Most Verizon BlackBerry users know that it usually takes Verizon about a year or so to come out with new BlackBerry devices after first appearing on the GSM carriers. I’ll give Verizon just a bit of credit for releasing the BlackBerry 8830 just a few months after it debuted on Cingular, however, Verizon has yet to offer the BlackBerry Pearl which first debuted last year.
Most of Verizon’s BlackBerry users, myself included, are business users and although we get frustrated that Verizon doesn’t come out with new BlackBerrys sooner, we aren’t willing to give up the network therefore we stick with them. The demographic for BlackBerry users, however, is changing. Everyday consumers increasingly are starting to look at smartphones for their personal devices, BlackBerrys included.
My question is can Verizon compete in the consumer BlackBerry market if they are still stuck in “new device a year after everyone else” mode?
Depending on what numbers you look at, Verizon has reclaimed the top spot as the nations largest carrier. Business users rave about the network and so do consumers but I am not so sure that a a consumer will wait a year to get the latest devices. I don’t think that consumers wanting a smartphone will necessarily defect to another carrier, however, I wonder if they would just look at devices other than the BlackBerry?
A consumer who isn’t already addicted to the BlackBerry may not hold it in a light brighter than any other smartphone with a keyboard on it. In fact, they may see Verizon’s BlackBerry devices as behind the times because they don’t have all the features that most of the other smarthphones, including the BlackBerry Curve and BlackBerry Pearl, have. Verizon has many other smartphones for consumers to choose from and I wonder if it matters to them if their customers are buying BlackBerrys for personal use or one of the other devices they carry so long as they are getting unlimited data plans.
Maybe a better question to ask as compared to can Verizon compete in the consumer BlackBerry market is does RIM need them to?