The eldest of five children, Russ Edwards came of age during the Vietnam War, during which he served in the U.S. Army for three years. After his tour ended, he quickly found employment in retail and in manufacturing; eventually, he wound up with a career in management, working at a Fortune 500 company until 2004, when he founded Road Race Parts shortly before retirement.
For some, retirement means relaxation and long, lazy days; not so for Edwards. In addition to running Road Race Parts, which is open 24/7, Edwards also blogs regularly and works a part-time job in retail.
Edwards is also a long-time BlackBerry brand loyalist. His first experience with the brand was back in the ’90s, with products such as the Inter@ctive Pager. Eventually, as his career required, he purchased his first smartphone, the Pearl 8100.
BlackBerry has been a mainstay in his professional life ever since.
“I have stuck with BlackBerry because I value security and quality,” he says. “BlackBerry [devices] have always been to me tools for my business that I could rely on. They do what I want, when I want it, how I want it; there is nothing better that you can say about a piece of equipment.”
Now that he’s set aside his Z10 for a PRIV, Edwards is even better-equipped to keep pace with his lifestyle and keep himself firing on all cylinders.
Greene: What was it that inspired you to purchase the PRIV?
Edwards: My business partner was pressuring me to purchase an Android phone so that my device would be compatible with a project he was working on. I put off switching over for more than a year – I had a Z10, which was and still is a fine piece of equipment. I’d originally wanted to upgrade to the Passport, then BlackBerry announced the PRIV.
My partner offered to pay for it, and I took him up on that.
Greene: How does PRIV stack up to your other BlackBerry devices?
Edwards: I find the PRIV to be an upgrade on my Z10. I like everything about it compared to that phone, especially the larger screen and bigger size. Overall, it does fine.
I will say that my only real comparison is that my wife has a Galaxy S5 by Samsung, and I would not trade it. I think the S5 is certainly a step back from the PRIV in almost every way.
Greene: How does your PRIV help you run your business?
Edwards: As Road Race Parts is an e-store, I deal with customers and suppliers via both voice and email on a daily basis. My PRIV allows me to multitask between these conversations with ease thanks to the BlackBerry Hub, and I run almost every aspect of my business from this phone. For instance, when I receive an order from a customer, my PRIV notifies me about the order, and I look it over to see who it’s from and what I need to complete it.
Since my business is so small, everything grinds to a halt if I am not available to run it. With PRIV, I have the freedom to go virtually anywhere and still be able to keep my website afloat. Instead of a lavishly appointed office, I could be at the bar or the beach – it wouldn’t matter, as I would still be connected.
Greene: Are there any specific features you couldn’t live without from a business standpoint?
Edwards:BlackBerry Hub. I have five different email accounts that I use. Three are for my business, one is to give out to anyone who asks, and the fifth is only for close friends and family – I don’t want it to be common knowledge to every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the world. Hub lets me keep everything organized between the different emails, just as on my Z10.
I also use the PRIV’s camera a great deal. Because my website sells a lot of used parts, everybody wants a photo to prove that I will not swindle them. The PRIV’s camera lets me capture high-quality shots of my products and immediately email them to the customer without any sort of time lag.
Greene: How do you like Android compared to BlackBerry 10?
Edwards: The most noteworthy thing I found was the number of apps that are available on PRIV, certainly far and away more than we are used to with BlackBerry.
Greene: What Android apps do you tend to use most often?
Edwards: I use the Microsoft apps – Word, PowerPoint, Excel – a great deal. I also use WordPress for my blog. And of course I use the Messenger Accounts and Contacts; I have a Weather account, and Google Earth. Google Maps, I find, is very valuable for when I travel, and it’s easier than using a Garmin.
I have also found the visual voicemail app to be very useful. I like it a lot because I can see who called me and know whether I want to listen to their message or delete it because I know it’s not something I’m interested in.
Greene: How would you rate PRIV overall?
Edwards: 9.5 out of 10. I only downgrade it by half a point because the screen is so sensitive that I occasionally find it difficult to use, but I expect that’s more me than the phone. It’s still a huge, huge step forward over what I’m used to.