A Blackberry employee holds a Blackberry in Berlin.
While on the road to a job interview, recent Ball State University graduate AJ Bracken soon found he had not just one interview, but two — all with the help of a smartphone.
Though Bracken currently does not own a smartphone, he was able to borrow a friend’s iPhone in the car to contact another company and set up a meeting. While he said that in the past he didn’t care much about having the ability to access email or use apps, he has started to realize the importance of being technologically savvy in order to keep up with the competition.
“If I hadn’t had a smartphone with me, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to have a second interview,” Bracken said. “I think I probably would be considering getting my own iPhone or smartphone in the near future actually because of that experience.”
The competition expands beyond just smartphone users versus non-smartphone users. In recent years, Research in Motion (RIM), the company that developed BlackBerry devices, has experienced plummeting stock prices in the wake of the popularity of the iPhone and Android, slipping 97% in profit, according to USA TODAY. The New York Times reported that in the first half of 2012, the company lost net $753 million after profiting more than $1 billion the previous year.
Analysts are saying that the “future rides on the BlackBerry 10,” the newest model of the phone that will more or less determine the future of the company, according to USA TODAY.
Chelsea Peart, a student at University of Oregon, has been a proud BlackBerry owner for three years, despite the continuing struggles of RIM and the declining popularity of the devices. She said she opts for the BlackBerry over the iPhone or Android because she finds the keypad easier to use than the touch screens of other phones, and enjoys the phone’s email interface that she said allows for more nuanced organization and control.
“I like how email is set up on the BlackBerry,” Peart said. “It makes my emails very accessible and easy to keep track of. I also like the simplicity of the BlackBerry and how most applications are fairly straightforward.”
An October article in The New York Times analyzed the stigmatization against BlackBerry users, as they have become increasingly rare, particularly in the workplace. One Los Angeles musician named Craig Robert Smith expressed the condescension that has arisen among iPhone and Android users toward the BlackBerry.
“BlackBerry users are like Myspace users,” Smith told The New York Times. “They probably still chat on AOL Instant Messenger.”
Peart said she is often ridiculed for her phone, and is constantly urged to switch to an iPhone.
“I do get made fun of for having a BlackBerry,” she said. “I feel like anyone who doesn’t have an iPhone these days is looked down upon. I get asked by my friends at least once a week, ‘Chelsea, when are you getting an iPhone?’ as if me not having one is an inconvenience to them.”
Courtney Chase, a student at Ohio State University, said she doesn’t anticipate BlackBerrys fairing well in the future.
“Unfortunately, I think people are so impressed with the iPhone that BlackBerry’s future isn’t so bright,” Chase said. “Apple comes out with such great technology that it would be hard to convince people to switch to a BlackBerry if they are in the market for a new phone.”
Despite being mostly content with their current phones, both Peart and Bracken said they feel a sense of exclusion from not being able to access popular apps due to the lack of capability on their respective phones.
“I definitely feel like I’m missing out not being able to use Instagram and Snapchat since most of my friends use those apps to communicate rather than texting or tweeting. I get left out of group texts, which is frustrating,” Peart said.
Bracken said as someone interested in photography, he would personally like to have the ability to use Instagram to visually document his experiences and use the program’s functions.
“I’m a photographer, and sometimes I would like to just kind of apply quick filters a lá Instagram to some of my photos for effects,” Bracken said.
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