Gazing into a Blackberry phone, with the thumb scrolling down the track pad, and grin, depending on the information, is banal in several places across Nigeria. Since the foray of Blackberry into the Nigerian market a few years back, and love of the device arising from its business compatibility, and access from its messenger, the device has grown into the most used smartphone in the country.
Blackberry was initially seen as for-business phone, after the use of Nokia communicator phone waned, circa 2007 – in Nigeria. It moved from just for business to what many preferred for its messaging ability, convenience and QWERTY keypad. It was until youths fell in love with the phone, that it got more attention and made more people use it.
Blackberry makers, Research-In-Motion, didn’t hold back, released new models of different brands of its phones, making older ones cheaper and newer models sleeker, getting into more hands, homes and offices. Blackberry PIN to have access for the messenger service, at a time, slightly replaced phone numbers for many, preferring to communicate to folks that way, than the telecom-charged voice service.
Monthly data subscription for Blackberry also got cheaper, as competition became fierce, with options for weekly and daily subscription, cutting from the initial month-only subscription. It was normal to have a blackberry among certain age groups, and certain people created groups on blackberry messenger, sending messages (or pictures) that will be seen by everyone in the group for response and comment.
Blackberry is king, at least for now, in Nigeria. People read their blackberries everywhere, on the street, at home, in schools, while eating, driving, flying, working or reposing. Many use their browsers to read the news and also visit webpages that is useful to them. Others have applications – coming with the phone or self-installed – used for that too.
Many register their email to the phone, get emails on the fly, and respond. Text messages are also friendly with a conversation history present, and ease with copying and pasting text from any location on the phone. Blackberries also come with power to view and edit office documents, download and upload when necessary, and to create documents online.
These business-hugging features, keeps Blackberries in the palms of several executives, while the extra communication features – like the messenger, pictures, music, and other application attract young people and students, while executives also find it useful at times. Blackberry Messenger, WhatsApp, 2go, Yahoo Messenger, Twitter, Facebook applications are embraced by youths and students creating for themselves a social circle which they live in.
With these, people read their Blackberries for fun or for business, helping them to save their face in urgent situations, when bored, in awkward situations, when waiting, driven or relaxing. Reading your Blackberry also has distraction as a major hazard. Reading a blackberry can be for fun or for business, whichever one it is, it carries lots of power, for the mind, for your mood, and for the next move.