official True Religion online store locator

BlackBerry And Its Curious Customer Base: Who Are They Trying To

In the race for manufacturers to have the fastest and most powerful smartphones there seems to be one company who is perfectly comfortable with trailing behind.

Research in Motion (RIM), the manufacturers of the BlackBerry, were once the pioneers of smartphone technology. Now their flagship devices pale in comparison spec for spec against any other leading device. You know what the curious thing is? They're doing just fine.

RIM recently released details and specs for its new flagship phone named Dakota. While it is no doubt a step up from current generation BlackBerry devices it doesn't leave you with the impression that they're even trying to compete with the iPhone or Android-based devices.

Mashable recently leaked some details about the BlackBerry Storm 3 and at first glance it doesn't look like it's in the same league as other leading smartphones either. But you know what? That's just fine for most of their customers.

BlackBerry has a very curious customer base. One that is not necessarily concerned with having cutting edge technology. Rather, what they value is a highly functional and reliable phone that enhances productivity. I know, it's hard to believe there's still a market for that. While the smartphone market is being dominated by devices that promise to entertain you with millions of apps there's still a device out there for people who appreciate a device that helps their work day flow a little smoother.

It's not like BlackBerry is struggling either. It's not breaking sales records like the iPhone but it definitely has a healthy customer base that appears to be fiercely loyal. Based on my personal experiences, people who are buying new BlackBerrys are people who have already owned one. They like what BlackBerry has to offer and when it comes time to upgrade they buy a newer one for a bit more power and speed but inherently the same functions as most of the previous generations.

It's great that they have a large built-in customer base but I can't help but wonder if they are gaining any new customers. If you didn't have a smartphone and you had a BlackBerry, an iPhone 4 or an Android-based device to choose from what would make you choose the BlackBerry over your other options? It other words I'm wondering what is its competitive advantage. Maybe it doesn't even need one, maybe RIM will keep doing just fine if they stick to making phones that appeal to the customers they already have.

Please note that I actually own a BlackBerry so I am in no way a hater. It's great at what it does but I wish it did more, so when my contract runs out I will probably upgrade to something else. Several of my friends own one and they are satisfied, but when I ask them why they bought one it's usually because they don't like touch screens. I hope BlackBerry has more going for it than that in the minds of other customers. But I have to admit, the physical keyboard would be at the top of my list of things I love about mine.

It's a shame that this post didn't really resolve anything, although I'm not sure it was supposed to. I just wanted to take a look at one of the more interesting segments of customers in the technological marketplace. While most tech consumers tend to buy from companies who are on the leading edge of innovation there is still RIM who is still staying alive and well with its modest offerings.

What are your thoughts on the BlackBerry? If you currently own one would you buy another one? Why or why not? Leave some comments!