Tony Abbott still clinging onto the hallowed Blackberry


blog Those of you with long memories will recall that the iPhone first launched in Australia in July 2008, no less than seven years ago. It took the Department of Parliamentary Services, that shockingly up-to-date bastion of modernism, a few years to catch on to the phenomenon, but by February 2011 technophiles such as Malcolm Turnbull (although he doesn’t quite *get* the fibre thing, does he?) had ditched the noble Blackberry and started tweeting from the floor of the two chambers.

“Bberry excellent for email but apps and web browsing very inferior,” tweeted the Member for Wentworth at the time. Well, quite.

Nowadays it’s par for the course for politicians and their staff to use iPhones or Samsung Galaxy S-whatevers, and your writer has even seen the odd Apple Watch around the House as the younger generation gets on board with the latest gadgetry. iPads are practically de rigueur.

According to an article by The Australian, however, noticed by ZDNet today, Tony Abbott’s still clinging onto his hallowed Blackberry device seven years later after the iPhone landed.

To be honest, it’s hard to find this surprising. If you spend much time in Parliament House or in the public sector, you’ll experience regular odd Blackberry sightings. While the iPhone has found dominance in the House in recent years and Samsung is making inroads with Android, it takes a great deal of time for the public service to switch over to new technology. I suspect Abbott would not be regarded by many senior colleagues as particularly out of date for preferring a Blackberry, although junior staffers would receive odd looks from their mates if they opted for the same.

For many politicians, the Blackberry would have been their first real experience of a smartphone that did anything more than telephone calls and SMS. Times have changed, but some offices in Parliament House change slower than others.

Image credit: Office of Tony Abbott


    • he’s no fool, the blackberry is the perfect way to bypass Turnbull’s metadata logging, as all communication is encrypted back to the servers in Canada, out of reach of Australia and the USA’s snooping spies!

  1. Though the stack behind behind Blackberry’s was large and convoluted it was extremely reliable for enterprise things. The lack of things they could do from a support perspective is highly underrated. Such a shame they dropped the ball, from a messaging reliability perspective nothing comes near them. They also shot themselves in the foot by making the new devices not backwards compatible.

    Currently about 60/40 Android/iOS and deleted the old blackberry server a year or so ago.

    • It was clearly the best point solution at the time. I’m still amazed, though, by how completely blindsided the company was by the iPhone. It should never have taken them so long to bring equivalent functionality to Blackberry.

      It feels like administering a mixed corporate environment like iOS/Android should technically be quite a bit more complex and annoying, but it seems to work well from the organisations I’ve seen doing it.

      Wonder how the Microsoft/Lumia shops are doing these days, eg:

      • We rolled out a few thousand Lumia’s. Still are actually.

        But the relative success of the BYOD policy and the lag behind of the app support in the MS space means we’re looking to change our defaults.

        Financial slowdowns in our industry means we’re not in a hurry to change.

        • Yeah BYOD seems to be taking over. Not a bad framework in general, as long as the corporation itself has backup options if people’s own phones aren’t capable etc. Nobody should really be carrying two phones in 2015.

  2. I’d expect him to use as Nokia 5110 to be honest …

    Welcome back Renai, and other familiar names in the comments!

  3. Will be fun to see how it changes (if) when BB stop making BBX OS devices and swap to Android…

      • I reckon i’m 90% certain that if Blackberry bring out a be-keyboarded “secure” Android device, it’ll pretty rapidly become the Utilitarian CEO/Exec’s phone of choice.

        I have about 10 years of support experience to one of these types. I’d put money on it. The physical keyboard is *paramount*.

        • I can’t believe people still prefer the physical keyboard on their phone. Makes zero sense to me … but then I guess I never did own a Blackberry.

          • The guy i support doesn’t use a laptop or computer at all, ever.

            He will fire off and receive about 400 emails a day, almost all of his business is conducted, at length via is keyboarded phone.

            he could not be as active, fast or accurate on a virtual keyboard screen that gets slimey and grotty after an hour of solid use.

            I actually kind of agree with their insistence on them.

          • A physical keyboard does provide tactile feedback that a touch screen cannot. You can type by feel and the chances of pressing the wrong “key” are greatly reduced. All very beneficial when operating a motor vehicle at the same time, for example, at least so I’ve heard.

          • If what you are doing is regularly typing messages and emails (which is probably 80% of corporate use)etc, then the physical keyboard still beats the touchscreen.

            Its everything else that the touchscreen excels at.

          • I had that opinion for quite some time. However swipe type is really good these days, I’m far more efficient at belting out decent length communications with my Android device than I ever was with the bb (which I used word prediction to make it faster).

  4. Tony using obsolete technology, I’m shocked I tells ya!

    Actually I’m shocked that he has one at all, after all it’s not made from coal is it?

  5. When I remember how long it took my old federal agency to move from XP to Windows 7, and from dial up to adsl nothing really surprises me…

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