Recently, the most popular method of communication, especially for young adults, has been courtesy of Research in Motion, otherwise known as RIM, the maker of that BlackBerry you refuse to put down.
Some see RIM as the powerful company that put Waterloo on the map, others see a business that is on an uncontrollable downward spiral towards bankruptcy. I simply see BlackBerries as the children of Apple; sure there are lots of them out there, but they’re still learning how to do what daddy does.
The big news recently surrounding RIM was the departure of former CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis. They stepped down from their controlling positions and handed the job to Thorsten Heins, a 54-year-old German physicist. Heins denied rumours of selling the company and according to the Globe and Mail claimed, “We are going to do this ourselves.”
I think we can all appreciate the ambition of Mr. Heins, but he has a lot of work ahead of him while Lazaridis and Balsillie are busy FaceTiming each other.
I’m no tech expert, nor do I have any insight into the troubled company, but from the surface I can name a few visible BlackBerry problems (and I won’t even touch the Playbook).
The oh-so-popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is the key to the success of the smart phone’s franchise. The quick-paced texting and the personalized addition of display pictures, emoticons and status updates was the major factor giving BlackBerry the upper-hand over the iPhone.
Unfortunately, “My BBMs aren’t sending” was the most popular phrase of 2011. Even when the BlackBerry Network dropped for just five minutes, it stirred a panic amongst students; there was screaming, there was crying and relationships suffered. Now try an entire day without BBM…
“OKAY!” they said.
On Oct. 10, 2011, BlackBerry users had to go 24 hours without communicating through their messenger – a day also known as hell.
No, they do not want to have to resort to texting. No, they do not want to have to resort to e-mail. A phone call? What is that? Clearly you’re not understanding how severe this was. In fact, immediately after there was a drastic movement of BlackBerry users switching over to iPhones as a surge in preorders were made for the product. That could be the result of Apple releasing the new iPhone 4S, or it could be related to the lack of success BlackBerry was having in the stock market. Regardless, customers were lost, and once you go iPhone, you never go back.
“Let me get this straight. I can play games that DON’T consist of me breaking bricks with a 2D paddle?” exclaim new iPhone users.
It is apparent that the BlackBerry app world is a big fail in comparison to the iPhone app store. On top of that, the utilities, web browsing, camera, built in MP3 system and overall smoothness of the BlackBerry are a few steps behind Mr. Jobs and the innovative Apple team.
So what is keeping RIM alive? The answer is BBM; therefore BlackBerry can’t afford to have their number one go-to application down every second week.
Yes, there are certainly some areas where BlackBerry can step-up their game, and I’m sure once you roll up the RIM there are a few more flaws deep within their core. However, this should not be a sign to jump off the bandwagon as soon as possible. Keep in mind this is not only a Canadian company, but a Waterloo production as well. If we simply standby and watch the S.S. BlackBerry sink, the entire economy of Waterloo will suffer. More importantly, Waterloo Region will go back to being known as that place with the butterfly conservatory.
Until then, the least we can do is cross our fingers and hope Mr. Heins has some new ideas to bring to the table. Perhaps he knows how to save a company. Come to think of it, I think Apple has an app for that.
Also, I’d just like to mention that I had no bias when writing this.
— Sent from an iPhone 4