Is it time to sell your Blackberry phone?

There was a time when Blackberry was cool. Owning a Blackberry phone was fun, and people noticed. You felt like Blackberry not only did what you needed, but was a company that you could stick with, and upgrade with confidence.

Those times are gone.

People say that Blackberry was slow to recognize the smartphone revolution, and thus they had to play catch-up. But from our view, they continue to make the same mistake. Because now we are in the “tablet revolution”, which is an extension and natural evolution of the mobile model – yet Blackberry shows almost no commitment to tablets at all! They are, once again, missing the big opportunities. Their CEO has even publicly said (in April 2013) that he thought tablets would go away within 5 years, and that “Tablets themselves are not a good business model.” Its hard to understand how anyone could say that, let alone the CEO of a mobile company.

They are not a good business model if you have only one. People want to see a variety of sizes, and capabilities. They are not a good business model if you don’t have a deep commitment to apps that are designed for tablets.

By making the same mistake again, it seems clear that there is not much point to Blackberry anymore. I would even say that Blackberry appears to be a software company now – they just don’t know it yet.

I would have really liked it if Blackberry, early on, had shown a major commitment to securing any mobile device in the enterprise, with security app suites for Android and iPhone; if they had brought out dual-boot devices (Android and their own OS, and Windows and their own OS); if they had a series of tablets in various sizes so business could have a full Blackberry platform to work with; and in general if they could respond to new trends quickly. But all those hopes are dashed.

It seems clear that their plan was only short term: build up some handset sales and hope for a miracle sale of the company.

My current phone is an HTC Android phone. Its not very good, full of quirks and broken features; I am unlikely to buy an HTC again. In contrast, my previous phone was a Blackberry, and it was a fun and very reliable little device. I liked it a lot and have kept it just for the nice memory. But its like a little baby dinosaur now. Its amazing to reflect on how much good will Blackberry squandered.

Realistically you don’t need your Blackberry even for messaging; messaging is just an app now anyway. Just like in maps – Nokia has great map tech but for most users, maps are just another app. What we are recommending is that anyone with a Blackberry device sell it now, while it still has some value. Then, get an iPhone or a good Android phone like one of the Samsung Galaxy Phones. With either Apple or Samsung, you have a full platform of devices to work with (phone, tablet, and laptop) with all the advantages that come with a platform. Ubuntu is quite interesting, and might have the most consistent experience across all devices (even more than Apple!) but Ubuntu has fewer apps. I am still a fan of Windows but Windows 8 has some frustrating (and odd) flaws, Windows RT is strange, and in general Windows is not yet a consistent platfrom across all devices. I think Windows will get there eventually, they just seem to have chosen an unnecessarily difficult path.

In summary, “The Promise that was Blackberry” is gone forever.