Whether BlackBerry officials admit it or not, the handwriting is on the wall for the Canadian phone maker which once ruled the mobile phone world.
Amid reports of almost $1 billion write off due to new models that nobody wants to buy, interested buyers of the company once called Research in Motion, announcement of lay offs by the thousands and poaching by Apple of soon-to-be unemployed BlackBerry staff, where does this leave owners of BlackBerry smartphones?
PC World's Tony Bradley describes the Waterloo, Ontario-based manufacturer as on life support and forecast that 12 months from now, there would be a huge RIP sign on the company.
For companies that rely on BlackBerry for mobile communication and productivity, don't drop yet your gadgets like hot potatoes, Mr Bradley advises.
He instead recommends five things that BlackBerry phone owners must do to prepare for the inevitable demise of the company, and soon, its services.
- New mobile platform - To help assess what new platform and model to switch to (Android, iOS, Windows), pinpoint the BlackBerry features and benefits that are important to your business or personally then compare which among the 3 available OS comes closest to providing what BlackBerry can no longer provide soon.
- Management of your mobile device - With the BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES), companies had direct control over their mobile ecosystem and tools to provide, protect and manage BlackBerry gadgets. All that, however, will soon end. Switching to iOS or Android could extend the familiar BES environment via the BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, which is not possible if you opt for a Windows phone. But it's only a short-term transition because you ultimately have to be weaned from the BlackBerry ecosystem and learn to embrace the alternatives.
- BBM app to maintain security, reliability and familiarity of current system - BlackBerry is offering the app to ease the transition from BBM to iOS or Android, although the apps are still on hold due to a botched launch.
- Data protection - Assess your chosen mobile platform choice to replace your BlackBerry, both on the device and during transfer across the airwaves. One lament of BlackBerry users soon to bury their device is that while the other smartphones could function as good or even better than BlackBerry, it could not match encryption and data security offered by the Canadian company.
- Additional apps - Check the apps you use on your BlackBerry device and compare with what's available in your next option. Then search for proper alternative apps.
Expect more speculations as the technology world waits for what would happen to BlackBerry, the company. What company would buy the floundering tech firm would determine what's next for BlackBerry phone owners.
But don't count on your device being a collector's item since there are millions of Q10 and Z10 units sitting in BlackBerry warehouses and retail outlets waiting for someone to have pity and buy them.