I often hear this saying – it’s usually from two kinds of people; crusty dried up old used to be rockers, you can tell them by their tattoos, the glint in their eyes and by the fact they even they stoop now, they do it in an ever so stylish way. I am talking about the generation that brought us Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling stones, Jimi Hendrix and birthed rock *awesome bass solo*. When they say it they are talking about Elvis of course. Vive le Rock and Roll.
Then there’s the other kind of people. The culture appropriators affecting a love of the past to pretend a better taste than the rest of us. They scoff at our Wizkid, Kanye and Jigga, and tell us music isn’t what it used to be any more. They’re always saying how the classics are better than our new-fangled hip-hop. Saying that like it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Well, I heard ‘Smells like teen spirit’ by Nirvana, and guess what, I didn’t like it.
On to the matter. Blackberry has consistently made the worst smartphones in the world. No kidding. Every year they win the prize hands down. Of course there’s the odd badly designed Chinese smart phone but it probably runs android and is still better than blackberry. We’re talking about the phone that single handedly brought back the bad battery. I mean what’s the point of wearing skinny jeans if your pocket bulges with an ugly bb charger? All over the country, as the orange light begins to glow, kids are seen running in search of sockets to save the ongoing conversation. Inevitably, the battery dies and what follows is 3-5 mins of pensive standing by like Ben Carson after brain surgery as the phone attempts to boot. Will it come on? Won’t it? Five or Six shots? Are you feeling lucky punk? I like to believe I bought a phone not Dirty Harry.
Then there’s the app market. I get that windows doesn’t have a lot of apps but you might still find what you are looking for or a passable alternative. Owning a blackberry is like being the pimpled gawky kid at the school dance. App Developers slide by, trying to avoid your eyes and pretend you do not exist.
I mean, it took a whole design revamp and the introduction of a new OS to get Instagram. You know what pisses me off about that? Tecno users got it right off the bat. Here I am browsing and I happen to stumble on a cool site. Time flies by as I browse through the archives surrounded by lol cat memes and confession of guilty bears. I have to go somewhere and as I log out, the site asks me to continue viewing on my mobile device. How nice. I check the list of available apps and as George Carlin would say, No f***** blackberry. There are some who do try to appeal to blackberry users (I’m looking at you GQ) and the app is without fail awful.
Then there’s the fragility of the phone itself, from the Storm’s easy break screen to the Torch’s flex issues. The various blackberry devices seemed designed more to fail than anything else. One would think that the iPhone being all screen would be way more fragile but a six foot drop onto a flat surface would usually leave a dented iPhone and several broken pieces of RIM branded plastic.
Why do thousands of Nigerians use blackberry phones then? I’m told it’s a data issue. There are many kinds of madness but when network providers offer you 250mb for a month and smile self-satisfiedly like it’s a great deal, you wonder just what kind of madness this is. Etisalat comes on the radio and TV and cheerily offers you 5mb free data, no charge, it’s our way of saying thank you. Well, it ain’t worth s**t. 5mb will get you a tenth of the average Facebook page. Let me stop here before I go rambling about the idiocy of 10mb daily plans.
Do they even use the internet? Maybe not. They may be too busy counting the billions they rake in from selling data. That seems like such a normal concept but it shouldn’t be. They call it internet access for a reason. ISPs sell it by bandwidth. To you that is speed, say 300kbps. Unlimited. Telecomms companies came up with the idea of data caps to prevent network congestion. Studies have shown that data caps do not actually prevent network congestion. When your data is finished, you just go out and buy more. That’s how vital and addictive the internet is. Then again, what chance does a perfectly good research study stand against the promise of profit?
Blackberry data plans offer us an alternative to the network provider’s stingy data plans, allowing us access to 1, 2 or 3gb at reasonable prices. Reasonable as compared to the default N5000 for 3gb on normal offerings. That’s the unspoken trade-off. We endure the badly designed phones and they give us data we can afford. No questions asked.
Well there are alternatives now. We the neighbourhood geeks have long studied the lore of APNs and connectivity and there are ways to use blackberry plans on other devices (Psst…. Use the Airtel, Luke *sorry, bad pun*). Now you can use your beloved iPhones and Android devices on blackberry services. Till the networks relent and reduce the price of data to accessible prices, intrepid individuals will find ways to bring you hacks and tweaks to make your internet lives a bit easier.
To learn more about the force, internet and other geek stuff follow me on twitter @sir_castiq.