BlackBerry suffers identity crisis

The BlackBerry smartphone from RIM now has a confused corporate image. It no longer stands for the things it used to. Blackberry used to be a brand of smartphones which came with a nifty keypad. Blackberry used to be associated with  business savvy people. It used to be the image for security.

Now that image is being challenged.

More and more people are turning to touchscreen phones and those who aren’t are finding keypad enabled phones for as little as Rs. 4000 ($82) from brands like Karbonn and Micromax. Sometimes the cheaper alternatives actually look better than any of the BlackBerry’s out there.


Pic: AP.

Most Indian celebrities and probably politicians too prefer BlackBerry over any other phone. Why? An educated guess points us to BlackBerry’s impenetrable security.

The Indian government is ill-equipped to crack Blackberry’s security and read all the emails flowing back and forth. This prompted for an impasse which lasted for months. After many ultimatums from the Indian government, RIM has finally ceded.

RIM has set-up a facility in Mumbai to help Indian government monitor communications. Now that it has happened, it would be interesting to see if all the people who has opted Blackberry predominantly for its security remain faithful to the brand.

Business… Email…
Now even the feature phones are doing email and giving a business touch. It is not difficult to get the same experience through an iPhone, Android or a Windows phone.

The three strong points of Blackberry are slowly evaporating.

Now Blackberry is beginning to stand for something we don’t typically associate with mobile phone companies…

Buy two, get one free
RIM has been desperate to get some sales going. It has offered a buy a tablet, get a phone free in India to push its Playbook sales. In the US, it is offering a buy two and get one free offer.

Surprisingly, this the first I have seen a smartphone maker indulge in tactics typically employed by retail stores.

When you hear Blackberry, what comes to your mind?