In the wake of last week’s unexpected BlackBerry outage, university students have mixed reactions to both the smartphone and the upcoming launch of the Research in Motion’s latest innovation: the upcoming BBX operating system.
Millions of people around the world were affected last week by a BlackBerry outage that lasted approximately four days. Service returned to normal on Oct. 13.
It was the longest outage in recent BlackBerry history and it consisted of a massive backlog of emails and texts caused by a system failure in Europe.
“My reaction to the BlackBerry outage was panic at first,” said Brittany Thiessen, a third-year criminal justice student at the U of W and a BlackBerry user. She said she was affected for roughly a day and a half and that many of her friends were also frustrated by the outage.
“Despite the outage, I will likely continue to use BlackBerry,” Thiessen said. She added that she prefers the BlackBerry to the iPhone because of BlackBerry Messenger, the freedom to choose the length of her contract and because she can purchase additional batteries for her phone.
“I find it difficult to type on an iPhone and am deterred by the fact you have to sign a three-year contract,” Thiessen said.
“We definitely heard from some of our customers about the outage last week,” said Marina Guy, spokesperson for Rogers Communications Inc..
Guy said she thought it was too early to track the outage’s effects on Rogers’ customers and sales.
She said she expected new BlackBerry smartphones on the BBX system will be popular with students when they are launched but that it was too early to tell if the BBX system would lead to increased competition with Apple or Android.
BBX is a new mobile operating system that RIM unveiled on Oct. 18. Smartphones and tablets running on BBX will be launched early next year. BBX will be able to run Android software and allow programers to create more advanced and dynamic apps.
“BBX looks promising,” said Harrison Samphir, a fourth-year arts student at the U of M. “While it may mark RIM’s last ditch effort to secure [ . . . ] the survival of the BlackBerry, I am optimistic that BBX will at least alleviate some of the company’s recent woes.”
Samphir said he switched from a BlackBerry to an Android device a few months ago because he wanted to try something new, but also because of frustration with RIM and the BlackBerry. Namely Samphir felt that their innovative capacities had “been exhausted.”
But Samphir also said that “if BBX results in a resounding success, I would not hesitate to support a Canadian corporation.”
Vedran Hodzic, a fourth-year student in the Asper school of business, said he switched to an iPhone from a BlackBerry because at the time it was “far superior.”
“At [this] price point you may as well have a phone that can do it all,” he said.
Hodzic said he doesn’t think the launch of the BBX smartphones will affect iPhone sales.
“It won’t affect my choice,” he said.
Derek Pankratz, a U1 student and iPhone user, said he found the iPhone convenient on campus because of “the easy ability to get online and just look up whatever you need to look up.”
Zhongjie Wang, another U1 student and iPhone user, said because of the phone’s non-swapable batteries he did not find the iPhone convenient on campus.
“I need to recharge them every day,” said Wang.
Wang said he thought BBX smartphones would affect the sale of iPhones, although he would “maybe” continue to use the iPhone.