Rachel Crosby speaks about her BlackBerry phone the way someone might speak of an embarrassing relative.
”I’m ashamed of it,” said Crosby, a Los Angeles sales representative who said she had stopped pulling out her BlackBerry at cocktail parties and conferences. In meetings, she says she hides her BlackBerry beneath her iPad for fear clients will see it and judge her.
The BlackBerry was once proudly carried by the high-powered and the elite, but those who still hold one today say the device has become a magnet for mockery and derision from those with iPhones and the latest Android phones.
Research in Motion may still be successful selling BlackBerrys in countries like India and Indonesia, but in the United States the company is clinging to less than 5 percent of the smartphone market — down from a dominating 50 percent just three years ago.
The company’s future depends on a much-delayed new phone coming next year; meanwhile the company recorded a net loss of $753 million in the first half of the year compared with a profit of more than $1 billion a year earlier.
Among the latest signs of the loss of cachet: One of the first steps Marissa Mayer took as Yahoo’s newly appointed chief executive to remake the company’s stodgy image was to trade in employees’ BlackBerrys for iPhones and Androids.
The cultural divide between BlackBerry loyalists and everyone else has only grown more extreme over the last year as companies that previously issued employees BlackBerrys — and only BlackBerrys — have started surrendering to employee demands for iPhones and Android-powered smartphones.
Even the White House, which used the BlackBerry for security reasons, recently started supporting the iPhone. (Some staff members suspect that decision was influenced by President Barack Obama, who now prefers his iPad for national security briefings. A spokesman for the White House declined to comment.)
Still, a few BlackBerry users say they’re sticking with the device, mainly because of the BlackBerry’s efficient, physical keyboard. “I use my BlackBerry by choice,” said Lance Fenton, a 32-year-old investor who frequently travels and needs to send emails from the road. “I can’t type emails on touch-screen phones.”
But after eight years with a BlackBerry, Nick Mindel, a 26-year-old investment analyst, said he just joined the wait list for the iPhone 5. When it arrives, he said, “I’m considering removing my BlackBerry battery, pouring in cement, and using the BlackBerry as an actual paperweight.”
New York Times