Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Official Washington" Is The Last Outpost Of The Blackberry

I found this story to be quite amusing for a number of reasons. Here is the Washington Post with the details:
Outside Washington, the world is moving at warp speed away from the BlackBerry. At its maker, profits are declining and executives are leaving, and the BlackBerry has even conceded its perch as the top smartphone in its native Canada.

Inside the Beltway, time stands still. A half million federal workers — President Obama and his staff among them — are still thumbing little black keyboards on little black devices. And that number hasn’t dipped over the past few years while Research in Motion, BlackBerry’s maker, has recorded plummeting sales everywhere else.

The slow-moving federal bureaucracy is keeping the BlackBerry around. But RIM’s intensifying troubles and thriving rivals are confronting Washington with a question: Should it break its “crackberry” addiction?

Some agencies are already loosening their policies to let their workers choose other smartphones. Lawmakers and aides can now bring iPhones into the halls of Congress.

But, for the most part, the federal government hasn’t joined the smartphone revolution.

“We appreciate RIM’s focus on security, which is paramount for government use,” said Casey Coleman, the chief information officer at the General Services Administration. The agency has issued some iPhones and Android-based phones for staffers, but the vast majority of its 12,000 agency-issued smartphones are BlackBerrys.

But Coleman added that other platforms are proving equally secure. The GSA, she said, places “a priority on adoption where appropriate of innovative new technologies,”

Agencies and big contractors note that the BlackBerry is cheaper than the iPhone and many Android devices. IT departments across the government have years-long contracts with RIM and the wireless carriers that promote the device. And tech staffers at federal agencies are trained to fix BlackBerry products, which makes it harder to switch to new technologies, analysts say.

Plus, newer devices aren’t as secure as the BlackBerry, some agency officials said.

The slow pace of change has made the BlackBerry as much a part of federal culture as short-sleeve, white-collared shirts were among NASA engineers or lapel pins are among politicians on Capitol Hill. Some analysts even expect Washington to become the last bastion for RIM’s devices.

That would leave many Washingtonians with smartphone envy.

Paul Silder, a government contractor, says he feels stuck with the BlackBerry that the Department of Homeland Security gave him.

So the 44-year-old father of two is left longing for an iPhone or an Android that he can proudly tuck into the holster on his left hip.

“I want a bigger screen. I only really use it for work, but it would be nice to surf the Web more easily,” Silder sighs.
Not to be crass, Mr. Silder, but you should actually feel really lucky that you still have a secure, high paying job. It's infinitely better to be stuck with a small penis screen that to be foraging around in dumpsters for your meals.

Actually, the Feds may soon not have any choice but to change their cellphone technology:
Overall, BlackBerry’s dominance has quickly faded. Today, phones based on Google’s Android software account for 48 percent of the market, while Apple’s iPhone has 32 percent and BlackBerrys have dropped to a distant third place with 12 percent.

Last week, RIM reported quarterly earnings that missed analysts’ expectations. Its profit dropped to $418 million in the last three months of 2011, compared with the $934 million it earned during the same period in 2010. Several senior executives resigned their posts, including former co-chief executive Jim Balsillie. On Monday, RIM’s stock fell about 9.5 percent in regular trading.
It sounds like in a couple of more years, tops, that this problem is going to sort itself out. Much to the relief of this twit:
Lindsey Bowen, a 29-year-old program director at the Junior Statesmen Foundation, often has to defend her BlackBerry as iPhone- and Android-obsessed friends mock her device. Seen as outdated and uncool, it's become the Washington worker’s fashion equivalent of a hard-shell Samsonite briefcase.

“Tell us again, how many apps do you have on that thing?” they tease.
The mind reels at just how superficial some people can be.

Bonus: Sounds like the Feds are getting the long distance runaround


  1. I dont have a cellphone. I cant afford it. Why should I pay for all those government people to have one?

  2. Unfortunately for the free market and social darwinism worshipers out there, when you beat your competition in a human society, they don't starve and go extinct, they become jobless and angry.

  3. Is there any aspect of modern life more odious than gadget-fetishism? I remember when Palm Pilots were all the rage!

    I managed to miss out on a Blackberry entirely, but it looks like that annoying fad has just been replaced by another. I don't think I want something called a "Droid" anywhere near my pockets!

  4. A little off topic, but I thought you might be interested in seeing this article:

    Now even the main stream can't fully ignore the truth.

    1. "The Labor Department has now revised upward its first estimate of seasonally adjusted claims in 56 of the past 57 weeks, a Dow Jones analysis of claims reports found. Revisions to government data occur on a regular basis but it is uncommon for numbers to nearly always be restated in the same direction."

      And yet the media continues to report the numbers as if they have any accuracy.