Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Shaming us away from Blackberry? Not cool!

My employer, like just about every global 2000/fortune 500 multinational is in the process of evaluating and rolling out a BYOD strategy. Nothing new here, especially in the context of the ongoing Bring your Own Device push in the marketplace.  However, what is interesting is the fact that besides technical capabilities, usability and other functional requirements, Enterprise Architects now have to contend with another subtle push in the marketplace: shaming individuals away from Blackberry.

The recent #NYT article - The BlackBerry as Black Sheep – would have us believe we should be "ashamed" to carry a blackberry in public. The article starts off quoting Rachel Crosby who "speaks about her BlackBerry phone the way someone might speak of an embarrassing relative. … “I’m ashamed of it,” said Ms. Crosby, a Los Angeles sales representative who said she had stopped pulling out her BlackBerry at cocktail parties and conferences."

Reading the article made me reflect on how our lives seem to be shifting to that of meaningless technology-for-technology-sake race for coolness:
  • I see people at restaurants or even movie halls whisk out their coolest new gadgets and begin texting, chatting and whatever while their guest/partner sits on the other side of the table doing the same. What’s more important here, impressing people in the restaurant or your guest with a cool gadget or having a cool conversation? 
  • Rachel Crosby-ies  who come to cocktail parties and conferences probably have enough jewelry, clothing and shoes etc etc on them to make sure they look “cool.” And yet they have an urge to whisk out a smartphone to text, or update their facebook page or whatever… what about being in the moment and learning at the conference or having a conversation with others?
It is interesting that the article doesn’t even talk of the real cool-factor: showing off the most expensive phones 

Cool or not, stmartphones are just tools. For a generation of business users and road-warriors, blackberries were the defacto tool of choice for basic connectivity – email, calendar and voice. Blackberries are reliable and more importantly secure, and come with a QWERTY keyboard to boot. Adding to "basic" requirements for smartphone are a few more like surfing the internet and running some office applications. Newer blackberries, like their cooler smartphone cousins support these requirements too.

And as the old adage goes, a fool with a cool tool is still a (cool?) fool.

Tags: #NYT, RIMM, #Blackberry