I’ve been watching the whole fiasco with Research In Motion, the makers of Blackberries, once known as “Crackberries” among some cynical folks, and it’s amazing how in a few short years a device that once dominated its market has been brought to the edge of going into the history books. From Yahoo Finance’s latest “10 Brands That Will Disappear” article…
There were some notable service outages in recent years that hurt RIM’s reputation, but I’m thinking some design issues might be at fault here as well. A couple of years ago, I put a picture of a Blackberry in a Powerpoint show that myself and some colleagues at work were putting together for our managers who were away at a conference. Several years later, if I go Google Shopping for Blackberries, many of those smartphones for sale look almost exactly the same as the picture I put in the Powerpoint show way back when.
I mean, seriously RIM, get with the times here. Is that all Blackberry users have to look forward to if they buy a new smartphone these days? A shinier newer version of what they got back in 2008? Seriously now. All these years of the “little pocket-sized touchscreen thingie” form factor smartphones and RIM still insists on putting physical keyboards and unchanging decal icons on their devices? The Blackberry 10’s looking more like a more contemporary smartphone, but unfortunately it has been delayed to 2013. :-\
Of course, business users, the usual target demographic of Blackberry products, have more use for a physical keyboard than most other smartphone users out there, and at least there are a few models of Blackberries where the screen slides up to reveal a physical keyboard underneath, but how come if I search for Blackberries, the top results are the newer devices with the old school Blackberry form factor?
I think we have an object lesson in organizational complacency here. When a business releases a hot new product that takes off like a rocket, don’t stop. Apple certainly didn’t. They’ve kept right on going with trying to make the iPhone better over the years while Blackberry was sluggish just to get a touchscreen smartphone to market to begin with. I hope RIM can come back from where they are now, but time marches on, and if organizations don’t keep an eye on things, it can march on without them and leave them behind. :-\
Side Note: Since I’m keeping a close eye on the Microsoft Surface tablet and tablets and smartphones have become such a big thing to keep an eye on in the world of tech I’m adding a new category for “Mobile Devices” to the topic list on the left. 🙂