Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

Summary: The BlackBerry manufacturer is going downhill, and investing in one for the back to school season would be unwise. Here are five reasons why.

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Research in Motion, the BlackBerry manufacturer, wooed the hearts and minds of the younger generation with their business-style phones. But as of late, the Canadian company seems to be on a sinking ship.

From product delays to operating system pullbacks: the company is losing customers in favour of other, more popular handsets, like Android and the iPhone.

Despite many previous assertions -- it's time to face facts. The BlackBerry is on its last legs.

(Image via Flickr)

It's time to take a look at the BlackBerry brand and where it has come to, and why you should think twice about renewing your BlackBerry contract, or even starting one in the first place.

1. BlackBerry OS 7: Little new to offer, and not QNX-based

The next-generation BlackBerry will be QNX-based; a new operating system, based around that of the BlackBerrys lesser selling sibling, the PlayBook.

But current OS 7 phones were at one point promised to be QNX based, but this has yet been pushed to later versions. Essentially, what you will get if you buy a new OS 7 phone is vastly the same features and functionality as older phones -- with a few minor additions that hardly warrant a long-term phone contract.

2. BlackBerrys are trying to emulate touch-based competitors

One of the main reason users want a BlackBerry is for their keyboard. It's small and compact, but it beats the pants off competing devices -- particularly the Nokia E and N series.

The new BlackBerry Torch phones -- one is touch-only while the other has a keyboard, but don't get me started -- are trying to emulate the iPhone's success with its touch-screen technology.

But what Research in Motion and others have yet to realise, is that the iPhone touch-screen experience is all but incomparable. Touch-typing on the iPhone may suck compared to a physical mini-keyboard, but BlackBerry touch typing is even worse.

3. As Research in Motion crumbles, end-user applications will suffer

As with the previous and reasons still to mention, developers will soon wake up to the difficulties that the BlackBerry platform will face. Not only is a huge cultural shift under way from BlackBerry OS 5, 6 and 7 to the next generation QNX-based operating system -- this will be the all-consuming crunch time for BlackBerry developers.

But the more that Research in Motion struggles, and the 'Osbourning' sales issue that it has to overcome, developers will opt for better platforms to build upon. Ultimately this will lead to further detachment with end users.

4. BlackBerrys are not keeping up with the social times

BlackBerrys have never really been about social, per se. Sure, Research in Motion developed MySpace, Facebook and Twitter applications, along with numerous instant messengers and social applications -- but that's about it.

Unlike iOS, there is still no in-built video calling feature or Facetime equivalent for BlackBerry's. The hardware is good, but the devices are still too corporate-focused.

On the other hand, while BlackBerry's excel in the field of push email, this is hardly something to jump and scream about nowadays. Still lacking basic HTML email content and poor web browsing compared to its competitors, no wonder the younger lot are becoming increasingly despondent with the BlackBerry.

5. BlackBerry Messenger is dead: Facebook Chat is where it's at

BlackBerry Messenger has been one of the upshots to the device range; allowing free, encrypted conversations to and from BlackBerry users.

But now that Facebook Chat has finally made its way to all modern post-OS 5 devices, who needs BlackBerry Messenger when it has only a fraction of your total friends?

Once, the flagship feature for the Generation Y; BlackBerry Messenger has been made defunct by a leading competitor.

Related content:

Topics: Security, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility, BlackBerry

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  • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

    I would not be without my Blackberry.
    Have tried others and this is still for me the best option.
    Robert-CIS
    • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

      @Robert-CIS As I just tweeted to @palmsolo, I won't be giving mine up for a while yet -- partly because I've still got 15 months left on the contract. But as you'll see from next week's post, ironically there is still no BlackBerry competitor, especially from Nokia.

      But this is fair warning to students across the land -- don't invest in a new one, or an upgrade. Just, steer clear.
      zwhittaker
      • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

        @zwhittaker They shouldn't invest in a Blackberry because Blackberry's aren't for students. They're for corporations.
        Aerowind
      • Have no fear, there will be plenty of Nokias to choose from when your 15

        month contract is up. And they and all the other windows phone based choices will excel at push email and all other enterprise features that make them the best choice for BB replacement. Both IOS and android devices are far too insecure for enterprise use.
        Johnny Vegas
      • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

        @zwhittaker

        Indeed. My BB is fine for now, but I've got about 15mo left on my contract also. When that's up, I won't be buying another BB unless they do something miraculous in 15 months.
        Badgered
      • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

        @zwhittaker
        Since when is QNX "new". It's been around probably since before you were born. All of you youngsters think everything today is new. I love my droid but the AndroidOS (not the Linux part) is infantile and extremely immature, as is the IOS (and Apple knows better). It's only the speed/quality of the hardware that compensates for the inept programming that runs on it.

        The PDAs everybody carries around today are a thousand times more powerful than a Mac II or 386-16 and yet the operating systems they ran (yes, more than 20 years ago) were substantially faster, more robust, and more reliable (on a fraction of the hardware).

        It would do you all a dose of good to look back into history and realize you're just reinventing the wheel (and poorly, by and large, with few exceptions).

        Palm is gone because their hardware was unreliable and their OS was so immature it was not worthy of being called an OS. The thing that has blackberry (and I'm not a proponent) on the plus side is they own their technology and are entrenched.

        And Microsoft-- they are just in their own zone. Who over there came up with the bright idea to come out with a Windows Mobile phone that does not integrate easily and perfectly with Exchange!?!?!? That is the ONE thing that got blackberry accepted into the corporate world early-on and the one thing that would have given the new windows mobile phones a solid chance in the market place. I still carry a windows mobile 6 phone *BECAUSE* it integrates with exchange. If you want to introduce a device into business, it's got to be something that the SALES people feel that must have to do their job. A windows mobile phone that runs XBOX LIVE but does not integrate with Microsoft Exchange is a total miss.

        Steve Balmer, if you're reading-- hire me, I'd like to run your PDA division. You need to clean house, your top executives have no real clue why you make money or how you're going to keep making money outside of your OS and business product suite. And stop jumping up and down on stage and screaming like a little girl.

        Now, everyone needs to just hold hands, take a deep breath and sing "we are the world".
        dbeecher@...
      • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

        @zwhittaker
        Why would students not want to invest in a Blackberry? It's probably one of the most underrated choices for students. First, the BlackBerry server compression means not needing as much data, meaning cheaper data contracts.

        Second, Blackberries because of BIS are the only phones that can have separate Social Media or Email only plans, so students who only want to facebook/twitter/im can get a cheaper plan. Those who only need email can do the same.

        Facebook chat is where its at? I'd say the majority of people still use SMS quite a bit, and with BBM integrating your text messaging and BBM contacts, it's fairly seamless. And even if Facebook chat is "where its at", Blackberry has a fully functional Facebook chat within its FB app.

        As for web browsing, the new OS 7 devices have been shown to be just as fast now with Web Browsing, with benchmark tests showing they are quite speedy.
        lamborr
    • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

      @Robert-CIS <br>Agreed. Predicting RIM's demise must be the rage. There is a pack mentality around writers and everyone wants to pile on and bash RIM without giving the situation a thoughtful evaluation. <br><br>FIVE REASONS TO BUY A BLACKBERRY PHONE:<br>1. Hardware: by far no other phone is as durable or problem free. I tried a droid and couldn't take it after a week, it's a toy not a business tool. I came back to BB. Android phones have a 30% return rate, Apple is not much better!<br>2.Keyboard: the BB keyboard just rocks. It is faster than anything when you need to look up a number or contact, hands down. My Verizon rep has a BB and iphone. He uses the BB for all texting and email.<br>3. Sync: nothing even comes close to syncing with your Office information, contacts, calandar, etc.. (plus you don't need a gmail account!; even the new Windows phone sync in the cloud.)<br>4. 60 million users: with that many users, plus most enterprise users, RIM isn't going anywhere. Yes they are in a slide but the new line of phones will reverse this and RIM will recover. Android will suffer badly.<br>5. BBM: still the best. Facebook??? you have got to be kidding. The real world works hard for a living and first of all a phone has to be an efficent business tool. Not a toy.
      6. (ok, one more) It doesn't matter if you are a student. Unless you plan on being a student for life, start thinking ahead. Don't show up to a job interview with a toy phone (with a beer app to boot), bring your BB; you will impress without saying a thing.
      tamcon
      • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

        @tamcon

        What's this "...Apple is not much better..."?

        Apart from wishy washy nonsense pulled out of nowhere.

        Where is the evidence to back up your statement?
        bannedagain
      • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

        @tamcon "FIVE REASONS TO BUY A BLACKBERRY PHONE:
        1. Hardware: by far no other phone is as durable or problem free. I tried a droid and couldn't take it after a week, it's a toy not a business tool. I came back to BB. Android phones have a 30% return rate, Apple is not much better"

        I work for a major mobile network . I'm a technical specialist, in other words I deal with problems and such with handsets and other devices. I can categorically say 60% of my time is sorting out problems with blackberrys. For a phone brand that really hasn't been doing much in waves of new hardware for a while its an amazing achievement to have a large percentage of their phones with the amount of problems they have. Now I agree to a point their hardware is solid stuff majority of the time but software and apps... lets just say we have our own private number directly to RIM for technical issues with their phones. We dont have any direct specific numbers listed for the other manufacturers ... we haven't needed them (thats including Sony Ericsson) ... find your nearest retailer ... ask them what they think of blackberrys... nuff said unfortunately.

        comments so far says it all .... who do blackberry really target ... kids? students? corps? ... I dont think they even know
        NubCakeOne
      • Return rate of iPhone 4 is 1.7%, Blackberry Tour at 50%

        @tamcon <br><br>"I came back to BB. Android phones have a 30% return rate, Apple is not much better!"<br><br>Apple says the return rate of the iPhone 4 was 1.7% and that was at the height of the antennagate hype.<br><br>Don't know about current Blackberry models but the Blackberry Tour had a notorious high return rate, analysts estimate near 50%.<br><br>PC World : "Nearly 50 percent of Tour owners with Sprint wireless service have returned them because of a problem that requires users to repeatedly swipe the trackball in order to move the cursor "<br><br>Even worse the 2011 JD Power Customer Satisfaction ratings ranks iPhone on top with overall satisfaction 5 out of 5, the blackberry is second to bottom with 2 out of 5.

        http://www.jdpower.com/Electronics/ratings/wireless-consumer-smartphone-ratings-(volume-1)/
        Davewrite
      • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

        @tamcon
        You would have made a valid opinion if you hadn't thrown Apple returns (1.7%) to the same bag as Android phone returns (30%).
        kitko
      • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

        @tamcon Sorry, but I use my Android EVO for business all day long and it syncs with Office products perfectly fine. Oh and by the way, if you need a phone to impress your interviewer, you interviewer is a moron. I work in the mobile software engineering market. Blackberry is probably good for business, but for all around usage it is not and that is how customers use their phone (for more than just business). With no native hardware support for developers, BB will always be just a business app phone as JAVA is not a platform to do close to the metal development (such as video, etc). Blackberry is on our road map to see if we can deploy, but I am fairly doubtful due to a lack of direct hardware access.
        They are solid phones and probably work well for business usage, personally I'm not in a hurry to carry any more phones than necessary (part of why I only carry my EVO and leave the other phones in the lab). iPhone is a solid phone as well, so not sure where your stats come from. Also, I wouldn't get my students a BB anyway as they need more than syncing with Enterprise (which they are not a part of at this time). As a side note, I always have a laptop with me, so doing business on my phone is fairly low priority as phone interfaces are nothing compared to real hardware
        gbohrn
      • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

        @tamcon Totally wrong. I probably started this trend well before any writers had recognised the signs. And there are literally hundreds of signs.

        One is the behaviour of the CEOs. Lazaridis ending an interview whining lie a little girl when asked a simple question on the recent security issues regarding the Middle East.

        The nonsense about Apple's return rate is plain wrong. The truth is iPhone satisfaction rates are actually off the scale.

        Your anecdotes are immature and belong to the last century.

        I suspect you work for RIM. Good luck.
        Graham Ellison
      • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

        @tamcon well said!!!
        HBCASurfer
      • Conversely...

        @tamcon :
        1. Hardware: While RIM does lead in the reliability standpoint, it is not "by far" but rather only about two percentage points better than Apple, which is almost a full 90% better than the next nearest competitor.
        2. Keyboard: In the Blackberry's case this falls under hardware, as the virtual keyboard on those touch-only models is no better, nor any worse than the one on the iPhone. Some people simply prefer hardware keyboards and with the exception of only a couple cases, the iPhone simply doesn't have one.
        3. Sync: Um... now here I might argue, at least to some extent. Depending on what I'm working on, my iPhone automatically synchs. with my iPad wirelessly and without being manually triggered. By what I've read with the new iCloud, this capability is supposed to work across all linked devices to a given account. Quite honestly, I find it neat that I don't have to go looking for things, they're simply there when you need them.
        4. 60 million users: You followed up to say "plus most enterprise users" but really that includes enterprise users which are RIM's dominant customer base. All you have to do is look at web usage stats and sales numbers to realize that RIM's market has slipped dangerously in the last few years simply because their phones aren't as easy to use as Apple's or the Android phones. 60 million is less than half the number of iPhones now in use and roughly a quarter the number of Androids. This doesn't mean that RIM can't come back, but so far their efforts have failed to elicit any kind of surge in sales.
        5. Blackberry Messaging: The biggest drawback to this is that it's Blackberry-only--not everybody, not even a quarter of the people who IM through their smart phones use Blackberrys. I'm not saying that it is better or worse than any other, merely that it's simply not being used by more than about 20% of all smartphone users which makes it extremely restrictive when trying to communicate via text with a non-Blackberry user; they either have to use carrier texting services or one of the third-party messaging services like AIM or Yahoo! Chat. Facebook is just the most popular at the moment.
        6. "... start thinking ahead...": Definitely. By doing so you'll quickly realize that the current iteration of Blackberry devices is not likely to help you in the future <i>unless</i> RIM gets their act in gear. Yes, the Blackberry is still the best tool for some business purposes, but that paradigm is shifting rapidly and RIM is falling behind the curve. RIM's OS is anything <i>but</i> easy to use, forcing you to sometimes dive through multiple menus just to make a phone call to a regular contact. Other tasks are even more difficult.

        Blackberry is no longer "cool" as you try to suggest. Blackberry does not "impress" but rather says "old hat/old news; this guy doesn't get it." Yes, it is a solid product--but it's solid like the Model-T vs a Ford Fusion. Which one would you rather drive on today's streets?
        Vulpinemac
      • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

        @tamcon - I agree with you about the BlackBerry, but you obviously know nothing about WP7, it is fully exchange compliant and you don't have to sync over the cloud, I sync mine using both USB and WiFi direct to my home network. Microsoft doesn't deserve the bashing either from some of these tech writers. I have used Android and paid off the penalty to get rid of the phone, I don't want to play games and serious apps just aren't available. The only reason I did not get a newer Blackberry was the screen size was too small. I missed my keyboard but have learned how to use the on screen keyboard available with WP7. I like the interface and am happy that Office is available.
        Rndmacts
      • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

        @tamcon So refreshing to read something that is not a rant! BB is absolutely AMAZING for business. I like apps, but not on my phone, they sit on my iPad.
        I am running my own business so my BB is my everything, syncing perfectly all calendars, contacts, etc. etc. The amazing thing is that the super syncing is also FREE with the very robust BES Express being FREE! (And you don't need extra server at all)
        All in all, BB is robust, the keyboard is second to none, it always works!
        It is a business tool so don't rant Apples & Pears!
        Theilio
    • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

      @Robert-CIS:

      Agreed. I think many - casual - users have forgotten that BB got to the top by servicing the corporate set. Business messaging, e-mail...that what serious professionals use BB devices for.

      When the average consumer started to consider BB for social-type messaging purposes, they were disappointed. BB shouldn't have waited so long to get touchscreen devices in the market, but they should have been a bit more aggressive at reinforcing their business-reputation. Android phones are OK, but if you aren't using Google for e-mail, the experience isn't so easy.

      I would pick Outlook for e-mail on my desktop, but I'd honestly support BB for mobile e-mail support anyday.
      jlt0x
    • RE: Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

      @Robert-CIS once facebook chat is easily available on phones then who will go through the trouble of using BBM. Not me atleast !

      <a href=http://casestudies.q3tech.com/case-studies/casestudy_blackberry_enterprise_applications.html>Blackberry Application Development</a>
      christajoe