The BlackBerry stigma: folks no longer wield BlackBerries with pride

It’s just sad that such a great company can become so disillusioned and lost in time. Apparently, as reported by The New York Times, BlackBerry devices have become a magnet for mockery and derision from iPhone and Android owners. Worse, people apparently suffer from shame and public humiliation because their BlackBerry cannot do cool things like iPhones and Android devices.

Now, I use both the iPhone and an Android device and it never even crossed my mind to judge someone by their smartphone, even if that’s apparently how some bosses behave these days. As a result, people are becoming increasingly wary pulling their BlackBerries in meetings (I’m not making this up).

Remember, stylish (and mostly black) BlackBerry phones with their clickety-clack keyboards used to be a status symbol of the high-powered and the elite. What a difference a few years make…

Nicole Perlroth, reporting for the somewhat sensationalist New York Times:

Rachel Crosby speaks about her BlackBerry phone the way someone might speak of an embarrassing relative.

“I’m ashamed of it,” said Ms. Crosby, a Los Angeles sales representative who said she had stopped pulling out her BlackBerry at cocktail parties and conferences. In meetings, she says she hides her BlackBerry beneath her iPad for fear clients will see it and judge her.

Really, what kind of a person becomes ashamed of their handset?

And since when bosses judge workers based on devices rather than performance?

Have we come to this?

She also said this:

“I want to take a bat to it,” Ms. Crosby said, after waiting for her phone’s browser to load for the third minute, only to watch the battery die. “You can’t do anything with it. You’re supposed to, but it’s all a big lie.”

A Los Angeles musician, another BlackBerry outcast, likened owners of the device to Myspace users, saying “they probably still chat on AOL Instant Messenger”.

Check out the source article for other smart quotes.

Now, RIM teased and teased the upcoming BlackBerry 10 software and devices until folks stopped paying notice. The last we heard, BlackBerry 10 super phones are set for release in the first quarter of 2013.

Here’s a clip with a Mexican sales representative showing off the final version of the upcoming BlackBerry L Series running a work-in-progress BlackBerry 10 build.

Another clip from three weeks ago takes us on a tour of key BlackBerry 10 features.

And this video gives us a glimpse of Active Frames, a new software feature RIM hopes will become a key differentiator for BlackBerry 10 devices. It’s basically a nice multitasking concept that does away with flipping back and forth between the running tasks in favor of a more elegant approach: you just flick your finger quickly in an upward motion to minimize the running program.

Neat, huh?

RIM will need all the whizbang it can possibly get just to remain afloat.

Some five percent of smartphone users in this country still have BlackBerries in their pockets, per pretty much all surveys.

Five bucks says most are federal government employees because they sure ain’t business folks – corporate America is abandoning BlackBerries for iOS and Android.

Heck, even Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer traded in employees’ BlackBerrys for iPhones and Android phones. The move didn’t just highlight RIM’s troubles, it demonstrated just how uncool the once might smartphone has become.

RIM faces an uphill struggle for relevancy.

It lost over half a billion dollars in the first quarter of 2012. BlackBerry sales were down 40 percent. And with a net loss totaling an astounding $753 million in the first half of the year compared to a profit of more than $1 billion a year earlier, RIM is also fighting for its survival.

Now, if you think the company cannot possibly fall lower than that, have a look at this call-to-arms clip the Waterloo, Ontario-headquartered company issued to its fleeing developers.

How’s that for a today’s WTF moment?

According to a RIM spokesperson, the company is working with “top tier app developers to ensure BlackBerry 10 has the apps consumers want when it launches in Q1 2013”.

The problem is, it may be too late now to prevent RIM’s demise.

Correct me if I’m wrong.