Monday, March 21, 2005 | Wireless e-mail | Wireless e-mail: "What Apple's iPod music-player is to teenagers, the BlackBerry e-mail hand-held is to executives: the gizmo they cannot be seen without, and often cannot live without. But you probably knew that already: readers of The Economist are smack in the middle of the BlackBerry demographic. At conferences, in boardrooms and on commuter planes and trains, they are everywhere. The BlackBerry has spawned designer accessories; earned a nickname ('CrackBerry') that reflects its addictive nature; and even has a malady ('BlackBerry Thumb') associated with over-use. But its success means that the Canadian firm that makes it, Research in Motion (RIM), now faces a growing throng of competitors.
Yet while RIM will continue to grow at an impressive rate, it will probably do so more slowly than the overall market as competitors start to muscle in. One possible outcome is that RIM and Good will end up fighting over the lucrative corporate market, while the less-demanding consumer market becomes commoditised. But with hundreds of millions of e-mail users worldwide and, despite their apparent ubiquity, only 2.5m BlackBerry devices in circulation, it is still early days for the mobile e-mail business. "

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