An Innovator Rapidly Lost Relevance in the Tech Boom
I still remember when smartphones started catching on with the business crowd, and out of nowhere, Blackberry became the generic name for smartphone. Sure other companies made them, but Blackberry really pushed the envelope on technology and made itself ubiquitous. Company presidents and other officers were armed quickly and became wanting employees to be accessible 24-7. There was almost no personal advantage to having one it seemed. I fought against the very idea of being accessible to work 24 hours a day back then and only gave in when travel requirements meant email demands would keep me working in hotels til the wee hours just to keep up.
What a long way Blackberry has fallen. If you missed the headlines recently going to Google News and entering the term “BlackBerry” will return thousands of articles written in the past few days. The headlines are all pretty similar to this one from the BBC Blackberry-maker RIM reports $125m loss or this one from the Kansas City Star BlackBerry owner RIM to pull back from consumer smartphone market.
I think for a lot of the loyal Blackberry users, the end has been coming for a while. That’s certainly the case for me and others. For years I was pumped to have a Blackberry. In recent years I was accepting of having it. After all, I have one as part of a corporate plan and the fact it was supplied by the company was fine with me. No need to incur a personal expense if it wasn’t necessary. However in the last few months, more and more corporate users have been making a move to other technologies because Blackberry stopped innovating. No new programs to run. No hardware advancements that resulted in even close to the new tech leaders Apple & Android. I personally know dozens of people who have decided to purchase one of these phones at their personal expense to simply keep up. (Yes, I too made the move and without pomp & circumstance am willing to admit to becoming a iPhone user.
What’s really interesting is this happened with Blackberry having clear leadership in the business segment. But did the mobile market change? Did Blackberry get comfortable? A quick read of other news of the week about handheld certainly provides information that helps shape my perception.
Survey Shows Smartphones are 50 Percent of Mobile Phones
On the same day that Blackberry reported its losses and its CEO resigned, Nielson released survey results that proclaimed “49.7 percent of mobile subscribers have smartphones. Roughly 48 percent have Android devices, while 32 percent have iPhones according to Nielsen. The other 20 percent own RIM, Windows and so on.” Since Pew had announced its study shows smartphones were the type device that 53 percent of American mobile users carried, it seems clear the market for dumbphones is dwindling. The shift to smartphones is clear and it is obvious that Android and iPhones clearly are the devices in hand.
I have to say, I think US and Canadian farmers have been following, if not leading, this trend. Smartphone growth has been significant and the roll of applications to control irrigation equipment, provide access to livestock health records, and enable real-time marketing moves.
What have you seen in mobile phone purchasing in your area? Do you see a niche where Blackberry is performing well?