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Old 04-14-2005, 04:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
Mark Rejhon
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Default All BlackBerries are smartphones, according to dictionary definition. Correct?

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Some people say BlackBerries older than model 7100's are not smartphones.
Why not?

Here's a snippet of a post that I posted in the Off Topic Lounge (RIMM versus GOOD)
I have noticed that all blackberries actually already being true smartphones now, by the dictionary definition. (Not just 7100). I checked dozens of Internet dictionary defintions of "smartphone", which is the right label to call BOTH Treo's and BlackBerries. The definition of smartphone varies a lot, and I agree that there are disagreements in industry. But what's true is that both BlackBerries and Treo's now equally match the general dictionary definition of smartphones.

Smartphone definition, "PDA features" argument
Both Treo's and BlackBerries meet this, no question.
[Edited to add note: The BlackBerry PIM has improved so much in the last year, and plus there are third party PIM's like PocketDay, which is kind like AgendaToday]

Smartphone definition, "email" argument
Both Treo's and BlackBerries meet this, no question.

Smartphone definition, "phone" argument
Both Treo's and BlackBerries meet this, no question.

Smartphone definition, "size" argument
BlackBerries, even non-7100 models, are smaller than the largest smartphones on the market, and thus, BlackBerries are well within this bound.

Smartphone definition, "software catalog" argument
I class them both in the same category now, although most carriers and corporations have not caught up yet that BlackBerries and Treo's are equallizing more and more in terms of purpose than they have in the past. This is going to be different in 2006, as it is still early in the game. BlackBerry software exploded in 2004, and now there's finally over 1,000 applications for BlackBerry. This count is true -- I checked -- NOT AN EXAGGERATION! Some online dictionary definitions for "smartphones" I read requires that there be lots of software available, and suggests 500 or 1000 being equivalent to "lots. As a note, RIMROAD's software listing lists less than half of the BlackBerry software that exists for download, you must check multiple sources and merge the counts. AND you can also install Nokia/Motorola J2ME/MIDP software on BlackBerry too. An important note! The amount of software finally available for BlackBerry makes them meet more of the various dictionary definitions that lists software catalog as a requirement, making them more of true smartphones (semantics, semantics) than just email devices or PDA devices.

Smartphone definition, "open" argument
True, Palm and PocketPC has more software, but everybody can't deny that BlackBerry software development has exploded relatively recently. This is thanks to opening up much more of the OS. Or the more-open portable MIDP2.0 API's if you prefer to have one application that runs on both BlackBerry, Symbian, and other Java phones. Nobody said smartphones needed to be running a 100% OS like Linux, Treo's are called smartphones. So that kind of "open" argument for smartphones is invalid. Also, don't forget you can do Java and MIDP2.0, both of which are considered to be pretty "open" platforms, a native MIDP2.0 app runs on other platforms too such as Symbian and Nokia/Motorola cellphones too running MIDP2.0 in one respect, BlackBerry programming is pretty open, you have the choice of avoiding RIMM's proprietary stuff, as you have a choice of avoiding Palm's proprietary stuff and programing in a more open language for Palm. So BlackBerry is much more open nowadays, on a technical level, and thus truly meets the smartphone dictionary definition where an "open software development environment" listed in certain versions of the "smartphone" definition.

Different communities (industry, analysts, country, government, etc) still somewhat disagree on what BlackBerry should be classed as. Some call them smartphones, some call only the 7100 a smartphone, some call them pagers, some call them email devices, etc.

Remember, RIMM is no longer email centric. They got rid of their email logo intentionally, to slowly get away from the email-only association. The new blue bullets logo you see on RIMM's website no longer has the envelope icon logo in the BlackBerry logo, like in the past. And RIMM are diversifying, and opening up more software development. My BlackBerry FAQ certainly reflects the rapid changes here, and generally this filter downs after about two years. Give it till 2006, BlackBerries will likely be more universally be called smartphones (they already are according to many online dictionary definitions of Smartphones I've read, but not everyone calls them that). You can bet that RIMM is proactive about this now, although at a more glacial pace.

They only started really using the smartphone label for the 7100's, so marketing has a major effect, regardless of older blackberries actually technically already being true smartphones now, by the dictionary definition.

My current opinion is the dictionary definition (or rather 10 dictionary definitions, 100% met!), and therefore all BlackBerries are smartphones. (I applaud the few media articles that's fair to BlackBerry in this respect. Most of them still don't call BlackBerries smartphones). The same label I give to Treo's - they are smartphones.

It's gradually (slowly) changing, trending slowly towards finally calling BlackBerries as smartphones in general. This won't ever be universal, like Treo's won't ever universally be called smartphones. (Some call them PDA's instead. Interestingly, I've noticed some calling TREO as "wireless email handhelds", although that term is still much more common for RIMM devices. Go figure!).
Marketing, industry, analysts, press, perception, carriers, have a lots of disagreement over the "smartphone" definition, and don't always call BlackBerries smartphones.

Apparently, all BlackBerries are smartphones, according to dictionary definition!?

Opinions? Any arguments why BlackBerries should not be called smartphones. Why not?
Mark Rejhon
Author of XMPP extension XEP-0301: - specification - open source

Last edited by Mark Rejhon : 04-14-2005 at 04:07 PM.