When did the BlackBerry become so personal?

It struck me today as I was on the train to Manchester that the BlackBerry has evolved from a business-dedicated device, to an all-out feature phone, with room to spare.As I was walking through the city center to an uncertain doom (not a story for the likes of you, I'm afraid), I was feeling confident about myself, thinking back to some of the articles I've written and feeling somewhat journalistic.

It struck me today as I was on the train to Manchester that the BlackBerry has evolved from a business-dedicated device, to an all-out feature phone, with room to spare.

As I was walking through the city center to an uncertain doom (not a story for the likes of you, I'm afraid), I was feeling confident about myself, thinking back to some of the articles I've written and feeling somewhat journalistic. Whilst looking around for ideas for articles, something struck me.

As someone who needs a BlackBerry, not for the phone calling and text messaging feature, but the instant access to sent and received email, I was surprised to see a 14 year old schoolboy using the same BlackBerry device as me, the Curve 8900.

Unless he was a budding entrepreneur with business contacts and investor relations stored on there, I can't see why he would want or even need one. Surely having a device which surpasses your need for features is, not a waste of money, but an "investment" for future possibilities. Still, for some, it's wasted money when he could easily have got himself a cheap phone which had the basic features that he needed.

I've written before on the BlackBerry Curve 8900 as being my perfect companion, even to the point where I bought one off my own back after experiencing the delights and wonders of the device when a PR firm lent me the device for a fortnight. It's a brilliant device for students, but not necessarily for schoolkids.

Back in the day when the BlackBerry was solely an email device for communication over mobile networks, it has since evolved to the rest of the dimensional mobile market. Boasting one of the best mobile cameras I have seen (with flash on most models), Bluetooth and a vastly superior music center to that of the iPod, the features have surpassed the needs of a business user to that of a standard, ordinary, lay user.

To answer the simple question of when did the BlackBerry become so personal, I reckon it was when BlackBerry deliberately started targeting the average consumer with the 8xxx series as the evolved BlackBerry had become more than a business device, but a fashion accessory. I bet they blew a casket when the iPhone came out...

Should the BlackBerry be opened up to the wider market as it has done, or should it still be only available to businesses and professionals; those who actually need one? TalkBack.