It's Time to Evangelize BlackBerry Users

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2011-05-22 Print this article Print

With both groups it will seem as if they're headed to some kind of phoned-in ecstasy, but this is a religious response. Praise the phone for that.

The BlackBerry users, meanwhile, would watch all of this with passing interest and then go back to work, secure in the knowledge that when the iPhone and Android finally return from their rapture due to limited battery life, they'll still be able to do their work.

Of course, as a BlackBerry user it might be fun to watch all of this transpire, but there's an important message here. RIM, probably driven by the Canadian sense of politeness and fair play, has never tried to make the BlackBerry into a religious object. Instead the company focused on making a really good device that has a battery that lasts longer than a day. But that's not good enough. What the BlackBerry needs is Jim Balsillie in a black, long sleeved T-shirt evangelizing the unconverted. They need to actively recruit rabid fans who will go out and preach to the multitudes about the greatness of RIM.

Alas, only Apple and Android phones seem to have such masses of the converted. This should be easy enough to arrange since RIM already has annual BlackBerry meetings, there's a group of would-be fanatics gathered at, and there are already gazillions of users. But for some reason, the fanaticism has never taken hold.

My daughter, who studies such things when she's not busy with computer science and physics, tells me that the true Apple and Android believers are a lot like religious fanatics and fanatic atheists. She suggests that the Apple fanatics are the religious ones, but suggests that the Android fanatics are just as passionate in their belief that their path to mobile nirvana is the right one. She also suggests that the Apple religious fanatics aren't going to get caught up in this debate because they don't believe in the existence of Android devices.

The implications of this phone worship are immense. It means that the Windows Phone 7 will never be successful until it develops a cult following. Unfortunately, Microsoft's days as a cult influencer are behind it, so regardless of how good the Windows phone might be, it's doomed unless Steve Ballmer can somehow elevate it to god-like status. The same, of course is true of the BlackBerry, which will need a cult of its own-perhaps driven by the people at Crackberry.

But that's the price of success in the wireless phone business these days. Create a cult with deep religious fervor or perish. Phone, protect us.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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