7 Solid Reasons to Keep the Faith in RIM, BlackBerry

Times are tough for BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM), but CIO.com's Al Sacco thinks many critics are underestimating the Canadian company. Here are seven reasons why it's still too early to count RIM out.

Thu, July 21, 2011

CIO — It seems like nobody has anything good to say about BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) (RIM) these days.

Analysts, bloggers, journalists, rival device makers, gadget geeks--even RIM shareholders and employees--all seem to have turned a cold shoulder to the struggling Canadian handset maker. Indeed, it's mostly doom and gloom in the tech press when it comes to RIM and BlackBerry today.

BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet with BlackBerry Bold Smartphone
BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet with BlackBerry Bold Smartphone

The negativity isn't without reason. RIM is seeing its North American market share drop sharply as smartphone users jump ship for better waters around the Apple/Google/Microsoft/whatever (GOOG) (AAPL) (MSFT) camps. The BlackBerry-maker has toughed out some particularly ugly product launches over the past couple of years. (Think: Storm, Storm2 and, more recently, the Wi-Fi-only BlackBerry PlayBook with no native e-mail or PIM apps.) RIM recently cut as many as 200 jobs in and around its Waterloo, Ontario headquarters. And a number of key staffers, including a former chief marketing officer and senior product manager, have turned tail, leaving RIM shorthanded in its time of trouble.

These things certainly haven't been good for RIM or the BlackBerry brand. And it's easy to focus on the negative in difficult times. But such a focus only paints one side of the story. I think RIM and its BlackBerry customers still have grounds to remain positive and upbeat. What follows is a quick list of reasons why I still keep a BlackBerry in my pocket--and why I don't see that changing any time soon.

1) Love that BlackBerry QWERTY Keyboard

First up, the number one reason I still use a BlackBerry as my "main" smartphone, or my "daily driver:" That QWERTY keyboard.

I love the BlackBerry "Bold-style" keyboard. And though I've used a variety of handhelds from other manufacturers with similar keypads over the years, I've yet to find one that works better.

I can practically hear a collective groan from iPhone users who would unequivocally swear they can type just as well on their touch-screen keyboard as I can on my BlackBerry's QWERTY keyboard. Perhaps, but I have found after much experience that I can't type as fast and effectively on any touch-screen keyboard as I can with my BlackBerry keypad. Make no mistake, I have given touch-screen keyboards a fair chance, I own an iPhone, Motorola (MOT) Atrix, Samsung Focus and a number of additional handhelds with no "physical" QWERTY keyboards.

I use my BlackBerry almost exclusively for messaging, so the ability to type rapidly and with as few errors as possible is extremely important to me. RIM still makes the best keyboard on a mobile device, and as such, it offers something its rivals can't or at least haven't yet. Until that reality changes, folks like me who want the best messaging device on the market will stick with RIM and BlackBerry.

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