06-23-2014 12:54 AM
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  1. anon(6038817)'s Avatar
    A Little Context

    I wouldn't say I'm a "die hard" BlackBerry fan. In the grand scheme of things, I'm a relative "newb" to the BlackBerry brand. My first BlackBerry device was actually a PlayBook tablet! I bought one direct from BlackBerry when they were trying to sell off inventory for cheap. It was no iPad, but I liked it enough to want to get a Curve 8530 just to try out the Bridge feature that allowed you to manage your phone's emails, SMS, contacts, tasks, notes, etc. from your PlayBook, as well as browse the web using the phone's data connection.

    I later ditched the Curve and set out to try other platforms. After the Curve I got a Galaxy Nexus Google Play Edition (kept that for a year I liked it so much), then a Lumia 521, then an iPhone, and now a Z30 - with brief stints trying out a Curve 9930 and a Q10 earlier this year. So I've had experience with every major platform and can see the strengths and weakness of each.

    What drew me back to BlackBerry was the hardware, BB10 OS, and the security. The fact that it wasn't an iPhone or an Android was also a big selling point for me. After 4 months of owning an iPhone, I knew it just wasn't for me. It was admittedly a great device, but I just didn't want to buy into Apple's ecosystem, and I didn't like their approach to hardware/software (expensive hardware, walled garden, proprietary cables & accessories, etc.). I like Android more than iPhone, but I didn't like the "hodgepodge" nature of Android. It comes across as being a "let's throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks" kind of platform with endless variants, custom OEM interfaces, fragmentation galore. The Galaxy Nexus even today is a decent phone with decent specs, but it's already been orphaned by Google and won't receive Kit Kat. If I still owned a Gnex I'd be upset about that.

    I could go on and on about iOS and Android, but suffice it to say, they don't appeal to me.

    Why BlackBerry and Windows Phone?

    For me, BlackBerry and Windows Phone get right what iOS and Android get wrong. And now, after a relatively brief return to BlackBerry, I'm taking a very serious look at Windows Phone once again.

    I used a Lumia 521 as my primary smartphone for about 4 months. I still consider it to be the best smartphone available for the price. In spite of how modest it looks on paper, the Windows Phone 8 OS and apps run brilliantly on it. An Android phone with comparable specs would NOT run anywhere near as smoothly. I was astounded at how that 5 MP rear camera with no flash could take such great pictures. For example:

    wp_20130628_044.jpg

    wp_20130628_007.jpg

    Though it was a great phone in its own right, the Lumia 521 did have its limitations - no front-facing camera, no LTE, terrible T-Mobile coverage (at least in the areas I needed it). I decided to move on and try other devices, but the memory of my experience has lingered.

    And now, after having used BlackBerry's flagship Z30 as my primary smartphone for 7 months, I've had a desire to try a high-end Windows Phone device to see if my fond memories of Windows Phone were well-founded.

    Why Windows Phone is Appealing To Me

    Let me just say that the Z30 is, by far, the best smartphone I have ever owned. The screen size, the external speakers, the BB10 OS with features like Hub and Active Frames, the ability to run Android apps, the fantastic battery life, and many more features make this phone a sleeper powerhouse and I would recommend it to anyone looking to try something new.

    But BlackBerry - as a company - is undergoing some drastic changes right now. I've been paying attention to what's going on, and they are rightly focusing on areas other than smartphones. These areas include Enterprise, The Internet of Things, and Automobile Infotainment Systems. These are all areas where there is still growth to be had and market share to grab. Whereas the smartphone market - at least in North America - is saturated. iOS and Android have asserted their dominance, while BlackBerry fell asleep at the wheel.

    I believe it will be many years before BlackBerry will be in a position to make a significant push in the smartphone market. By that time, smartphones may have been supplanted as "the thing" by other technologies like wearables. I just don't see BlackBerry being anything more than a niche player in the smartphone market at this point - a mere shadow of their former greatness. A respectable shadow, but a shadow nonetheless.

    Microsoft and Windows Phone, however, are growing - perhaps slowly, but steadily and notably. Windows Phone has clearly overtaken BlackBerry in North America as the 3rd smartphone platform of choice, and for good reason.

    Unlike BlackBerry, Windows Phone has a respectable app, media, and cloud ecosystem to drive adoption. Windows Phone users lament the lack of apps, but that situation has been steadily improving with Microsoft being in a position to throw cash and resources into attracting experienced developers to make quality and desirable apps.

    BlackBerry, on the other hand, has raised the white flag and conceded defeat in trying to create a substantial native app ecosystem. Their resources are limited and they can't offer much to attract developer talent. And since fewer people are buying BlackBerry devices than ever before, developers are looking elsewhere to maximize their reach. BlackBerry has attempted to stop the bleeding by piggy-backing on Android's app ecosystem, focusing on the Android runtime functionality in BB10 and the ability to more easily install and run Android apps with just a few taps. And to their credit, this has been a needed and welcome feature that has likely kept many from leaving. But I can't see this as anything more than a stopgap. The ability to run Android apps has not caused a mass exodus from other platforms to BlackBerry. In reality, most people who even care to look into BlackBerry will learn that it can run Android apps and ask themselves: "then why not just get an Android?"

    The 4 Pillars

    For me, the 4 pillars of a successful mobile platform are: hardware, operating system, security/privacy, and ecosystem.

    While BlackBerry is trying - and failing - to set itself apart on hardware, OS, and security/privacy alone, Windows Phone is succeeding at setting itself apart in all those areas as well as its app, media, and cloud ecosystems.

    Hardware

    BlackBerry hardware is still of excellent quality and design, but aside from the visual appeal, their only claim to fame is their trademark (and best in the world) physical keyboards. There is an avid, vocal, but relatively small group of physical keyboard fans that will be BlackBerry owners and fans to the bitter end. But physical keyboards on smartphones just do not appeal to the vast majority of smartphone users.

    Windows Phone OEM Nokia, however, has made a name for itself when it comes to cameras, display technologies like ClearBlack and Super Sensitive Touch, and its excellent suite of apps. And that's just one Windows Phone OEM! The likes of Samsung and HTC are also making Windows Phones, which puts more hardware options at the feet of consumers and doesn't tie them to one brand. Competition among hardware manufacturers is good for consumers!

    Operating System

    BB10 is a fantastic OS. If you've never tried it, you're missing out. The BB10 Hub may be the most useful smartphone feature I've ever used on ANY platform. Think of it as a kind of RSS feed aggregator, but instead of aggregating RSS feeds, it aggregates emails, notifications, alerts, text messages, IMs, social media, and a host of other things. No matter what you're doing, you can easily access the Hub, or just take a peek to see what's there if you don't want to leave an app. BB10 Active Frames are also great. They're a lot like Windows Phone live tiles, in that they display information pertinent to the app when it is minimized. The difference is that in BB10, if an app has been minimized to Active Frames, it's still running. BB10 supports real-time multitasking between up to 8 apps via Active Frames. No other mobile OS comes close to that functionality. It's amazing.

    But Windows Phone has something BB10 does not: style. In my experience, Windows Phone has the best, most appealing design language across its OS and apps. The design, flow, and functionality of the software are a breath of fresh air and seem so much more unified and integrated with each other than on the other platforms. And Live Tiles - the app icons ARE the widgets! Brilliant!

    Another thing I love about Windows Phone is its integration with Microsoft products and services. For someone like me who prefers Microsoft's offerings over Google's or any other's, Windows Phone is brilliant.

    And there's something to be said about simplicity. People know I'm a technology geek, so I get a lot of tech related questions. I'm platform agnostic, so I ask questions and recommend the product I think will be the best fit for the person, regardless of brand. If someone were to come to me and say they were considering getting their first smartphone and ask me which one is the easiest to learn and use, without hesitation I would recommend Windows Phone.

    Security (and Privacy)

    This is one of BlackBerry's strengths, but it can no longer claim exclusivity, here. Microsoft has done an excellent job in designing Windows Phone's security features. In fact, it is actively marketing itself as a direct competitor to BlackBerry in the enterprise and government space - and it is succeeding.

    Privacy is also very important to me, and getting emails like the one I got from Microsoft today is very reassuring to me:

    img_20140617_184650.png

    To Google, I'm their product. They gather as much information as they can about me and use it to sell targeted advertizing. To Microsoft, I'm a customer and an individual whose privacy is respected and whose information is not a commodity to be bought and sold. Thank you, Microsoft.

    Ecosystem

    Aside from a relatively small number of good native apps, BlackBerry has no ecosystem to speak of. It has no media or cloud presence. In the current smartphone market, a vibrant ecosystem is essential to its stability and growth.

    Microsoft's ecosystem is much more established, and it is growing. It has more quality native apps than BlackBerry, more robust audio/video offerings, and established cloud services like Office Online, Outlook.com, and OneDrive. More than any other platform, Windows Phone has the potential to come within striking distance of Apple and Google, especially in low-end and emerging markets.

    Present and Potential

    I tell people to always buy a device based on what it can do NOW. If it doesn't do what you want NOW, but you're clinging to the hope that it might possibly be able to do what you want at some point in the near or distant future...you're only setting yourself up for disappointment.

    When I look at Windows Phone, I see what it can do NOW - and that's enough for me. I can also see its potential, and if Microsoft plays its cards right, I think it has a very bright future.

    When I look at BlackBerry, I also see what it can do NOW - and it's also enough for me. But when I try to assess its potential, BlackBerry's future - at least in the smartphone market - looks pretty bleak for the next couple years at least. I don't see them gaining developer support for native apps. I don't see them building a media or cloud ecosystem. I don't see them focusing on innovations that appeal to the average smartphone user. Rather, I see them focusing on niche and enterprise customers and putting resources into other technology markets outside of smartphones.

    Basically, I see BlackBerry going in a direction I don't want to go. And you know what? I'm okay with that. Because there's always Windows Phone.
    06-17-2014 10:58 PM
  2. Laura Knotek's Avatar
    Nice review!

    I'm also an ex-BlackBerry user. However, I had high-end BBOS devices (9000/9700), rather than the 8530. I moved to Windows Phone after being out of contract 11 months and sick of waiting for BB10. You might remember me from CrackBerry as lak611; that was my old handle, but I think all my old posts now show my real name there too.

    I'm also moving this to the Phone Wars forum, since it is a comparison/contrast/review (that is excellent).
    06-17-2014 11:07 PM
  3. SubCamp's Avatar
    Great review!
    06-17-2014 11:35 PM
  4. xtremez's Avatar
    I found this link from CrackBerry and I think that was very well written, if BlackBerry goes I think Windows will be my next destination. It seems like they are making the right kind of strides in this space. Partially because Microsoft also has the finances to push their products and services too, but their progress has been steady and it's a different offering which is good for consumers!
    06-18-2014 12:32 AM
  5. anon(6038817)'s Avatar
    Nice review!

    I'm also an ex-BlackBerry user. However, I had high-end BBOS devices (9000/9700), rather than the 8530. I moved to Windows Phone after being out of contract 11 months and sick of waiting for BB10. You might remember me from CrackBerry as lak611; that was my old handle, but I think all my old posts now show my real name there too.

    I'm also moving this to the Phone Wars forum, since it is a comparison/contrast/review (that is excellent).
    Thanks for the feedback and for moving the thread to the right place. I wasn't quite sure where to post it. :)

    I'm glad Windows Phone has worked well for you! I'm eager to get my hands on a high-end one and really give it a try.

    Posted from my BlackBerry Z30 via Tapatalk
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    06-18-2014 09:25 AM
  6. anon(6038817)'s Avatar
    I found this link from CrackBerry and I think that was very well written, if BlackBerry goes I think Windows will be my next destination. It seems like they are making the right kind of strides in this space. Partially because Microsoft also has the finances to push their products and services too, but their progress has been steady and it's a different offering which is good for consumers!
    Thank you! And excellent observations. I think people sometimes forget that Microsoft is different from Apple and Google in its business model and in its approach to software/hardware. And I agree, that's a good thing for us!

    Posted from my BlackBerry Z30 via Tapatalk
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    06-18-2014 09:28 AM
  7. anon(6038817)'s Avatar
    BlackBerry and Amazon have announced a partnership in bringing the Amazon Appstore to the next major release of BB10. t's all over the CrackBerry forums.

    It's interesting that this announcement comes the morning after I started this thread! I think it confirms what I was saying about BlackBerry conceding defeat in trying to develop a competitive native app library. And long term, that's probably not a good thing for them.

    Windows Phone just got that much more appealing to me.

    Posted from my BlackBerry Z30 via Tapatalk
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    06-18-2014 10:28 AM
  8. Blacklac's Avatar
    Wow, good for Blackberry. Amazon will prob make a little money off the sales and ecosystem. Win for both sides.

    I was just wondering the other day if you could sideload Amazon's store. :p.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    06-18-2014 10:46 AM
  9. Maaz Mansori's Avatar
    Thanks for the review. This is a great example about what should be done when selecting an OS. You have to use what works best for you. Unfortunately, the majority of people seem to select based on what everyone else has. People have the misconception that unless you have the latest iPhone or Galaxy, your phone is inferior.
    06-18-2014 10:48 AM
  10. anon(6038817)'s Avatar
    Wow, good for Blackberry. Amazon will prob make a little money off the sales and ecosystem. Win for both sides.

    I was just wondering the other day if you could sideload Amazon's store. :p.
    The current BB10 version allows you to install Android APK files with just a few taps - no need to sideload.

    This Amazon partnership just allows BlackBerry to ship their phones with the Amazon Appstore pre-installed.

    Posted from my BlackBerry Z30 via Tapatalk
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    06-18-2014 10:56 AM
  11. akthelonelyman's Avatar
    Great review,comparison. If u try wp again get the 1520.most complete package u can get right now or wait for rumored Mclaren which will launch sometime near future.im also thinking about getting a blackberry as a second phone. Another reason is just to get one of the last phones from a great company(I believe blackberry will have to exit from handset business as chen hinted sometime back) and I read the BB 10.2.1 is good.
    Considering z10,z3,q5,q10...which one would u suggest?
    anon(6038817) likes this.
    06-18-2014 11:00 AM
  12. S Vaibhav's Avatar
    Great review! Like the guy above me said, get a 1520 if you are trying WP. It is the best all rounder currently in the Nokia line-up.
    anon(6038817) likes this.
    06-18-2014 11:04 AM
  13. Ian Too's Avatar
    Thank you Newfangled for your interesting and positive article. I think we have a very similar approach in what we want from a smart phone and the relationship we want with its maker - to be a customer instead of an amenity.

    Although I've never used a Blackberry, I hope they are able to stage a comeback. I see no reason why Windows Phone's success should be at the expense of Blackberry. What's needed is a lump to be taken out of Google and Android.

    I'd really like to see Blackberry take a shot at building a Windows Phone. After all, no one is making a WP device with a physical keyboard, so Blackberry could immediately differentiate itself there.
    06-18-2014 11:08 AM
  14. anon(6038817)'s Avatar
    Great review,comparison. If u try wp again get the 1520.most complete package u can get right now or wait for rumored Mclaren which will launch sometime near future.im also thinking about getting a blackberry as a second phone. Another reason is just to get one of the last phones from a great company(I believe blackberry will have to exit from handset business as chen hinted sometime back) and I read the BB 10.2.1 is good.
    Considering z10,z3,q5,q10...which one would u suggest?
    Thanks! And I would get a 1520 if it would play nicely with Verizon! I'm hoping for a 6" Nokia on Verizon soon.

    Of the models you listed, I'd probably go for a Z3. I don't think I could go back to a smaller screen after using my 5" Z30!

    Posted from my BlackBerry Z30 via Tapatalk
    akthelonelyman likes this.
    06-18-2014 11:47 AM
  15. anon(6038817)'s Avatar
    Thank you Newfangled for your interesting and positive article. I think we have a very similar approach in what we want from a smart phone and the relationship we want with its maker - to be a customer instead of an amenity.

    Although I've never used a Blackberry, I hope they are able to stage a comeback. I see no reason why Windows Phone's success should be at the expense of Blackberry. What's needed is a lump to be taken out of Google and Android.

    I'd really like to see Blackberry take a shot at building a Windows Phone. After all, no one is making a WP device with a physical keyboard, so Blackberry could immediately differentiate itself there.
    Thank you, and yes, we're on the same wavelength here. WP and BB can and should coexist and I hope BlackBerry is able to right their ship soon.

    And BlackBerry hardware running Windows Phone? What an intriguing prospect! I'd love it!

    Posted from my BlackBerry Z30 via Tapatalk
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    06-18-2014 11:52 AM
  16. dicks-webos's Avatar
    I have been a BB fan and still am. My Z10 works beautifully and although it has a small battery it lasts 2,5 days. The OS is very strong and stable. A power workhorse.

    I fully agree with the review, which I fully agree to after having used a Lumia 820 with WP8.1 Dev Preview for the past 4 weeks. The camera is significantly better and its fun to share pictures. The OS has style, coming back to BB10 makes me feel like being flashed back 5 years (that is not bad, but not what is need to be hip).

    Almost daily my phone gets updates. OS related and also apps. The recent Facebook Beta app update was a very significant move forwards.

    WP8.1 is fun to use. Recently I needed to quickly find directions. Started the maps app, set the destination and boom the map with the route was shown incl. time and distance to get there. In general WP8.1 also gives me a feeling of more control. I can set a data volume on a time basis and check the usage. Many apps support the option to allow updates only via WIFI. In particular I like the "Kids Corner" which allows me to select apps which my kids can access when using the phone.

    WP8.1 is a massive step forward. Using it now as my daily phone I really like the usability and the "style". Its fun to set different pictures as background for the main UI.

    Compared to BB, I would say it comes down to: better camera, better "style UI", better data control. Battery is a big issue, but that is because the Lumia 820 has a small battery. I will look to find another model (maybe the Billy 4.7).
    06-18-2014 12:10 PM
  17. keerthi vasan's Avatar
    Have to agree about the BB10 hub... Used it just for a few minutes while setting up a z30 I bought for my cousin. It would be awesome if Microsoft somehow figures out a way to bring it to WP .... Would be a nice way to bring in interactive notifications with this
    Last edited by keerthi vasan; 06-18-2014 at 01:16 PM.
    06-18-2014 12:25 PM
  18. akthelonelyman's Avatar
    Thanks! And I would get a 1520 if it would play nicely with Verizon! I'm hoping for a 6" Nokia on Verizon soon.

    Of the models you listed, I'd probably go for a Z3. I don't think I could go back to a smaller screen after using my 5" Z30!

    Posted from my BlackBerry Z30 via Tapatalk
    thanks...Iam considering z3 as it is a big screen budget model.i dont buy phones with contract so have a tight budget after 1520 or else I would have gone for z30..
    anon(6038817) likes this.
    06-18-2014 02:05 PM
  19. akthelonelyman's Avatar
    Hmm Blackberry keyboard on a windows phone.that would be a great prospect esp with office!
    anon(6038817) likes this.
    06-18-2014 02:07 PM
  20. anon(6038817)'s Avatar
    thanks...Iam considering z3 as it is a big screen budget model.i dont buy phones with contract so have a tight budget after 1520 or else I would have gone for z30..
    I think the Z3 is a fantastic phone for the price. And hopefully a sign of things to come from BlackBerry.

    Posted from my BlackBerry Z30 via Tapatalk
    06-18-2014 02:58 PM
  21. Laura Knotek's Avatar
    Have to agree about the BB10 hub... Used it just for a few minutes while setting up a z30 I bought for my cousin. It would be awesome if Microsoft somehow figures out a way to bring it to WP .... Would be a nice way to bring in interactive notifications with this

    I think the mistake BlackBerry made was not having any tutorial for the hub on demo Z10s in carrier stores. I played with a Z10 in a T-Mobile store shortly after its release and couldn't figure out the gestures. After fumbling around for 10 minutes, I gave up on it, since I couldn't figure out how to use the browser. I'm able to use iPhones or Androids easily in carrier stores without reading any manuals. I've installed apps and posted on the forums using Android devices in carrier stores. I'm not new to smartphones, but I couldn't figure out the BB10 hub. If I had difficulty, I'd imagine other people m might've also had difficulty. I also suspect the average consumer would give up trying in less time than me.
    steve_w_7 and anon(6038817) like this.
    06-18-2014 03:49 PM
  22. David P2's Avatar
    Going from this review, I reckon if Blackberry and WP joined forces for an OS they could blow Android and iOS out of the water completely. Take all the best bits from both, and boom - we have a winner, with the bonus of having the Amazon App store on hand, just to add insult to injury. It could be the best of both worlds.
    06-18-2014 05:50 PM
  23. AG VK's Avatar
    A Little Context

    And there's something to be said about simplicity. People know I'm a technology geek, so I get a lot of tech related questions. I'm platform agnostic, so I ask questions and recommend the product I think will be the best fit for the person, regardless of brand. If someone were to come to me and say they were considering getting their first smartphone and ask me which one is the easiest to learn and use, without hesitation I would recommend Windows Phone.
    So what do you do when they come back and ask how they get Candy Crush on "the windows phone"
    06-18-2014 06:01 PM
  24. anon(6038817)'s Avatar
    So what do you do when they come back and ask how they get Candy Crush on "the windows phone"
    I would tell them the truth and let them decide if Candy Crush is important enough to them to want to switch platforms.

    Posted from my BlackBerry Z30 via Tapatalk
    06-18-2014 06:10 PM
  25. anon(6038817)'s Avatar
    I think the mistake BlackBerry made was not having any tutorial for the hub on demo Z10s in carrier stores. I played with a Z10 in a T-Mobile store shortly after its release and couldn't figure out the gestures. After fumbling around for 10 minutes, I gave up on it, since I couldn't figure out how to use the browser. I'm able to use iPhones or Androids easily in carrier stores without reading any manuals. I've installed apps and posted on the forums using Android devices in carrier stores. I'm not new to smartphones, but I couldn't figure out the BB10 hub. If I had difficulty, I'd imagine other people m might've also had difficulty. I also suspect the average consumer would give up trying in less time than me.
    This is an excellent point. BB10 is different enough from the other platforms that there definitely is a bit of a learning curve. No home button or navigation buttons - how do I close an app? Those kinds of subtle differences can cause frustration.

    Once you learn the BB10 gestures they make total sense, but it takes time that many simply aren't willing to invest at this stage in the game.

    Posted from my BlackBerry Z30 via Tapatalk
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    06-18-2014 06:14 PM
38 12

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