When I was working for the City of Tifton as the MIS/ Telecommunications Director, we used SouthernLinc radios for the first several years. I always hated those units, especially if you were trying to use them as a cell phone. Yes, they did have a cell phone function even though they were intended to essentially be two-way radios.
Eventually, I was able to convince the powers that be that we should seriously look into replacing everything with cell phones. At the time the carrier of choice in the area was Alltel. My first “company” cell phone from Alltel was the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition. That thing was awesome!
For the first time I could easily receive and send emails. Accessing the web was a bit wonky because these things were running over a 2G/3G network, but it definitely was a step up from the two-way radio situation. Hell, BlackBerry even made a version of their phone for SouthernLinc and it was a piece of trash.
BlackBerry eventually fell victim to the other successful smartphones in the market, namely Apple’s iPhone. We haven’t heard much about them in the last several years, but that seems to be on the verge of changing.
A new startup, OnwardMobility, plans to release a 5G Blackberry sometime next year. And, yes, it will have the physical keyboard (I personally LOVE the physical keyboard as I can’t seem to type worth a damn on ANY of the smartphones we have today).
It seems BlackBerry just won’t die…and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.