Have smartphones become indispensable business tools?

I have used smartphones (mostly Nokia) for a few years now but started using BlackBerry since July 2010 and have never been a day without a BlackBerry ever since – until now. The BlackBerry device became the central point of my daily communication routine. I could read, forward, reply personal and business emails quickly. I could follow the conversation streams on Facebook and Twitter apps when I was idle. I could take photos at events and post same to Twitpic without waiting till I got to my laptop. I could chat with friends far and near via BlackBerry Messenger or some of the other chat apps installed on the device. I used phone calls and SMS only where extremely necessary, thus saving costs. I could manage my blogs from the device: moderate comments, publish new blog posts, view traffic stats etc. I could grab trophies from FourSquare as I explore new places. I could find my way around using Google Maps. I even completed hotel bookings on the device, using BlackBerry Travel app. Granted, the BlackBerry smartphone could never replace the full experience of a laptop for me, but it made me much more efficient as I had a lesser workload to tackle when I sat behind my laptop.

A BlackBerry Curve 8900
A BlackBerry Curve 8900

You can thus understand how frustrating it has been in the past 10 days that I have been without the full benefits of my BlackBerry smartphone. Most personal emails remain unread,  I’m struggling with a piling workload, over 150 comments are pending moderation on my personal blog alone, I’m out of touch with friends I normally chat with regularly. I’m unable to share the fun of: Cape Town, WordCamp, how I celebrated my birthday, and other escapades in South Africa. In a nutshell, life has not been so frustrating in recent days.

Yes. I have tried very hard to fix this problem. I’ve subscribed to BlackBerry Internet Service from two cellular operators: Vodacom SA and MTN SA. I’ve contacted MTN Nigeria where I last used the device successfully and they confirmed my device is not tied to their network, I’ve called MTN and Vodacom customer service over 16 times, I’ve visited MTN offices in Cape Town and Jo’burg 3 times, I’ve wiped the device and re-installed the operating system in case any of the installed apps is causing the problem. MTN is suggesting the device is the problem, I’ve entered the settings they gave me and diligently followed all their suggestions. All to no avail. Now I am in touch with RIM, manufacturers of BlackBerry smartphones.

This little experience I am still going through has emphasized how much many of us have come to rely on smartphones, for running our personal and business lives. It is quite normal fiddle with the smartphone before falling asleep and it is the first thing we grab before brushing our teeth in the morning or saying those morning prayers. Ah, I use the Bible app on my smartphone more than my bulky physical Bible.

Business life is much easier with a BlackBerry but when things go wrong, life can be hectic. Very hectic.

Have you been separated from the joy of using your smartphone for a long period? Share the experience in the comment area.

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Oluniyi D. Ajao
Oluniyi D. Ajao is an Internet Entrepreneur and Tech Enthusiast based in South Africa. Follow him on twitter @niyyie for more tech updates.


  1. Can’t you just subscribe to a non-blackberry data plan and then accomplish most of the same functionality. Especially if you carry another smartphone.

  2. This story illustrates the wisdom of not having one’s egg in one basket – whenever practicable – even if that basket is made of concrete)..

    Yes; each time technology fails, it causes a major disruption in an ordered and orderly life!

  3. Interesting post, but to answer your question absolutely not. Smart phones may be useful devices but being indispensable even in this jet age I don’t think so.

    I don’t use a smart phone but I can still do some of this tech stuff even when I am on the move.

  4. The solution is simple. Before you traveled, you would have simply paid for your BIS subscription here in Nigeria to last you the period you will be in SA and once you land in SA, using your same MTN Nigeria sim inside your phone, you could have simply connected to WiFi and still enjoyed the full services of your Blackberry as your BIS is still active on your home network.

    Works like Magic!

  5. Oh Charle, pele ooo. Me sef I have tried to ping you a couple of times to no avail. I guessed you were in this kind of scenario and knowing you as I do, I can imagine and even ‘feel’ your frustration.

    I on the other hand have been lucky. Even though I’m out of Ghana my BB has been working 80% of the time, which I wasn’t expecting at all 🙂

    Se you in Gh soon

  6. Hi

    Any one knows the top 10 Android smartphones selling on the Ghanaian Market?

    I have an idea of the kind of android operating devices selling on the Ghanaian market but I want it ranked.

  7. i’ve spent my time disliking bb’s. now that you’re “scoping” us, maybe i should start considering trying it out…

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