AfterThought: Hating to love the BlackBerry

17 Comments

As an example, just look at the, much vaunted, email feature. You can get email instantly, almost anywhere in the world, how cool is that? However, instant email only works with certain email accounts from certain service providers, not with any email account you can imagine. You can view attachments in many popular formats, which sounds really great.

72796925.jpgUnfortunately, you can’t do, or see, any formatting in the email, which is pretty lame. It can securely connect to your corporate email server, but only if you are running one of a couple different brands of server software, and only after you buy an expensive additional piece of server software to handle it.

72264813.jpgTime and time again, just about every feature you might get excited about comes with a qualifier that makes it useful, but not horribly exciting. You can run third-party software on it, but not much, and a lot of it is overpriced and not very good, but hey, it doesn’t crash the device very often. Over and over again, the pattern repeats itself. It sounds neat, but it turns out to just be mildly interesting.

That is the problem, and strength, of the BlackBerry. It is the reality of the mobile market. I, as many other people, don’t want the reality, I want the dream. I want the device that magically gives me every feature that ever might pop into my head, and lasts all day on a single charge while doing it. Moreover, I want companies to try and deliver on that dream.

200452128-001.jpgThat isn’t the game RIM is in. They don’t care about my dreams, they care about what they can deliver within the current reality of the mobile market. That isn’t a bad way to go about it, but it sure makes things boring. You can’t deny though, boring works, because when you line up all the dream devices, and go through that boring list of questions reality imposes on us, pretty soon most of the dream devices are out of the running, and you find yourself with a tiny handful of flawed devices, of which the BlackBerry is less flawed than any of the others.

It isn’t exactly that “Christmas morning” feeling you hope for when buying a new device, but it is the one that scores the highest on all the criteria. It has good reception, decent battery life, a respectable feature set, better than average reliability, a decent size, and all at a reasonable price. Wow, I almost fell asleep writing that it is so dry! In the fight for the mobile computing space, the BlackBerry wins by a close technical decision, not a knockout.

Here is to hoping that some day the reality will catch up with the dream.

  • squished18

    Dare we say that RIM is the Toyota of the mobile communications industry? Great post!

  • squished18

    Dare we say that RIM is the Toyota of the mobile communications industry? Great post!

  • Thought

    Lloyd: what a great read and a great insight!

    How true…and isn’t that the way things are in life…that when a technology becomes mature enough to really work well, then usually it is not at the cutting edge any longer, and enough people are familiar with it, and therefore is kind of perceived as boring or less exciting?

    How many technologies of today are considered boring, but some time ago would have been considered ultra cool and exciting?

    Consider the cordless phone I have…I remember a time not too long ago when cordless phones were considered to be very cutting edge. Now the one I have works far better than those early models at a fraction of the price, yet it is considered commonplace and boring. If one really wants to extrapolate, consider household appliances, indoor plumbing, books,etc…there were times when these technologies were the attention getters.

    So to quote from the great Talking Heads…”same as it ever was…”

  • Thought

    Lloyd: what a great read and a great insight!

    How true…and isn’t that the way things are in life…that when a technology becomes mature enough to really work well, then usually it is not at the cutting edge any longer, and enough people are familiar with it, and therefore is kind of perceived as boring or less exciting?

    How many technologies of today are considered boring, but some time ago would have been considered ultra cool and exciting?

    Consider the cordless phone I have…I remember a time not too long ago when cordless phones were considered to be very cutting edge. Now the one I have works far better than those early models at a fraction of the price, yet it is considered commonplace and boring. If one really wants to extrapolate, consider household appliances, indoor plumbing, books,etc…there were times when these technologies were the attention getters.

    So to quote from the great Talking Heads…”same as it ever was…”

  • George

    Hey just wanted to mention to you and Thought to keep up the good work.

    I really like these Thought and AfterThought columns.

  • George

    Hey just wanted to mention to you and Thought to keep up the good work.

    I really like these Thought and AfterThought columns.

  • L. M. Lloyd

    Well, thank you very much everyone. I appreciate the complements. I’ll try to keep it up. It shouldn’t be hard, I always have a rant about something.

  • L. M. Lloyd

    Well, thank you very much everyone. I appreciate the complements. I’ll try to keep it up. It shouldn’t be hard, I always have a rant about something.

  • L. M. Lloyd

    Oh and Thought; you are a Talking Heads fan too? I knew I liked you for some reason, even if you are an Apple fan.

  • L. M. Lloyd

    Oh and Thought; you are a Talking Heads fan too? I knew I liked you for some reason, even if you are an Apple fan.

  • Luqman

    LM,
    Lay off the mind reading. Reading your byline was like hearing my own thoughts about why I have this love/hate thing with my blackberry. Even worse, I keep upgrading, hoping rim will one day get it right.
    Non-crippled bluetooth – its a security risk, Integrated GPS – missing (except on sprint)! 3G – nonexistent, html email – keep dreaming, edit a document – buy windows mobile, play a video on a website – HA! You couldn’t get a good browser till Opera came out with theirs. Hell, you can’t even edit a forwarded email and cut out the bits you don’t want anyone to see. One day RIM! One day you will give me the phone I crave and I will be finally happy & proud to be a blackberry owner.

  • Luqman

    LM,
    Lay off the mind reading. Reading your byline was like hearing my own thoughts about why I have this love/hate thing with my blackberry. Even worse, I keep upgrading, hoping rim will one day get it right.
    Non-crippled bluetooth – its a security risk, Integrated GPS – missing (except on sprint)! 3G – nonexistent, html email – keep dreaming, edit a document – buy windows mobile, play a video on a website – HA! You couldn’t get a good browser till Opera came out with theirs. Hell, you can’t even edit a forwarded email and cut out the bits you don’t want anyone to see. One day RIM! One day you will give me the phone I crave and I will be finally happy & proud to be a blackberry owner.

  • Thought

    Lloyd: heck yeah I’m a big fan of the Talking Heads! My favorite album of theirs: Remain in Light.

    BTW, the Talking Heads sound great on an iPod! :)

    Oh yeah…about writing for BBCool…you know what they say: “this ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no foolin’ around…”

  • Thought

    Lloyd: heck yeah I’m a big fan of the Talking Heads! My favorite album of theirs: Remain in Light.

    BTW, the Talking Heads sound great on an iPod! :)

    Oh yeah…about writing for BBCool…you know what they say: “this ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no foolin’ around…”

  • Thought

    Lloyd: heck yeah I’m a big fan of the Talking Heads! My favorite album of theirs: Remain in Light.

    BTW, the Talking Heads sound great on an iPod! :)

    Oh yeah…about writing for BBCool…you know what they say: “this ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no foolin’ around…”

  • L. M. Lloyd

    I’m more of a Songs About Buildings and Food guy Thought. And haven’t you figured out yet that nothing sounds very good on an iPod?

  • L. M. Lloyd

    I’m more of a Songs About Buildings and Food guy Thought. And haven’t you figured out yet that nothing sounds very good on an iPod?