Normally we do not discuss products here, whether they are our client’s products or anyone else’s, but this is a topic that we believe is worth exploring.
Mobile phone apps are fun, there is no denying it. We love the Samsung Galaxy S2 i900. Sleek, ultra-thin and fast, what is not to like? The phone is beautiful, and we’ve received many complements on it from our iPhone friends. And then Monday happened. Monday is when the emails are their heaviest. After being out of the office, and going through some 200 emails in the morning, I ended up coming back to the office so that I could sit down and do triage. The entire time I was thinking about how I missed my BlackBerry Curve, which I gave up when it was clear that I needed a new phone. The touch keypad wasn’t fun to adjust to, but after a few days, I could type “nearly” as fast as I could with my BlackBerry. As touchpads go, it was easy to adapt to.
Anyone who has had a BlackBerry and who also needs to deal with a lot of emails and often type long responses can attest to the superior keyboard and ease of writing. Despite my agility with the touch pad on the very elegant and beautiful Android phone, I could still type faster and make less errors on the BlackBerry. I could also mass handle emails much more effectively. After 4 days with an Android, it was time to go back to BlackBerry. Enter the BlackBerry Bold. For business use, this is the phone that gave us what we needed. Because we need to test how sites look on a non BlackBerry mobile phones, the Android will stay. It is on a prepaid data plan and is the phone we test visual aspects on. The BlackBerry, however, is the workhorse.
Many people have chosen to buy phones that run on operating systems powered by Google or Apple, contributing to RIM’s global sales plummet of 58%, according to a recent report by Canalys. Also according to Canalys, RIM’s US market share fell from 24% compared to June of 2012. So is future of the Blackberry a bust? Like any market demographic, one needs to look at consumer behavior psychographics and what drives people to purchase what they buy.
For consumers who are purchasing for individual use, the Apps are stunning. Being able to watch a film, read a book, and basically have many of the social functions available on a laptop or desktop make these phones fun. Wait times in long lines are now more than tolerable, as people whip out their Smart Phones and take care of online activities while they wait. Being able to scan price codes and comparison shop is very handy. We’ve become a society of consumers who want what we can do on our computers, without lugging around a laptop. We want what we want, when we want it.
Group identity issues also factor in. If you are a person whose group identity is tied into others, family, friends, acquantances, etc. embrace the coolness of App “Heaven,” and their opinions are important to you, and /or their approval is important to you, then buying a cool phone with their many amazing Apps would be important. The same holds for those who love technology and love to be on the cutting edge of technology. We are in that latter group, which was the reason we first went with the fast, sleek and beautiful Android phone we left BlackBerry for.
While attempting to handle some emails, besides the email management issues, we were becoming concerned that we had client information that should be only correspondences meant for us and the client. This had not been an issue with the BlackBerry Curve. We switched back to BlackBerry once we looked deeper into security issues. RIM, or Research in Motion, has been known for their top-notch security. Where international markets have been concerned, RIM’s stringent encryption and security network has prevented regulators in certain countries (Reardon, 2010) from being able to monitor and read the emails and track browsing activity. The irony is that their core strength that allowed them to grow in markets such as the US has hindered growth in certain foreign markets. According to an article in CNET by Marguerite Reardon, “RIM’s rock-solid security … has made it such a popular device and e-mail service among Wall Street banks, law firms, local and state governments and hundreds of other security-sensitive industries.”
In an article by Dan Graziano, on April 11th, 2012:
“Trend Micro on Wednesday named Research in Motion’s Blackberry 7 OS a the most secure operating system in a new report titled, “Enterprise Readiness of Consumer Mobile Platforms.” The security firm compared four of the top mobile operating systems – Android 2.3, iOS5, Windows Phone 7.5 and Blackberry 7 – and found the Waterloo based company’s platform best met the demands of enterprise users. Blackberry 7 scored a 2.89 rating (the highest rating) based on a number of factors including built-in security, application security, device wipe, and device firewall. RIM was followed by Apple’s iOS5 with a 1.7 rating.
TechTarget.com’s Eric Parizo hit the topic solidly when he said, “Today, the consumerization of IT has eroded what once was BlackBerry’s position of strength in the enterprise. BlackBerry security has taken a backseat to rivals’ flash and functionality, as users are much more concerned with bringing sexy back to the devices in their pockets and needing a single device for both business and personal use. Many enterprise security teams, some pressured by their own executives, have tacitly allowed these mobile devices onto their networks, choosing to look the other way rather than identify and address the security problems these largely unchecked devices present.”
When we returned to BlackBerry, we would have done so just for the superior email management that BlackBerry provides. Knowing that our data is more secure via BES is icing on the cake. Business transactions should be more secure, and private, and not easily hacked into.
Reardon, Marguerite, BlackBerry Security: Blessing and a curse, CNET News, August 9, 2010, http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-20012981-266.html (last accessed 6-17-2012)
Pachal, Peter, RIM to Refocus on Enterprise, Will No Longer Try to Be ‘Everybody’s Darling’, Mashable, March 29, 2012, http://mashable.com/2012/03/29/rim-refocus-enterprise/ (last accessed 6-17-2012)
Graziano, Dan, BlackBerry 7 rated most secure operating system, BGR.com, April 1, 2012
Eric B. Parizo, Loss of BlackBerry, security benefits would hurt enterprise mobile security, TechTarget.com, November 20122, http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/opinion/Loss-of-BlackBerry-security-benefits-would-hurt-enterprise-mobile-security (last accessed 6-17-2012)