ThoughtPiece: The BlackBerry Beat

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Whew, what a busy time in the BlackBerry world! It’s enough to make even the most diligent blogger want to hide under their desk, disconnect from the Matrix and receive sporadic news updates through this wonderfully new contraption we’ve heard about called the “newspaper” (it comes on paper!).

To help us sort through the mess, we brought in our mobile main man Thought, who breaks down the biggest news of the past week or so into tasty bite-sized chunks.

First, the service outage. All criticisms of how RIM handled the situation aside, this event revealed how the BlackBerry has become so embedded in the professional culture. Think about it: this outage attracted headline attention from the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, CNN and a host of other major news outlets. Microsoft, Nokia, and other competitors can only dream that their mobile devices were so important to so many that when their devices went down the whole world noticed.

Next up we have the announcement by RIM to release a kind of virtual BlackBerry OS experience for Windows Mobile. My thought is that it’s still going to be software running on top of Windows Mobile, and so will still be far less than a full BlackBerry experience. No matter how great the BlackBerry software is, it will still be limited by Windows Mobile. Imagine trying to run a Mac OS X emulator on top of Windows; it in no way would match the experience of the Apple OS on a true Mac. As an old saying goes, “you can put lipstick and a fancy dress on a pig – but she’s still a stinky pig.”

Finally, we have the rumor that the upcoming Verizon BlackBerry 8830 will have support for iTunes songs. We need to be careful about what we assume here: I believe what are are talking about is the fact that songs purchased off of iTunes will be able to work on the device. This is not the same as having a true iTunes interface on the phone, nor having it sync with iTunes like an iPod. It simply means that the 8830 will support the AAC audio format; but the 8100 and the 8800 already do this. So this is good news for those with an iTunes library, but it is not the same as turning your BlackBerry into an iPod.

Whew…it’s been a busy week or so in the world of the BlackBerry. I can hardly wait for May, which may be the month of BlackBerrys!

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