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IT Not Ready to Quit on BlackBerry

IT pros hope BlackBerry can reverse its fading fortunes, but they recognize end user choice is going against the once-dominant mobile vendor. Network Computing readers weigh in on BlackBerry’s fate.

BlackBerry (formerly RIM) once ruled enterprise mobility, and for good reason. It satisfied its two core constituencies: Users got fast, easy access to email, and IT got a sound management platform with good security features. Today, BlackBerry is poised to become an also-ran as consumer-centric devices running Android and iOS devour the mobile market.

BlackBerry isn't ready to quit, though. The company rolled out a new OS and new devices, including the Z10, which Eric Zeman reviews. He says the new smartphone brings a lot to the table, and outlines his five favorite features, including the software keyboard and browser.

Meanwhile, Michael Davis drills into new security features such as BlackBerry Balance, which can partition a device into work and personal domains. But is this too little, too late?

In a recent newsletter, I asked Network Computing readers if BlackBerry is still a factor in their mobile plans, whether they have users who still want these phones, and whether IT is willing to give BlackBerry a chance.

Kostas Sourgoutsidis, president of Microtrends Computing Services, offered full-throated support:

Personally I cannot wait to get one. It is not just about new features, which are great. For me and our business users, it is the new reliable OS platform, highest security level and compressed bandwidth requirements!

John, a network support tech, is also pro-BlackBerry:

Absolutely yes! I still have a Blackberry (Torch 9810), and I'm hoping the new OS 10 phones will turn around the company. I was disappointed to find the OS 10 phones won't be available until sometime in March with my carrier.

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However, other readers are not so bullish, in part because of market forces that seem to be working against the company, such as application development and support. One wrote:

I was at a point several months back where it was time to replace my BlackBerry Storm. Our company does not allow Android devices, so my choices were another Storm or an iPhone 5. I think if I still had that choice to make, I would want to give a chance to the Z10.

Still, there is pressure from outside when software vendors support mobile on iPhone first, or only. Little if any mobile support is given to BlackBerry. I think it is a shame, as I feel that BlackBerry is a stronger choice for enterprise security.

IT pros also recognize that users are abandoning BlackBerry. One respondent, who manages thousands of mobile devices, says BlackBerry growth is now flat at his organization because more users opt to buy an Apple or Android device themselves and use it at work--even though the company provides BlackBerrys at no cost to employees.

You can keep the conversation going by using our commenting system, or feel free to reach out to me on Twitter at @networkcomputing.

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FritzNelson
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FritzNelson,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/14/2013 | 7:49:26 PM
re: IT Not Ready to Quit on BlackBerry
It sounds to me like IT folks are still in BlackBerry's camp, which bodes well for them to make one final play at capturing this market. I'm really intrigued by the new user interface of BlackBerry 10. In playing around with it just a bit, it really seems to move things a few steps further. But Google Now and Apple Siri offer a different kind of promise that still intrigues me greatly (and, since I'm using both, helps make certain aspects of my life a bit simpler, with the promise for more). I'm curious what BlackBerry's answer to that will be. Or if it thinks it needs one.
lgarey@techweb.com
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lgarey@techweb.com,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/14/2013 | 4:00:54 PM
re: IT Not Ready to Quit on BlackBerry
My husband and I have BB Torches and are looking at upgrading in March. It's a bit cliche, but it's all about what you need. He essentially does messaging - email on two accounts and basic text/phone - and has found the BB a solid device. I, however, want to smash it with a hammer - it locks up frequently in FB and Twitter, the navigation is miles behind, etc. Seems like BB should play up its strength as a secure, dependable messaging device and opt out of the apps arms race except for the most popular offerings. It's not catching up with Android and iOS on volume. Accept it and move forward, do your core functions really well, and you'll have a market.

Lorna Garey, IW Reports
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