PermaLink Why are Blackberry's so popular and can PocketPC/PalmOS/Linux smartphones compete?03/06/2005 04:32 AM

Even after working w/ Blackberry simulators for a few weeks and using a real BB for testing, I still don't get why people are so enamored with it, especially since people are supposedly moving away from email and using IM to get away from spammers?  Or why PocketPC/PalmOS/Linux smartphones/PDAs can't compete with the BB?  All environments run J2ME in various crippled forms (J2ME 1.2.2, CLDC, blech), but the BB has a lot more security.
From what can I see (and asking lots of people why BBs are so popular), the BB has this over all the others:
- the BES server knows where each device is and your admin ties each BB to the BES server (think "fixed IP")

- BES communications are encrypted

- Java apps are all signed and tracked by BB (you have to get a signing key from BB which makes it harder for hackers to build apps)

- Java apps run in the background and can receive events via the "fixed IP"; that's what BB push email uses to get "instantaneous" email

- BB email (including calendar/contacts) is easy to use and automatically synced instantaneously (pushed over via the "fixed IP") to your desktop

I can't tell if the datastore is encrypted (you used to be able to use a Palm development system and download raw data from the Palm).

So what is needed for PocketPC/Palm/Linux smartphones/PDAs to compete?  Looks like the main items needed are: fixed IP, centralized management, data encryption, and being able to run J2ME apps in the background.  The "fixed IP" is actually the ability to associate a physical device with a particular person.  There are plenty of J2ME encrypted databases such as
mDrawer, so keeping data secure on these devices isn't a problem.  If these mobile devices had full J2SE support, communication can be done using JXTA and JXTA Crypto while providing secure/authenticated peer-to-peer as a bonus, but JXTA won't run on J2ME profiles (you need to use JXME, which looks like it's still in its infancy stages because it requires the use of a relay/proxy as mentioned on developerWorks, and there is no JXTA Crypt for JXME) .  If you can put your own server on the Internet, you can use a dynamic DNS model for the mobile devices as long as you use public/private key authentication to validate that the devices connecting are actually your users.

So all the pieces are mostly there, which makes me wonder why no ones done it?  If done right, it can be used on any device (including MontaVista/Trolltech/Qtopia Linux, PalmOS, PocketPC, and yes even BB) since they all run J2ME.

Comments :v

1. ken12/13/2010 14:30:35

@Tered: BB is more secure than iphones (encryption on the network all the way onto the phone). The latest iphone 4 OS is a lot better now because data is at least encrypted on the phone (BB has always done this). Android phones don't do this yet.
The BB mail application is also a lot easier to use for most people.

2. CArthurLane01/22/2010 06:40:26

Why are Blackberries popular? Well... Let's just say I'm writing this comment on one right now.
This was my first phone I had gotten with a contract... Why did I get it? Cause it had the most 'appeal', the same kind of appeal American Eagle or StarBucks has. Its something you have with pride, an exclusive club where only the sophisticated and tasteful carry around.
That, and everyone who has a blackberry has some sort of praise with having one. There was a steward on a plane when he noticed my phone on the tray, he looked down and said, "is that a blackberry?" I said, "yes, I never leave anywhere without it, it's my life-support!" He looked back at me replied, "yeah, they're ADDICTING!"
So yeah, there is a reason why it is catching on...

3. David11/26/2009 19:28:12

So i this the only reason for blackberry's popularity.If thats the case then I'm very happy with my symbian smartphone because multimedia and 3rd party applications are the most important.I don't care for these email features.It seems that blackberry is good for businessman only not teenagers.

4. ali jafari11/17/2008 02:40:46

Very interesting perspectives. It seems everyone here is techi and looking at the problems only from the technical perspectives. The reason that Blackberry is very popular is because of ease of use, ease of use and ease of use. The user interface and navigation scheme is an A+ design. You can use one hand to totally navigate through every applications, even doing this while you are driving a car. It is fully automated, very reliable, and it always works. Blackberry is an example of dummy proof design.

5. faisal02/19/2008 05:09:27

would like to know how a prc file on palm device can run as a background process,
if any idea please throw some light on it, with example

6. Frank11/14/2006 13:15:21

Morons! It's a business tool. It has nothing to do with fashion or fad. If you use Outlook/Exchange or Lotus Notes in your business then the BB enables you to carry your fully functional email desktop with you where ever you go. Further, the GPRS phone on the BB is great, just don't get the CDMA version. CDMA cell phone technology sucks.
If you have no business need for such a device then the BB is not for you. Go get an mp3 cell phone with a camera

7. adam07/24/2005 15:06:17

Blackberries are glorified "gameboys" with text. I do not see why the hell these are fashionable. First, anytime you get a java error code [happens frequently] you have to reinstall the entire handheld software to correct it. Second, if any of the encryption goes out of date or corrupted, you have to uninstall and reinstall all the BB software, which half the time doesnt work to begin with. RIM's software is the worst software I have ever seen, and have had so many less problems using Palm's software. Will they compete? Yes. Why? Because RIM software is too complicated for an average user's use. If you have no tech knowledge, you do not belong owning a blackberry.

8. Darren06/08/2005 22:19:14

I think you have completely missed the mark.

The law firm my wife works has a lot of Blackberry users. From what I can tell, they don't use it for any of the reason's you've stated, or any technical reason at all.. Rather, they use it because everyone else does. Blackberries aren't popular because they are somehow technically superior. They are popular because they are currently fashionable.

Next year, something else may come into fashion, and everyone will move to the next 'fad.'


9. Frank Koehntopp06/08/2005 07:42:15

Why are they so popular? Because they're so eeeaaasy to use!

Works out of the box, and everything from the hardware to the UI are focussed on the main tasks.

I don't think there's a way for PocketPCs and Palms to mimic that, unfortunately (think 'RegEdit') - it's all about the usability, really.

10. noname06/08/2005 03:16:02

i don't think from the point of a user, encryption is that important. besides, how do you think you will make j2me apps run in background?

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Full-stack developer (consultant) working with .Net, Java, Android, Javascript (jQuery, Meteor.js, AngularJS), Lotus Domino