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Last Updated: Monday, 9 May, 2005, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Why 3 million pick the Blackberry
Blackberry
Is the Blackberry a useful tool, or an addictive distraction?
Blackberry - the handheld e-mail device that has become a badge of honour in executive circles - has hooked its three millionth subscriber.

Nicknamed the "Crackberry" because of its addictive qualities, the gadget has now added a million users in the past six months alone.

Its maker, Canada's Research in Motion (RIM), is now aiming towards five to 10 million by April 2006.

But the lucrative mobile e-mail market is quickly becoming more competitive.

One-trick wonder

Blackberries are a particular favourite of business executives because they allow them to catch up with e-mails during "dead" time in airports or in dull conferences or meetings.

The secret of their success is simplicity, says James Beechinor-Collins, editor of gadget magazine T3.

"They do one thing, and do it really, really well."

Although a number of other devices offer mobile access to e-mails, the Blackberry has a neater interaction with a company's system, he says.

Tough at the top

However, analysts did warn that steep prices could put off the average mobile user who may be tempted to opt for a Blackberry.

Blackberries cost around 40 ($75) a month because of the amount of data sent to and fro over General Packet Radio Services (GPRS), a way of handling data slightly faster over standard mobile networks.

The firm's success means that more competitors are entering the fray. For example, UK-based mobile operator Vodafone recently said it would introduce alternative e-mail systems for its customers, though it offers Blackberries already.

Further rival gadgets such as the Nokia's Communicator, T-Mobile's MDA III mobile-cum-personal-organiser from mobile operator T-Mobile, and dedicated devices from US-based Danger like the Hiptop2 are also due to be unveiled.

Recently, Blackberry has started to license its software so that it can be used on a range of mobile phones and other devices.

Are you addicted to your Crackberry? Or do you think that the obsession with mobile gizmos has gone far enough? Let us know what you think with the postform below

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Personally, I find mobile news more addictive. (Posted from a Nokia 6630)
Andrew Ebling, Guildford

I've had two generations of Blackberries and they are actually way inferior to many other handheld devices, their only plus is that they've marketed themselves so well to corporate America and were the first to provide wireless e-mail in your pocket. They will not survive the competition.
Richard, London, UK & New York, USA

Working as an IT engineer, I have never seen a system that is more difficult to install on the back end or easier to use on the client end. A really superb product - as long as you aren't the one installing the server!
Cameron N, Kansas City, USA

I couldn't live without mine! My girlfriend on the other hand would love nothing more than to see it disappear.
Fred Wilson, New York City, USA

It also does another thing better than mobile phones: gives you RSI!
Steve Roberts, Bath

I love my Blackberry to the end, I recently bought it and I'm in love. it offers more and does more than other average highly touted mobiles with x-amount of features and is very versatile..."Crackberries rule"!
Chris, Barbados

One of the best business tools I have ever had. As a frequent business traveller, I keep track of my e mails with my Blackberry. I think achieving five to 10 million subscribers for the company by April 2006 is quite achievable.
Vahid Nehdizadeh, Toronto, Canada

I am slowly convincing all my friends to move over to the Blackberry; the main reason is that we can email one another limitless without it costing us anymore. SMS can get expensive no matter what plan you are on; and for another 10 a per month for limitless email, it works out a lot cheaper. We can also use full blown words knowing we aren't limited to 160 characters! I also travel a lot around America, and its wonderful my four year old can use his mother's Blackberry to email my Blackberry whenever he wants costing me 0 for the luxury. I love my Blackberry!
Alan Williamson, Dumfries, Scotland

I remember the first time I used Blackberry. All my friends where doing it so I thought I'd give it a try. I remember getting a real buzz and that is when it all started. Before long I had my own Blackberry and was finding myself using it more and more. Blackberry at work, Blackberry at lunch, at the weekends, during the night, on the bog, and before long it had taken control of my life. I was having a hard time sleeping, and hard time focusing, I couldn't get Blackberry of my mind. Time stood still between my Blackberry fixes. I didn't tell my friends and family how much I used my blackberry, I didn't want anyone knowing that I had become blackberry dependent. That is when I contacted B.A.G (Blackberry Anonymous Group) who where able to help me deal with my Blackberry addiction and I have now been Blackberry free for over a year.
Dave Wilson, Belfast

I don't have one, because I live in Italy where they are very expensive, and the roaming cost would be prohibitive if I used it on my UK mobile. So instead I have Black-evny. I see people with them and wish I had one. I fantasise about how much better I would work and where I would go if I had one. It's terrible. It's really, really sad. I'm an addict without actually having one.
Douglas, Rome, Italy

Yes, the obsession with gizmos has gone to far, which is exactly why Blackberries are so popular. The reason they have done so well is because they are not a 'gizmo'. They have a real and useful purpose for people who rely on email to do their job.

They are targeted squarely at businesses. Consumers would only enjoy the 'coolness' of it for a short while until they realise they don't actually want to send and receive emails in the pub on Friday evening!
Peter Jackson, Portsmouth, UK

I was amazed when I got mine, I really was determined not to let it into my private life. Now I sneak a quick email when making a cup of coffee or walking the dog. Also, every phone needs a thumb wheel too, brilliant idea.
Gordon Young, Bracknell, UK

Corporates like Blackberries because users are restricted to what they can do on the device, which is good for support and security. There is a developing market for corporate smart phones which can be "locked-down" and tightly integrated with a companies secure network.

"Mobile gizmos" are here to stay, and I think there will be a growing trend of technology becoming more mobile, more stylized, and more integrated.
Tony, London

Best device since sliced bread, it enables me to be in contact where ever I am working in the world and not have to lug a Laptop around. Also looking for a WiFi spot, to which I normally have to pay for and setup my Laptop.
Trevor Moynihan, Reigate, Surrey. UK

It is a sad reflection on modern society, that you call waiting in an airport lounge or some other place 'dead time'. Whatever happened to striking up a conversation with a stranger, writing a poem about how we feel or just letting our thoughts take us to some other place, when we're not confronted with the demands of 'the office'.
Robin Das, London




SEE ALSO:
Blackberries for 'always on' MSPs
04 May 05 |  Scotland
Vodafone competes with Blackberry
21 Apr 05 |  Business
Blackberry squares up to rivals
06 Apr 05 |  Business
MPs issued with Blackberry threat
10 Feb 05 |  UK Politics
Campbell: E-mail row 'silly fuss'
08 Feb 05 |  UK Politics


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