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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Is BlackBerry dead?

A good friend of mine came over last night and we started to discuss a few cool apps that are now available.  I was explaining to him that I was developing a new health and fitness related app and that I am risking this by making it exclusively for the BlackBerry Torch & PlayBook.
He looked at me in a shocked manner and simply said "why in the fuck would you do that.  RIM will be gone in 5 years.... 5 years if they even make it that long."
He is a web designer and program developer.  He has been involved in tech and computers WAY longer than I have.  I am new to this entire app development, but my 1st app (although not as great as I wanted it to be) has seen some decent sales, and we have already broken even on that creation.  He has been in the computer programming & website development business for YEARS.
I am a BlackBerry user.  I have an iPod Touch and I absolutely love it, but I can't see myself using something like that as a phone as well.  I have had a BlackBerry since mid 2008.  Before that I had a few touch screen smart phones like the HTC Touch.  I was not a fan.
I know very well that Android is out selling Apple & BlackBerry combined in the US.  I know that Apple sales are getting stronger, and they have a huge loyal following.  I foresee Android becoming the most used type of tablet, but I do not see BlackBerry dying.
OK, the PlayBook needs a few software touch ups, and a few new ideas wouldn't hurt.  They need a few unique high tech apps, and maybe games like Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja.  Fact remains, PlayBook plays Flash while iPad doesn't.  It is also cheaper to create apps for the PlayBook, and that will attract app developers to want to work with RIM to make apps available on the PlayBook and newer BlackBerry cells.
Lets get back to the phones for a minute.  Although apps such as KIK and PingChat are available, none of them are as easy and complete as BBM.  RIM even announced that they would create the BBM in a partial version for iPhone and Androids... however that version won't allow for file and picture transfers.  If you want the "real deal" you'll need a BlackBerry.  BBM is standard with each BlackBerry (you may need a data plan, but it comes on each mobile that they have)  Getting people to add KIK or PingChat may not be so easy.
Unlike PALM that never tried to get ahead of the game, I believe that RIM is in their research and development phase of some great new technology.  I believe that the Torch now has a very loyal following, and is leaps and bounds ahead of the Palm Pre.  It is just as useful as the iPhone and it still has the feel and abilities of a Bold or Curve type BlackBerry.
I am able to admit that BlackBerry is not the powerhouse that it used to be. It is not the leader in the smartphone race.  The iPhone took a huge chunk of its market share, and now Android is a threat to both of them, but competition also helps.
In an era where we are becoming more mobile, more in touch and always available, BlackBerry will not be dead in 5 years.  They will be a solid company with highly respected products, trusted products and service, and a loyal fan base of dedicated users.
Funny enough, as I am writing this, my BBM is going off with messages from a friend in Israel, and an associate in India.  Both choose BlackBerry because if its ease at international use, and the reliability of their applications such as BBM.
I respect my friend, I understand what he sees, but he is wrong... BlackBerry will be around for a long time to come!

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