BlackBerry: RIH

smashberry

I’m sick of all of these financial newspapers asking questions. Oh, WHY did the entire computer industry take a 16% downturn the minute Windows 8 landed in the hands of consumers? Why, why why? MAYBE BECAUSE IT SUCKS.

I’m very fortunate to have both a business degree and over 15 years of experience as an IT technician. I’ve had my feet in both worlds and I know both sides. This is immensely advantageous when starting a company in the IT field, and it’s immensely advantageous because I can easily point out reasons for failure.

Enter the BlackBerry. You know, that thing that started the craze back in the 90s, of people staring down and typing on a microscopic keyboard… yeah that thing. It was one of the first smartphones – a cellular phone that gave you access to email and Internet. Great.

Enter 2013, and we’re still using ’em. Sure, there are iPhones and Google Phones galore, but people still have BlackBerry devices. Then all the journalists started predicting the end of BlackBerry, for various reasons. Some cited the inability to come out with newer products quickly enough (that’s bull – my Samsung is chock-full of billions of useless copycat features and I hate it). Other reporters may have been re-reporting just to get on the bandwagon. (Basically, reporters have been cluelessly re-tweeting things long before “re-tweeting” was a word.)

At first I felt sorry for them. I empathized with them. They were the underdogs, the Davids, the little guys.

Then, I had to use one.

RAGING PIECE OF GARBAGE. Everyone who has one of these should throw it away immediately. These would be much better off as scrap plastic and metal.

Here’s Why

Why? It has nothing to do with their inability to come out with newer, more feature-rich products. It has everything to do with the fact that the BlackBerry (specifically the Bold I tried to set up for a customer) is a super-restrictive, poorly-thought-out piece of garbage.

Huh?

Okay, first I’ll explain my experience. Easy to use? Sure! Logical menu system? Check. Real keyboards instead of the touchscreen garbage? Present. The problem arose when I tried to set up my customer’s new email address on his BlackBerry:

  1. First, I typed in the customer’s email address.
  2. It then queried the email server and realized we were using GoDaddy as an email vendor. Great! It then suggested using GoDaddy’s “rimimap” server, in other words a server they set up specifically to serve its BlackBerry customers. Cool!
  3. Outgoing… where’s… outgoing… OH… they don’t LET you specify the outgoing server… okaaay…
  4. So a few weeks later we had to change email vendors. I deleted the old entry and typed in the new one.  His email address remained the same, but it was hosted by a new vendor.
  5. Oh what’s this? It’s still INSISTING on using GoDaddy’s servers, even though we’re not with them anymore. There’s no way to change it, save for possibly erasing the phone and everything in it. There’s also no way to change the outgoing mail server.
  6. So, basically he couldn’t use email on his phone ever again.

The final straw

Okay, fine, some phones may be poorly designed, and this one obviously had a MAJOR FATAL FLAW with how it uses email. However, BlackBerry recently issued an update attack to its phones that contained the HOLY GRAIL OF FAILURE, which is, dependence on the manufacturer.

So, get this. Now, anytime anyone goes in to modify email settings, THEY CAN’T unless they sign up for a completely unnecessary BlackBerry account! Let me say that again: If you own a BlackBerry device, and you want to check your email, YOU HAVE TO SIGN UP FOR A BLACKBERRY ACCOUNT. There is absolutely no real reason for this requirement, and it renders the device incapable of checking email if/when the company finally kicks the bucket. As with many computer guys/features nowadays, it can only be attributed to stupidity or malice, or some weird combination of both.

In other words

Just to make sure you fully grasp the stupidity of BlackBerry, think of it this way. Let’s say I am a carpenter who set up your mailbox at the end of your driveway. You pay me to install it, and I leave. All done? Nope!

NOW, I require you to create an account at my carpentry website. FOR NO REASON. I just want you to. If you don’t, you’re not allowed to walk to your mailbox and get your mail anymore. Too bad for you!

Two more things

Similar “ultimate failure” products have flopped on the market. My two favorites are the:

Palm Foleo – A thin, light 10″ laptop invented a year or so before the Netbook craze. Why did it fail? It required a smartphone, and specifically ONE MODEL of smartphone, in order to function. For no reason. So close, but so infinitely far away.

RCA Akimbo – A cable box that you could take anywhere and plug into the Internet. Sounds awesome, right? Sort of. Once the [mostly-porn] service flopped, this ultra-proprietary hunk of metal became just that, an ultra-proprietary hunk of metal. The only thing you can do with is is power it on, laugh as it lights up, then send it to the recyclers.

Conclusion

Blackberry sucks. Products like it are destined to fail because of unnecessary dependencies. Such products SHOULD FAIL, and companies that create products like the Bold SHOULD GO OUT OF BUSINESS. Nobody’s too big to fail.

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