Kim Kardashian West is a lover of many things: Kanye, her babies, selfies, receipts, and her BlackBerry Bold. She is renowned for scouring eBay, hoarding the phones, which come from a line that BlackBerry discontinued in 2011. Sadly, you can only snag so many QWERTY-friendly BlackBerries, and it appears that Kim has reached the end of her stash.
What’s more, now she has to deal with the fresh hell that is Buying a New Phone.
So we know she has an iPhone. Great. Why not … get another iPhone? If she has a 6s, maybe complement that with either the SE or 6s Plus, depending on if she feels she needs something smaller or bigger?
Oh, OK, got it — I respect the equal-opportunity attitude toward operating systems/manufacturers here. What next? I sought some advice for Kardashian West as she prepares to brave this Bold-less new world.
First, I looked into other keyboard phones. The Bold is best, but it’s far from the only brand that’s had a physical keyboard. (Kim, you know this: You rocked the T-Mobile Sidekick as hard as anyone.) The BlackBerry Classic and BlackBerry Priv are currently much easier to find, not to mention cheaper than the Bold. (Not that the price matters to Kim). Also, since she mentioned her interest in Android, the Priv might be a nice compromise and an easy entry into a non-RIM environment.
I chatted with a T-Mobile rep named Jeff for some more advice. He also suggests the Priv, for what it’s worth! Thanks for putting up with my spotty connection, Jeff.
Of course, there is another option: Let’s get that Bold fixed up!
Skip the BlackBerry store (are there still BlackBerry stores?), forget your provider’s shop, and head straight for the strip mall digital-repair outlet. What those spots might lack in air conditioning and matching polo shirts, they make up for in used BlackBerry-maintenance know-how.
One such outlet in Los Angeles is Cellular Fantasy. When I called to ask about Kim’s specific problem, Jason from Cellular Fantasy told me that they’d first need to take a look at the phone in question, but it could be a “host of varying factors that would disable a phone so that it wouldn’t power on.” Maybe it was the battery (which is removable), or a board issue. “Those phones, depending on what series it is, are five to eight years old now, so if it is the battery, finding a new one could be tough.” He mentioned that if it’s the battery, they could potentially jump it, like a car, but beyond that, fixes get complicated.
“We get lots of BlackBerry loyalists who refuse to transfer over to a new phone,” he says. But the store has managed to salvage replacement parts from other BlackBerry units, so hope is not lost. (He says people usually bring their BBs in for cracked screens, though.)
Another cell phone repair shop, uBreakiFix, also offered some insight as to whether the phone is salvageable. Again, a rep offered that a number of things could have killed the phone, but that the BlackBerry’s age meant it could be a motherboard issue. “In some instances, the LCD itself might be the only thing that is affected, which can make the device seem like it will not turn on,” I was told. Kim, if you’re reading: Does the phone still make any sounds? If so, you might just have a screen fix in your future! The uBreakiFix rep did also say, however, that “[BlackBerries] have hidden screws typically requiring a keen eye and some creative prying to pull apart,” so this isn’t a DIY project. Another ray of hope, though? “Parts for these phones are relatively easy to access due to their age and the abundance of parts. The market got flooded when everyone transitioned, and those effects are still present today.” OK, so not everyone transitioned, but that’s why we’re here!
When I called another shop, things took a turn for the worst. A store listed on Yelp as Fix Any Device led me to believe it would fix any device. When I called, though, I was told “we don’t work on BlackBerries.”
Time to order that Priv, Kim. Hell, if you can make him a good enough offer, I think I know a guy who could help you out.