includes me meeting a dude at an airport with a bag full of cash to exchange it for stolen phones. Seem unbelievable? Then watch the video!

But First, a Little CrackBerry History

In the early days of CrackBerry, Research In Motion was growing like crazy and pumping out new BlackBerry phones at a rapid pace. During this time I made a name for myself by getting my hands on those phones and reviewing the hell out of them before the company ever announced them and any other reviewer or consumer even had a chance to hold them [I don't encourage any budding tech reviewers to follow my example today - that was a different era and being ethical and on the up and up is the only way to go].

Most people will remember the 2010 story of the iPhone 4 found in a bar and then purchased and reviewed by Gizmodo. It pissed Steve Jobs off. A lot. And it's never happened again with an iPhone.

Meanwhile, in the world of BlackBerry, in the two years before the stolen iPhone thing happened, I made a habit out of getting my hands on new BlackBerry Smartphones before anybody else. I was addicted. All I could think about was getting my hands on BlackBerry phones before anybody else.

SIX times I got my CrackBerry claws on brand new BlackBerry phones and reviewed them first:

  • In May 2008 I dropped a review of the BlackBerry Bold 9000 a week before Research In Motion announced the phone at their annual WES conference.

  • I followed that up in July with a hands-on review of the BlackBerry Kickstart aka Pearl Flip. There was a lot of hype around BlackBerry making a flip phone - I remember watching my review video on Jim Cramer's Mad Money that night.

  • Then two months later in September 2008, I posted the world's first hands-on review of the BlackBerry Javelin aka Curve 8900.

  • After a short hiatus, in March 2009 I posted the first hands-on review of the BlackBerry Tour 9630 which was the full qwerty BlackBerry that CDMA carriers were longing for.

  • Then in early May 2009, while sitting in a hotel room in Orlando at BlackBerry's annual conference, I pumped out the first hands-on review of the BlackBerry Gemini, the low-cost BlackBerry Curve model. I felt slightly criminal doing this, knowing there were hundreds of BlackBerry employees in the vicinity (and no, I never got the Gemini from a RIM employee).

  • And the just a few weeks later in late May, I posted the first hands-on review of the BlackBerry Onyx aka BlackBerry Bold 9700 here at CrackBerry. After a lot of phones being released within the span of two years, this was a BlackBerry that everybody got excited for.

If you're wondering how I attained all those unreleased BlackBerry phones, I can assure you it was never with the help of Research In Motion employees

If you're wondering how I attained all those unreleased BlackBerry phones, well, I can assure you to the best of my knowledge it was never with the help of Research In Motion or their direct employees. The Bold 9000 was a crazy case of quick timing when it appeared on eBay, and I snatched it up within minutes. The next five phones all came from sources who started to reach out to me once they realized CrackBerry Kevin was a little crazy but trustworthy, and they could make a few bucks getting me devices first. I don't know how those individuals got their hands on these devices. Sometimes the phones came from within North America. Sometimes they came from Asia. The average acquisition cost? The price varied, but between $1200 and $2500 was the norm back then.

It was always exciting content for BlackBerry fans, and I think a lot of employees at Research In Motion loved the excitement and hype we generated for their new devices as well. RIM's founders on the other hand, well, I don't think they liked me too much back then. Mike Lazaridis, in particular, hated "leakers." When the opportunity would arise to speak to company officials, I'd remind them that CrackBerry wasn't the ones leaking stuff. Other people at the source were the ones technically leaking info and bringing it to me - we were just the ones posting it (for all I knew at the time it could have been BlackBerry leaking stuff to us via third parties). And if we weren't the ones to post it the leaker would just go to another publication that would be happy to, so RIM should be glad that it was a site like CrackBerry and person like CrackBerry Kevin who would post about the device with proper context and always with a lot of enthusiasm.

Research In Motion went into an era of sending us a lot of takedown notices, and after the stolen iPhone incident they upped their legal threat game

While a logical explanation in my mind, it didn't help the case. Research In Motion went into an era of sending us a lot of takedown notices, and after the stolen iPhone incident they upped their legal threat game. In a future CrackBerry Confession, I could share some of the more scary letters we used to receive from RIM, featuring words like "Industrial Espionage." Fun. It was a different era, and while many people within the company realized we were on the cutting edge of marketing, words like "earned media," "brand communities" and "influencers" were not yet part of their vocabulary yet. The top brass of RIM just didn't yet understand the value we delivered.

For obvious reasons, I started to cool it on the reviewing of unreleased devices for the next couple of years as we probably wouldn't be able to win in fighting a then-angry Research In Motion legal team. That's not to say everybody at RIM was angry - during that time we built a strong working relationship with the PR and product marketing teams at RIM. We still broke a lot of rumors and had a lot of fun on the site too, but we just didn't push the limits quite as much as we did pre-2010.

Then with one phone call in January 2012, our relationship with Research In Motion improved considerably. RIM's founders were out, and Thorsten Heins was in as the new CEO of BlackBerry. Literally his first phone call as CEO went to yours truly, and during that conversation, Thorsten apologized for all of the not-so-nice treatment we had received over the years from the company whose products we were helping to market. Since then, we've always had a positive relationship with BlackBerry and a much more open dialog. The value of CrackBerry, CrackBerry Kevin and our member community was recognized tremendously during the lead-up and launch of BlackBerry 10. For BlackBerry to bring BlackBerry 10 to market was a gargantuan task, and the whole company was working overtime - the excitement of all of us within the CrackBerry community motivated the entire BlackBerry team. Heck, I even flew to Waterloo once and recorded a 'pep talk video' that went out to BlackBerry employees on their internal intranet.

History story over, that brings us to the crazy topic of two stolen BlackBerry Z10's ending up in my hands.

A Tale of Two BlackBerry Z10's

It was September 11th, 2012 at 5 pm when an email came in on the CrackBerry Tip Line saying, "BlackBerry 10 Device For Sale - you interested?"

At this point, the number of actual BlackBerry Z10 phones in existence was still very limited, and totally accounted. BlackBerry knew every person in the world who had a BlackBerry 10 phone in their possession -- each with unique serial numbers etched into the phone for tracking.

Both the Z10 and Q10 had never emerged publicly in legit photos or videos at this time. BlackBerry had granted a few people in the press a sneak look at the phones, but nothing of hands-on substance was reported yet.

It seemed too good to be true, so I replied back to the seller asking to see photographic proof. The photo he sent was clearly legit. My trained BlackBerry eyes knew how to spot an unreleased BlackBerry.

I pursued the deal, which grew in magnitude. It turned out the seller had not just one Z10, but two! One apparently featured a slightly older software build and was not very usable, but the other booted up fine and had on it a working version of what was evolving from the BlackBerry PlayBook OS into the BlackBerry 10 OS. We eventually arrived at a price of $10,000 CDN, down from an initial $12,000 ask. That's an INSANELY high number to shell out for two phones. I didn't really have a choice though. If I didn't buy them, the seller would move onto another publication who would buy them who wouldn't likely give the same careful attention that I would.

When it came time to figure out how to pay the seller, well, that's where things got fun and felt like a scene from out of a movie. I suggested a wire transfer for payment, but the seller suggested he'd send somebody on an airplane to meet me at the Winnipeg airport. He clearly didn't want his identity to be known.

So that's how it went down. That Friday, at 4 pm, I went to my local airport with a backpack containing four envelopes each with $2500 inside. I sat at a table in the airport Tim Horton's. After a short wait up walks a guy, sits down, and we do the deal. He pulls out two BlackBerry 10 phones. I pull out the cash. I take the phones. He counts the money. He puts the money in his backpack and walks back to security to catch his flight out of Winnipeg. To this day, I still don't know who he was.

So what happened to the phones?

Had it been 2009, old CrackBerry Kevin would have immediately reviewed the hell out of these newly acquired phones and posted them right then and there for the whole world to see. This time, things were different. BlackBerry had SO MUCH riding on the launch of BlackBerry 10 that I wanted to do everything I could to help them out.

Unlike Gizmodo posting about their stolen iPhone, I called up BlackBerry and told them I had obtained two BlackBerry 10 phones and that I wanted to return to them

So, unlike Gizmodo and what they did with their stolen iPhone, this time around I called up to the upper echelons of BlackBerry and told them I had obtained two BlackBerry 10 phones that I wanted to return to them. BlackBerry flew two representatives out to Winnipeg that Sunday evening who were told to fly to Winnipeg and give CrackBerry Kevin a full tour of both the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 and that he'd have a package for them to bring back to Waterloo. It was an awesome day, and I spent a few hours playing with the latest builds of BB10 on the latest Z10 and Q10 hardware. And I said goodbye to my crazily attained BlackBerry Z10s when I dropped the BlackBerry employees off at the airport so they could catch their flight home.

Once a tech blogger always a tech blogger, though. Before sending my precious BlackBerry 10 phones back to their Waterloo home, I fired up the camera and did a quick and dirty ten-minute walk through of the goods. You can hit play on the video above to see them in all their glory. It was the first hands-on video of the BlackBerry Z10 that never aired, until today.

As for the question of where the Z10's came from? It turned out a BlackBerry employee was robbed a week earlier, and both phones had been reported as missing by that employee. Whoever stole them -- who may be even be reading this -- knew CrackBerry Kevin would shell out the cash to buy them. The seller got away with the crime. BlackBerry got back their phones. I felt good for doing the right thing and returning them. And hey, a few years later on CrackBerry's 10th anniversary the story FINALLY came out.