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5 reasons to stick with BlackBerry, and 5 reasons to bail

Tony Bradley | Feb. 13, 2013
BlackBerry customers are at a crossroads: Either stick with BlackBerry or switch to some other smartphone platform. 

4. Parity, finally

BlackBerry 10 has been a long time coming, and BlackBerry has struggled to keep up or offer anything compelling in recent years.The company has managed to catch up, more or less, with its new OS and hardware.

The Z10 is a fairly standard touchscreen smartphone, offering a 1.5GHz dual-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It has GPS, NFC, and all of the features one expects in a leading smartphone. This doesn't raise the bar, per se, but BlackBerry fans can at least feel less envy over friends and coworkers with iPhones and Android handsets.

5. BlackBerry infrastructure

From a business perspective, companies already invested in BlackBerry infrastructure have incentive to stick with the platform. It offers more control and manageability for the company than competing smartphones do.

BlackBerry 10 is completely new, though, and it can't be managed using legacy BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) implementations. However, BlackBerry has gone to great lengths to provide new tools to help bridge the gap and make it as painless as possible for customers to navigate the transition, and simultaneously manage both new and legacy BlackBerry devices.

Although the new BlackBerry OS and smartphone aren't necessarily groundbreaking, BlackBerry has done an admirable job of developing innovative features and building a mobile OS and smartphone device that are on a par with rival platforms. This may not win many new customers for BlackBerry, but it's a compelling reason for existing customers to stick with what they know.

Next page: That's not good enough? 5 reasons to forget about BlackBerry...

Reasons to defect

On the other hand, maybe you've had enough of sticking with BlackBerry as it struggles to reinvent itself. The relevance of its smartphone platform has plummeted in recent years, as RIM was too arrogant to recognize the challenges posed by iOS and Android. There's a lot to like about the new BlackBerry 10 and Z10 handset, but it's all too little, too late. Here's why you should drop the brand:

1. Lack of apps

BlackBerry has gone to great lengths to ensure a reasonable inventory of apps for its new platform. It paid a bounty to developers as an incentive, which has largely worked; BB10 had tens of thousands of apps at launch. Compared to the hundreds of thousands of apps available for iOS and Android, though, this is a drop in the bucket. Granted, the total number of apps is not very relevant as long as key apps are available. Users expect apps like Facebook, Netflix, and Kindle to be available--yet for BlackBerry 10, they're not.

2. Technical difficulties

Reliability is important for any mobile service, but it's particularly crucial for a smartphone used for business productivity. If the service goes down, business shuts down--and that's simply unacceptable. No service is perfect, but RIM/BlackBerry has had more than its fair share of outages over the past couple years. Hopefully outages won't be regular events moving forward, but the credibility has been tarnished. Only time will tell.

 

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