Have you ever asked a diehard BlackBerry lover “Why doesn’t RIM add an SD slot, or infra-red, or an MP3 player, or fully functional Bluetooth, or WiFi, or a digital camera, or (insert just about any feature that BlackBerry PDAs don’t already have)?” To some BlackBerry users, adding new features would be like changing the name of Wrigley Field to a Cubs fan.
You will get a very good reason as to why you can’t add these features to BlackBerry and chances are, they have something to do with security. Research in Motion has earned a well deserved reputation for having very secure devices. The problem, however, is that you don’t have a choice to be a little bit less secure. I am not going to go off on a tangent as I have already posted why I am a bit worried about Research in Motion, but, I do hope that some alternative hardware configurations come out in the future. I know that RIM targets business users with the BlackBerry but one can only imagine that with some of the free BlackBerry promotions that have come out lately they are trying to widen that demographic.
When you take a look at some of of the forums out there, questions are posted quite regularly by new users asking about features such as those listed at the beginning of this post. It amazes me at how fast and how furious the replies to those questions come out and shoot down any possibility of adding anything that could affect security of the BlackBerry. I actually agree with many of the reasons that some of these features would not but such a great idea but I acknowledge the fact that many existing and potential BlackBerry users would gladly trade a bit of security for some of of those features as well.
For all you you BlackBerry traditionalists out there I have four numbers for you… 7100. Remember about a year ago when the discussion about the BlackBerry 7100 really got going? Many thought that the 7100 was going to be a huge mistake and that they would never sell. “Who would would ever use a BlackBerry without a full QWERTY keyboard.” “Bluetooth will make the devices to insecure.” After almost a year and several gadget of the year type awards later, the 7100 Series BlackBerries are doing pretty well.
To make a long story short. Innovation is good. More importantly, it is required to sustain growth. My belief is that wireless email in the coming years will be as common place as voice command dialing. Not everyone will have it, but most will. To stay on top in that type of market, Research in Motion has to think not in terms of the 3 million subscribers they currently have, but the 30 million that they want to sign up.