Brown’s Bytes – Guess who’s back?

Welcome to Brown’s Bytes! Your weekly insight from Mobliciti’s CTO Andy Brown. Follow #brownsbytes

4th May 2018

Who guessed the answer last week??

Last week I promised to try out the BlackBerry Motion to see how it actually stands up in real life as on paper it potentially looked an interesting device in the Enterprise. Key criteria it hit:

– Under £400
– Secure Boot Android Device (apparently never been rooted)
– Android Enterprise recommended
– Very extensive set of management APIs
– Security patching direct from the handset manufacturer.
– Big screen
– Massive battery
– Solid build

So, how does it fare in the real world?

Short answer – pretty impressive!

Long answer to follow!

My current device of choice for the last 6 months or so has been a Samsung Galaxy S8. Not quite the very latest and greatest, but still a pretty high-end smartphone and therefore a fairly high bar if I’m switching to a cheaper device.

Overall the BlackBerry did rather well.

The key feature it brings together is rather simple but is also it’s killer hook. TCL (the manufacturing giant that nobody has heard of that makes all BlackBerry branded phones now) has combined a very large battery with a behind the curve processor.

The result is jaw dropping Battery life2 days solid use without a charge is perfectly achievable. If you use it sparingly you can last 3-4 days before needing to top up. I cannot think of a real-world scenario where someone could use the battery in a day!

Now for business use that’s more than useful – that potentially is worth money in its own right.

However, the wisdom goes that this comes at a price. Using an older CPU will result in a poor/ laggy experience. I simply didn’t see this during the week. As I said last week the majority of smartphones in the Enterprise are still mainly used for email/ calendar/ contacts and phone calls. None of these features needs the latest CPU. In general use I can honestly say that I noticed no difference to my Samsung S8. The only time I noticed the older CPU was when I installed a CPU intensive game (Real Racing). The BlackBerry ran the game just fine, but it was noticeably slower loading between races.

So, battery/CPU – Tick!

Next came the size of the phone. It’s a big phone – noticeably wider when you hold it compared to the S8. I think this is partly due to the more squared off edges that it is noticeable. Far from a deal breaker, but something to check if you’re thinking of one.

Overall the build quality seems pretty good me. The ergonomics are very good, and I particularly like having a fingerprint sensor back on the front of my phone instead of Samsung’s stupid sensor next to the camera lens (who on earth thought that was a good idea???). Overall, I would say it feels a pretty premium device.

The secure booting Android OS is about as secure as I think you can get. I also think BlackBerry’s flavour of Android is pretty good. It doesn’t have the usual consumer phone bloatware preinstalled for a start and also includes some interesting BlackBerry specific apps that we’ll cover another time maybe.

Patching is an area I want to investigate further. This device is patched and up to date, but it is behind the curve on Android version which regular readers will know is a pet hate of mine. I don’t think it’s a deal breaker in this case, but I want to check more on this.

So, would buy one? I’d have to say that if I was in the market for a fleet of devices I’d be giving it a serious look… the bang for your buck is very high.

More to come on this interesting revival of the BlackBerry brand I think…

For now, if you want to know more then please do get in touch.