Should I get the Latest BlackBerry?

blackberry-noOften I am asked:

Should I purchase another BlackBerry phone?

At this time, unless there is a directive out of your control, we would advise against it. RIM has consistently missed the innovation curve for the last few years and is now in the position of getting out of the consumer phone business.

Why?

RIMM Stock PerformanceRIM has consistently been hampered with significant mis-steps by the senior managers, they didn't recognize how much the market was changing. If you look at the stock since the original iPhone was launched, you'll see an incredible drop from over $144 per share to now (April, 2012) just over $14.

This is over a 10x drop in value. Some of the mis-steps:

  • Failing to embrace the web
  • Failing to appreciate and address erosion caused by the iPhone at the high end
  • Failing to appreciate and address erosion of Android handsets at the low end
  • Failing to integrate features/functions/ease of use that was driving adoption of both iPhone and Android

Instead, the company focused on integrating an existing technology/feature set well beyond it's practical value. Essentially, they were “resting on their laurels”.

At one time, the Blackberry (I called it a “CrackBerry” back in 2001) was a trend setting communication device that every business executive had to have. However, RIM did not pay attention to where the market and consumer preferences were heading. In fact, then co-CEO Mike Lazaridis was quoted as saying that he didn't understand what all the fuss was about - RIMM was performing well and had great products. Now he and his co-CEO Jim Balsillie are out.

[Notice class=“alert”]Note: Whenever I hear a CEO or Senior Manager say thy don’t understand why the press and analysts are giving them a hard time, I tend to believe the company is in serious trouble…[/notice]

The new CEO Thorsten Heins has announced that he would like to wind down the consumer business and focus on a modified version of a plan that Jim Balsillie proposed before stepping down.

What does this mean for the consumer?

It means that the viability of your BlackBerry phone is now in question if you are looking at it's value over the next 2 year contract cycle.

Is there continued benefit to having a BlackBerry over the next 2 years? All we can say is that if you are a very heavy user of BBM, then the answer is maybe. Beyond that, we can't see where there is a future for you.

The alternatives are iPhone, Android and Windows Phone.

iPhone4sWe here at Take Charge use the iPhone, mostly because it integrates well with our Apple products and has applications from the iPhone App Store that we use everyday that do not exist on the other handsets (and we don't mean Angry Birds).

Is Android a viable alternative? We don't think so mostly because of the fragmented application space and the absolutely wicked increase in virus and malware attacks (which do not affect iPhone and Windows Phone).

nokia-900Is Windows Phone a viable alternative? Absolutely! With the release of Mango and up and coming revisions, Microsoft is beginning to have a offering worth considering. Of interest is the Nokia Lumia 900 series which sold out within a few weeks of release. If you want a BlackBerry alternative and do not want iPhone - check out Windows Phone and their Windows Phone App Store.