I don’t want to call it a day for BlackBerry. However, things haven’t looked good for quite some time and they’re looking worse than ever regardless of what the company says. I’m not here though to write an article about where BlackBerry went wrong. The Globe and Mail has done an excellent job of that. In their article “Inside the fall of BlackBerry: How the smartphone inventor failed to adapt“ they extensively outline the history of BlackBerry and the mistakes that were made that lead to where they are now. An excellent piece of investigative and analytical journalism, I’d highly recommend reading this. I’m sure this will be a case study in the MBA books at some time in the future.
What I’d like to concentrate on is what is a BlackBerry user to do within the current state of affairs. I can fully relate to this predicament in that I was a long time BlackBerry user up till about three and a half years ago. I loved my BlackBerry and especially that keyboard. However, a point was coming in my career and my use of technology that required a switch. No longer was the BlackBerry keeping up even three and a half years ago and was falling significantly behind the iPhone. The iPhone offered this pletherora of excellent applications many of which, if I didn’t outright need them, I could put them to good use.
When I switched, the iPhone 3gs had just come out. This was really what I considered the first iPhone that was a true competitor to BlackBerry. I decided to switch and I must say that initially it was a rocky relationship with my new iPhone. Really, one thing and only one thing got me and it was the virtual keyboard. I longed for my old BlackBerry Bold and it’s solid keyboard.
I want to assure you though, as I progress through this article and possibly another, if elaboration of an area is required, that all BlackBerry users have more than viable options which really, due to the state of the nation with the BlackBerry, are much better.
When the Lights went on or the Sun Shone
Although there was this longing for my BlackBerry of days gone by now, I realized something quite spectacular. I could do everything I ever did on my BlackBerry only much better, faster and with a great variety of apps. Not only did I have a large variety of apps to choose from but I had apps that sync’d flawlessly one to another. With the BlackBerry, sync consisted of Calendars, Tasks, Notes and Contacts. That was about it and photos. And not always perfectly especially when you were a Mac user.
My choice solution of the iPhone to replace my BlackBerry was incredibly liberating. The frustration of the keyboard was short-lived and when I compared what I could do with the iPhone compared to my BlackBerry there was just no turning back. I was able to work with and sync all variety of applications. Then came my iPad and that was it. With my Mac, iPhone and iPad, all in sync, I was hooked.
Total Sync and Security with my Work Environment
Moving to the iPhone in no way cuts you off from your work environment especially with todays iPhone. Most people’s work environment, I’ve found, is generally based on a Microsoft Exchange implementation of some sort. The iPhone is 100% compatible with an Exchange or Office 365 environment. So you have all the advantages of the iPhone but loose no connectivity to your work environment. The iPhone will sync your complete range of Exchange functions.
In addition, it connects to all variety of protocols including Google, POP, IMAP and on it goes. There really is nothing it isn’t compatible with. As for security, it has been a very secure environment since the 3gs but as of IOS 7 security is rock solid. Apple built in extra security parameters to fully meet business requirements. IOS 7 is architected for the present and the future as well. It is a robust OS and Apple went to great lengths to ensure it would meet present and future requirements.
BlackBerry‘s writing was on the Wall once Apple’s Fall Rollout Began
It was apparent that BlackBerry had one kick at the can back in January. If they were not able to make it by the time Apple began it’s 2013 rollout, which really began with WWDC in June when they laid out not only product plans but the vision and architectural plans for the upcoming OS’s for the Mac, iPhone and iPad BlackBerry’s fate was more or less sealed.
BlackBerry, as you’ll see in the Globe article, appears to have made a mistep by introducing the touch BlackBerry first and not the keyboard driven device. I think I can see that, as it was that keyboard that I was so enamoured with on my BlackBerry. It’s hard to say if that’s where they went wrong. I think it goes back much farther than that.
Regardless, Apple’s rollout is now under way at full steam. The second wave of the rollout will occur on Tuesday and I think this will be the most significant of the events so far this year. Apple will be in a very strong position on all fronts. For the user of a BlackBerry now is the time to move over to the iPhone. The BlackBerry environment is too unstable and unpredicable whereas the Apple environment will have solid product supported by strong strategy and founded on a vision that is reflective of the times. BlackBerry got very messed up on this and lost any sense of vision. They seem to have been in reactive mode for quite some time now. This is not a healthy environment to function in. You have to get your work done knowing your tools are solid and you can count on them. Such isn’t the case any longer with a BlackBerry. However, with the iPhone it is absolutely the case.
Microsoft is not the answer either. Not yet anyway. Once they were leaders in vision. Not to the degree of an Apple or an IBM but certainly they were at the top of the game. They have themselves plummeted into, at worst you could say a state of chaos and at best they are floundering. Led for thirteen years by a sales guy the technology has suffered greatly. Gates was a technology guru of the likes of Steve Jobs. Steve Balmer, a friend of Gates, is really just a salesman who, if Microsoft didn’t have so much money, has almost destroyed that company. There are only two products of significant interest there and that’s Office 365 in which they sunk billions of dollars into and it is a worthy product. Mind you, Apple’s products of all ilks run on Office 365 perfectly. I use Office 365 myself and operate on a full exchange EWS system backed up by a complete cornucopia of cloud based services. For a BlackBerry user, the choice of Apple product is actually more logical than that of Microsoft OS product as you can run Microsoft OS product, such as Windows 8.1 on a Mac perfectly with the advantage of being fully sync’d into the Microsoft architecture and the Apple architecture at the same time.
The Safest Bet
When one asks the question, after an anlaysis of the facts, what is BlackBerry user to do, it is clear that the safest bet is to go Mac (when I use the word Mac I alway mean all things Mac including IOS). With the best of all worlds, ecompassed by a strong company with great strategic vision and exemplary product there is no need to worry about your tools. Rather, you just need to worry about your work. Thus, productivity is the ultimate goal and that can be achieved by taking this road. Staying with a BlackBerry means just encumbering yourself longer with a lot of uncertainty. I am not espousing the old IBM fact of FUD – Fear, uncertainty and doubt – but rather presenting the facts to help with a solution that enables and liberates so that you can get down to business. At the end of the day, you want to know you have a plan that leads to productivity and a sense of accomplishment as opposed to worrying about your tools.
If you follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done theory or are just aware of it, the one thing that is tantamount in the theory is having absolute trust in your system so that you can let things go to the system and Get Things Done. If you don’t, you’ll bog down in detail and end up in a spiral trying to Get Things Done and maybe getting some things done but possibly many things not as the system is not enabling you. This is the state of the nation at BlackBerry unfortunately and has been so for many years. However, rather than sticking with what was it is probably time to move on. All things change but as things stand currently your safest bet would be to go Mac. In the case of your BlackBerry switch that to an iPhone and I would say the sooner the better. That way, you can relax in your new decision and have fun discovering all the possibilities of which there are many.