January 19, 2009, 11:34 AM — A couple days ago Barack Obama's BlackBerry once again made news when he dropped it on the ground and a secret service guy scrambled to pick it up. Later, Obama told CNN that he planned to "hang onto" the device.
There has been a lot of noise concerning why he shouldn't have it, mostly revolving around the security issue. The security issue however is much overblown. Naturally, the President shouldn't use an off-the-shelf BlackBerry--but there is a version that has been approved by Department of Defense for secure use. In addition to the security issue, there has to be an archiving solution attached to it, to avoid the "missing email" debacle of Mr. Obama's predecessor; and further, only government email accounts should be used, to avoid the messy Yahoo issue of Ms. Palin. And naturally, I think the man has enough common sense to not use it to transmit state secrets. More likely, he wants to use it to stay in touch with staff on a constant basis, and receive news updates. Should he have his BlackBerry? Absolutely. The President should have access to modern technology, particularly technology that facilitates quick communication. But, there has to be a set of protocols attached to it.
All that aside however, assuming that Obama does keep his BlackBerry (or switch to some other platform, for that matter), it's good news for the mobile industry. The President using a BlackBerry? You can't buy that type of good PR. And it's not just good for RIM, it's good for the entire industry, all manufacturers of mobiles, and all of the VARs and resellers that incorporate mobile technology into their solutions.