14 July 2012

BlackBerry Fans: Abandon Ship

Believe it or not, there are still people who love the BlackBerry. I know, right? Unfortunately for them, they better switch. And fast.

Despite popular thinking, BlackBerry fans are not gray skinned corporate zombies who all used to work for Bain Capital. In fact, they tend to be people who have lives outside technology and don't want to give that up. Their Bold and Torch devices are handed to them by their corporation so they don't spend hours deciding which carrier, which plan and fighting those stupid companies over ridiculous charges. (Seriously - who buys the same ring-tone every month, Sprint?) The devices also "just work" and tend to have battery life lasting twice as long as an iPhone or a thousand times longer than an Android so they aren't searching for power outlets in airports or carrying a charger wherever they go. Email, SMS, calendar, contacts and making phone calls all work as well or better on a BlackBerry. Plus, debate it all you like but the bottom line is that anyone can type nearly twice as fast on physical keys than an onscreen keyboard given the same amount of practice using it. Finally, thanks to the encrypted and secure BlackBerry network, their devices use very little data and customers know their communication over cellular networks is completely secure.

Unfortunately, RIM is in critical care and about to flat line. They have enough cash to make it until the end of 2013 and, unless someone comes to their rescue, their organization will cease to exist. What that occurs, that wonderful secure network becomes the feature that will brick every BlackBerry in operation. The data that once was so carefully managed will stop being delivered because the pipe will cease to exist.

While I completely understand the advantages of these devices and sympathize with anyone who enjoys carrying the device, it is mobile suicide to buy another BlackBerry right now. Any company or government agency limited to only the BlackBerry had better start considering other options quickly. Unless you have the petty cash to buy out the good folks in Waterloo, you should force your staff to find another option.

Some day in the next couple of years there may well be a headline that the BlackBerry network is permanently down and thousands of phones suddenly will not work. You probably do not want to be part of that select group.