One Reason BlackBerrys Remain Popular: The Blinking Notification Light

By Wesley Fenlon

If you're a BlackBerry user, why do you stick with the platform?

In the second quarter of 2010, Android phones managed to capture the top spot  in the U.S. smart phone market. It was the first time since 2007 that RIM’s BlackBerrys slipped to second place—as much fanfare iOS and Android get in the tech world, the Blackberry still reigns supreme when it comes to market share.
But can that dominance last? The newly-announced Torch could help RIM’s sales, but it doesn’t stack up too well against Android superphones. CNN ran a report postulating why people still cling to BlackBerry phones, and, unsurprisingly, the keyboard and notification light are what keep most people coming back. 


The Keyboard is King

A BlackBerry phone lives and dies by its keyboard. As a machine primarily designed for e-mail and other forms of on-the-go communication, the Blackberry keyboard has to be durable, responsive and tactile. And it is. You can type accurately, and you can do it fast. But plenty of other phones get it right, too. My old Samsung Blackjack II had keyboard so good I routinely typed too fast for Windows Mobile to handle.
The Android market is slowly bulking up with physical keyboards that rival RIM’s platform. Motorola’s Droid, Cliq  Charm, and HTC’s MyTouch 3G Slide are just a few of the options available to Android fans craving some tactile typing action.

An Ever-Blinking Notification Light

Here’s a no-brainer—we like getting our information as quickly as possible, and that little LED is your ticket to what’s new that very moment. Android’s got this base covered, too—and like the BlackBerry, the color can be changed through an app on some phones.

 The new BlackBerry Torch: Keyboard? check. Notification light? check. Enterprise features? check.

Suited for Suits

When it comes right down to it, BlackBerrys still rest comfortably in suit pockets because RIM has carved out a niche in the business world. Businesses know the phones are good for productivity, and messages are supposedly more secure thanks to encryption (hey, even the President’s got one!). But when a Nielson poll finds that  almost 60% of BlackBerry users  want a new OS, we have to wonder if people are beginning to realize they can get their keyboard on phones with more apps and more games.
Then again, maybe that’s why businesses love BlackBerrys—they make poor web browsers, poor game machines, and poor video players, removing most of the distractions of competing smart phones. So is the BlackBerry better…because it’s worse?