The Amazingly Resilient BlackBerry Curve 8350i


Every month I look over the download data that BlackBerry provides for my game Pixelated. Looking at this data allows me to follow trends and analyze the current state of the BlackBerry market. One device that always surprised me is the BlackBerry Curve 8350i.

The Nextel branded 8350i was first released in 2008 as the last device of the 83xx Curve series. The ‘i’ at the end of the device name symbolizes the phone’s support for the (now archaic) TDMA based iDEN network that Sprint has threatened to shut down in less than three months. Given the specs that this phone shipped with you would have to hope that most consumers have had an opportunity to replace this phone at least twice in the past few years.

Yet, each month when I check the statistics from my game the Curve 8350i continues to be good for a few hundred downloads. While this phone has never been super popular, its representation in the download numbers has remained remarkably steady. While phones that previously sold very well (such as the Tour 9630, and the Storm 9500) peaked big and have since seen steady declines in their usage, these devices are now pretty much on par with the 8350i which even at it’s absolute peak only accounted for around 2% of BlackBerry devices.

As this phone approaches its fifth year anniversary, perhaps it will finally see its usage decline. Or maybe a year from now, I will be seeing the 8350i usage numbers as steady as ever…

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  1. Speaking from personal experience – Within Canada it’s still an “reasonable” option on the TELUS iDEN network for the Construction sector.

    It’s definitely an archaic device on an network that will eventually be shutting off in the not to distant future, but none of the replacement PTT solutions in Canada have really taken over TELUS stronghold in the market – or at least I haven’t seen it yet.

    It also helps that the Curve line is extremely repairable. As long as you don’t damage the PCB (eg, charging port most likely) you can literally take the completely housing off and replace it with a new one in about 10 minutes and these housings can be purchased for very cheap now – housing, keyboard, trackball, etc all replaced makes it look like a new phone again.

    To put it into perspective it was only at the start of last year that I saw my last 7100i in production. Certain industries are extremely slow when it comes to change!

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