1. Homo Erectus's Avatar
    They call them the BlackBerry loyals: longtime smartphone users who have clung to their aging Curve and Bold models through the most turbulent days of the company.

    In the coming months, Research In Motion is certainly going to need them.

    Despite what some critics suggest, there are still plenty of smartphone users around the world who sport BlackBerrys. In fact, there’s about 80 million of them according to RIM’s most recent quarterly subscriber numbers.

    Among them are millions of enterprise customers, mostly employees at government, corporate and private businesses who were handed a BlackBerry by their employer. Together, they were the BlackBerry users who helped the device become a symbol of mobile communications innovation, and kept the company relatively stable as its share of the consumer market tumbled in North America and Europe.

    It’s a factor that RIM hasn’t ignored in preparation for the unveiling of its new smartphones on Wednesday, though the battle to keep enterprise customers won’t be easy.

    Competition for the highly lucrative corporate smartphone market has heated up, and while RIM has maintained a stronghold on it for years, other smartphone companies are seeing an opportunity.

    Last week, an investment wing of Samsung Group — the leading Android smartphone maker — announced a “strategic investment” in Toronto-based Fixmo Inc., a software maker that specializes in data and device security.

    Apple Inc. executives also made a point of emphasizing the popularity of their iPad tablet with major banks and government agencies. The iPhone has also gained traction in the enterprise market, they said on the company’s earnings call last week.

    “The other vendors do smell blood in the water a little bit here, and they know that RIM is vulnerable,” said Zeus Kerravala, telecom equipment analyst at ZK Research in Boston.

    “What was once RIM’s anchor business is showing signs of cracks.”

    A number of factors helped the BlackBerry remain triumphant in the business sphere over the past several years.

    The simplicity and security of RIM’s network structure has generally kept corporate IT desks satisfied, but a combination of service outages and the growing trend of bring-your-own-device to work has left the BlackBerry vulnerable to its competitors.

    “I heard more negative backlash from chief information officers and IT leaders about RIM last year than I did in maybe the last 10 years combined,” said Kerravala.

    One of the BlackBerry’s greatest strengths is its design. In the business community, the Bold model is championed for being small, sleek and sturdy. But when BlackBerry loyals talk about why they’ve held onto the phone, the conversation almost always shifts to its physical keypad.

    “It’s got that professional feel,” said Kriss Stallabrass, a longtime BlackBerry user who works as a cruise manager in the Netherlands.

    “I don’t know how to explain it, but when (I’ve got) my BlackBerry out, I’m working. I have an iPhone for personal use and for me it’s like a toy. I don’t game on my BlackBerry.”

    Almost accidentally, the BlackBerry has cornered a segment of the market that prefers a tactile smartphone experience akin to working on a computer.

    “My office is now saying, ‘We’d prefer you get an iPhone,’ because they like the way it interfaces with the network,” said Daphne Burt, manager of artistic planning at the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa.

    “But I’m holding onto my ‘Berry still. I don’t know why I’m so attached to that keyboard, but I am.”

    BlackBerry business class loyalists key to RIM survival - thestar.com
    01-29-13 07:33 AM
  2. BBerryPowerUser's Avatar
    Thanks for the post.

    For me, it's not just the Keyboard. It's the entire package. BIS, the trackpad, OS 6 (which I have become so used to I can operate it in my sleep), the shape, the feel, the way the OS seems to "Glide" for me, the fact that I can simply GET STUFF DONE on my Berry quickly and efficiently, and the list goes on.

    I am right in their demographic, for sure. I cling to my 9780. As I stated in another post, the ONLY question for me is;

    How long will I hold out until I upgrade to BB "10" ?

    01-29-13 08:08 AM

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