Monday, November 21, 2011

From Blackberry to iPhone

Last week I retired my Blackberry Bold, removed myself from the Blackberry Enterprise Server, and began using an iPhone 4S as my mobile email, web, and telecommunications platform.

This was not a casual decision.   I've used Blackberry products since 1998.  The original Blackberry 850 was named one of the top 50 technologies of the past 50 years.

I receive a wireless communication approximately every 30 seconds from 7am-7pm every day.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays I receive over 1500 emails per 24 hour period.   These communications are filled with media - documents to read, presentations to review, websites to access, and streaming video.    Yes, I still use the email triage approach I outlined in 2007 but it's a losing battle.   The volume of communication exceeds my ability to process and respond to the information.   I could cancel all my meetings, phone calls, and presentations but still fill the entire day with email communication.

I'm not suggesting this is healthy or sane, but it is the reality of communications today.

The iPhone 4S gives me a touch screen user interface to scroll, zoom, and manage my incoming messages.   I can view every document, website, and video over 3G networks.   Siri and voice recognition features enable me to manage my email by voice.   I find myself dictating responses to about a quarter of my email with amazing accuracy.

I'm still in the learning stage, so my ability to type on a touch screen is still not quite as nimble as on the Blackberry keyboard.   It's also harder to type while walking between meetings.    However, the learning curve is fast, and the toolset provided by the 4S includes much better web browsing and Exchange integration than Blackberry.  My Macbook Air running Mac OS X Lion with Apple Mail/iCal/Address book is essentially the same software as on the iPhone 4S, so I can switch seamlessly from my mobile device to my laptop with perfect data synchronization.

RIM has been an innovator.   The Blackberry is secure.  The Blackberry has been easy to manage at the enterprise level.    However,  Blackberry is architected to route messages via RIM's centralized infrastructure.  If that fails, every Blackberry in the world fails.   Blackberry's user experience has not kept pace with the competition.   Blackberry's application development tools and app store have not kept pace with iPhone or Android.   Devices such as the Playbook have been introduced before they were ready.

All companies regress to the mean  and for RIM it appears to be the beginning of the end.   In the past year, its stock has declined from 70 to 20, a loss of 70%.

The pace of technology change is accelerating so fast, that even those of us in the industry can hardly keep up.   The consumer device world is a shark tank.    Competition is fierce and devices come and go as fast as hemline heights and tie widths change.

My switch to an iPhone 4S was predicated on a need to communicate with more flexibility, power, and speed than a Blackberry could support.

 I'm not the only one.  Per our email administrator:

"I'm seeing a slow death of Blackberry.  We have about 400 people still on the Blackberry Enterprise Server. I imagine as contracts expire more will jump to iPhones and Androids.  We lose 5-10 Blackberry accounts per month. iPhones currently outnumber Blackberry 3 to 1"

Thus, you'll likely be receiving iPhone 4S emails from me, generated via voice recognition.    Apologies for the typos, I'm still learning.


Jason Yount said...

I really wish more healthcare institutions weren't so skeptical of the iPhone for business. It's such a great platform to build new and exciting innovation branches. Nice write up by the way.
-Jason Yount

Lydia Lee said...

Coincidentally, I made the switch last week too. It was not an easy decision, especially since RIM was the Canadian Cinderella story. I'm still learning, but I can already tell it won't take long. We are using Good Technologies for Outlook sandbox.

The Krafty Librarian said...

I agree with Jason, it is difficult when your own hospital IT department still considers the iPhone and Android as "consumer" devices and not "appropriate" for hospital business. A lot of our docs double carry. They have their iPhone/Android which they predominantly use and then they have their institutionally provided Blackberry that they get work email on. :(
I will echo Jason again, it is a nice write up.

Marc said...

I have been using the 4S since its release. It is a fantastic device. Are you using 'GOOD Technology" on your device or have you connected to your corporate network through ActiveSync?



sambridegroom said...

I too made the switch two weeks ago from BlackBerry to the iPhone 4s. While there are certainly things that I miss about the Blackberry, the power and flexibility that's offered by the 4s more than outweighs what I miss. It's really a great device.

I do a lot of work with a hospital, and the move to iOS-based solutions is fast and furious right now (very encouraging).

And yes, I also think it's unfortunately the beginning of the end for RIM.