It is April 2011, I meet a friend of mine and he immediately says “Wow, nice phone!” It is a BlackBerry curve.
Fifteen months later, the same friend says to me with a sarcastic laugh, “You have a BlackBerry, ha-ha!” It is a BlackBerry torch 9860 (the one that is almost entirely touch screen!) Am a bit confused since this is an improvement from my last one.
How did the BlackBerry suddenly become so un-cool?
From a tool once held by the globes elite, to a tool you want to keep hidden in your pants unless you are hanging out with 50+ year old CEOs.
Even the ordinary BlackBerry is not cheap, has a few and not so interesting apps, so why are we (BlackBerry users) not so happy writing an obituary for RIM?
Maybe there is a sense of nostalgia. For most of us, the BlackBerry was perhaps the first fully fledged smart phone we ever held. I remember the first time I was able to receive corporate email (well, mostly jokes and funny pictures) on these devices on the go, at home and bars.
It was thrilling typing away at the physical keyboard and using the shift button the same way one used that button on a computer. Unlike the touch screen virtual keyboard, I typed faster and with confidence knowing I was unlikely to make spelling mistakes in each word, people with fat fingers!
For those that got BlackBerries from their employers, it was cool and fancy to have a circle of friends that you could ‘BBM’ or send messages by PIN. It was like being part of a military intelligence outfit, communicating via a secret protocol.
And the BlackBerry always felt more ‘businessy’. Take a peek into any board room full of CEO’s , you will see them busy typing away on their Blackberries (unless of course they are Chinese, this lot sure does love their iPhone), sending important email.
If there are a couple of them swiping away at their iPhones, I bet they are playing ‘Angry Birds’. Sure some BlackBerry users will sneak in a few moments to play ‘Angry Pigs’ but only when the meeting is extremely boring.
From its inception BlackBerry became a darling for corporate companies, seeking a secure and centrally managed system to keep their employees at work even when out of office using the enterprise server.
True, Android and iOS have managed to bring cool features for mail (remote wipe, encryption) onto the menu but they still need some work to make it suitable for corporate IT requirements (like central management).
And for the users, BlackBerry being a service that is managed by your service provider, you always have someone to blame. It gives me relief to know that if suddenly my email stops working, I can always walk into the customer service center, claim to be losing millions of money and demand to see the manager (even though all am really waiting for is people to comment on my latest Facebook update “Just got out of bed”).
And the unlimited internet, what would I do without this? (Lucky for my service provider, I still won’t find a torrent client for my Blackberry)
Like a 20 year old Swiss wrist watch or a classic automobile, forget the fancy features or close to a million apps to play with but the eccentric lot that BlackBerry users are, we are not in hurry to get rid of it.
And if (or when) RIM finally goes down, I will probably hang mine in my private museum (some box with things that were once dear to me) and I will miss it.