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10/16/2012
12:43 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Ashamed To Be Seen With Your BlackBerry? Malarkey

RIM's handsets are increasingly seen as relics of days gone by, leading to deep personal shame, users tell the New York Times. Oh please.

Are you ashamed to show your BlackBerry in public? Does it routinely cause you embarrassment? Do your colleagues, friends, and family ridicule you every time you pull it out to check your email? Has it become a negative stigma, labeling you as a behind-the-times outcast? According to an opinion piece that ran in the New York Times, the answer to those questions is increasingly, "Yes."

The Times spoke with a small handful of people who still use Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphones to help manage their work and personal lives. The Times did a good job coaxing some great quotes of the few people with whom it spoke. Here are some of the gems:

"I'm ashamed of it. I want to take a bat to it. You can't do anything with it. You're supposed to, but it's all a big lie."

"I feel absolutely helpless. You're constantly watching people do all these things on their phones and all I have going for me is my family's group BBM chats."

And, my personal favorite:

"BlackBerry users are like MySpace users. They probably still chat on AOL Instant Messenger."

[ See what RIM presented at MobileCON. RIM CIO Talks Enterprise BYOD. ]

The article argues that BlackBerry users are now "black sheep" and "outcasts" who suffer from public shaming and humiliation.

Bollocks.

RIM has certainly made some mistakes in the last few years. It essentially ceded the entire smartphone market to Apple and Google when it failed to recognize them as threats. Consumers and Fortune 100 companies alike are ditching BlackBerrys in favor of iPhones and Android smartphones. Why? They offer better multimedia experiences and let consumers interact with their devices in new and pleasing ways.

RIM is working to correct this gap between its hardware/software and those of its competitors, but I don't think it is fair to brand BlackBerrys--nor their owners--as uncool, unhip luddites.

First, most smartphones are purchased with a two-year contract. Considering how dire the economy has been the last few years, it's reasonable to assume that many people can't afford to break their contracts or pay full price for the newest hardware. People who bought top-of-the-line BlackBerry Bolds during the 2010 holiday season probably still have a month or two left on their contract.

More to the point, I traveled to San Diego last week to attend the MobileCON industry trade show. Though I definitely saw a lot of iPhones and Android smartphones in the hands of attendees, I saw plenty of BlackBerrys, too. Nowhere did I see anyone ridiculing others for their choice of handset.

The smartphone market is a competitive, healthy place that offers consumers and businesses plenty of choice. That's a good thing. Some people choose BlackBerrys because they (still) make the best hardware keyboards around. That's a legitimate purchasing decision for people who need to peck out email after email day in and day out.

Besides, if the Aristo hero phone is the type of device RIM has waiting in the wings for launch early next year, the BlackBerry faithful will have their own piece of bling to show off at parties and in the boardroom.

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AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/19/2012 | 5:32:53 PM
re: Ashamed To Be Seen With Your BlackBerry? Malarkey
Different strokes for different folks...

I have a Lumia 900 to which I often WiFi tether my Dell Studio laptop when on the road. Since I have both Skydrive and Office365, I use my Lumia (in lieu of firing up the laptop in some cases) to get work done (Word and Excel usage) while I am listening to my favorite music at the same time. It's a multi-tasking beast that functions quite well in the MS software environment. Do that with iPhone or Android or a prepaid feature phone...
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
10/19/2012 | 11:12:07 AM
re: Ashamed To Be Seen With Your BlackBerry? Malarkey
I don't even have a smartphone, so what does that make me? First of all, someone who doesn't shell out hundreds of dollars each month for a phone plan. I do have a plain simple voice only prepaid phone that costs me 10 bucks a year or maybe a bit more depending on how many minutes I use. Do that with your glowing Crackberries or iPhones.
Craig Matsumoto
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Craig Matsumoto,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/17/2012 | 8:05:56 PM
re: Ashamed To Be Seen With Your BlackBerry? Malarkey
I have a Blackberry and am unashamed. So, I'm with you, Eric.

My kids do mock me about it. Then again, they're approaching that age where they're going to mock me about everything, so, changing phones ain't gonna help.
Verdumont Monte
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Verdumont Monte,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/17/2012 | 4:54:51 PM
re: Ashamed To Be Seen With Your BlackBerry? Malarkey
I was a ex-blackberry user myself, I used to think that it would be difficult to use iOS or Android for day in and day out emails. But ever since I got my Nexus S, I was pleasantly surprised. I use it for email daily and send serveral messages. The auto predeciton on the keyboard works like charm, and I rarely make spelling mistakes. I cannot say that that will be the case with everyone though, my manager how has a little "big" fingers, had to use a pen like stylus for using the smart phones. But for most of the users, BB is useless. All the encryption stuff they boast about is not required or built in to the new iOS / Andriod devices. I gave up BB after the last 8330. It sucked. It would crash every week or so. And amazingly it took about 10 minutes to start up on a cold boot with all the encryption stuff. I gave up BB since, and not going back.
dbtinc
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dbtinc,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/17/2012 | 1:00:18 PM
re: Ashamed To Be Seen With Your BlackBerry? Malarkey
What's a "Blackberry?"
Palantir
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Palantir,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/16/2012 | 9:37:47 PM
re: Ashamed To Be Seen With Your BlackBerry? Malarkey
Blackberry still owns the enterprise market for the most part (the big guys who have a lot of inertia about change), and partly because they still offer the most secure, enterprise ready ecosystem. As soon as you approach either iOS or Android from an enterprise perspective, you start finding glaring difficulties - not insurmoutable, but BB already has them covered.
lacertosus
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lacertosus,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/16/2012 | 8:18:13 PM
re: Ashamed To Be Seen With Your BlackBerry? Malarkey
WOW!!!!
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