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A philanthropic spirit encompassed with an entrepreneurial mind, I am passionate about technology and the things technology can help people to achieve.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Too Early To Write BlackBerry's Obituary (Again)

For a long time the tech bloggers have been making bets that BlackBerry is dying, at one point before BlackBerry 10 was released bloggers like Mashable and Gizmodo were in overdrive singing the song of the burial. But we all know what happened since then. BlackBerry survived much to the chagrin of these bloggers. After a lot of missed bets they gave up and left the funeral rather sombre. There was to be no body to lower into the ground. What is interesting is that since that time Mashable transformed from being technology blogger to something that resembles TMZ or E! Entertainment probably because of lack of content in the technology news space. They never realised their stream of quality news was dependent on a diverse technology economy.

Roll to 2016 there are undertones of "death to the Berry" mainly buoyed by WhatsApp and Facebook dropping support for the native application. With Facebook it is important to note that people will still access Facebook like they currently do. I rarely use the native application for lack of many features found on the mobile web application. I would still say that BlackBerry will remain for the following reasons:

It Has an Android Phone

The BlackBerry Priv has an experience that I've not experienced on other Android powered devices, Yes for someone grappling with a demanding start-up, an 8-5 job, a degree program, a 6000+ group of students learning to code, a blog and a family I need a device that will let me do things that take me long much quicker. Nothing comes close to the BlackBerry keyboard and its ability to learn your word use. I can type up a 2,000 word blog in the 40 minutes leg of my first bus trip to work like I'm doing now. That is 50 words per minute and it is a big deal because on a full keyboard my typing speed clocks at 35 words per minute. The Priv comes with a BlackBerry Hub which is great for handling emails. For me email is a big deal and nobody does email like BlackBerry and Hub, with 6 email accounts receiving no less than 60 emails per day I need the robust Hub to keep my sanity. 

It Has the BBM Application

Someone might frown and say what has BBM to do with this? Well it is a BlackBerry product and the prosperity of WhatsApp is BBM's gain. The announcement by WhatsApp that it will stop supporting multiple platforms did not entail only BlackBerry. I live in Africa where many, could be as much as 50% of people are being dropped by WhatsApp. Think of all the people who use Nokia and older Android phones, that is a huge market. BBM can move now to fill that void which will be created and what's better than a BlackBerry having BBM?

WhatsApp Is No Longer The Same

While it might look a big deal today; WhatsApp application faces eventual decline spurred by its acquisition by Facebook. What made the application popular is the simplicity and low data usage when sending and receiving messages. Then came Facebook and things have been slowly changing. The idea is to make it talk to Facebook and make some money from it. There will be a lot of data mining so WhatsApp will have its "Instagram moment" and as time progresses it will become data heavy. What is that thing about pride coming before the fall? Applications come and go but phones do more than chatting. What would I rather have, a phone that does another 50 things and an application that does one thing? Its an easy decision but hype has made people to drop 50 productive things chasing 1 thing of leisure.

So after the WhatsApp announcement I made an analysis of my situation and mostly productive needs. I am staying with BlackBerry meaning I'm parting with WhatsApp. I will not miss out and my productivity will not be diminished in any way. It will free up more time to do other things. In Africa it makes it possible for a new messaging platform because many people use phones that will no longer be able to access WhatsApp and the decision by Facebook means WhatsApp will change from the application that made messaging cheap and easy to a heavily connected application doing things like location pinging, device usage and other data mining activities.


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