What is the BlackBerry Family?


As we prepare to unveil what is probably the worst-kept secret in the mobile industry, I want to thank everyone in #TeamBlackBerry that has stuck with us faithfully through the years. Tomorrow, we hope that you find that your loyalty has been rewarded.

While I was a BlackBerry user for most of the 2000s, and bleed Black today, there are many members of the BlackBerry community with much greater seniority than me. I thought it would be appropriate to let two of them share their thoughts on the eve of tomorrow’s launch.

Karl Nieva and Kim Cooley are both long-time members of the BlackBerry community, sharing their knowledge and tips with new users via forums, blogs and social media for years. When BlackBerry created its BlackBerry Elite program two years ago, both Karl and Kim were invited to join.

As with Ryan Blundell’s touching story about his son Keian’s love of BlackBerry devices, both Karl and Kim are sharing stories about how for them, BlackBerry is so much more than a phone maker – it’s helped to build lasting friendships or bring families closer in profound, not always-expected ways. Because while BlackBerry is about Serious Mobility for Serious Business, we also recognize that work is not 24/7. Helping to connect people and create friendships and families is the privilege of being a communications provider, and a privilege that we don’t take lightly.


Karl Nieva’s Story

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My name is Karl, and I’m the proud father of two lovely boys. They’re known in the social media realm as K1 and K2. K1 is an independent, 11-year-old who loves being outdoors: running long distances, biking, and snowboarding. K2 is a cute and loving 8-year-old who loves and mimics everything his big brother does.

BlackBerry has been part of our lives for ten years. A decade ago, my BlackBerry 7230 was primarily used for business. However in more recent years, we found the kids adopting them for personal use. K1 uses the Torch for taking pictures and surfing the web, while K2 uses the 9700 to listen to music and take photos.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to beta test BlackBerry OS 10.3 on my BlackBerry Z30. One of the features we use a lot is the BlackBerry Assistant. While I use it for typical business purposes such as checking my appointments on the calendar, we’ve recently adopted a different use for it. You see, K2 has Down Syndrome and his reading and speech skills are not up to par with other 8-year-olds. We’ve been using BlackBerry Assistant to help him read a few sentences into the Assistant. We’re finding this method not only improves his reading but really helps him enunciate his words better.

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Every morning, K2 brings down the sheet of paper where I’ve written: “What is the weather for Waterloo, Ontario?” He grabs my Z30, proceeds to tap the BlackBerry search icon, taps the microphone icon, and reads the sentence. The joy in his face when BlackBerry Assistant reads the weather is priceless. I will continue to add a few sentences for him to read and ask BlackBerry Assistant.

Thank you BlackBerry for this wonderful tool: both for business and for our lives.


Kim Cooley’s Story

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We’re this close to a new era for BlackBerry, and we would love nothing more than for you to be right there with us. It doesn’t matter what smartphone is in your jacket or jean pocket today. What you mean to our community goes much deeper than that, as you helped define what made BlackBerry so great.

I met all of you through BlackBerry ages ago. And to this day, we still remain in touch. People like @DearFloyd, a Chicago DJ and Photographer whom I met on CrackBerry in its infancy and became friends with. Or the lovely @CoachApryll, who immediately worked her way into my heart and family after we conversed in the CrackBerry forums, BBM, even Twitter.


There’s also the incredibly-talented publicist, Alyse Feldman (@ontheflyPR.) Of the millions of tweets on Twitter, I spotted and replied to a random tweet of hers asking a question about Foursquare for BlackBerry. I even sent her a SocialScope invite – we all know how long ago that was! From Twitter to BBM, we’ve stayed in touch all these years.

Every person I mentioned above has embraced another mobile platform…and that’s perfectly OK. But every time we think about how we met, our hearts and conversation take us back to BlackBerry.

See, it’s not just about the brand; It’s about the relationships we formed. These don’t necessarily translate into a bullet list on a PowerPoint or a 30 second ad spot. But for us, they are rich in memories that are tied intricately to BlackBerry.

Just last a week, a few friends were asked why they couldn’t live without their BlackBerry smartphones. Their response: “the BlackBerry community.” You and I are the very core of what BlackBerry was, is, and will continue to be. We’re the reason BlackBerry didn’t give up and won’t give up.

Soon, our community will celebrate the launch of something extremely special. Yes, it’s unique, but it’s also special because it marks the beginning of a new era that builds upon a decade-and-a-half foundation we helped build.

Welcome to the era of the BlackBerry Passport.

About Eric Lai

I have written about technology and mobility for Computerworld, ZDNet, Forbes and others. I oversee the blogs and social content here at BlackBerry and continue to track and opine about the latest news and trends in enterprise mobility. Follow me on Twitter (ericylai)

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