The first time I saw a Blackberry device I had mixed emotions about it. Why does it need a full fledged keyboard, the screen is good – but it isnt touch. The email was good – and that was about it.
I used it for about 8 weeks till it fell in a glass of whiskey – but that’s another story.
I shifted to an Android phone (Nexus One) and today use both that and an iPhone 4. The recent news about Blackberry outage somehow reminded me of my first kiss. In short, overhyped, badly executed and bettered by every subsequent model I have used. Apart from the fact that it had a wet ending.
Having been associated with app development for iPhones, iOS and Blackberry, I can safely say that app development on BB is the biggest pain in the backside an app development company can have – even worse than J2ME app development. While iOS and Android have amazingly mature app development paradigms, in BB, it is akin to breaking ones head against a wall. Simple UI changes take 4-5 hours, integrating into phone hardware – even more. Ask the frustrations of a BB developer – and you would know.
Let’s forget about apps for a moment. Lets talk about the phone itself.
For those of you who are “addicted” to your Blackberries – I strongly believe, you need to shift to the next generation of Smartphones. Blackberry had a first mover advantage with a great Push messaging system, typing with a full fledged keyboard and a clear easy to use display. But that was 5 years ago. They were unabashedly copied by Nokia and Microsoft (a practice that MIcrosoft and Nokia know best – and excel at it when the subject of copying is a real innovation – like GUI etc). However BB has remained there – somewhat like Simi Grewal. It all looks and feels nice, but its so old that no one who has experienced the beauty of an iPhone or the usability of an Android phone would touch it with a bargepole.
Now the two major advantages that Blackberry had – namely Push notifications and their Messenger service are being compromised by Blackberry themselves. As you would have heard, BB services are down in many parts of India, EU and even LatAm. So is BBM. In a startling move, Blackberry has barred other messaging applications (like KiK) from using their push. I see this as a last ditch effort to save their only usable app. But as the app stores have proven – there is no right app for any particular use. Choice is good – and BB is trying its best to throttle this choice. No wonder the apps on the BB app store are less than 10% of Android and I believe the Windows app store will soon overtake them
So what is next for Blackberry? I personally think they should look for a buyer and a face saving exit before they go the Yahoo way. Employees should be looking for a new job. If I could, I would short the stock in a 6 month, 1 year and 3 year horizon. And lastly if you own a Blackberry – do this (video embedded) and buy an iPhone / Android phone.