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CrackBerry Poll: Do You Still Like the Term Smartphone for BlackBerry or Should RIM Start Thinking Name Change Again?

By Kevin Michaluk on 27 Jan 2010 01:28 pm EST
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 What am I?
BlackBerry what??

* Update: Interesting poll. The voting is pretty close to split, but I like where the comments are going with this. Maybe RIM doesn't need to change the word smartphone to anything else but rather they just need to drop an additional word altogether. It's a BlackBerry. Period. Everybody knows what a BlackBerry is - heck, it's one of the world's most popular brands. So let's just call it a BlackBerry and skip categorizing it into a larger group at all. It's not a smartphone, it's not a handheld wireless device, it is a B L A C K B E R R Y. *

When I got my first BlackBerry and first launched CrackBerry.com, Research in Motion didn't refer to the BlackBerry as a BlackBerry Smartphone as they do these days. Instead, they called it a BlackBerry handset or BlackBerry handheld wireless device. As the Pearl and Curve hit the market, RIM quickly changed it up to be a BlackBerry Smartphone, as smartphone became the industry term that separated crappy feature phones from devices that combined the more powerful functionality of a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant - ex. Palm Pilot) with a phone. Think Handspring Visor, Palm Treo and the old school BlackBerrys.

The reason for this poll? In recent months, I've noticed that while RIM might refer to the BlackBerry as the BlackBerry Smartphone, whenever I see carrier ads around where I live it almost seems they do everything they can not to refer to the term smartphone. In many cases the BlackBerry is grouped into ads featuring other non-BlackBerry devices, but the terms they're using are name like webphones, qwerty phones and I even heard an ad earlier this week that referred to is as the BlackBerry communicator. In the tech blogsphere this notion of the term smartphone being a bit out of date now has come up a few times. I think it was a sometime last year that David Pogue put forth the term app phone as being more proper for a device like the iPhone and generation of smartphones that put such a focus on apps. And if you think about the convergence of web browsing, apps, media player and pda along with all of the communiction stuff, it really is much more than just a smartphone. The term superphone has even come up recently in reference to Google's new device - I sure hope that name disappears fast from use.

I'm not sure what word makes the most sense to tack on after BlackBerry, but as the devices get better and better I think at some they may need to change things up yet again. I don't dislike the smartphone term - though I do think it doesn't really paint much of a picture of what the device is about when you think of it from a consumer branding standpoint. I've always felt smartphone to be more of an industry term that some consumers may also use, rather than a term all consumers know. 

If you have any brilliant naming ideas or thoughts, be sure to post a comment. We had feature phones, and smartphones.. do you think there's one new term that everybody will agree upon/start using? Or are we going to see a mix of names moving forward?

Reader comments

CrackBerry Poll: Do You Still Like the Term Smartphone for BlackBerry or Should RIM Start Thinking Name Change Again?

102 Comments

Leave it smartphone.

If Apple, RIM, Android, WinMo, and every smartphone brand begin to ''reinvent'' there name, it would be anything...

Thank you for that Steve54. You beat me to it, but that is my thought exactly.

Let the competitors use the smartphone term. Everybody else has a BlackBerry. Simple enough.

No better, simple, and practical way of saying it. The "phone" is a productivity device that needs no other nomenclature than the model designation given( i.e. Curve, Bold, Tour). What we say falls in the category of urban colloquialisms.

I Totally agree with you! A Blackberry is a Blackberry is a Blackberry. Where there are other "smartphones" on the market there is only ONE Blackberry! Nothing can be compared to the Blackberry no matter how "smart" it is! Just call it what it is.....its a BLACKBERRY !!!!

Exactly. RIM, a company, makes Blackberrys, devices, which come in various models and flavors. People don't buy a "Blackberry Smartphone," they buy a "Blackberry Storm, Blackberry Bold, or Blackberry Tour." There is no reason that "smartphone" needs to be part of the nomenclature.

...with the new BlackBerry LifePhone (or LifeSync). A little cheesy but it makes sense to me anyway.

However, I do think BlackBerry all they need. They don't have to call it a BlackBerry Bold 9700 Smartphone... BlackBerry Bold 9700 or Bold 9700 BlackBerry is explanatory enough.

I think Blackberry says it all. I also think RIM missed the boat when they did not file trademark and copyright on the term smartphone.

Blackberry is good enough name for me. I never tell people I have a "Blackberry Smartphone" it's simply "Blackberry"

Honestly speaking, most of the views you expressed are true. I prefer just the term BlackBerry. It is synonymous with apps, qwerty keys, trackball/trackpad and all the other good stuff we have grown accustomed to and are looking forward to.

If your between the ages of 10, and 70 you know what a Blackberry is. That's like calling Pepsi Pepsi cola. Yeah we know its cola. People know blackberry just from the form factor. I remeber when I first got my curve, I had it on the counter at a store, and this old guy was like "OMG a Blackberry!" It was priceless.

"It's a BlackBerry. Period. Everybody knows what a BlackBerry is - heck, it's one of the world's most popular brands. So let's just call it a BlackBerry and skip categorizing it into a larger group at all. It's not a smartphone, it's not a handheld wireless device, it is a B L A C K B E R R Y. *"

- amen

It was funny, this past Christmas, we were at my GF's Aunt's house, a question arose about something, so I pulled out the 8330 I had at the time and quickly looked up the answer. You should have seen my GF's Grandma, she was asking me about my phone, and when I told her it's a BlackBerry, she goes "OH this is a BlackBerry?!?" She then proceeded to start petting it like a dog, she was enamored by it.

The name says it all, BlackBerry. I agree 100%, it's in a class of it's own.

I agree with the comments made related to the fact that RIM should just drop the "smartphone" aspect. Blackberry is all about name recognition, demonstrated by their latest ad campaigns. A Blackberry is a unique, progressive leader in the industry and is a device unto it's own.

It's a B L A C K B E R R Y :).

Ben

This is seriously the most asinine thing I have ever read (on a so called "tech blog"). I understand that it's a BB-specific blog, and content is limited when you're only covering one company, but seriously, whether to change the name of the phone? You're not even proposing something radical, just dropping the description of the phone as a "smartphone." Wow. Get it together.

You felt the need to not only READ it, but comment on it...so WHO needs to get it together? LOL

OMG! I can't believe all the trouble I just went thru to register this account just so I can say "OMG, do people really lose sleep over what they are going to call their phone?!? Maybe we should get congress to enact a bill on it. Or better yet maybe we need to get the U.N. Involved...sheesh. It's a Blackberry...duh!"

Kleenex is a perfect example. Everybody says hand me a Kleenex, not hand me a Kleenex facial tissue.

It's a Blackberry - we don't need to, nor do we usually add the term smartphone to it.

I have read somewhere people are calling the nexus one a "superphone",. Perhaps the high end blackberrys will have to be called SUPERPHONES from now on otherwise calling them a smartphone will be like if they didnt change it to smartphone from cellphone.

It is a Blackberry. Deactivate your Andriods and lower your iCrap. We have a distinctiveness of our own. Resistance is futile.

The Update is right on, make a new poll, ask that question. The term BlackBerry itself tells you what it is, get rid of the nerd-term "smartphone"...

I like just "BlackBerry" too. The only problem is when you try to pluralize it...is it many BlackBerrys or many BlackBerries?

RIM should drop smartphone from the title. Look at the coverage of Obama's BlackBerry when he took office. Even people using other smartphones were labelled as using BlackBerries.

Like Google, BlackBerry is now almost a noun.

Um, not almost a noun. It IS a noun. A proper noun to be exact. Google was always a noun, too, but then it turned into a verb. "Let me google that for you." I hope to god I never hear somebody say, "Hey, I'll BlackBerry you later tonight."

I never say BlackBerry Smartphone, its understood in my opinion. BlackBerry is synonymous with smartphone. It basically is a good definition of what a smartphone stands for as well as its capabilities...

Just call it what it is: a Blackberry. However, the plural (as discussed earlier) should be "blackberries", not "blackberrys". It drives me crazy when people refuse to spell correctly.

actually, and this is coming from RIM directly:

the plural of Blackberry is Blackberry devices. They are never to be referred to as Blackberrys or Blackberries.

I think Kevin actually did a blog post on this one at the end of 2008.

We are speaking of a trade name, not the fruit. It also drives me crazy when people refuse to spell correctly.
The fruit is spelled: "blackberry". Its plural is: "blackberries".
The registered trade name is spelled: "BlackBerry". Its plural is spelled: "BlackBerrys". Note the use of the two upper case Bs (not Bees).
Just as you would spell the plural of other trade names such as Mercury. You don't own two Mercuries, you own two Mercurys. Or, Chevy. You own two Chevys. (Chevy being synonymous with Chevrolet).

Therefore, the plural of BlackBerry, is clearly BlackBerrys.
Of which, by the way, I own two!

I think it falls under what someone Pogue said, more of an app phone. Why in the past it may have been considered a "smartphone" because of the ability for the phone to access web, email, apps, and other types of content, the margin of calling a phone smart vs dumb for that reason is quickly becoming smaller. take the upcoming offering from HTC that will have the Sense UI, but is not a "smartphone", it can still access web, email and other content.

I think RIM needs to start working on a smarter class of phones. Take the soon to be released Xobni application, which rates your contacts based on the amount of contact you have with them. This is a smarter type of application that RIM should be embracing and working to make a part of their native OS. We have so many places that we pull contact from: email, text, phone calls, twitter, facebook, IM clients, etc. Integration between apps can make the phone smarter and more powerful. Could my address book contain a work address of a client I have a meeting with @ 3 PM and talk to my native GPS program and then take me to a meeting? That would take the "smartphone" to the next level.

I agree 100% RIM listen up this guy has ideas..Big Ones. This would make BB's that much more powerful and the UI that more invigorated.

i never new people really gave two flips about stuff like this, who really cares in my book the can call it the frog blackberry phone its still a blackberry in my book.

Who cares? You can call it DingleBerry for all I care. I have honestly never bought, or not bought, a phone because of its name.

I agree with another poster here; the name BlackBerry says it all. I am a relatively new BlackBerry user and still learning the device, but it is simply amazing. So, I vote to just call it what it is; a BlackBerry.

They should drop smartphone and just call it BLACKBERRY.

The blacker the berry the sweeter the juice!!!!

everyone knows a blackberry.

They should drop smartphone and just call it BLACKBERRY.

The blacker the berry the sweeter the juice!!!!

everyone knows a blackberry.

They should drop smartphone and just call it BLACKBERRY.

The blacker the berry the sweeter the juice!!!!

everyone knows a blackberry.

They should drop smartphone and just call it BLACKBERRY.

The blacker the berry the sweeter the juice!!!!

everyone knows a blackberry.

A blackberry is a BLACKBERRY this is it.
It is not a smartphone and everybody that have one knows it because if it would be a smartphone it would be smart enough to manage memory without battery pull, it would be smart enough to not freeze up all the time, it would be smart enough to be call a smartphone. No, it's a Blackberry period but we all love to hate them and all hate to love them.

Blackberry stands on it's own. I never say smartphone just Blackberry and everyone knows what it means.

With the advent of the Droid, the Nexus One and the iPad.... could there be any more relevant title for a BlackBerry than "really secure BES email device?" RIM has been left in the dust.

I think RIM should spend less time thinking about what they should call their smartphones, and spend more time thinking about developing proper devices, just so that you don't end up releasing a new device every few months, due to your incompetency of developing it the right way the first time around *cough Tour2*. That's what I think.

Nobody left a comment here? Wow. I guess this is a non-issue. I had trouble calling it a smartphone once I got my 8310 waaay back in the Spring of 08 LOL. My first, now what did they call it? Oh yeah, BlackBerry. I was calling it my multi-communications device or MCD (that didn't really catch on with anybody although I think it's fairly accurate).

I see Nokia is referring to the N900 as a mobile computer (MC? hmm) Somebody is trying to steal my idea ;-)

I don't know what we will eventually end up calling them but I agree that "smartphone" doesn't quite cut it.

Unless RIM plans to release a BlackBerry dumbphone in the near future, there's no point in saying "BlackBerry smartphones"

Just keep the brand name, when someone asks what kind of (phone) you have and you say Blackberry they instantly know
what it is, even if RIM comes out with a new (super ultra mega jumbo handheld device) as long as it's called a
Blackberry people will still know what it is, why lump themselves in with all the rest, if you own a Porsche you
don't say it's just a car am I wrong.
------"LONG LIVE BLACKBERRY"-------

They should call the devices "The BlackBerry SureFone (but pronounce it shore - phone). I may not be a genius, but give it a little thought..... "You can be sure to be satisfied, you can be sure to be a second away from all of your information, most of all you can be sure to know you picked the right device to define YOU.A piece of mind, that you can count on to do what you need to be done, when you need it done".....(the whole commercial the AC/DC song "Thunderstruck" is jamming!). this my friends is a great idea 1.you aren't going to lose any customers 2.you most likely will draw from a demographic you currently don't 3.all of these wonderful things being said about a wonderful product, while booming, confident music is playing is sure to get attention! They will be "Thunderstruck" with their new BlackBerry SureFone's. I'm at stevenj820@yahoo.com by the way.... I believe I can help your cause, and ofcourse I currently use a Smartphone. It is a BlackBerry, but I'm not sure...? ;-^}

I agree with just call it a Blackberry. I daresay there are few on the planet who don't know what you mean when you say Blackberry.

So, Kevin, why don't you repost the poll, but with a third category for "It's a Blackberry!"? I bet that category would win hands down...90:5:5

" Interesting poll. The voting is pretty close to split, but I like where the comments are going with this. Maybe RIM doesn't need to change the word smartphone to anything else but rather they just need to drop an additional word altogether. It's a BlackBerry. Period. Everybody knows what a BlackBerry is - heck, it's one of the world's most popular brands. So let's just call it a BlackBerry and skip categorizing it into a larger group at all. It's not a smartphone, it's not a handheld wireless device, it is a B L A C K B E R R Y. *"

Smartphone designation started with th Palms and phones like that. We've come a long way baby. The BB is a communication device. A media device and a strong business tool. I don't think Smartphone even comes close to what a BB is.

George

I just wrote a big bunch info on my opinion and messed it up with the page back button.... Ahhhh o well simply blackberry is all u need to say... Or

I personally think that the name should not be changed, the BlackBerry smartphone is just that a life enhancing
smartphone.
BlackBerry has over taken the iphone for sure, and I do agree that "smarphone" should be erased, it should be "BlackBerry" period.

A BlackBerry is basically a handheld computer with a plethora of applications running on it... one being a cell phone app. Delete the cell phone app, and it is still a BlackBerry. This is especially true if your model has Wi-Fi.
The only messaging you lose with the network turned off is SMS and MMS via your carrier. Email, BBM, Social Networking apps run normally over Wi-Fi connection. It's a BlackBerry!

While I'm definitely in agreement with simplified approach of just calling it Blackberry "nuff said". I found my first thought on the subject to be quite humorous and so decided to share, I could be in favor of calling it the "Blackberry DrugDealer" cuz BABY, You got what I need!!!! Just a little humor to brighten the day :)