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A Call To Action For The BlackBerry Faithful: Get People Thinking About BlackBerry Again


RIM, as we all know from the seemingly limitless negative press about them, is in a deep trough, fighting hard to tread water and stay afloat. The media would have us believe that RIM is dead, sinking fast, or soon to be dissolved and sold off into oblivion. The masses have been swayed to believe this as well, through a combination of blind trust in what they read on the internet, what they see on tv, what they are told by retail sales associates, and, yes, some (maybe a lot, admittedly) personal experience and dissatisfaction with BlackBerry, too. In this article, I’m going to lay out some things about RIM’s current situation, including my own opinion, and then I’m going to make a call for the BlackBerry faithful to do their part and take action to get people thinking positively about BlackBerry again. Feel free to skip the commentary if you’re tired of reading that stuff, but please read the closing, get out there, and spread the word.RIM would have us believe that they are not down for the count, that they can still be a strong player in the mobile market, and I believe them. Thorsten is cleaning house, leaning out operations, looking at any options available to them to keep the company viable and make it grow again. While it may not ever achieve the dominant position it once held in the market it largely created, I still feel that RIM has a very good chance of becoming competitive again.

Let’s look at some of the positive things RIM has going for it.

  • Emerging markets are increasingly embracing BlackBerry smartphones. RIM continues to add subscribers in all markets except North America, most notably India and Indonesia.
  • Cash reserve – When Thorsten Heins became CEO, RIM had a $3-billion cash reserve. They have dipped into this heavily since then in an effort to right the corporate ship and get back on course. Hopefully it will be enough.
  • Government agencies and corporations continue to depend on the security of BlackBerry and BES. While many governments and corporations have begun embracing Bring-Your-Own-Device in an effort to lower costs, those entities who value or require the utmost security, continue to make BlackBerry their preferred mobile platform. Several US government agencies recently rejected iOS and Android AGAIN, due to their inability to secure the devices and manage them remotely. According to sources, the competing platforms (in combination with BES competitors like Good) simply fell too far short of their security requirements.

BB10 is coming. It’s good. Developers are flocking to it, embracing it. It’s far more capable and easier to develop for than the current Java-based BBOS. In a perfect world, it will be good enough to win people back to the BlackBerry platform on its own merits. Unfortunately, the world is far from perfect, and that brings me to RIM’s biggest threat to its survival; the single largest obstacle it MUST overcome, and the one they have yet to really address: consumer perception.

Everywhere I go, whenever someone notices I have a BlackBerry, or a conversation starts about smartphones, I have to deal with the “I heard BlackBerry was dying” comments, the “BlackBerry is old and busted” mind-set. I’ve read countless posts about people being told by sales associates at carrier stores, mall kiosks, and big-box discount stores, “Oh, you don’t want a BlackBerry. BlackBerry’s dying.” Some even go so far as to say “BlackBerry is dead. They aren’t making them anymore. You really want this Android phone over here…” You’re lucky if you can still find BlackBerry smartphones on shelves in some places. The BlackBerry brand is so far out of the consumer mind share at this point that some people I talk to are honestly surprised that BlackBerry still exists.

Now, the average smartphone consumer is only going to believe or understand what they see in the media, and what they are told by their local mobile sales rep, so RIM has a tremendous task ahead of themselves. They need to win back mind share before they can even hope to win back market share. They need to get the word out. They need to shout it from the mountaintops. They need planes flying banners over beaches, blimps over football games; they need to pay a popular UFC fighter to get it tattooed on his back, maybe even buy the naming rights to someone’s child on Ebay. RIM needs to get people interested in BB10 and the BlackBerry brand again.

A recent Wall Street Journal article stated yesterday that RIM “will start delivering nearly complete versions of its new smartphones to carriers next week—the start of a crucial effort to convince consumers and carriers alike that the BlackBerry can compete with the iPhone and Android devices.” This is a good first step, because it’s the carriers who mostly buy devices from RIM, not individuals. The carriers have to be on board with BB10, and with multiple (unconfirmed) reports that both AT&T and Verizon have been advising retailers to push customers away from the iPhone (I’d link you, but there are a lot. Just google it.), this might just be RIM’s best chance to make a good impression with BB10, especially if they tout that famed BlackBerry data compression. RIM MUST get carriers not just willing to, but WANTING to sell (or even mention, or *gasp* display!) their devices, or many consumers will continue to have no idea that BlackBerry still exists.

While it’s certainly not good to over-hype a product before its release, it will be the kiss of death for RIM if they UNDER-hype BB10. They need to carefully balance the marketing of BB10, make sure people know it’s coming, what it can do, and then deliver a stable working product that meets those expectations. Failure to do this will, I fear, put RIM beyond all hope of recovery in the consumer market. They’ve disappointed too many people too many times in recent memory.


Winning over the carriers and retailers is an admirable first step, but it will not be enough. Being all but dismissed from relevance, RIM needs all the help it can get to get noticed again, and so, I say unto you, the BlackBerry Faithful: rise up. Make yourselves known. Evangelize! Go forth and educate the masses. Dress in BlackBerry accoutrements. Station yourselves in retail establishments that carry mobile devices. Wherever you go, be it pub, parlor, or pastry shop, showcase your BlackBerry. Your PlayBook. Your BlackBerry bridged to your PlayBook. If you have a Dev Alpha, pack an extension cord and an external battery, and show it off! Talk to people about what BlackBerry can do. Tell them how it works for you. Tell them what’s in the works for BB10. Tell the sales associates to ask their boss for info on it. Get out there and sell it! Let people know that they aren’t limited to just 2 choices (I know, there’s actually 3, but most of them probably aren’t even aware of Windows Phone, either).

It has been pointed out to me that it is preposterous to provide free marketing for a company that is on the ropes, that “doesn’t care about its customers, doesn’t listen to them”. Maybe RIM hasn’t failed me personally on such a level as to make me give up on them yet. Maybe I have simply not seen enough from a competing platform to draw me away from BlackBerry yet. Maybe I’m a just a fanboi. I’m definitely an idealist, and I believe in supporting products I believe in. BlackBerry is one of those products. I WANT RIM to succeed. I WANT them to come back. I’m also selfish. I WANT to keep using BlackBerry, because it meets my needs and is my platform of choice. I liked what I saw at BlackBerry World this year. I saw a troubled company working hard to change internally, embrace the developer community, and realign itself to new missions. This is not easy to do, and it takes time. There is no overnight magic-bullet solution for the dark and messy situation RIM finds themselves in.

Bear in mind that this post isn’t aimed at BlackBerry haters, disgruntled BlackBerry users, or users of other platforms. It’s not designed to change anyone’s mind. It is aimed squarely at those that still believe in RIM, for whatever reason, and want them to succeed. Do I expect people to quit their jobs or take vacation time to picket retailers and accost mobile customers about their phone choices? No. I don’t expect everyone to suddenly drink the Kool-Aid and “work for RIM for free”. Wouldn’t it be a good thing, though, if more people were more educated about their options?

The time is now. We don’t have to wait for RIM to get this ball rolling. In fact, the sooner it’s rolling, the better. RIM needs people to not just KNOW about BB10; it needs them to WANT BB10. It needs them to be antsy for its release. It needs the buzz. We can help provide that. We are BlackBerry People. We are People Who Do. Be Bold, ye of faith, and spread the good news.



48 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. great article. great idea. Your heart is pure.

    But im not doing anything until they deliver a complete and polished phone available for customers to purchase. Its like a big marketing push but without a new product.

  2. It not a big marketing push, because they haven’t gone out of the community to show case their efforts.

    And I truly don’t think there will be a huge marketing push until there is a polished product.

  3. Already do that and the best, best thing I do… :) When all my collegues who sports their iPhones or Droids (not too many) are in the room with me and we’ve all been sent the same email by one of our clients, my BB would buzz and I’d whip it out and say, “Hey did you guys see this from…” (usually an important client) they all reach for their phones and the message still hasn’t been delivered to their phones and they have to hit send and receive a few times and still no luck, I offer them my BB to read the email. Love it, love it… then I say should’ve gotten a BB you’d get your emails so much quicker!

    Or the other scenario is when I get an email on my phone before they get the email in their inbox at work (while I’m standing next to their desk)… LOL… gotta love it.

  4. I have a friend that had iOS everything but her iPad wouldn’t access many of the sites her teacher used for most lessons. She is in college and needed a solution. She had heard me talking about my PlayBook and my 9810 and how good the PlayBook browser is. She came and took one of my PlayBooks to class one day. She loved it! Went out the next day and bought herself a 32GB PlayBook and a 9810. I set her bridge up for her (she is on AT&T like myself), got her to install Evernote and DropBox on both and her desktop. She says she hasn’t pick up her iOS devices since. I have also given away 4 PlayBooks and own 4 PlayBooks. Great article!

  5. The make or break will be developer support. I keep hearing how developers are so on board with rim, and then I fire up my play book to discover that many of the popular apps still aren’t there and the apps that are available are pretty awful compared to their ios and android counterparts.

    Heck, I get maybe one minor minor update on my play book apps every three or four weeks, so clearly there isn’t much Dev work happening on this platform.

    I’ve got devices running all three platforms and I have to say, rim sure isn’t giving g me anything to get excited about.

  6. Tim, I agree with you 100%! I just tweeted the same thoughts today. The current base of BlackBerry users needs to understand that we are a HUGE part of the comeback strategy for RIM/BlackBerry.

    If you think that advertising alone will change the prevailing mindset out there; you’re sadly mistaken. We need BlackBerry people everywhere to passionately spread the gospel of BB10. I’m not talking lip service in blog comments. I’m talking buy it, use it, live it, preach it!

  7. I do this whenever I can, but it’s getting harder and harder. A recent story to illustrate this; I convince my wive’s friend to get a BB over iPhone 4S. She was getting lured into the hype, but I reeled her back. She chose a 9360 from Fido. Slim, keyboard, OS7. All things she wanted. Within a month it borked on her completely. An OS reload was in order which her retailer did and she was back up. It happened again so I did it for her, this time completely wiping it with BBSAK and upgrading to OS7.1. It happened again, and again, and again. It was sent to RIM *4 times* before the 5th (!!) time when they finally replaced the hardware when I told her it has to be a hardware problem and not to take “no” for an answer on a replacement. This time she got a white one. Sweet. She really liked it over the black. It just happened AGAIN. The replacement is now at RIM, again. She’s been on a borrowed spare for nearly the same amount of time she’s had her actual phone.
    So tell me, HOW are we supposed to push BlackBerry when crap like this happens all the time. My story IS NOT unique anymore. Long gone are the days of having a rock solid BlackBerry. I feel responsible for her miserable experience since I pushed her to it.

    Another: I just updated our employees to Bold 9900’s (51 in total), to many people questioning why I would ever do such a thing. So far, 3 of them have flakey track pads, and at least one so far has an earphone problem where sound comes out of only the left side, and your voice sounds like you’re talking from across the room. Reloading software fixed the earphone and track pad, but on the last battery pull the ear phone is screwed again. I’m going to be sending this one back now as I don’t trust it anymore, even though after a BBSAK wipe and reload it’s working again. Luckily no one else uses the headsets for calling, but it might be more wide-spread.

    I WANT to (continue to) love BlackBerry, but it’s getting harder and harder…. BB10 *has* to be perfect without the little buggy software crap, or I fear they will be dead, and not just in the consumer mindset.

    • Andrew: I totally understand where you’re coming from. I’m looking forward to BB10 & beyond. We can’t do anything about yesterday and RIM has to deliver a top notch product in both device hardware and software with BB10.

    • I agree, my experiences exactly. I used to be the BB fan boi too. Now almost emberassed to carry the damn thing. Have a 9900 on T-Mo and was on freakin EDGE twice today?!?!?

    • I’ve had a 9850 almost since introduction last fall.

      I do not recommend BB to a non-technical person.
      In the last 60 days I’ve had to do 6 clean installs with BBSAK. Its become so routine now, I can get back to business in short-order. This is absolutely ridiculous.

      Way too many quirks throw ” java lang”. Errors. Its been a problem with the phone app, fixing security settings for apps, BeWeather. Who but a BB geek is going to take the time to figure this crap out? And reinstall the OS?

      The former “co-CEOs” were arrogant and no longer visionaries. And, out-of-touch.

      My partner has an iPHONE 4S. Not one problem with the OS or hardware. I’m on the most current VZW update. The original build OS was so bad I was ready to throw it and switch.

      I wrote a question to John in the BETA forum related to syncing to a non-Exchange Server version of OUTLOOK. I don’t expect a favorable reply that BB10 will mirror the PIM functionality found in the java-based OS.

      Frankly, RIM has not offered enough details on what counts for me: the PIM. Core that differentiates BB as a serious tool for getting things done. PLAYBOOK depends on GMail as a sync partner. That’s a dealbreaker for me.

    • EXACTLY. BlackBerry has manufactured garbage for too long. Reboots and battery pulls just don’t exist on the other platforms. Millions have just gotten fed up with paying premium prices for crap phones and moved on. They aren’t coming back. The writing is on the wall and RIM still cannot meet a simple deadline. I’m sorry but they’ve simply failed. They cannot compete on any level anymore.

    • Sorry for your troubles. Unfortunately, no device is perfect or trouble free. Consumer Reports rated BlackBerry’s tops in reliability in 2011 with 3.7% return rates compared to 5% for Apple and 14% for Android. Looks like you fell into that 3.7%. I’m sure RIM is not proud of that. I would like to challenge anyone with similar stories to tell us how RIM responded to their situation. I’m sure RIM will do more than the competition to make it right.

  8. I concur, Andrew. QC has to improve. Hopefully that’s why RIM canned one of their manufacturers. Most likely it was a cost-cutting measure, but maybe had something to do with it. I’ve been exceedingly lucky in that I have never had to return or repair any of my 5 BlackBerry smartphones or my PlayBook. One of the reasons I’m still fan.

  9. And I can’t let this pass: WHY ARE YOU ALL NOT REGISTERED?!? :)

    • Okay. I’m real now.

    • Because we’ve found this thread googling WTF is wrong with our BB’s and why register with a dying site devoted to a dying technology ? Now wait……before you call me a troll, do your homework. I have a BB dedicated site and have preached from the RIM pulpit for years. However, I know the difference between beta max and BlueRay.

  10. The QC definitely has to improve. I’ve not had any issues myself with any of the dozen or so devices I had over the years but know a few people who have had some minor, some major issues with theirs. The PB OS seems fairy stable so BB10 looks to be on the way to quality through and through. All I can say now is bring on BB10!!!

  11. I agree with the comments above. I’m still sticking with RIM and BB, but I’m now a silent supporter. I’ve just been burned too many times annoucing things that RIM has said to my friends only to find out RIM was telling lies.

    The playbook was the biggest product failure in the history of high-tech as far as I’m concerned, and I was going around telling people how great is was and how much better than the iPad it would be.

    The Playbook and delay after delay have sut me up.

    Still hoping they hit BB10 out of the ball park and I’ll be showing off the phone like there i no tomorrow. I’m hoping but I can’t really bring myself to believe it’ll actually happen.


    I’m having trouble holding to the BES and security arguments now that I know the future outlook of enter[rise customers still holding onto BES and BB7 <=

    • Really?! Birdman? BGR?? Yeah Geller has no Axe to grind with RIM. Try any other source before this guy. And yet still so many other sites will pick up and parrot what he says. But many less now since his spectacular fail last spring brought his integrity and credibility into question.

    • Yes bman Blackberry will be switching their BES customers over to the new mobile fusion platform they have launched:

      They aren’t developing for the old platform because it’s not BB10 compatible. This is old news regurgitated to make it look like the end of the world for RIM again by a guy who has absolutely zero credibility and integrity.

      Mobile Fusion lets businesses integrate iPhones and Androids into the BB security network along with BB phones.

      Articles like this makes me crazy!! Grrr… and then they suck people like you into believing RIM is dying…

      Probably written on a news slow day. Filled with twisted truth and innuendos.

  13. My favorite article and thread by far this year.

    It’s great to know we got family round here :)

  14. I try and stay positive. Not seeing new product for over a year is killer, especially with friends showing of their new Samsungs.

  15. PB reboot time is 3 mins just as slow as the Java phones, we keep hearing about all of these developers. What the hell are they developing? These half dead apps we keep seeing on QNX appworld?

    BB10 and the phones better be a knockout. They had more than enough time. I want one min or less reboots/startups….NO MORE CLOCKS EVER….

    All phones must carry a GREAT camera (not that crap on the BB9900 a flagship phone), NFC, FFC and all the other great goodies.

    Did I mention NO MORE CLOCKS EVER?

    • Totally agree. The qnx os was touted as the next best thing ever. While it is pretty good and has a few nicer features than android, it also is weaker than android in more than a few areas. But the kicker is the apps. When the android player came out, I expected a lot of porting, especially given the massive hype around this feature. I haven’t seen any bump in quality apps though. If anything, development seems to have slowed.

      If bb10 doesn’t get huge developer buy in, the platform will fail. I’m hoping but based on past performance, not kidding myself to get too optimistic.

  16. Yeh the two biggest problems with PB were Mike and Jim.

    Over promised, never delivered. Still seeing the Skype and MSN app at the presentation at CES 2010.

    Completely awful.

  17. Face it Ronin/BR, BlackBerry is dead and they have no one to blame but themselves. Hope you and Kevin M saved and invested well. Not to be a prick, I’ll morn the day as well. One too many over promise and under deliver while they rested on their haunches.
    Sad times in deed.

    • Take your negative remarks elsewhere.

      • Do your homework before you troll son. I bought a boat on the back of the BB Storm, my kids first car on other World Edition BB’s. No one want’s to see ’em go more than me. I feel your your loyalty. I felt it years ago son, you’re late to the scene.

      • No one “hates to see ’em go more than me” rather.

    • Dead to you, perhaps. You need to see what they’re working on lately, the questions they’re asking, the solutions they’re providing. Don’t pass judgement based on the old RIM and old devices. This is a new RIM.

      Please underestimate how difficult it is to reinvent yourself. Most companies fail at that. RIM is still innovating and about to release a uniquely powerful and innovative platform. They are well on their way to accomplishing that. It will be exciting and hopefully groundbreaking.

  18. RIM need to go full force with BlackBerry 10 marketing and educating carriers and store employees so that BB10 suceeds

    • it has has has has to be a marketing bonanza. Marketing like we have never seen before. Posters, tv, print, radio


      • Everyone likes a good turn around success story. If RIM does good with BB10, they will win hearts again. It just has to be good and stable. Thorsten gets that. All of RIM gets that now.

  19. The fact that BB10 isn’t launching until 2013 is already a HUGE blow. They’re now following the next iPhone, Windows Phone 8 and multiple Nexus devices by several months. And I’m not fully confident that they’ll even hit January. Could be February or March. If RIM has done one thing very consistently, it’s DELAYING products. If they pull that BS one more time (BB10 has already seen 2 massive delays), they’re finished!

  20. We all agree that it is important for RIMM to succeed with BB10. Here are the keys to victory for RIMM.

    – Make BB10 and themselves more available to consumers. True, they have made their name on enterprise customers, but this is a consumer market. They need to be more open and make their OS relatively easy to understand and explain the features clearly including new upgrade features.

    – Stick to their deadlines and deliver the goods. We know Blackberry has some great ideals and innovation (Bridge anyone). But, they need to put it together in a cohesive and powerful package without leaving things out. Key thing is don’t make promises and then back out.

    – Mass Marketing. Media takes many forms: television, radio, internet, podcasts, kiosks and rallys, and word of mouth. All of these things need to be explored and promoted. Word of mouth will come once the consumers try out the product and see that the Hype is justified.

    RIMM needs to build thgat excitement and anticipation for BB10. The rest should come organicaly.

  21. One of the best articles I’ve read from this site and dead on to the point!
    I’m definately ® today.

  22. I always try to promote BlackBerrys to my social network (over 25s), but it’s getting more and more difficult to do.
    -Security used to be a strong point, but the other OS are catching up fast.
    -Emails are still delivered quickly, but the lack of features such as folder management in 2012 is pathetic.
    -True multi-tasking only matters to some and the fact that most apps are released on the other 2 OS first is a big incentive to stay away.

    Maybe Berryreview should put together a table showing the strength (and weaknesses) of BBOS 7 over Android Jelly bean and iOS 6.

    Regarding BB10, I can’t honestly recommend it to my friends yet. I’ve lost faith in RIM being capable of delivering a product consumers want. I’ll feel more comfortable in a year, once things have settled and RIM has proven itself. If the apps are not there, it will be a big flop.
    Devs seem interested in the platform, but RIM’s delivery process is still messy and they’re already under-delivering in some areas. The big + is that the OS and the C++ env make sense, but it’s not the first time the world will see a great mobile OS.

  23. I will be in line day 1 to get BOTH the touch and the qwerty

    then I will be pushing the hell out of Blackberry to everyone and anyone who will listen

    that is my mission

  24. RIM LIVES!!!

  25. excellent article.
    I do my bit and never give up if some one is opting for iOS or Droid. but for me its relatively easy. coz here in India, BB is still a great brand. though some people still flock to iOS and droid for the games and apps, i convince most of them to opt for BB and playbook. i show them my contacts on BBM (72 Strong and going) and group chats and how my family and friends have fun share pictures in groups. reg applications i show them all the key applications like twitter, facebook, blackberry travell, BB protect, add to, call tools, wifi file transfer, ect… and they are impressed. most people dont even know how to use their BBs effectively. when i show them the short cuts and how well the above apps are integrated with the phone they get amazed. ive actually made lot of my friends and family retain their BBs or upgrade to 9900s.
    Also, i do tweet a lot about positive news on blackberry and mind u we are not alone. there are lot of BB enthusiasts out there tweeting and watiting eagerly for BB10. search with the hashtag BB10 and u will know.
    but overall a great article and just want to end by saying u r not alone. #BBfamily #BBbychoice #letsrockandrollthis

  26. I get bored sometimes so anytime I see a Verizon store I go in to pretend to upgrade. I ask questions about BlackBerry devices. They mostly seem interested in getting me what I want. However its not there yet. Because what I really want is BB10. And the conversation turns into me selling them on BB10. I usually end with. Its coming. Do your research. And smile and thank them and say. Ill be back in January !
    Cheers !

  27. Will the BB10 have 4G LTE connection ?
    Whats the ETA in stores for BB10 ??

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