Gadgets

17 things you’ll only understand if you owned a BlackBerry

Posted by
David Cornish
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It's a sad day for BlackBerry. 

After years of being lauded as one of the most secure, work-friendly handsets money can buy, the US senate has declared it's dropping BlackBerry as its long-standing smartphone of choice, bringing to an end the PR-boosting images of Obama clutching his black brick. The company has also announced it's axing the only phone it still makes with a physical keyboard.

With BlackBerry falling out of fashion, we've gathered together our fondest memories of its many handsets for old times' sake when it was way, way ahead of the smartphone game. 

Here's to you, BB. 

 

Having a proper keyboard

Having a proper keyboard

Sure, the first time you saw it, you laughed at it. 

It was tiny. It wasn't that obvious how you were supposed to use the number pad - the thing that dominated the front of every other phone. But the moment you got your thumbs round it, it just felt right

Owning the same phone as Barack 'I'm a Legend' Obama

Owning the same phone as Barack 'I'm a Legend' Obama

What phone does David Cameron own? Exactly, you couldn't give a gnat's tit about what phone David Cameron owns.

Barack Obama, on the other hand - of course you want what he's got in his pocket. Or rather, on the outside of his pocket, on a deeply retro BlackBerry belt wallet.

A phone holster, if you will.

BBM

BBM

WhatsApp? WhatsThePoint, more like? Right? 

Back in 2005 when the world was still trying to squeeze text messages into 160 characters, BlackBerry users were spewing out reams of words via their own private messaging service. 

It was a simpler time, when people were yet to discover the two-ticked Hell of WhatsApp.

"What's your BBM pin?"

"What's your BBM pin?"

There were two responses to this question:

1) A knowing wink, followed by a BlackBerry handshake and then heaps of super cool BBM chat.

2) "Is that like my body mass index? Are you a pervert? Leave me alone will you..."

Red light paranoia

Red light paranoia

You know how you get a phantom vibration? When you would swear on ya mam's life that your phone has just gone off in your pocket, pull it out and realise it didn't and begin thinking you probably have leg cancer because of how much time your phone spends pressed up against it?

Just us?

Well it was the same with BlackBerry phones - but you could have sworn you saw the red light blink from across the room...

Downloading an app to change your notification light...

...and unleash ALL THE COLOURS OF THE RAINBOW! 

Setting a new high score on Copter

Setting a new high score on Copter

Snake? Bah. Snake wishes it was Copter. This was the original Flappy Bird.

Using the Trackball

Using the Trackball

BlackBerry didn’t reinvent the wheel but it came awfully bloody close with the trackball: simple to use, deeply satisfying whenever clicked, it was a genuine pleasure.

It was also the mobile phone equivalent of evolving opposable thumbs.

PROPER email

PROPER email

Not some rubbish WAP email that only notified you of a message four days after it landed in your inbox. 

It was the future before we knew what the future was. 

A battery that lasted days

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A battery that lasted days

DAYS! 

Even with email, BBM and Copter

Having a memory card slot

Having a memory card slot

What's that? Your Nokia can only store how many contacts?

HA! Excuse us while we just increase our storage with this massive memory card...

Word Mole

Word Mole

Absolutelyfreakingamazing. 100 points.

Getting a new handset every time your dad got an upgrade

Getting a new handset every time your dad got an upgrade

Back in the day (the mid-2000s), BlackBerry was the business handset of choice for many companies. Whenever a new handset came out, that meant hundreds of thousands of office workers would pass their old handset down to their kids as the company rolled out the new model.

Hence, BlackBerry gained a cooler-than-cool, rich kid status without spending a penny on marketing themselves to a younger generation. Accidental, and yet, brilliant. 

Owning a smartphone you knew no one else would have

Owning a smartphone you knew no one else would have

There were SO MANY BlackBerry models, and they were all largely brilliant. If you actually gave a damn about having a handset that was a bit different to the average iPhone, BlackBerry was where it was at.

Hands up who had a BlackBerry Bold 9790? That's right, FOUR of you. 

The clickwheel

The clickwheel

This thing made so much sense. Sure, some other handsets had them, but the BlackBerry clickwheel was the king of clickwheels. Really. The way it went 'click'. Just magic. 

You owned a BlackBerry back when they were good

You owned a BlackBerry back when they were good

You loved BlackBerry when they were the master race of mobiles.

Now look at them. This is the Passport. It's massive. It doesn't make any sense. What happened, BB?

Using two hands

Using two hands

Wielding this podgy device with two hands, fingertips delicately sliding over button grooves like intuits kissing with their noses, was the only way to text from your BlackBerry. One handed was a fool’s errand.

Not practical, you say? Maybe so but it didn’t half look cool.

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Author

David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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