Why BlackBerry users hold onto their phones longer

This is a response to an article on the official BlackBerry blog titled “So Happy Together: Users Hold Onto BlackBerry Devices Longer Than Every Other Brand”.

Yesterday BlackBerry congratulated itself for having the users that held onto their phones for the longest, with BlackBerry users averaging 32 months (2 years and 8 months). This was against an industry average of only 22 months.

I happen to be this “average” user given that my BlackBerry Z10 is a phone that was released in January of 2013, exactly 2 years and 8 months ago. Yet BlackBerry really seems to be missing the mark on why I haven’t upgraded my phone.

It is not that I enjoy carrying around a phone with specs that are almost three years out of date. It is that the specs have not improved on any of the newer BlackBerry phones (except for the one with a giant square for a screen).

Since the release of the Z10 the normal shaped BlackBerry phones have not had anything to offer. First the Z30 (itself now 24 months old) offered a larger battery and a slightly quicker processor in exchange for an identical camera, and a slightly lower resolution screen. The Z3 is noticeably worse than every other BlackBerry 10 phone sold by every specification. Finally the BlackBerry Leap has the Z30’s lower screen resolution, but without an improved processor.

Likewise the keyboard based phones running BlackBerry 10 have also done little to improve. The Q5 was a step backwards, the Classic had the same internals with a few extra hardware buttons, leaving the the Passport to be the only BlackBerry 10 phone to improve upon the launch devices. Even that phone is now a year old with no newer version in sight (and no, having three different ways to round off the corners on the case do not count).

So instead I sit here with my ageing phone with no path forwards. Any iOS user with a year old phone can upgrade their device tomorrow. Samsung releases 200 new phones a year. Even struggling HTC manages to upgrade their flagship on a yearly schedule. Yet for BlackBerry users, the only way to get new hardware is to become a non-BlackBerry user.