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BlackBerry Limited, formerly known as RIM, has just released BlackBerry 10, the next generation version of the popular mobile operating system. I have a lot of nostalgia for BlackBerry. I was a little late to the smartphone world and my first foray into it was the BlackBerry Curve. I loved my Curve, but like every other gadget geek, I wanted to upgrade regardless - so I did, to the Droid Incredible. I still use the Incredible, though I am due for an upgrade. I've become a diehard Android fan, but the release of BlackBerry 10 has got me thinking: would I ever go back to my first love?

The question isn't whether or not I want a BlackBerry Z10, which is the first device to run the new OS. Of course I want one. I want one of everything. The question is would I be willing to trade in my Incredible and my beloved Android to once again be a card-carrying BlackBerry user. While I couldn't make an absolutely definitive decision without getting my hands on a Z10, there's more than enough information available to speculate.

The Apps

We ran a story earlier this week about BlackBerry 10 launching with over 70,000 available apps, which is an impressive debut. The last I heard on the Android side of things was that the Google Play store had hit 700,000 apps. Don't misread that; there's an extra zero in there. Will BB be able to reach that number in time? Maybe. Probably. However, does the potential to reach that number warrant a purchase? No, not when Android already possesses that many applications. It wouldn't make any sense to forgo 700,000 apps for a potentially similar or greater number of apps, especially when most of us will likely upgrade once or twice before it reaches that number.

The Z10

If I were to switch to BlackBerry 10 right now, the Z10 would be my one and only option. The Q10 is expected to be released in April 2013, but I'm an American consumer and I want my stuff now, so the Z10 would the be the phone I pick up.

The merits of the Z10 aside, the lack of options is a bummer. When I make big electronic purchases, I like to think through my options a couple of hundred times, at least until my stomach is knotted in the worry that I'll make the wrong decision and waste a hefty chunk of cash. In all seriousness, I would be at BlackBerry's mercy, purchasing the only phone they let me. I have complete faith in BlackBerry's hardware, but if the Z10 doesn't meet my custom needs as a precious human snowflake, I have to conform to it, rather than choosing a phone that conforms to me.

Either No Physical Keyboard or a Smaller Screen


This is where things get a bit hypocritical. I don't like the idea of buying a BlackBerry device that doesn't feature a physical keyboard, despite the fact that my current Droid Incredible doesn't have one either. I've never been a huge fan of touchscreen keyboards, and while I've made it work, I would love to go back to a physical. I live for that tactile feedback. The BlackBerry is and will always be a businessman's phone. It's a beacon of productivity and I just can't be that productive without a physical keyboard. If I were to pick up a BlackBerry, I'd be doing so not just because I want a new phone, but because I wanted a different phone to suit a different attitude. I'll be honest, I might've cringed just a tad when I heard that Angry Birds was one of the launch apps. This is the mobile operating system used by the President of the United States. Act accordingly.

Then there's the Q10. While I kind of counted the Q10 out because it won't be released for a few more months, since I'm specifically complaining about the Z10's lack of a physical keyboard and Q10 does in fact feature one, it's only fair to bring it up. The Q10 will be equipped with the physical keyboard that everyone loves. However, after so many years with the Incredible, cutting the screen size in half would be a massive disappointment; especially when you consider that the Incredible itself is pretty old now and if I were to upgrade to just about any other Android device, I'll be getting a nice upgrade in screen size.

I love physical keyboards, but I also love massive screens, so slide-out keyboards are where it's at for me.

The Siren Song of the BlackBerry

If BlackBerry were to release a model with a slide-out keyboard, I'd seriously consider switching over. I know that seems like a minor requirement, but when you consider that smartphones are growing more interchangeable by the day, it's a pretty major difference. As BlackBerry 10 builds its app library, it's going to become a serious contender once more, and I don't think they have far to go to win over Android and iOS users.