Elite Obituary: The Blackberry
Last week we successfully concluded our mourning of an iconic shoe during with our burial of the infamous Louboutin stilettos. The aftermath left legions of over privileged women feeling embarrassed and disheartened after wasting thousands of dollars on a frivolous fad. This week,we continue our obituary series and put a long overdue end to another ailing product. Each week we will continue to bury things our culture holds dear. Today we will be laying another quasi status symbol to rest, the BlackBerry.
BlackBerry mobile devices of Waterloo, Canada died Wednesday, March 27, 2012, after a lengthy battle with terminal illness and the inability to withstand competition from Android and Apple products. This cherished mobile device was once the clear choice of the Elite. From private school kids to Wall St traders, the BlackBerry was at once an avant-garde mobile device. Long forgotten is the attraction of the BlackBerry’s simple keypad, ample size and once ingenious messaging system, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).
During the device’s time in the spotlight, the beloved RIM smartphone was convenient to use in myriad situations. BBM allowed the users to chat with friends across the globe. A simple yet very reliable instant messaging service was now at the user’s fingertips and no longer limited to the constraints of a desktop computer. Millions of purchasers flocked to the mobile device in its prime, from 2003-2009. As the choice of the affluent and holding great positioning within the market place, the BlackBerry developers began to lose touch with the rapidly evolving mobile device standards of our generation.
Everyone had a BlackBerry; it was once the ultimate way to communicate. People were more willing to share their BlackBerry pins than give out their phone numbers. As we recall, some women preferred to not exchange contact information with men who did not have BBM. The social pressures of this new mobile standard made it mandatory to own a Blackberry. Due to the personal yet informal communication of BBM, it was increasingly common to communicate with others on a daily basis via Blackberry without having their actual phone number.
Celebrities were big users of these devices as well. On any given episode of HBO’s Entourage you could witness Ari Gold constantly reaching for the newest BlackBerry. Further reinforcing the brand’s popularity was celebrity endorsements, formal and informal, from individuals like Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber, who were dedicated to the BlackBerry mobile device. As the meteoric popularity of the device inflated the ego of BlackBerry developers they failed to innovate the platform further. As competitors began releasing comparably price, superior products, the consumer’s perception of the brand diminished.
The Blackberry’s death was accelerated by the revolutionary iPhone. The iPhone 4 was the real turning point as millions of Blackberry users switched platforms upon its release. Instead of competing with the iPhone, RIM remained stagnant and released a series of phones lacking any significant updates. Apple and Android devices had incredible features, including higher quality cameras, superior music software, increased memory, and myriad other glamorous perks that made them far more convenient to use.
With clear superior features on other platforms, the only argument to remain with BlackBerry was to use BBM. Unfortunately, this feature was not enough to slow the tide. The situation was further worsened when Apple released its own BBM competitor, iMessage, which was so well integrated into the phone that one need not use a separate app. The phone itself was intelligent enough to distinguish between iOS users and patrons of other platforms. RIM did try to compete with touch screen BlackBerry devices, but they completely flopped.The functions were insufficient when compared to the standards set by the iPhone, and when compounded with unbearable load times, the product fell flat. This led formerly staunch advocates of the Blackberry to abandon the product.
The social status of BlackBerry device has fallen to the ranks of Nokia and prepaid Boost Mobile phones. Let us all take a moment of silence to remember this fallen smart phone, most notable for its poor pixel density and BBM sexting.
The funeral service will be held at Nellos restaurant in New York City–the home of the Blackberry’s most cherished user, the gold digger.