The letter to current and former BlackBerry users is a bid to create buzz for the company's new Classic phone.
In what country of 240 million, nearly all of them mobile enthusiasts, does BBM rank number one? Hint: it’s in southeast Asia, and is comprised of more than 18,000 islands. Answer: Indonesia. 79% of Indonesia’s mobile users use BBM, beating out Facebook-owned WhatsApp and LINE, which take the 2nd and 3rd positions, respectively, according to research from Nielsen reported in the Jakarta Post, Reuters, and elsewhere. (We first discussed it on INSIDE BlackBerry back in June).
Why is BBM so popular?
Maybe it’s the versatility of the platform, with fun and useful innovations ranging from voice and video calls to channels and stickers. Plus, it’s cross-platform, so anyone can use it with anyone else.
As described on BlackBerry World:
BBM Money, issued by Permata Bank, allows BlackBerry users from any Indonesian bank account to get a new mobile money account which, after loading at any ATM, can send money to their BBM Contacts, top up at full value mobile prepaid numbers or PLN prepaid, send money to companies for bill pay and cash out at PermataBank ATMs or to any bank account.
Looking at all of these features rolled into a single messaging app, it makes perfect sense for Indonesians to be crazy for BBM – it’s simply the best platform for all they want to do.
To our loyal (current and former) BlackBerry users:
BlackBerry is driven by an urgent, obsessive focus on what matters: you. When we lose sight of what you want and you need, we lose you.
It’s tempting in a rapidly changing, rapidly growing mobile market to change for the sake of change – to mimic what’s trendy and match the industry-standard, kitchen-sink approach of trying to be all things to all people.
But there’s also something to be said for the classic adage, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
BlackBerry Classic reflects that. It is classic BlackBerry – complete with a top row of navigation keys and a trackpad. It’s the device that has always felt right in your hands and always felt right in your busy day.
Of course, we’ve made quite a few enhancements around the edges and on the inside. The screen is bigger and sharper. Our application catalogue is growing. The BlackBerry 10 operating system incorporates all the best productivity and collaboration features on any mobile device, including the BlackBerry Hub and our all-new BlackBerry Blend.
Sure, we’ve got new BlackBerry devices that break the mold, including the BlackBerry Passport. But we also recognize that a lot of you continue to hang on to your Bold devices because they get the job done, day in and day out – just like you.
We get it, and we’ve got you covered.
Innovation is a word that gets used too often and carelessly. Innovation is not about blowing up what works to make something new – it’s about taking what works and making it better. In that sense, BlackBerry Classic represents the kind of innovation BlackBerry – and you – strive toward every day.
You don’t reinvent yourself every day; you take what you learned yesterday and sharpen it today. You drive change – often on your terms, but sometimes not. That you keep going regardless is what distinguishes you as a grown-up. You’re in it for the long haul.
So is BlackBerry. The things you remember about BlackBerry that made you better are better than ever with BlackBerry Classic. BlackBerry Classic is for you, as is everything we do every day.
We are committed to earning your business – or earning it back, if that’s the case. In the weeks ahead, BlackBerry will be sharing more details about Classic that we think you’ll like. In the meantime, we encourage you to visit BlackBerry.com/Classic to see for yourself why BlackBerry Classic is aptly named.
John S. Chen
Executive Chair and CEO
About a month ago, we ran a blog post on Amazon customer reviews of the BlackBerry Passport. At the time, there were 58 customer ratings (average 4.8 out of 5 stars) and 51 in-depth customer reviews.
A month later, the BlackBerry Passport remains at a stellar 4.7 out of 5 stars, even while the number of reviews has tripled to 166. 87% of reviewers have given our new phone a full five stars. Another 9 have given it 4 stars. In other words, 93% of reviewers gave the BlackBerry Passport either 4 or 5 stars. That’s a pretty solid track record.
Furthermore, Amazon began several weeks ago to let its reviewers confirm that they had purchased a BlackBerry Passport via its site. Nearly 70 (43%) of the reviews are from “Verified Purchases.” As Amazon says,
“Customers can add this label to their review only if we can verify the item being reviewed was purchased at Amazon.com. Customers reading an Amazon Verified Purchase review can use this information to help them decide which reviews are most helpful in their purchasing decisions.”
Well, it may be a no-brainier, but those verified customers have high praise for the productivity powerhouse.
(Also read our Q&As with professionals talking about how the BlackBerry Passport makes them productive on the job. They include screenwriter, software customer support manager, a clinical research CEO, and a professor.)
“This phone is AMAZING,” writes john f mensing jr in his five-star review. “Built like a brick house, wonderful tactile PLUS virtual keyboard . . . large screen that won’t ruin your vision from hours of staring at it, PHENOMENAL BATTERY LIFE, super fast browsing capability and plenty of options for those who use apps and play games . . . [T]his phone has exceeded all of my expectations.”
“Perfect, exceeded expectations,” says Adil A. “Battery life very good. Physical keyboard really makes life so much easier. Would recommend to anyone who uses his or her phone for work/emails/etc.”
Same sentiments from Chris: “This Phone completely surpassed my expectations. This is truly a business phone.”
“The Best Phone I’ve Ever Owned”
Many users are flat-out calling their BlackBerry Passports the “best phone” they’ve ever owned.
One Amazon customer (name not given, but with nine reviews under the profile) switched over from Android devices:
“Never owned a Blackberry but am intimately familiar with Android. There is no comparison. If productivity a major focus in your choice of cellphone, and you desire customization unachievable with iPhone apps, Blackberry is worthy of your every consideration. Battery life has been my most pleasant experience, then the Hub . . . I’m no geek, but I appreciate simplicity and speed. Love the keyboard and the Assistant feature is impressive. For the latter to be effective the voice recognition had to be virtually flawless. Am pleased to report that such is the case. Text editing nowhere near as frustrating as in the past. Simply put, this the best phone I’ve ever owned.”
Amazon customer Anthony calls the BlackBerry Passport the “best phone on the market today”:
“Received my new Blackberry Passport yesterday after waiting for it for almost three weeks . . . This phone is truly the best phone on the market for getting things done. It has all the strength of BB 10 plus an amazing beautiful screen and an awesome keyboard . . . This is the business phone to replace the Bold 9900. This is it! Absolutely love this phone and would recommend it to anyone I meet.”
Fabian B. agrees:
“After three days of using the BlackBerry Passport I have adjusted to its broad shape and weird keyboard. And while writing a blog on the Passport it occurred to me that no other smartphone will ever be good enough again.”
“It’ll definitely stand out from the rest of today’s smartphones (in a good way!), Jerome Carty writes. “After using it for two weeks, I’d have to say this is THE best phone I’ve owned. It’s innovative and quirky yet cool. It feels premium, the screen is crystal clear and the battery life is AMAZING.”
Virginia Bonilla loves the typing experience:
“Best phone I have ever had. I can finally text without wanting to break the phone. As someone who has rental properties and invest in the stock market, you can’t beat the experience. Finally a phone for big girls and boys.”
Apple Family Enjoys a Taste of BlackBerry
JJK comes to the BlackBerry Passport from the realm of iOS, and hails it as “an adult phone”:
“Just couldn’t be more impressed with my new Blackberry Passport. It’s just a hell of a phone optimized to be a communications center rather than an entertainment device. We’re all Apple fans in my family and love Apple products, including our iPhones, but Passport running the new OS 10.3+ is just another animal altogether, setting the standard, in effect, for what an “adult” smartphone can and should be.”
“Best phone on the market by far,” writes Stau. “Battery life blows my mind . . . Keyboard is excellent and the swipe functionality to insert suggested words is fantastic. Screen resolution is great and I love the fact that I don’t need to swipe on the screen if I don’t want to when I navigate a page . . . The processor is super-fast. The size of the screen makes it possible to work on large files and spreadsheets as well as watch videos with superior performance. Speakers are loud and excellent quality of sound. Camera is comparable to iPhone. Usability is very good and very intuitive. Our household has 1 HTC, 2 iPhone 5s and a Samsung S4. The Passport is by far the best by admission of all family members . . . This is an excellent phone that successfully satisfies both entertainment and business needs with no compromises.”
Not Just Amazon, Either
The BlackBerry Passport is pulling strong numbers elsewhere around the world as well, with high scores (5 out of 5 stars from 28 ratings) from the Canadian Best Buy website:
…as well as Canada’s Future Shop website (4.9 out of 5 starrs from 24 ratings):
…and the Indian mega-site, FlipKart (5 out of 5 stars from 33 reviews):
Where I come from, they call that high of a percentage of high reviews a “consensus,” and the consensus from actual customers seems to be this: they’re loving all that their BlackBerry Passports offer them.
Do you have a great story about your BlackBerry Passport? Tell us in the comments below!
BlackBerry's Chief Executive John Chen confirmed the December launch time frame for the 'Q20' Classic while speaking at an event in Hong Kong.
We all know the BlackBerry Passport was designed to go places, but there’s at least one person using it to take him places.
As Adrian Archer of New York City told me, “You can write screenplays on a BlackBerry Passport!” Archer spends his time crafting worlds and characters as a screenwriter when he’s not working as a Program Coordinator for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. He’s had two screenplays optioned and landed some awards in screenwriting competitions.
In both roles, his BlackBerry Passport has proved itself to be essential. (His enthusiasm for the Passport sounds similar to that of other professionals BlackBerry has already profiled, including a software customer support manager, a clinical research CEO, and a professor.)
Archer has high hopes for his time spent writing: “Hopefully, I’ll be behind one of the first feature screenplays written and edited on the BlackBerry Passport.”
Young: How important is security to you, considering the nature of your IP as a screenwriter?
Archer: Security is of the utmost importance to me. My number one business goal is to protect the ownership of my projects for as long as possible. Nothing fouls up that plan more than leaks. It‘s hard for a spec screenwriter to prove IP theft when there are so many similar ideas floating around. Working on a BlackBerry gives me a peace of mind. The Passport allows me to focus on the story instead of worrying if my encryption is sound.
Young: How does the BlackBerry Passport meet your mobile productivity needs? What features do you find yourself using heavily?
Archer: I love the UI on the Passport – it’s nice and clean, and the Hub is so beautiful with 10.3, I don’t want to swipe out of it.
The Hub has been a godsend for me. Instant actions, search, pinch to zoom, and the ease of attaching documents have made networking a breeze. Facebook, BBM, and email are all a swipe away. I can even access my appointments. The Hub has helped me retire my iPad, and I don’t fire up my laptop as often either.
Young: The build quality stands out, too, doesn’t it?
Archer: The build of the phone is sturdy, but light. I use a hard shell, which protects the corners and allows me to Flip to Save. Otherwise, I wouldn’t mind using the phone without the case. I like the professional finish of the back.
Young: What would you try out on the BlackBerry Passport that you wouldn’t even want to bother with on a different platform/device?
Archer: For the first time, I can view and edit spreadsheets on a phone. With the Passport’s 1:1 screen, I can do some of my day job work from home, while I’m on a ”sick“ day working on a script. Being a screenwriter with a day job is like living a double life. By day, I manage data for the Manhattan DA’s office. Every other waking hour, I’m creating stories about ordinary people with extraordinary lives. The BlackBerry Passport is invaluable to me in both aspects. It’s truly an exceptional device.
Young: Do you have a work email account set up with the District Attorney’s office that you access on the Passport?
Archer: That’s a great question, as that is one of the main reasons I got the Passport. We have a remote web app for our work email (it’s Outlook, pretty much), which I prefer to access using my phone. The drop-down menus don’t work on a rectangular phone, so I found it hard to select actions or collapse/expand email chains. When I heard about the Passport, I had an inkling those functions would work on a square screen. Accessing my work email through the web has been a dream. I can’t get this functionality with any other phone. People at work with a Samsung Galaxy or iPhone have the same problem. I’ve been telling as many people at work as I can!
Young: How does the battery life affect you? With 30 hours of mixed use, you probably don’t have to sweat grabbing a charge during the day.
Archer: The Passport has the best battery life of any phone I’ve ever had. I took my phone off the charger on a Thursday morning, and didn’t have to charge it again until Sunday night. Even during the work week, I’m getting 36 hours easy. I don’t use a lot of data because I have pretty consistent Wi-Fi access. The Wi-Fi at both my work and home are encrypted.
Young: Have you used your BlackBerry Passport to show off documents or pictures (or screenplays) to anyone? What has the response been like?
Archer: I’ve been showing off the Passport at work profusely. Pictures, spreadsheets, PDFs, you name it. People are so afraid of change! However, they are really impressed by the Passport. People are pumped because of the innovation, but it’s a big change for some. More exposure, and more people loving it, will bring them around. It’s like a cult classic.
The Mobile Age has delivered many remarkable advances to the human race: the ability for family members gathered for a home-cooked meal to text rather than speak to each other; and email blasts to startle you awake from your vacation beach nap.
Seriously, mobility allows us to communicate on our own terms, without being tethered to a desk, a car, a home office. It’s quite powerful when you think of it. We’re now accustomed to being able to get in touch from nearly every corner of the world.
That is, of course, as long as there’s power. Chief among the few headaches brought on by the mobile age is the dead phone battery.
I find it supremely dumb that so many smartphones are unable to last even a full business day without a recharge. But that’s the way it is. And it’s created a whole class of mobile users perpetually on the lookout for a power outlet to relieve their wattage worries – Hollywood celebrities included.
(Of course, if you have one of the BlackBerry devices that sport an all-day battery, such as the Z30 that boasts 25 hours of runtime, or the BlackBerry Passport and its enormous 3,450 mAh battery and 30-hours of mixed-use, you’d have no such worries. I’m looking at you, horror movie teenagers exploring the woods with 5%-charged phones.)
The Joys of Hugging
BlackBerry CEO John Chen started popularizing the term “Wallhugger” back in March to describe those poor souls who don’t use one of our devices, and as a result must crowd around electrical outlets, tethered by 3-foot cables, while getting little to nothing done.
More than a few journalists, from 9to5Mac to Inquirer, phoneArena.com and even Samsung-enthusiast site SamMobile, have noted that Chen’s comments seemed to inspire Samsung’s subsequent ‘Wallhuggers’ ad campaign.
Hey, it’s too fun – and spot-on accurate – of an idea for us not to share, right?
(If you need humorous relief from your battery woes, check out the Discharged blog).
Learn your Outletiquette
Based on my field observations from time spent recently in airports, I discovered that Homo Wallhuggeris can actually be divided into eight different sub-species, if you will. I describe all eight, along with their neurotic behaviors, in the following SlideShare presentation, which I entitled “Outletiquette,” taking a cue from the American obsession with portmanteaus, in which you squish two related terms together, i.e. Brad Pitt + Angelina Jolie = “Brangelina” or phone + tablet = “profound new addition to the English language.”
The truth remains, though: it’s a major inconvenience to have to charge your phone when you need it, whether you’re at the airport, on campus at a university, or logging a long day at the office. Business waits for no one.
If you find that you exhibit the behaviors of one of the sub-species of Homo Wallhuggeris, then consider fixing your problem with a Z30, BlackBerry Passport, or the coming BlackBerry Classic.
Until then, make sure to abide by the rules of Outletiquette.
"We see great opportunities ahead of us, and BlackBerry has an aggressive plan to continue to lead the enterprise mobility market," BlackBerry executive chairman and CEO John Chen told PTI.
Welcome back to #TBT, ThrowBack Thursday – BlackBerry Edition. Today we’re looking at comments made by AirWatch CEO John Marshall in August 2013 in CIO.
This past May, we announced that we’d welcome a more open ecosystem, allowing other Mobile Device Management (MDM) vendors – including AirWatch – to directly manage BlackBerry 10 smartphones. This step characterizes how we are listening to our customers and providing them with what they need to be successful in their mobile environments.
BlackBerry’s multi-platform capabilities are best-in-class when it comes to securely managing devices running iOS, Android and BlackBerry 10 (Windows Phone will also be supported with the launch of BES12). Our award-winning Secure Work Space for iOS and Android solution allows enterprises to securely manage iOS and Android devices through containerization, app wrapping and secure connectivity capabilities, opening up more mobile device choices for users in BYOD and COPE environments.
We’re also continuing to win customers back from competitors. As of September 2014, more than 840,000 of the 3.4 million licenses traded in through our EZ Pass migration program have come from competitors, including AirWatch, MobileIron and Good Technology.
BlackBerry inked an agreement with Amazon to bring the Amazon Appstore to BlackBerry 10 devices, starting with BlackBerry 10 OS 10.3, which runs on the BlackBerry Passport and P’9983 smartphones. All existing BlackBerry 10 users will have access to the Amazon Appstore when BlackBerry 10 OS 10.3.1 becomes available. That means that BlackBerry 10 users have their choice of two app ecosystems: BlackBerry World for business and productivity apps and Amazon Appstore for popular games and apps.
Under the leadership of CEO John Chen, BlackBerry has focused on its core strengths in enterprise and security and created the BlackBerry Technology Solutions business unit under the direction of Dr. Sandeep Chennakeshu. We’re remaining laser-focused on our customers’ needs, as evidenced by our highly-successful BlackBerry Passport launch targeted toward high-productivity enterprise users, the launch of the eBBM Suite, and the upcoming launches of BES12 and BlackBerry Classic. BlackBerry continues to be the most secure end-to-end provider of enterprise mobility management for customers.
AirWatch clearly had the wrong idea of where BlackBerry was headed just over 12 months ago. The enterprise mobility landscape is changing rapidly, and BlackBerry is committed to evolving with it, with both of our “feet” firmly on the ground.
Originally posted on Inside BlackBerry for Business Blog:
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