If you had any doubts as to the power of social bookmarking megasite Reddit, they may be put to rest by the recent actions of BlackBerry.
The Canadian device maker that soon may no longer make devices at all took to its own blog Friday to tout the love its recently released PRIV is getting from Redditors.
“It’s not just major outlets who are giving the PRIV their love,” said BlackBerry’s Nicholas C. Green. “People who’ve spent a bit of time with the device are taking to the web in droves to let everyone know what they think. reddit’s no exception – see for yourself.”
Blackberry then listed a series of reviews cherry-picked from Reddit, including this one from user “bestaimee”:
“Got mine last week and it’s awesome; I am very happy with mine. Through DTEK I learned my Yahoo Mail app accessed information from my phone over 1,700 times within the 2 days I had it on my phone, including access to my photos and texts (I did not send/receive any e-mails during that time). Very eye opening! The functionality of Android and the privacy features of Blackberry makes this the best cell phone on the market. (My two cents)”
Another review, from user “aurizon” praised BlackBerry’s famous physical keyboard.
“A friend of mine bought one, and he likes the way he can type. He is in his 60’s and make too many errors on a touchscreen. He likes the clicky clicky. I tried it and it seems good, but I have a few years to go on my nexus contract to change in midstream. In ~~2 years I will assess things and if the Priv has endured, I might buy it.”
Of course, it’s easy to find negative reviews of the PRIV on Reddit, too, like this one from user “datarover”:
“Don’t buy it if you want a keyboard that is like the old BlackBerry’s…because it’s a small cramped keyboard. Don’t buy it if you want good build quality because its been shopping (sic) with build issues.”
Or this critique from “TygerRyder”:
“I’ve got some serious build problems with mine. “Sym” key doesn’t click, like it’s completely jammed, but does work if press it hard enough. Screen clicks when you tap it — especially when the keyboard is open. And not only does my back creak, but if you press on the left hand side of it (when looking at the display), the left side of the chassis pops away from the keyboard.”
Reddit’s hip, young audience is one that brands crave. In its early days after launching in 2005, Reddit seemed destined to play second fiddle to then reigning social bookmarking site Digg. But Reddit began to take off after Digg made a series of changes its readership didn’t like, including what many suspected was editorial decisions that overrided the site’s democratic voting system for posts. Today, Reddit, which calls itself “The Front Page of the Internet” boasts 7.86-billion page views from 202-million monthly unique visitors.
The PRIV, BlackBerry’s first phone to use another company’s operating system, features a slide-out physical keyboard and a virtual keyboard with the company’s “flick-to-type” feature, a screen that is curved on both sides, the BlackBerry Hub and a battery the company describes as “colossal” and claims can handle 22.5 hours of “mixed use”. BlackBerry says the camera, which is made by Schneider-Kreuznach® is much better and also adds 4K video recording at 30 frames-per-second. This device runs on Android 5.1.1, also known as “Lollipop”.
The PRIV, which was released earlier this month, has actually garnered mixed reviews from the press.
The Verge’s Dieter Bohn said the device’s high price, slow performance, and software bugs overshadowed some of its better features, including a great keyboard and improved camera.
“This is (currently) not a very good phone,” wrote reviewer Mark Walton for Ars Technicha.
While praising the PRIV’s sharp display, its speaker, and “rather handsome looks, Walton said the device just doesn’t do enough to distinguish itself at its price point.
“As cheap smartphones get good, and good smartphones get cheap, anyone launching a device at the top end of the market needs to do something special to warrant the price,” he said. “That’s especially true for the Priv, which bears the weight of expectation of a million Blackberry fanboys and an increasingly agitated group of shareholders. Unfortunately for Blackberry, I don’t think the Priv is the saviour it so desperately needs.”