They call them Crackberry instead. I don’t have one; I’m already addicted to my trusty Treo, being a Palm guy for a long time, and wanting to take the next step of combining my phone and Palm into a single device.
Blackberry have probably led the charge toward the adoption of smartphones. Together with GPRS and now 3G, they have truly changed the way people engage with the internet. Mobile data rates have dropped an order of magnitude or so in the last 6 months, and plans with a similar structure to traditional (wired) ISP plans are now available via SIMs. This means that these smaller devices can challenge products like iBurst. Already the battle lines are being drawn on the quality of mobile 3G internet service, and this is sure to spread. The great news for MVNOs is that even wholesale pricing is now available to enable them to compete effectively (which is so often the challenge of the non-network owning reseller).
Giving a staff member a Blackberry or Smartphone is like chaining them to work 24/7. Users talk of the Blackberry “changing their life”, and “bringing work into their life”. We used to be able to finish work at 5pm (or 6pm, or 7:45pm) and then go home. Not any more. There is an expectation to be available all the time, connected all the time, and therefore working all the time. This cannot be healthy for the work-life balance. When someone describes it as “liberating” because they don’t need to be in the office, I get worried.
The word that comes to mind is cyborg. To those of you not brought up on a steady diet of The Six Million Dollar Man or Star Trek TNG and the borg, a cyborg is an organism (like a human) that is enhanced with technology. Whether it’s bionic legs, a cochlear implant, or a Blackberry always in your pocket that you check while you should be watching the movie, it comes down to this: if your life is enhanced by technology that you are intimately connected to, you might just be a cyborg.
The world has changed: resistance is futile.