Top 20 Reasons I Use BlackBerry Z30 for My Work Smartphone

Kevin McConnell

Updated April 25, 2014

This my own view and does not necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

I have worked with BlackBerry from the early 2000s and have used almost every one of their devices.  I own and have used multiple iphones, ipads, Android phones and tablets. I use them all to perform the basic functionality of email and calendar, but the device I never leave home without is my BlackBerry Z30 and this is why.

  1. BlackBerry Balance - When you first receive your Z30, you have access to all of your personal applications and data such as gmail, facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc.  Bus supposed that you also want  to connect it to your Enterprise so you can perform your job while mobile.  A BES10 Server is required to be connected in your enterprise and your IT group will have to inform you of the process to set an activation password that is used to activate your device.  When activated, your device will now have a work parameter (also known as work container)  that keeps enterprise data separate from personal data.  This feature is built into the BlackBerry 10 QNX operating system vs the solutions for Android and iOS that require additional software from a Mobile Device Management solution to create the enterprise container to separate work & personal data.

  1. Multi-tasking - The BlackBerry 10 enables you to have 20+ concurrently running applications with  8 active application windows and 12+ open browser tabs.   I often have this many applications running at the same time to complete my job while mobile.

  1. Always Connected - Like it or not, I am always working.  With global job responsibilities, I have colleagues working 24x6 every week of the year.   Working on the leading edge of mobile technology, there is always someone writing about a new product or new way to use a technology.   In order to stay in the loop, I am constantly looking at my device during breaks in day to day activities. The Verizon LTE Network has been working great and the device leverages 802.11n 5Ghz Wifi connections with my 802.11AC wireless router. I do have to use my AT&T device at the ranch in west Texas.  The cabin is in the bottom of the valley, but when I climb up out of the valley, I pick up 4 bars of AT&T LTE, turn on hotspot function and connect the Z30 to sync up all my data.

  1. Hub - The hub is the one inbox for all types of mail and messages which eliminates having to jump between different applications to interact with your incoming & outgoing messages.
  2. BB10 OS 10.2.1 update - This update allows the install of many Android Applications.  I have used these instructions to side load Snap to install apps out of the the google play store.  As promised in my keynote during the BlackBerry Session in 2013 I promised to get my fishing apps running on the BlackBerry.   I have now the Android versions of Sonarphone  (works with portable transducer) and Lowarance GoFree working on the Z30.  The GoFree software uses wifi to connect to my Boat Area Network (BAN) I have installed with my Lowrance Sonar and side scan system.

  1. HDMI and Miracast - I have a 32ft HDMI  cable that allows me to cable connect my Z30 to my Yamaha AV Receiver  and Samsung 60” TV to show pictures and videos.   I also have a miracast device that is connected to an hdmi port on the receiver.  This allows wireless viewing of the Z30 screen.  This works fine for pictures and slides, but I would recommend the hdmi cable for video.  I have also used the Z30 with hdmi cable and my aaxa P300 projector.  This makes a great little portable movie theater.

  1. Mobile Data Service(MDS) - BlackBerry 10 uses MDS as the VPN to connect to the corporate intranet.  This enables the device to act just like a laptop to receive email with links to internal content.  I can select the link and the majority of the time I can interact with the destination.  An example of this is receiving an email with a link to a Powerpoint file stored in IBM’s Connections file system.  I can access the file, download it, open, edit and repost it all from the Z30.  

4/27/14 Update - Looks like we had a certificate change with our directory and Traveler server that is blocking mail from flowing to the device.  I just jumped over to the work browser and logged into Inotes and keeping up with mail via this path today.  Can’t do that today with the other platforms in our configuration.

  1. Enterprise Messenger/Sametime - Allows me to be mobile and logged into our IBM Instant messaging system.  All messages come into the hub so I don’t have to jump between different windows.

  1. Media on the go - In IBM we have a system called the IBM media library that holds many podcasts and education sessions.   I can go directly to that site (via MDS) in the Z30 Browser, select the media I want to listen to and download it to the device.   This is stored in the Work Parmenter of the device, so you have to know where to look when you want to listen to a recording.   When I go on my daily walks, I listen to a recording or the latest tech podcasts like tech news today or one of the mobile nations podcasts.

  1. Multiple Concurrent Network Connections - The Z30 from Verizon running on the LTE network allows for simultaneous voice and data and data.   I can be connected to a conference call, logged into sametime (Enterprise Messenger) and have the wifi hotspot enabled allowing my laptop or other mobile device using it to connect to the Internet and IBM all at the same time.

  1. Fastest Browser - Along with having multiple tabs, the BB10 Browser is the fastest browser on the market, enabling BB10 users to be more productive.  I also use the reader option on a browser page to reformat the page for easy viewing.

  1. Screen size - Yes, I had to get glasses last year.   So the Z30 5” screen is awesome, and I am able to use it to conduct real work.   I have a Q10  I use occasionally, but I lose half the screen with the QWERTY keyboard.  I am much more productive with the full 5” screen device.

  1. Virtual keyboard with predictive word suggestion - I have become very proficient on using the virtual keyboard and being 6’ 1” with large thumbs, I have struggled with some of the smaller mobile phone keyboards.  The Z30 keys are about ⅓ larger than those of 4” devices.

  1. BlackBerry Maps, BlackBerry Travel and International Coverage - These are my own personal virtual travel assistants.   I have made 2 business trips to France and Germany this year, and I rented cars and drove from the airport to hotel and work.  Having all my travel information in BlackBerry travel, advising me of changes and allowing me to link right to BlackBerry maps which gives voice turn by turn directions on a 5 inch screen is AWESOME!   I did not believe it when I left IBM in Ehningen, Germany and BB Maps said it would take 90 minutes to drive 11 miles.   But the traffic was so bad and slow, it was almost perfect in its prediction. Make sure you install BlackBerry Travel on the Personal and Work parmenters so scanning of emails with trip details can be picked up from boths sides of your life.

  1. 2880 mAh battery and wireless charging - I do 100% of my 8-10 hours of daily conference calls on my Z30 and I usually never have to charge it during the day.  I can lay it down on my Energizer Qi charger and it will charge the device without having to plug it in.

  1. BlackBerry Messenger - My wife still uses a BlackBerry and we use BBM to communicate most of the time so I am able to see when a message is delivered and she has read it.  We still experience those lost message situations with the kids using the “send and pray”  text message system..  “I sent you a message...”  “well, I did not get it”.

  1. Toast Messages -  Each new message comes in at the top of the screen for a second or 2.  You can read the topic and decide if you want to click and open the message, or ignore and continue what you're working on.

  1. Flow interface - A swipe of the screen enables you to move between everything on the device.  No button to push to move from one thing to another.  

  1. BlackBerry Protect - A couple weeks ago, my wife came home Saturday afternoon and informed me that she could not find her device.  She looked for it all day but no luck, so on Sunday we turned on AT&T family map service to see if we could find the device but the battery in the device was dead.   So I got her new device and sim card and she was back up and running.  Each day we walk the neighborhood and on Thursday I noticed a ziplock bag on top of a mailbox with her device.  Our neighbor had found it Saturday afternoon and it had been sitting out there every day we had walked by.   So we did enable BlackBerry Protect on both her new device and on my Z30.  

The following week, I had 2 colleagues come into town for a couple days of meetings and I met them at the Domain in Austin.  I was standing by my truck working on my devices when they drove up, and I jumped in the car and we went to Rudy’s BBQ (my standard 1st place to take you if you visit).  When I got there, I realized I did not have my Z30 on me and thought I had left it in my truck.  When we got back, I looked in my truck and could not find it.  We had to be in meeting at 1pm so we drove over to the site and went into IBM for the meeting. I then realized, that I had BlackBerry protect turned on.  I logged on with my iphone (yes, my iphone found my Z30) and could see that the Z30 was in my truck in the IBM parking lot.  So I went out to the truck and looked again and could not find it.  The visitor’s car was parked next to me so I thought that it may have fallen off in the back seat so I moved my truck to another part of the parking lot and sure enough the device still showed that it was with my truck.  Getting frustrated, I realized that BlackBerry Protect could send a sound to the device.    So I am sitting in the front seat of my truck with the door open and I can hear a faint tone coming from my device.   Again, I tear the truck apart and can’t find it, so I go outside and start walking around the back of the truck and when I get up near the passenger front door, the sound is getting louder.  Doh,  There it is sitting on the hood of the truck.   It had sat there for an hour while we were at lunch and a drive from the Domain to IBM.  The Otterbox case has that good no slip backing.   So as I was waiting for them to arrive at the Domain, I switch devices I was working with and set the Z30 on the hood and got in the car with the iphone and drove away.  II BBMd my wife thanking her for losing her device last week because I would not have had BB protect enabled :).


  1. QNX - BB10 is built on top of the QNX Operating system.  This OS is multitasking, uses preemptive scheduling and performs fast context-switching. The OS is used in many automobile systems, Cisco Routers, GM Wind Turbines, Las Vegas Slot Machines, nuclear power plants.  I have seen the device slow down and apps disappear, but I have never had the device crash and reboot.  This is the best commercial I ever saw for BB10.

If you are a Z30 user, let me know what your top use of the device is...