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Are Blackberry Users Getting the Shaft?

Blackberry mobile apps

I was reading this article about Blackberry’s woes on Associations Now the other day, and was interested by Andy Clarke’s rant in the comments:

Believe me, I am as frustrated as anyone that a lot of new apps are developed for iPhone and android users only – but at least within the association community ASAE can take a fair amount of blame for its singular refusal to support or even acknowledge blackberry users. I went to technology sessions at the last annual meeting where blackberry users were excluded from the conversation and presentations at best. At worst they were made to feel stupid for not having an iphone or ipad…one presenter even showed the share price of RIM (as it then was) as some kind of justification for not addressing blackberry users. Totally out of order, in my view.

Yes, there is a lot of competition in the marketplace. Blackberry is under pressure; iPhones are under serious pressure from other devices; and Blackberry is still selling a LOT of devices and a lot of Association Execs use them. All I ask is that ASAE treat us with some degree of respect and actually serve us by including us in the offerings at conferences and meetings. It’s not like I am still clinging to my 8-track stereo and betamax video player.

To me, this brings up a lot of questions about how organizations manage the access to their information through technology, and specifically relates to the idea of personalization and customer experience management, which is becoming so important. I think it was Renato Sogueco, CIO at the Society for American Florists, who said a couple of years ago that they did an extensive survey of mobile usage of their members and they chose to only provide their app (or whatever it was) for iPhones, not Android or anything else. Apologies if my memory does not serve me accurately, but regardless of the specifics, I’m sure this scenario has played out all over the place, because it’s cost prohibitive to create a bunch of different versions.

But the question remains: how do you truly personalize the experience for everyone if everyone is using different devices, at different times, in different circumstances? I know we think about the digital divide when it comes to members using social media or not using it. But has anyone done any work on this issue of specific devices for their association? I’m curious.

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