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Monday, May 20, 2013

Why are "upgrades" rarely better?

My Blackberry Torch was on its last leg. The "Back" button was cracked, so it was sometimes difficult to go, well ... back! Then the cover for the buttons fell off, revealing the naked, nameless white buttons underneath. I taped them back on, but it was only a temporary fix until I figured out what phone I wanted to replace it with.

After a trip to the cell phone carrier, then researching online, I bit the bullet and "upgraded" to a Blackberry Z10. I could have gone with an iPhone. I could also have shaved my head or joined a cult. I know people who love their iPhones more than they love their kids. I have an iPad, and while it's handy, I love it about as much as I love my neighbor a block away ... whom I do not know and have never seen! I did love my Blackberry Torch ... almost as much as I loved my Palm Treo. I still miss my Treo (sob!).

When it came time to part ways with my Treo (sob!), I did so reluctantly. I had waited impatiently for well over a year for my cell carrier to carry the Palm Pre Pro so that I could stay with the Palm platform and transfer all my data to my new Palm. What a JOKE that silly phone was! Palm, who started the smartphone craze with their world-class calendaring options, forgot what made them so desirable when they created the Palm Pre. After spending a small fortune on the phone, and another small fortune on third-party programs to transfer all my data to my new Palm, I realized I had put a doctor appointment on the calendar on the wrong day. I went to search the calendar and couldn't figure out how. I ended up calling tech support ... who informed me that you cannot search the calendar. I had to scroll through several months worth of appointments, one day at a time, to find the errant doctor appointment. I then boxed up the phone, took it back, and bought a Blackberry. Palm turned it's back on what made it famous ... it's calendaring ... and now they no longer exist.

With my latest Blackberry "upgrade", I'm wondering how well Blackberry knows it's market. When I have a problem with the phone, I search the internet for a solution (naively thinking it's just something I'm not seeing, not that Blackberry was foolish enough to get rid of a key feature). When I hit a link that has the exact same problem, I read through pages and pages of people complaining about the exact same thing ... trying to figure out a workaround, and praying Blackberry fixes it rather than leaving us hanging.

After five days with this phone, I am still fighting with it to get it to do the things I assumed it would do, because, you know ... it's a smartphone and I assumed it would do all the cool, smart things my Torch could do. I don't know why I thought that, but I did. I've finally managed to get all my data transferred (in many cases, three times ... which I have to delete ... only to have them reappear ... Grrrrrr!), but I can't seem to get it to sync with anything. It's obviously syncing with something if the contacts keep multiplying, but then why isn't it syncing the calendar? If I add an appointment to my calendar on my Blackberry, it shows up on my online calendar ... but no the Blackberry (Grrrrrrrrr!) I'm waiting for the Blackberry to Outlook on the pc snyc to come out. They say it's coming, but they also said the Z10 was coming "soon", and I had to wait well over a year for that. There is no "Go To Date" selection in the calendar. Navigating to a different date, unless it's withing a day or two of the current date, is cumbersome and time consuming.

With each new day, I am growing more and more frustrated. I'm not so sure I'm going to stay a loyal Blackberry customer for much longer. If they had kept the features everyone uses and added new ones, they'd never lose a customer! But, like Palm, they don't seem to have a very firm grasp as to how people use their phones or why they loved (note the past-tense) their old Blackberry so much.

Blackberry has always been considered a "business" phone. Unfortunately, with their new phones, it's easier to post a picture to Facebook or send a Tweet than it is to find an appointment on the calendar. I originally got on Facebook to stalk my kids. I don't post very often. Facebook is not a necessity in my life ... but my calendar and memo's are critically important to me.  I access them many, many, many times a day!!!! I know Blackberry is trying to compete with Apple's iPhone, but screwing up the calendar and syncing options are going to kill their market faster than my daughter can post a selfie on Facebook or send a silly tweet with her iPhone.

There are several key features the Z10 is missing. I NEED to be able to go to a certain date on my calendar. I NEED to be able to sync it with my Outlook on my desktop ... not a web-based calendar. I NEED to be able to categorize contacts and set-up notification profiles for specific categories. I WANT to display only the name of a memo, not the name and the first line (which is often sensitive data!). I WANT to be able to move a picture from one folder to another without attaching to my computer via Blackberry Link and doing it through Windows Explorer. You're supposed to be able to do it on the device with their "File Manager" app, but I can't even find my pictures when I'm on that app! I work in technology, and if I can't figure out this stuff easily, how hard is it for those who are not as technically astute?

At the moment, I am NOT a very happy customer ... and if they don't address these issues in future updates, I won't be a customer ... at all ... for long.

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