BlackBerry: The Mullet of Mobility
RIM has 43 million BlackBerry owners using its chat app, BlackBerry Messenger, at a rate of 2 million added per month, VP of collaboration and social networking Tom Goguen told attendees. But that SMS-alternative has always been popular amongst BlackBerry toters. What's more impressive is that 33.4 million people are using Facebook for BlackBerry, a 112 percent increase over last year, and 7.2 million use Twitter Inc. , 101 percent more than September 2010. (See RIM's Tablet: A Mobile Social Media Machine.)
But the BlackBerry maker doesn't want to be an either/or proposition. It's trying hard to blend the world of the enterprise with fun. One of the more interesting announcements RIM made on Monday was of Balance, new technology that keeps a user's corporate info safe as he or she uses the phone for everyday life. The business owns and controls corporate functions without restricting personal usage (outside of work hours, of course).
It will first debut on the new BlackBerry Bold 9300, which, with a touch screen and a qwerty keyboard, is a decidedly enterprise-to-consumer blending device as well.
Balance is not necessarily a sexy feature that will appeal to consumers, but it's a security mechanism that reminds us why RIM thrives in the enterprise without being so corporate that users want to carry two phones.
I still hear people claim CrackBerry addiction, and it is to this crowd that the new features will appeal. As BlackBerry World attendees have noted, the improvements RIM announced are largely incremental. Even so, it's making a lot of positive steps toward creating handsets and services that are more consumer-friendly without sacrificing enterprise features.
Maybe it'll help attract new users too. Everyone loves a good mullet.
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile