BlackBerrys Not Just for Executives Anymore

Research In Motion Ltd.’s (RIM) BlackBerry is not just for guys and gals in suits anymore. According to Press Trust of India, RIM’s Global Chief Marketing Officer, Keith Pardy, has admitted that users of the company’s BlackBerry smart phones has reached a 50/50 split between corporate and retail users. Mr. Pardy was also quoted as saying, “We are witnessing a large number of teenagers using Blackberrys and applications like Blackberry Messenger, which helps them send messages for free, instantly, to any other Blackberry user in the world.” That much as been pretty clear for a while now. 

RIM already passed the 50 million BlackBerrys sold mark earlier this year and with big launches coming up in India and China, the company looks like it wants everyone to have one, regardless of where they live. School students in India are now running into the same problems that American students have had to live with for years. Their BlackBerrys and iPhones are not allowed in the classroom for fear that they will be a distraction. Here’s hoping that educators will eventually realize that cell phones are as essential to students’ lives as an alarm clock or a note pad. 

However, the interesting thing about all of this is that while RIM holds a comfortable overall lead in market share for the smart phone sector and dominates most corporations as the phone of choice, it desperately wants to extend its control into the larger consumer market. Google’s smart phone operating system Android and Apple’s iPhone are in the reverse situation. While both have captured respectable market share, they both want and need to crack into the corporate sector. 

It makes perfect sense that BlackBerrys have started being seen solidly reliable smart phones for everyone. With their innovative technology, email, instant messaging, and web browsing abilities becoming what is expected out of every phone, RIM stands poised to be able to leverage its strong and instantly recognizable brand image. Plenty of cheaper imitations abound but consumers want reliability and a rich, intuitive feature set. The BlackBerry delivers on both fronts. 

We will have to wait and see if RIM will eventually start specifically targeting the consumer market in their ad campaigns, but if the company wants to keep expanding like it has, consumer specific phones with touch screens and strong social networking features are something it should consider adding to its offerings