BlackBerry has been my go to smartphone, since I first owned the 7500. I can’t claim “uber cool” status like our Chief Operating Officer, Niko Giannopoulos, and reminisce having used the original pagers.
Out of all of the phones I have ever owned, a BlackBerry has always remained my daily driver. Sure, I liked certain functionalities and features found on iOS and Android devices.
But, there were critical features about BlackBerry that I just couldn’t give up for the “fluff” features on the competing platforms. It didn’t even phase me when the app craze hit.
I’m a smartphone fanatic and of course had to have the latest iPhone and Android devices to try out all of those new “revolutionary” social apps. Though, I didn’t need them or their distractions to remain successful in my business, or even most personal affairs.
Once BlackBerry introduced the Android runtime onto the PlayBook and then BB10, the company was quickly quelling any ‘app gap’ I may have had. In OS 10.2.1 I could finally install almost any Android app seamlessly from the native browser or a third party app store.
This was huge. I could finally have almost all of my newfound favorite apps from the competing platforms on my BlackBerry. Apparently, the Android runtime is getting even better performance with the upcoming OS 10.3 update.
There have only been two downsides: 1.) Not all apps show notifications in the Hub, 2.) You can’t use Google Services.
Of course some other wonky things have happened intermittently, such as I’ll open one app only for it to shortly mirror an app I had previously closed. Nonetheless, the Android runtime on BlackBerry has been a tremendous gift. In fact, I feel very grateful BlackBerry chose to allow the Android runtime and hadn’t left its customers with the barren wasteland we call BlackBerry World.
For most of the apps that require Google Services, I have found alternatives. Even though, some of the more popular Google apps, like Maps, works perfectly fine without the Google Services.
Those who might get angry with the single pop-up on Google Maps, which says it needs Google Services but doesn’t for core functionality, could look for an alternative. There’s plenty like the MapQuest app, the many others for Android, or go native and hope the BlackBerry Maps app will work.
GMail, Google Analytics, Google Adsense, Chrome, and more would be really nice to use. However, I have GMail integrated in the Hub with my other email accounts. Both Google Adsense and Analytics I can easily track via their mobile sites and simply bookmark those pages. Chrome is the only thing you truly can’t use, but who needs it when the native BlackBerry browser is pretty much the best in the industry.
Google truly plays a huge role in my life and without it completely would be tough. Though, I haven’t seen any degradation in my ability to “keep moving” and remain a productive, successful person without Google Services.
A few apps could not make me give up BlackBerry 10’s amazing Hub, multi-tasking, Virtual Keyboard with SwiftKey foundation, or BBM’s ScreenShare and Video Chat. There’s too many core BlackBerry services, that without them, would make me less productive if I ever switched.