Weekly Contest: Blacklash

Comments

Between interrupting sermons, driving and legislature, BlackBerry seems to be getting a lot of bad rap lately. Given, much of this has to do with radio interference known as GSM mosquito (not to be confused with the teenager repellent, which is a helluva lot handier), there’s also a case to ban them from schools, to avoid distraction, cheating and clandestine recording. As BlackBerry pushes into new markets, it will also have some cultural boundaries to consolidate as well. There’s clearly a lot of backlash against BlackBerrys (blacklash, if you will), and mobile technology in general. While it may just take time to develop solutions to the buzz, there are plenty of other wider-spanning issues that aren’t so easily fixed. So the question turns to you, BBCool devout: how will RIM reposition itself in order to overcome these simple usability issues? Does it even need to? Is it our responsibility to adapt lifestyles to the BlackBerry, or should BlackBerry be adapting to us?

Tragically, Jibi was our only reply to last week’s contest, and even then, he just wanted to bust Doug’s chops (who doesn’t?). This week, we’re giving away a copy of Magmic’s recently-released Cursed AND Bass Assassin 2 to whoever can find the next chink in BlackBerry’s armor.

  • Christopher

    I don’t think RIM has to do anything about social behaviors like cheating, rudeness or safety issues. The way the world is moving is towards mobile convergience. All mobile phone companies are moving towards what RIM has been doing for years. Every major manufacturer is producing some sort of qwerty device these days. The world is moving towards mobile professionals and mobile lifestyles. Perfect examples would be a Blackberry used by a professional to be connected to his or her office or a Sidekick 3 or Ocean that a teenager would use to stay connected to his friends and everywhere in between. Schools, corporations, business, and safety laws will just have to be adapted to the average person age 14 and up being “connected” 24/7.

    It has nothing to do with Blackberrys themselves. The Blackberry name just gets associated to every qwerty mobile device these days.

  • Christopher

    I don’t think RIM has to do anything about social behaviors like cheating, rudeness or safety issues. The way the world is moving is towards mobile convergience. All mobile phone companies are moving towards what RIM has been doing for years. Every major manufacturer is producing some sort of qwerty device these days. The world is moving towards mobile professionals and mobile lifestyles. Perfect examples would be a Blackberry used by a professional to be connected to his or her office or a Sidekick 3 or Ocean that a teenager would use to stay connected to his friends and everywhere in between. Schools, corporations, business, and safety laws will just have to be adapted to the average person age 14 and up being “connected” 24/7.

    It has nothing to do with Blackberrys themselves. The Blackberry name just gets associated to every qwerty mobile device these days.

  • Tokyo Samurai

    This is largely a regional as well as cultural problem. We should take a few tips from the Japanese. With millions of mobile phones in Tokyo alone I never hear one of them ring and I very rarely hear anyone talking on them.

    Silly bluetooth headsets that are left on your ear whether your using them or not are non-existent. Idiots in the airport talking so loudly that the entire gate knows their business just wouldn’t be aloud. People are courteous and contentious about those around them. On a packed subway if a young person is doing something considered “rude”, like talking on a mobile phone where others can hear you, an elder only has to glance his way to remind him of what is right or wrong and get this… they listen! They will hang up. A society where one has respect for their elders is truly a refreshing thing.

    I used to live in the US and seeing the contrast is shocking. When I go back to the States it seems so “loud”. We should all switch our phones to vibrate and text each other more often. That’s where the BlackBerry really shines.

  • Tokyo Samurai

    This is largely a regional as well as cultural problem. We should take a few tips from the Japanese. With millions of mobile phones in Tokyo alone I never hear one of them ring and I very rarely hear anyone talking on them.

    Silly bluetooth headsets that are left on your ear whether your using them or not are non-existent. Idiots in the airport talking so loudly that the entire gate knows their business just wouldn’t be aloud. People are courteous and contentious about those around them. On a packed subway if a young person is doing something considered “rude”, like talking on a mobile phone where others can hear you, an elder only has to glance his way to remind him of what is right or wrong and get this… they listen! They will hang up. A society where one has respect for their elders is truly a refreshing thing.

    I used to live in the US and seeing the contrast is shocking. When I go back to the States it seems so “loud”. We should all switch our phones to vibrate and text each other more often. That’s where the BlackBerry really shines.

  • Kyle S.

    While this is a complex question, there are a number of angles to consider in answering it. In a word, I do not truly believe that RIM NEEDS to overcome those issues, however, in order to beat out competitors such as Windows, and Apple among others, solving usability issues would give RIM a reputation for listening to consumers and society, and acting on their behalf. As any casual reader of this website knows, once you get a Blackberry, it changes your life. But as these same readers may also be aware, not all change is good change and you have to take the good with the bad. I believe that is what society has done and will continue to do. Even though we complain about gsm mosquito and people talking loud about deeply personal subjects on cell phones everywhere you can think of, those complaints never seem to matter when people have professional or personal emergencies that they can deal with by way of their blackberries. The fact that “Blacklash” can even exist suggests that Blackberry has become to smart phones what Xerox has become to printers and what Nintendo once was to all video games. Even some of the articles mentioned in the contest entry involve phones that aren’t exactly blackberries, but since they are smart phones, get tech-stereotyped into being blackberries anyhow.

    When it comes to the specific usability issues with relation to society, I believe again that if RIM can fix technological problems such as GSM mosquito, they will become further in the lead of the entire smartphone industry. But many of the other issues, such as cheating, recoding, and driving distraction cannot be solved without outright contradicting trends and simply curbing the power of mobile phones themselves. Being in a High School that (sadly) does not make wide use of blackberries, I can say that though I steer clear of it, cheating occurs with samsung, lg, and danger devices just as often as with RIM devices. The same discreteness that is the bane of the educational community is the savior of the business community.

    Frankly, I feel that if RIM keeps on going as they are, with an attention to developing solutions to these problems and preventing new ones, they will retain their dominance. But there is no real need for RIM to really reposition itself to handle these issues. As it is, the pros of mobile phones, especially blackberries, far outweigh the cons. The fundamental understanding of human beings and any technology, from the stone wheel, to the click wheel, is that there will be certain benefits and certain costs. The costs just sell more papers and generate more website hits.

  • Kyle S.

    While this is a complex question, there are a number of angles to consider in answering it. In a word, I do not truly believe that RIM NEEDS to overcome those issues, however, in order to beat out competitors such as Windows, and Apple among others, solving usability issues would give RIM a reputation for listening to consumers and society, and acting on their behalf. As any casual reader of this website knows, once you get a Blackberry, it changes your life. But as these same readers may also be aware, not all change is good change and you have to take the good with the bad. I believe that is what society has done and will continue to do. Even though we complain about gsm mosquito and people talking loud about deeply personal subjects on cell phones everywhere you can think of, those complaints never seem to matter when people have professional or personal emergencies that they can deal with by way of their blackberries. The fact that “Blacklash” can even exist suggests that Blackberry has become to smart phones what Xerox has become to printers and what Nintendo once was to all video games. Even some of the articles mentioned in the contest entry involve phones that aren’t exactly blackberries, but since they are smart phones, get tech-stereotyped into being blackberries anyhow.

    When it comes to the specific usability issues with relation to society, I believe again that if RIM can fix technological problems such as GSM mosquito, they will become further in the lead of the entire smartphone industry. But many of the other issues, such as cheating, recoding, and driving distraction cannot be solved without outright contradicting trends and simply curbing the power of mobile phones themselves. Being in a High School that (sadly) does not make wide use of blackberries, I can say that though I steer clear of it, cheating occurs with samsung, lg, and danger devices just as often as with RIM devices. The same discreteness that is the bane of the educational community is the savior of the business community.

    Frankly, I feel that if RIM keeps on going as they are, with an attention to developing solutions to these problems and preventing new ones, they will retain their dominance. But there is no real need for RIM to really reposition itself to handle these issues. As it is, the pros of mobile phones, especially blackberries, far outweigh the cons. The fundamental understanding of human beings and any technology, from the stone wheel, to the click wheel, is that there will be certain benefits and certain costs. The costs just sell more papers and generate more website hits.