Every three months or so, I find myself perusing the deep corners of Ebay: looking, searching for the perfect BlackBerry 9930 to buy, only to talk myself out of it every time. There’s no LTE connectivity, and the camera is awful, I’d say. But none of that really, truly matters to me. I am a diehard BlackBerry keyboard lover. The Blackberry Curve was my first smartphone. While my friends on AT&T were buying iPhones, I was all in on BlackBerry and didn’t regret it one bit.
The BlackBerry keyboard was, is better than every other phone on the market. Much like Antonio Stradivari perfected the violin in the early 18th century, BlackBerry has mastered the physical keyboard, and from everything I’ve seen, it will not be surpassed. When I had my BlackBerry, I eviscerated emails — inbox zero was a habit, not something to aspire to.
That keyboard is the reason I kept the same BlackBerry Curve for three and a half years, even after I dropped it in the ocean. Twice. I didn’t want to switch to a Windows Mobile 6.5 device — which was the only other smartphone Verizon offered at the time — and had no interest in going back to a dumb phone. My BlackBerry provided me with everything I needed in a smartphone.
I eviscerated emails — inbox zero was a habit
As time went on, Apple and Google reinvented the smartphone, bringing apps to the forefront, and providing perfectly capable touchscreen keyboards. BlackBerry got complacent and couldn’t keep up, falling behind Palm, and then Windows Phone. Even after I switched to an iPhone in 2011, I’ve always hoped BlackBerry could figure out how to bring that keyboard into the modern world.
The BlackBerry Classic is what I’ve been waiting for. From early indications, it just looks like an improved Bold, and that’s exactly what I, and many other BlackBerry lovers, want. At this point I think it’s pretty clear BlackBerry runs into serious problems when it tries to reinvent itself. The Q10 was BlackBerry’s first attempt at modernizing its classic form factor, and it failed miserably. Everyone I knew who had one — exclusively people who wear suits for a living — went back to their Bolds within weeks because they missed the optical trackpad and physical navigation keys.
BlackBerry does one thing better than everyone
BlackBerry tried its hand at the modern smartphone with the Z10, but that wasn’t much better, mainly because it was missing the keyboard, the only thing that set BlackBerry apart for the public at large.
These days, I’m constantly switching between Android and iOS, owning a Samsung Galaxy S4, iPhone 5S, Moto X, and iPhone 6 Plus all within the last two years. Each phone and OS can do certain things better than the other. I love my iPhone 6 Plus — it may be the greatest phone ever made, but I still miss that physical keyboard when I need to respond to a rush of email while I’m on the go.
BlackBerry does one thing better than everyone, and it looks like it may have come to that realization with the Classic. I’m not delusional or nostalgic enough to proclaim the BlackBerry Classic the perfect phone, or even that it should be your main device. It will have its faults, as all BlackBerrys do. But if you’re carrying two phones, or deal with a ton of emails, or just long for the click of a physical keyboard, you should take a close look at the BlackBerry Classic. Unless something has gone horribly wrong in the development of the Classic, you’re not going to find anything better than the legendary BlackBerry keyboard.