FUTURE PROOF or FUTURE POOF? Why your next mobile shouldn’t be a Blackberry:   Leave a comment

Why you should read this post:

Before saying anything about Blackberry, I know that I must first convince you, the reader, to read this post. If nothing else, please read the following 2 points:

– Make an informed decision, you might think Blackberry is all that, just like you thought SABC is all that before getting MNET. Maybe I’m wrong, and Blackberry is the best there is for you, but maybe I’m right and after two years you’ll be stuck with “7de Laan” on SABC while the rest of us watch the newest series on DSTV, in 3D, while sitting in a massaging chair. The only thing you need to do is read the rest of this post, make a decision, sleep easy and know you made the right decision next time you watch your favourite series on DSTV.

– More importantly: I’ll shut up. Those of you who know me personally know I always keep on harping on about how Blackberry’s really isn’t that good. During our next “braai” I’ll stop trying to convince everyone how Blackberry is stealing everyone’s joy, providing you read the rest of this post naturally 🙂

Let me start off by admitting to the obvious: “I am biased to Nokia”. That said I will really try my best to write this as objectively as possible.

Blackberry as a company:

Before dissecting that statement I think it’s important to note the precarious position RIM is finding itself in. Again I’ll use Wikipedia as a source:

“In June 2011, RIM announced the prediction of Q1 2011 revenue which will drop for the first time in nine years and also unveiled plans to reduce jobs. It is followed by the market which the stock dropped to its lowest level since 2006. Since June 2008 to June 2011, RIM’s shareholders lost almost $70 billion or 82% as the biggest decline among communications-equipment providers, from $83 billion at 3 years before to current $13.6 billion.

In July 2011, the company axed 2,000 jobs, the biggest lay-off in its history. The lay-off reduced the workforce of the company by around 11% in one stroke from 19,000 to 17,000.

On December 16, 2011 RIM shares fell to the lowest price since January 2004 and the stock has dropped 77% in 2011”.

Furthermore on the state of Blackberry; an anonymous Research In Motion employee has penned a devastating open letter to the company’s senior management explaining how narrow-minded management is damaging the company.(Click here for a quick read). Combine this with the fact that the next BIG thing in RIM’s arsenal, namely the Blackberry 10 operating system, has been postponed to late 2012, and that because according to a Blackberry insider: “Email and personal information management is better on a BlackBerry 8700 smartphone than it is on BlackBerry 10.” (Source: Click here).

And the more research I did the worse it got! RIM came 15th out of 15 companies in Green Peace’s guide to greener electronics. Nokia in turn came in 3rd. (Source: Click here). There app store is also behind the competition, both in the number of apps available as well as the speed at which the apps are added, meaning they won’t catch up anytime soon. As an indication, the Blackberry App World took 27 weeks to reach 50,000 app submissions, while the Windows phone market place (which the Nokia Lumia range will be associated with) only took 14 weeks, that’s slightly slower the Apple’s app store and 6 weeks quicker than the Android market. (Source: Click here).

The future is not looking all that rosy then for Blackberry. But let’s go back to the stuff you all like about Blackberry’s.

What Blackberry did right (in the past):

What did Blackberry get right to make the brand so successful to start off with. As a source I’ll use Wikipedia’s description:

“BlackBerry devices are smartphones, designed to function as personal digital assistants, portable media players, internet browsers, gaming devices, and much more. They are primarily known for their ability to send and receive (push) email and instant messages while maintaining a high level of security through on-device message encryption. Blackberry devices support a large variety of instant messaging features, including BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).”

BBM, the first thing I hear when shooting down Blackberry is always “BBM” and “free” internet. Let’s take BBM first. I know what you all are saying, “all” my friends use BBM. You’re probably thinking that you’ll be excluded from the social world if you move away from Blackberry. But think about that for a second. It’s just not true and here is why: With programs like “What’s app” EVERYONE, including your friends on Nokia’s, Samsung’s and Apple iPhones are connected. Hell, probably 90% of the Blackberry users reading this most have “What’s app” installed on their Blackberries anyway. Now if everybody just moved to one app, everything will just be easier J No need for pins or codes, just mobile numbers. It’s easy to use and even our parents can learn to use it, on WHATEVER platform they find themselves.

Next up: “Free” internet. No company, no not even RIM, will make a profit if they get the short end of the stick, period. Most casual users don’t use up the fixed fee they pay in data. If you use BBM/What’s app every day and browse Google & check out Facebook a few times a day and one or two other functions you won’t use up the price you pay in data upfront. If most Blackberry users did, they’d pay more – basic economics really. So in actual fact, for the most users it will most probably be cheaper to go with a normal data bundle. The only people who score are the 5% – 10% of users that use a lot more than the rest, by which they are cross subsidised.

Finally the user interface of Blackberries is behind the competition. Of course this is a personal opinion, but as an example I still know lots of Blackberry users who still don’t know where some everyday settings are when they need to find them quickly. Any Blackberry fan who doesn’t agree with me: take the time to test any iPhone, Android or Windows Phone interface and tell me I’m wrong. Most Blackberry interfaces look older than even the interface of my now almost ancient N97’s Symbian interface.

What now?

My suggestion: get a Nokia obviously. More specifically a Windows Phone based Nokia Lumia 800 or 710 or whatever gets launched locally in early 2012. It has been winning over users internationally from Blackberries, iPhone as well as Android based phones. Just two of those are Jon Rettinger, head at Techbuffalo.com (link) and Rich Trenholm, news editor at CNET UK (link). Both very well know IT sites not associated to any specific brand or operating system.

A small summary of his reasoning: “Windows Phone strikes the perfect middle ground between the two (the iPhone and Android). The slick, instantly recognisable and totally intuitive live tile interface is playful without being toy like, knocking Apple’s once-revolutionary front end into a cocked hat. And on the other hand, widgets and dynamic live tiles give you the flexibility that marks Android.”

In a following post I’ll go into some more detail as to why the Nokia Lumia range of smartphones is the way to go. Until then, try to decide which charity you will be giving your Blackberry to 🙂


Posted December 30, 2011 by allaboutnokiasa in Blackberry, Nokia, Windows Phone

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