What Happened to the BlackBerry?

I was with a friend today who got an interesting email on their BlackBerry.   Handing me the BlackBerry, she asked me to read the email and tell her what I thought.   As with any handheld, I started reading the email and then, using my finger, started dragging the page down to continue reading.   Nothing happened.  I pushed down harder on the screen and dragged.   Still…nothing.   I shook the device up and down, pushed really hard on the screen, and dragged.   Uh…nothing.   What the ???????

My friend then noticed me.   “What are you doing?” she asked with a little fear in her voice.   “Trying to drag the friggin screen down so I can read the $%&*@# email!”    “That’s not how you do it,” she said.   Huh?    Apparently there’s a little knob in the middle of the keyboard that you roll up and down to move the screen.   Are we back in the 90s?    What happened to BlackBerry?   Or, more accurately, what didn’t happen to the BlackBerry?   I remember somewhere around 2001 getting one of the first BlackBerrys of anyone I knew.   Several of my peers at the time scoffed at me and told me I’d never use it. However, it wasn’t long before I was addicted.   Long before anyone called it a “Crackberry”, that’s pretty much what it was for me.   The ability to have access to email 24/7 was not only unprecedented, it was thrilling.   I couldn’t believe that on the drive into the office, I could have my entire mailbox cleaned out and be ready to hit my desk working and not having to deal with emails.    This of course was back when emailing while driving was not only legal, but encouraged.

Three or four years ago I switched to an iPhone.   I hated it.    The keyboard was horrible, the lack of speed was numbing, and it seemed incredibly unreliable.    I stuck with it, switched to a Motorola Atrix Droid about a year ago, and haven’t looked back or thought about the Blackberry in a really long time.   Until earlier today.    Blackberry currently accounts for around 3% of all smart phone sales, making them 6th in the world.    I don’t know the numbers from 2001, but I’m pretty sure there was the BlackBerry, a few Palms floating around, and a Treo here and there.    That was about it.    Will we look back one day and compare the BlackBerry with the Edsel, the Steam Engine, and the movie Heaven’s Gate?   To me, it’s kind of like WordPerfect, a software package that should have owned the market and killed Microsoft Word but just didn’t get it done (this is fodder for another blog someday).

BlackBerry just didn’t get it done.

Does anyone know where you can get that little knob on a BlackBerry repaired?   I think I owe someone a new one….