BlackBerry Wins As A Phone But iPod Touch Is Tagging Along

I felt odd sitting at the airport chatting with a group of teenagers about why they all carried BlackBerry Phones. The conversation started off with 4 kids, but, soon ballooned into a brain storming session with nearly 30  talking about how they liked BlackBerry. I was not shocked these kids liked the BlackBerry as Robb has talked about how his daughter and friends love BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) on the Simple Mobile Review Podcast. What was interesting was  almost every kid had an iPod Touch, and those without an iPod touch, had an iPod for music. I suspect no one here is shocked by this fact, but, it was interesting how this fact perfectly supported the statements of Michael Gartenberg on the Engadget Podcast 195.

Josh Topolsky, on the Engadget Podcast, was obviously bothered when Michael explained how his kids wanted Microsoft Kin + iPod Touch over having an iPhone. As I was sitting with all of these kids I had to wonder how Josh would respond to 30 kids all using BlackBerry and holding iPod Touches. This paradigm is not different from choosing a Microsoft Kin as your phone and iPod Touch as your game device.

I asked if anyone wanted the iPhone and almost all of them said, “No, I have an iPod Touch”.  I tried to argue that with the iPhone you would carry only one device, but, quickly schooled on how the BlackBerry is better and faster for messaging. I pushed on talking about one device for doing everything, but in the end it was clear having an extra 10 oz – 20 oz device was not critical when you carry a purse or backpack everywhere.

Adults say that kids use devices differently from way most of us do and this fact was completely reinforced  when a single kid, the group Tech King, showed me all his auto text shortcuts that he created on the BlackBerry to save time when typing. I was not floored by the concept of BlackBerry Auto Text as I have written an article about how I used this feature. What was shocking, however, was that he appeared to have hundreds of shortcuts. It looked like acronym soup, but he said is saves him having to use special keys 90% of the time which slows his typing. He showed my how he can type a time without using numbers.

One kid commented getting a BlackBerry got his dad off his back about sending too many text messages. Confused, I asked how he slowed his messaging habits down due to the BlackBerry and he explained that BBM messages are displayed on his mobile bill thus all his dad knows is the number of SMS messages has drastically gone down. Most kids admitted to sending between 400 and upwards of 1000 messages via BBM daily and that was on top of SMS messages.

I did wonder if a group of kids would be a dedicated to BBM, or put another way tied to the BlackBerry because of a single feature. Most talked about using BBM for group conversations over SMS. BBM group talk seemed to be the biggest use for most of the kids. I tried to talk about IM (instant message), but quickly got schooled. The real value of BBM was unlimited, unrecorded communication.  No one really cared how they talked as they all had each others mobile numbers and BlackBerry PIN.  No matter how you look at it BBM rocks the house.


  1. Wheels says

    This is exactly how I role for much of the same reasons. I used to have an iPhone 3G but lost it. I replaced it with a used 8520 that my dad gave me and I already had an iPod Touch from when they first came out. The only thing I wish is that I could get my Touch on the internet from by Curve.

    • says

      It stands to reason that someday either RIM or Tether will offer a way to Wi-Fi Tether. Palm Pre, Android 2.2, and several other devices are offering Wi-FI tether options. In both iPhone and Android Jailbreak/Root communities this is a hugely popular app. Maybe the changes with OS 6 will make this available to BlackBerry users without compromising the device security.

      While having a MiFi is nice being able to share the internet on your mobile phone to your iPod Touch is all you need.

  2. ja2bk says

    Not just teens. I have an iPod Touch & a BB also. I’ve toyed with the idea of playing music on my bb, but then where would my games be. I do use a few apps on the touch as well as play games. I tried Android, but wasn’t fond of the battery life (read lack of), not being able to do bluetooth transfers, or the weak vibrate (among other reasons) on the device I had. I would love for it all to converge, but still prefer the iPod experience for music and bb for smartphone. Getting an iPhone is out of the question as long as it is exclusive to AT&T (still would want 3G, so jailbreak is no option).

    • ja2bk says

      Oh, and bbm just made it a wrap as I do communicate with others internationally via bbm. While you can do the same thing with Yahoo, AIM, LiveMessenger, Google Talk, et al, the people I know don’t log into those much.

  3. Christopher says

    Having a BB and a iPod touch makes sense. You don’t have to run down your cell phone battery to listen to music or watch video. If you have an Android phone, you can wifi tether to get data on your iPod touch if you wanted. Most people don’t carry a charger with them throughout the day so if your iPod touch battery dies, you still have a BB (probably with 80% battery at 4pm) to use to communicate with and suffer through media playing. Music will still be pretty good but video will suck on the BB. If it was all in one like an iPhone, you’d be without a communications device and a PMP by late afternoon.

  4. Sevenmack says

    I’m surprised that RIM hasn’t made more hay about BBM. With all the features it has (and the security and privacy it allows), RIM could easily sell it as a sort of on-the-go secure alternative to Facebook, which would then sell more Curves and Bolds. Hell, I’ve convinced at least six of my friends to by their BlackBerrys because of BBM.

    • Christopher says

      BBM is RIM’s only “social” feature and it’s probably the best one on any platform period. RIM needs to license it TODAY and get it on every phone possible. Other companies are realizing the benefit and creating BBM like messengers (like pmessenger) and putting them on iPhone and android. If these catch on as a good alternative for IM, RIM will have missed the boat again and failed to capitalize on their best asset.

  5. Bishop says

    Yes BBM Rocks, I also have a BB Bold and a iTouch and i just both. My contract is up on my Bold and with this new BB Bold Slider and the New iphone i have some serious choices to make. I don’t want to leave BB because of BBM, but that new iphone is suppose to rock. Its not just kids that have both units grown man do to. LOL

  6. Sam K says

    I’ll bet teens love BBM for a couple of reasons. First, it’s unlimited to any Blackberry regardless of carrier. If they were to send/receive text messages instead of using BBM, they would probably go over whatever text message alllowance is on their plan and then they’ll get in trouble with their parents. Second and more importantly, teens don’t want their parents reading their text messages and I’m guessing that it’s harder (if not impossible) for parents to get transcripts of BBM messages but I’ll bet they can get transcripts of text messages from the carrier. At a minimum parents will be able to see who their teen is texting and what times they are texting them. But with BBM the parents won’t get any of that information.

  7. James says

    I am writing to comment on this blog as a whole. I follow Rimarkable on twitter religiously. I have sat quiet long enough on what I perceive as alot of BlackBerry negativity by some posters as well as Robb himself. RIM is taking a huge bashing lately especially when it comes to the latest and greatest “other phones” out there. While I am fully aware that there are a plethora of Johnny- come- lately devices on the market that are amazing pieces of technology. They each are remarkable in their own rite. Consumers and business people alike will adopt Android, Palm, etc and grow to love them. Each device and OS has great benefits and negatives. It is the nature of the beast. I would like to see RIM update a few things as well. THere is always room for improvement in any technology. But when it comes down to brass tax, BlackBerry is a communicating machine. It is reliable and true, outdated or not. I suppose RIM knows exactly what the “competition” is and what consumers want. They continue to produce quality and effective devices and services all the while keeping with their mission of helping businesses and consumers alike manage their lives. I know I can multitask, by texting, calling, emailing, writing notes, manage my calendar and contacts, and catching up on breaking news, and sports scores nearly simultaneously. This is done effortlessly and easily. I don’t have to click, swipe, swipe, click, shake, rattle or roll. A few clicks and roll of the ball does it all. And it works. Now, the last time I read the title of this site it is “Rimarkable”. Let’s see news and information about RIM shown in a positive light. We each make choices in what we use as our wireless device. If you want the latest and greatest Android phone, by all means go get it and enjoy it. Hell, start a Weblog called “Droidmarkable”. But this site is Rimarkable. Let’s share and enjoy how remarkable our BlackBerry’s are and let the others try out the new technology. Me? I’ll be sitting right here addicted to a tried and true companion that never fails, seldom freezes, and helps me manage my 80 hour work week while staying in touch with family and friends in style.

  8. Eniola says

    LMFAO I gotta bb and love my ipod touch and this is soo true bbm is far better than txt because I can send unlimited messages to anyone anywhere anytime without worrying about exceeding any limit…I’m 17 btw …two thumbs up on the article I think I’m gonna start readin ur blog but if u have an iphone or bb app that would be even better plus the ipod touch is the best PMP out there combined with the fact its a lil Computer + the best social Smartphone out there..wat else do you need

  9. Suchawildchild says

    The funny thing is that I’m sitting here typing this on my iPod Touch (4th gen) and I have a blackberry (curve 8520) I do have music on my phone but the big thing is that s schools (at least mine) don’t allow cellphone usage even for music. I def love my bb and I have already converted a ton of my iPhone friends into devoted bb users. I don’t really like texting anymore… It’s so annoying because you can’t see when they received and writing a message back plus, it’s a lot quicker in response. I can believe apple hasn’t copied bb yet.. All in good time I guess

  10. Suchawildchild says

    Oh and bbm is amazing because you have staus updates, and yo can put pictures up send pics vides etc for free.. Although I can text those things for free anyway. But still

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