It’s the end of an era for BlackBerry; the company announced yesterday that it will no longer be making its own hardware. I’m old enough to remember when BlackBerries were everywhere—especially here in Canada. Maybe I’m being unnecessarily maudlin and patriotic, but I wanted to share my favourite BlackBerry story with you here today.
If you’ve a story of your own, I’m hoping you’ll do the same.
So, the year is 2011, and I’ve just started seeing the young lady who will eventually move in with me. She’s never had a smartphone or a data plan, so I convince her to sign up for upstart Canadian carrier Mobilicity by buying her a BlackBerry Curve 3G, like the one you see above. I’m thoughtful that way.
She liked the phone, but the real hero of this story is BIS, BlackBerry’s proxied Internet service. I think at the time it was only a $15 CAD add-on to her already cheap calling plan, so she ended up with unlimited data for about the same price as what she was paying her previous carrier for just calls and text.
I know, pretty boring story so far. Bear with me… So in January of 2011 we both went to a Howard Forums meet-up sponsored by Mobilicity. I didn’t really know Howard at that point; I was just another forum member and Mobilicity fan. I ended up winning a second BlackBerry that night, a Bold 9780. Obviously, that went immediately to the girlfriend, and her Curve 3G went into a drawer. I was already an Android guy by that point (sorry).
BUT THAT’S STILL NOT THE STORY! Cut to March, 2011 and we’re taking our first vacation together, to my brother and sister-in-law’s place in Bermuda. For whatever reason I went a few days early, and brought the Curve 3G with me. Why? Digicel, the island’s largest operator, had a prepaid SIM for visitors with unlimited data, but only through BIS. All I had to do was get the Curve unlocked and I could be untethered and available for updates on the girlfriend’s inbound flight.
I have a crystal-clear memory of standing in downtown Hamilton (Bermuda) under clear-blue skies reading Hangout pings (Android guy—remember?) from the girlfriend, as her plane was getting de-iced before takeoff from Toronto. Schmaltzy as it sounds, it was one of those moments where technology could make someone far away seem very close. And in this specific case, it wouldn’t have been possible without BIS—or, I suppose, some very expensive roaming charges.
The Curve was eventually gifted to a friend, and the Bold… well, despite not having international roaming turned on that Bold somehow got free data during our second vacation together to Africa later that year. Still haven’t figured that one out.
Anyway, that’s my fondest memory of BlackBerry. What’s yours?