by Al Sacco

BlackBerrys are Everywhere at CES 2013 (Seriously)

Jan 08, 20132 mins
MobileSmall and Medium BusinessSmartphones

This week's International CES 2013 in Las Vegas is packed with BlackBerrys, but it's not really the attendees who are using them—it's the CES staffers, vendors and booth attendants on the tradeshow floor.

BlackBerry 88xx with Scanner at CES 2013

I’ve seen more BlackBerry smartphones at the 2013 International CES in Las Vegas this week than I have at any other non-Research In Motion (RIM) event in years. In fact, I’ve literally seen hundreds of BlackBerry devices, and almost all of them were BlackBerry 88xx models, a BlackBerry that was released years ago. All of the CES staffers at the badge-holder pickup areas, which all attendees must visit before entering the show, are equipped with BlackBerry 88xx smartphones that are attached to badge scanners. And the majority of booth vendors and attendants, at least from medium-to-large-size companies, also have BlackBerry 88xx handhelds with scanners, so they can scan attendees badges for future marketing opportunities.

Why, you might ask, are all these people using years-old BlackBerry devices? (At least I asked that question.) I don’t have an official answer, but I’m guessing the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which organizes CES, bought a whole bunch of scanners for the BlackBerry 88xx devices in the past, and they don’t want to have to buy more scanners and/or devices. And the BlackBerry-equipped scanners seem to work quite well. So if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

I admit, it seems a bit odd that the staffers from CES, the largest consumer electronics show in the world, where thousands of cutting edge technologies are unveiled and demonstrated, are all using what many consider to be obsolete smartphone hardware and software. But this is a good example of how lots of businesses, organizations and governments still see value in BlackBerry smartphones, even if many consumers are avoiding the aging BlackBerry platform these days like the stinky guy on the bus.