In todays PDA / Smartphone market I don’t think that you would get much argument if you said that the BlackBerry, even with all of Research in Motion’s legal woes, is the king of the hill in this space. RIM builds a top notch device that is secure, stable, and dominates market share with state and local government, the military, and with commercial corporations. It is probably less common to see a business traveler without a BlackBerry than it is to see one with a BlackBerry and the market for business type users, really, is just starting to take off.
With all that being said, should Research in Motion create a consumer BlackBerry Division? Many BlackBerry users, myself included, would love to see a BlackBerry with many of the “bells and whistles” such as removable media, an integrated MP3 player, or even a digital camera that you could take a picture with and email as an attachment, that you see on some of the other PDA / Smartphones on the market. These types of features violate security policies of many of RIM’s government and corporate customers which are the mainstay of RIM’s revenue so it is understandable that these features don’t appear on the BlackBerry. The problem for RIM, as illustrated in a BlackBerry user loyalty study, is that BlackBerry users are more loyal to RIM’s push email service than they are to the BlackBerry device itself. In fact, when presented alternative configurations, the same loyal BlackBerry users found the “Bells and Whistles” extremely appealing.
I think that Research in Motion should create a consumer BlackBerry division. If you take a look at the new BlackBerry website, you will see that it has been broken up into sections for individuals and for businesses, however, the exact same devices are offered on both sites. If RIM were to start offering a line of BlackBerry handhelds to individuals with more features, some of which may even violate the security policies of some of RIM’s larger customers, I just don’t see that affecting corporate sales so long as those larger customers continue to have handheld options that don’t violate their security polices.