Once Owen Hassell commits to something, he sticks with it through thick and thin. That’s why he works almost every day of the week in his career as a sports editor. And that’s why, when he purchased a BlackBerry Torch back in 2010, it was his daily driver for five years.
That’s almost an eternity in the smartphone space, but Hassell wouldn’t replace his Torch with just any phone. He demanded one that fit his tastes like the Torch did, one that he could comfortably use for both his professional and personal life. For a time, it seemed like no device would meet his standards – until he encountered the PRIV.
“I thought the blend of Android with BlackBerry’s expertise was an excellent choice, and felt strongly enough about the combination that I ordered one online,” says Hassell. “I’ve now had mine for a little over two weeks, and it’s the best phone I’ve ever used. There are some people who’ve said the PRIV is a resurgence for BlackBerry, but I disagree – I never lost faith. I know what people might think about the brand, but reports of it being dead are very much exaggerated.”
Owen Hassell isn’t the only professional who finds our first Android phone indispensable. Check out these other PRIV users, including this entrepreneurial lawyer, this aerospace engineer, this international sales executive, this teenaged tech CEO, this TV presenter, this Irish entrepreneur and tech blogger these twin fashion moguls, this best-selling author and pastor, this TV chef, this consulting firm CEO, and this manager at an insurance firm.
Greene: Let’s start with a bit about your job. What do you do?
Hassel: I’m the sports editor for The Daily Advance, a local paper based out of my hometown of Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
I work odd hours – my job’s not a nine-to-five thing. I’m putting out a paper pretty much every day, doing interviews with coaches and players, sorting through photos, editing stories and designing page layouts. Even when I’m not working, I’m constantly connected – posting stuff to Twitter about games that happen, keeping track of news updates with scores, that kind of thing.
Hassell: Yes and no. A lot of my job is about planning – what are we going to have writing-wise for each day? I put a budget together for each week, and almost every day is planned out in advance.
This isn’t New York or L.A. where something new happens every day. Here, if you want your paper to be successful, you’d better have a plan to make sure you regularly deliver local content. Nowadays with the Internet, everyone can find national stories in seconds. You don’t read a local paper to hear about that, you want to learn about local events.
Greene: Your PRIV must help a great deal with keeping everything straight.
Hassel: I still love my Torch, but yes – my PRIV does much more for me in a professional context. The fact that I’ve got Android now means I’ve access to an entire world of apps that were previously locked away when I was using BlackBerry 10. Stuff like Instagram and Snapchat – which were awkward to use on my Torch – are very simple to use on PRIV.
And I need them to be simple to use because of my job; moving from the Torch to the PRIV feels like I sprung from the dark ages to the modern day in a single purchase.
Greene: What specific features of PRIV couldn’t you live without in the workplace?
Hassell: Honestly, the software. BlackBerry’s done a great job integrating the Hub with Google’s operating system, and through Google Play I’ve got instant access to various sports news apps like ESPN – I didn’t have any of that on my Torch. I also enjoy the fact that I’m able to tweak and streamline how I access my apps through PRIV’s widgets, and how easy it is to post content to social media.
The camera is another thing I love. I was showing the video off to some of the athletes I was interviewing at a wrestling tournament, and they asked me what it was. Some of them hadn’t even heard of BlackBerry – they were just that young. Those that knew the brand laughed when I explained it to them, but they weren’t laughing for long.
When I showed them it was a quality product, they were impressed, and when I showed them how clear the video quality was, they were amazed.
I’m a huge fan of the keyboards, as well – they’re both fantastic. Surprisingly, though, thanks to the bigger screen on PRIV, I find myself using the onscreen keyboard more than the physical one. I never expected that.
The PRIV helps me get the word out a lot faster with local stories, and equips me with the apps I need to do so, no matter where I am. It’s crazy not to have a phone of this level in my business, and I’m wishing I got something like it sooner. In the long run, it’s worth the price.
Greene: Overall, how would you rate PRIV?
Hassel: Above every other device I’ve ever used or tried. I’ve seen some of the phones my friends have, and that’s fine for them, but I don’t have much time to mess with bells and whistles. And I’m not going to buy an iPhone just because I have an iPod and MacBook.
I’m going to go for the phone that actually helps me get something done, rather than just buying what everyone else has.
Want to learn more about the PRIV? Have a look at what Ryan Blundell has to say about his phone, or see how some top lifestyle bloggers feel about the device. You could also read about how it’s been listed as an incredible enterprise productivity tool or listen to business development expert Jim Opfer’s take on the device. Finally, if you’re interested in picking up a PRIV for yourself, check out our availability blog. Many carriers such as AT&T in the U.S. and Rogers and Bell in Canada are also offering PRIV at new, lower prices (as low as $299.99 on two-year contract in Canada or $21.34/month with zero down at AT&T).