Whenever I see people on the train typing away on a BlackBerry I feel a deep sense of pity for them. I’m sad that they feel their company owns them to such an extent that they have to spend the time before (or after) work on the train replying to “important” emails. It’s not as if they work for MI6 and have to reply to an email about intelligence concerning a terrorist attack where every second counts!
If I see people on a weekend typing away on their BlackBerry (and I’ve seen a few) I want to shake them and tell them to enjoy their spare time while it lasts.
So when I was presented with a work BlackBerry at the start of the year I made sure the email notification was turned off and used it strictly as a phone to make and receive calls from my colleagues. At all other times it was sat on my desk being ignored.
Last week my BlackBerry was replaced with a brand new BlackBerry Bold and while I initially expected to treat it the same way as the old one, I’ve actually been blown away with what a cool piece of kit it is. As before I’m not going to use it particularly to send emails – the keyboard’s too small and if I’m working then I’m in front of a computer so can send and receive them there. And if I’m not working then the last thing I want to do is send and receive work emails! However it does a great job of letting me do the following:
- Listen to MP3s – it comes as standard with 2GB of storage and a pretty good pair of earphones with in-ear rubber inserts (ideal for cutting out background noise).
- Surf the internet – not only is it 3G but it can connect to the interweb via WiFi with a pretty good browser.
- Take pictures – my previous BlackBerry couldn’t and while the camera’s not amazing, it’s good enough to take pictures of chickens wandering the streets (which is the sort of thing I’d take a picture of).
- Use for Sat Nav – it has GPS and European maps built in along with directions so I can use it to get from here to there (although to be fair I mostly one go from my house to the cafe).
- Stalk my brother – he’s got a BlackBerry Pearl and the BlackBerry Instant Messenger is always turned on, mwa ha ha, there is no escape!
- Get my sudoku fix – oh yes, there’s even a sudoku game!
- Send SMS messages without using that useless T9 predictive texting – since it has a full QWERTY keyboard it makes life somewhat easier to text.
- Get 2-for-1 cinema tickets – since it’s on Orange (the old one was on Vodafone) I can take advantage of Orange Wednesdays.
In summary, I’m really impressed with it. So much so that I’ve diverted all calls from my own mobile and am going to use the BlackBerry as a my primary phone. In one fell swoop it’s managed to retire not only my own mobile but my iPod Touch (well, for short train journeys at least) and my Sat Nav. It’s going to encourage me to go to the cinema more often and save my thumbs from premature arthritis brought on by sending SMS texts using T9 predictive texting.
But if you see me sending work emails on the train you have my permission to shake your head and call me a hypocrite!