SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

A BlackBerry for stuff – a new phone to talk

Posted by Admin on October 27, 2008

Ewan at Mobile Industry Review has just written this post about his BlackBerry not working properly for voice calls. He’s said that he’s likely to get a new handset so that he can actually talk to people.

Surely if that is the case there is something wrong with the industry.

BlackBerries are great devices for mobile email – and as everyone knows they’re pretty popular bits of kit. And to be fair to them, they only really started out as mobile email devices – just about everyone that owned a BlackBerry had a ‘real’ phone too. That was partly to do with the whole form factor – those early BlackBerries looked like you had an office calculator stuck to the side of your head if you actually wanted to talk into it.

I remember hearing a piece of research that said that about 80% of early BlackBerry users never used voice on the device. (I’ve made that number up – but it was stupidly high).

But over the last few years RIM has been introducing new devices to appeal more and more to consumers and the whole point of the new devices is that they are an all-in-one device. You can make calls, check your emails, go on Facebook, make a cup of tea* and wash up your breakfast bowl* all using your BlackBerry.

* some of those activities listed may or may not be true. Please don’t buy a new BlackBerry based on my recommendation that it will make you a cup of tea. Having said that, come on you clever developers – get on with it!

Anyway, surely if you are going to bring along consumers and get them using mobile email (and other mobile data apps) as a natural part of their day you have to get the basic function of voice calls right! This to me seems like a classic case of the industry just getting ahead of itself.

I’m sure the BlackBerry Curve that Ewan is using is amazing at mobile email – but that’s bloodly useless if you can’t make calls on it. And surely Joe Public is going to ditch it pretty quickly in that case. Ewan doesn’t mind carrying round multiple devices, but most people don’t want to do that.


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