A little over twelve months ago, many UK towns were quite literally held in a vice-like grip of fear. Yobs took to the streets in scenes reminiscent to early-eighties Brixton and Toxteth, looting and rioting, using their Blackberry phones to stay ahead of the police at every turn.
As soon as the riots were quashed, investigations found that the use of BBM, the free Blackberry messenger service, had been used to coordinate the disruption, with devastating stealth.
It was decreed that, should any such occurrence happen again, the state would have the authority to shut down all such IM platforms. This including BBM, Twitter, Skype and GTalk to prevent the spread of criminal intent before situations got out of control once more.
Blackberry devices were the choice of the rioters
BBM was certainly not alone in enabling the real-time communication, but it was the choice of the masses during that week of mindless violence. News from the U.S. this week, however, may well mean the threat of Blackberry IM is wiped out for good.
Long the choice of American Government agencies and state authorities, the Blackberry has served its manufacturer, RiM, extremely well over recent years. But a combination of recent failures and improvements in competitors’ devices is ringing a death knell for what is still one of the most popular handsets on UK streets today.
Notice of Intent highlights Blackberry’s issues
The NTSB has posted a document online giving notice that, despite the imminent launch of the ‘fabulous’ Blackberry 10 at the end of January next year, its employees will switch 100% to the iPhone 5 upon release.
Apple has upgraded the security features in the upcoming handset to meet with Federal demands, built in as standard and ready to be activated. In contrast, the Blackberry models in use by the NTSB have ‘been failing both at inopportune times and at an unacceptable rate’.
It is these failings, combined with the upgrades on board other handsets and operating systems, that have prompted this Notice of Intent from the NTSB onto the Federal Business Opportunities site. And they are not alone.
Security firms, the U.S. equivalent to Customs and Excise, Customs and Immigration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have all jumped ship to the iPhone in recent months.
Whilst domestic sales in other countries may hold up in the short term, without the huge volumes of sales to corporations and enterprises such as those listed, RiM looks to have had the very foundation of its business model, its backbone, whipped away.
Regardless of the Blackberry 10’s capabilities, the corporate market that brought the phone into everyday use here in the UK may well have switched by the time the next generation phone from RiM hits the streets on January 31st.
So, if you’re looking for something for your Blackberry-using offspring this Christmas, you may just want to look for an alternative. RiM, if it indeed cannot hold on to the power-users, “is doomed”.