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BlackBerry or iPhone? Canadian Teens Weigh in on What’s Cool

Consumer electronics can be the most fickle of spaces. The aspirational brand that was SONY’s PlayStation 3, for instance, was overtaken in cool factor by the XBox, which itself has been rendered unhip, in certain circles, by the slow erosion of console gaming’s foothold in general. But wait! Here comes the PlayStation 4!

This “out with the old in with the new attitude” seemed to be the rule for everybody except Apple over the past few years. The Cupertino-based tech giant has been immune to the kinds of ups and downs that have typified the product launches of everyone else in the tablet and smartphone space.

Recently, however, a little sheen seems to have come off the bright, shiny Macintosh. The launch of the iPhone 5, which could not be regarded as a failure by any stretch of the imagination, did not meet the frenzied excitement of previous iterations. Then, stories like this one, that Apple was all of a sudden uncool to teenagers, began to pop up with regularity.

The launch of the Z10 and upcoming Q10 has moved BlackBerry back onto the chess board, at least in as much as many now believe it can regain third place behind Apple and Samsung. BlackBerry’s brand value, which dwindled to 93rd in the world, falling 37 places in just a year, is showing signs of a mini-revival.

So is a sea-change happening in the smartphone space? Maybe, maybe not.

We asked teenagers across Canada what they felt was the coolest phone, what their peers thought was cool, and why. The results? First of all, it’s clear that the iPhone is still king. Second, The Samsung Galaxy, while a massive worldwide seller, is nowhere with these kids. Last, the BlackBerry Z10 has not yet had time to make an impact, if indeed it will.

Oh, and remember; it’s important to have Swag, because YOLO….OK, I’ll stop now.

Liam Pownell
Age: 17
Cambridge, Ontario

What kind of phone do you have now?

At the moment I have an iPhone 4S

What do you like about it?

Some of the things I like about my iPhone are the apps, the camera, and the fact that it is an Apple product. There truly is an app for everything, from roller skating grandmas to apps to help me study. Teenagers want games, plain and simple, but devices like BlackBerrys don’t have really fun, time consuming games like Apple does. Second, the camera is amazing, the pictures it can produce are almost always high quality. Finally, the fact that it’s Apple. Most teens that have another brand of phone also have an iPod, so why spend money on two devices when you can get it all from one? I also love the apps which are exclusive to apple, and being able to control my Apple TV with my phone.

What don’t you like about it?

Like every phone the iPhone has flaws, apps unexpectedly closing and short battery life are some of them. iPhones are fragile, of all the people I know that own or have owned an iPhone (a lot), I can’t name one that hasn’t cracked the screen at least once.

What is considered the coolest phone in your school? Why?

iPhones are definitely considered the coolest phone in the school (not just because I have one ;)). I think this is because of the social media apps that are mostly exclusive to Apple (Androids and The Galaxy haven’t reached teen radars yet). These apps include Snapchat, Instagram and Cinimagram. These are new “cool” ways to communicate with your iPhone owning friends. You can also find a case with any desired colour, symbol, or design. This is just another way to make your phone the coolest.

Chelsea Thibeau
Age: 19
Antigonish, Nova Scotia

chelsea

What kind of phone do you have now?

An iPhone.

What do you like about it?

It’s convenient for stuff like Internet, access to email, music, entertainment and communication.

What don’t you like about it?

A lot of updates filling up space, battery dies pretty quick, can’t see what time each text was sent.

What is considered the coolest phone in your school? Why?

iPhone, because anything Mac right now is a popular product.

Emily MacAdam
Age: 15
Longcreek, PEI

What kind of phone do you have now?

I have the iPhone 4

What do you like about it?

I love it all! But one thing I love about the iPhone especially is the app store. It is constantly up to date and shows when to update your apps you download. It also provides a full description of the app and also the reviews of other people who have or have had the app. I think the reviews are the best part because if the app you choose has constant bad reviews it saves you time and space on your phone from downloading something you’re only going to delete.

What don’t you like about it?

The one and only thing I don’t like about any iPhone is the battery life. There is a setting that brightens and dims your phone screen, and to be able to have a full day of battery usage you would have to keep the screen dimness all the way down and also turn it off when your not using it. Although the battery charged very fast!

What is considered “coolest phone” in your school and why?

Right now the iPhone is considered to be the coolest. I found out though that half of the people who want the phone only want it because it’s popular in the school. Some people absolutely hate the set up and battery usage but still want it. The whole “iPhone obsession” didn’t even take place until the 4th generation came out! They looked cooler and had another color besides black. A lot of people got them within the first week of their release, leaving the people who didn’t have one only wanting them more.

Cordelia Donovan
Age 16
Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba

What kind of phone do you have now?

The Blackberry Bold

What do you like about it?

Everything is simple and it’s lasted me two years so far. I also like the full keyboard.

What don’t you like about it?

Its not ideal for media. Picture quality is just alright, music sounds kinda bad, and YouTube videos get pretty glitchy.

What is considered the coolest phone in your school? Why?

Well, probably the iPhone just because its Apple and its popular.

Maiya Musil
Age 15
North Vancouver, BC

What kind of phone do you have now?

I just switched from the BlackBerry Bold to iPhone 5

What do you like about it?

I like the camera, the apps, the fact that it’s fast, plus Tumblr and Instagram.

What don’t you like about it?

It’s fragile and has glitches.

What is considered the coolest phone in your school? Why?

It used to be BlackBerry, because of BBM, but it’s now the iPhone 5.

Graham Lehnert
Age: 17
Biggar, Saskatchewan

What kind of phone do you have now?

I have the LG Eclipse.

What do you like about it?

I like how I can do cool stuff on it, like watching Netflix and playing games.

What don’t you like about it?

I don’t like how the battery dies so fast, but that’s probably partly due to all the awesome stuff I do on it draining power.

What is considered the coolest phone in your school? Why?

The phone everyone at my school has is the iPhone

Mariaye Vickery
Age: 17
Victoria, BC

mariaye

What kind of phone do you have now?

Blackberry Bold 6 (had since March 2012)

What do you like about it?

The one and only feature that I truly value about my Blackberry is the keyboard. I like being able to use my phone as a miniature laptop. Aside from this, there is nothing that the BlackBerry offers me that I can’t find a superior version of elsewhere. I will admit that between the ages 11-15 I thought that BlackBerries were the best phones out there. As phones they exemplified everything that I wanted to be. They were recognizable for their serious, organized, and business oriented traits and they were owned by all the “right” people. The final thing that I can say that I like about my BlackBerry is that it is Canadian. Canada is awesome.

What don’t you like about it?

I don’t hate my phone, but I admit that whenever I compare my old chunky BlackBerry to a new slick iPhone or Android I cannot help but take note of the differing competence level. The facts is, I can’t do half as much with my year old BlackBerry than I could with an iPhone fresh from the packaging. BlackBerry applications and functions seem primitive compared to the constant innovations that iPhones and Androids seem to get. Mind you, I am talking from a strictly superficial point of view and not from someone who knows anything about the inner workings of phones, but for my purposes BlackBerries suck.

What is considered the coolest phone in your school? Why?

Four years ago I would have said that BlackBerries were the coolest phones to have as a high school student. BlackBerries simply had the right high level profile to become desirable, even to people who didn’t want to use them for their original business driven features. However, the world has changed since that time and phones have integrated themselves even further into the everyday lives for people of all ages. The integration calls for phones to provide both work and pleasure features, something that i-phones provided from the beginning. BlackBerries are left straggling behind with their primitive business oriented features trying to stretch themselves out to attract buyers again, and I for one am not interested. As far as people in my school go, any Smartphone that isn’t a BlackBerry is “cool,” or at least “better” because they are phones recently developed to suit the new requirements that people my age demand from their phones, these requirements being easy managing of various social networks, access to gaming and apps, and texting. Have you ever tried to play Angry Birds on a Blackberry… enough said.

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About The Author /

Nick Waddell
Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.

Comment

  1. First of all the author only interviews pretty looking girls which is probably why he doesn’t put his name on the article.

  2. They say that it’s easiest to market to 16 year olds, because that it the point in your life when you are the most influenced by your peers, and advertising…you are the ultimate consumer. And who at 16 doesn’t want to be seen as the exact image that Apple presents?These interviews prove this. That’s one thing that BB hasn’t gotten. And trying to be all things to all people…as BB is doing with this most recent launch…is not very strategic.

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