We never thought we’d see the day when a brand new traditional Blackberry device would cost less than N60,000. But that day is here. At

Behold the affordable Blackberry

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We never thought we’d see the day when a brand new traditional Blackberry device would cost less than N60,000. But that day is here. At last, RIM has attempted to break into the mid-range market, and about time too.

The Blackberry 8520 is the device through which this transition is taking place, and it has been aptly named Blackberry Lite in certain quarters.

blackberry 8520 21534
To achieve this low-cost solution, RIM has skimped on features, and you need to be aware before you splurge on the 8520. Here goes:

  1. the 8520 lacks 3G, so you are left with GPRS and EDGE for data
  2. the camera is only 2 mega-pixel, so don’t nexpect to be able to take pictures you canput to any serious use
  3. there’s also no GPS

The QWERTY keyboard is traditional Blackberry and users shouldn’t expect any problems from that direction.

Of course, if you are after much more functionality and value, you can spend about the same to get a Nokia E71, Nokia E75, Samsung Jet, and get 3G, HSDPA, Wi-fi, GPS, much better camera, etc.

But, if your primary needs are corporate PUSH email and image (yes; that’s what most Nigerian BB owners get their devices for) and you don’t want to spend too much, the BB 8520 beckons for you.

But for those who have been craving to join the Blackberry club you can now do so without breaking the bank.


  1. What, no 3G? I don’t think i need this. The Jet is way better and I don’t like it.

    Its good to see Research In Motion plunge in to the mid-range market.

  2. Time was, when I was considering getting a blackberry. Went to an MTN FriendShip Centre to get an answer to a question that has always agitated my mind : ‘what makes a BlackBerry special / different from other phones?’.

    I was not given a satisfactory answer. The CRO sounded more ignorant than a ‘ScrewDriver_Engineer’!

    The people I know who own one just use the phone for basic things. Someone asked the ran question @ http://forums.crackberry.com/f2/what-s-so-special-about-blackberry-225217/

    So, the blackberry is supposed to be elitist and PREMIUM (that word again!).

    What makes the blackberry better than or different from other smartphones (push-email functionalities, what?)…

  3. EyeBeeKay,

    Just to add to what you posted, last year we wanted to get our MD a Blackberry. He kicked against it. Here were his reasons:

    1. he already had PUSH email on his phone
    2. Blackberry service means an additional email account when he already had functional ones, as well as one or two dormant ones
    3. the browser was stone age and wouldn’t deliver on his needs
    4. there was really no functional advantage that the Blackberry would bring over the range of devices he had used or was eyeing at the time

    As far as our MD was concerned, the only plus a Blackberry would give him was the corporate image thing, which was what we had in mind when we suggested the idea. Unfortunately, this is one MD who doesn’t care much about acting the part.

    He opted for something else. Spoilsport.

  4. Who needs a blackberry in these mordern days when nearly all the smartphones can do more than a blackberry can?

    Push email is not relevant when you have the new nokia email app that delivers your mails to your phone almost as they arrive and can keep track of as many accounts as you can put in. I have four accounts in mine and use them simultaenously on my nokia 5800.

    The only use for a blackberry is for status symbol but i can assure you that is already fading.

  5. deoladoctor,

    Don’t be too quick to dismiss the Blackberry. Statistics show that more and more people around the world are picking up Blackberries. RIM has a larger marketshare than Apple and HTC, and that marketshare is still growing.

    Blackberries now account for over 20% of the world’s smartphone market share, up from about 14% in early 2008.

    See our recent feature on the Silent Success of the Blackberry.

    Who needs a Blackberry? The corporate world (also known as the enterprise market), whose IT department have invested heavily in certain systems – and who purchase millions of devices yearly for their staff (whether the individual staff wants a Blackberry or not).

    Having invested heavily in those systems (hardware and software), the corporate world is very reluctant to get on any of the flashy, new systems, with the potential financial implications and compatibility disasters waiting in the wings.

    Regardless of how much the consumer market drools over Android, Symbian, iPhone, WebOS and Windows Phone, the enterprise market is mostly in the grips of Blackberry. That may change, but it is likely to be a very slow change.

  6. For the ordinary John and Jane Doe on the street a good Nokia device should suffice. For this category of users the cost of a blackberry is a huge disincentive. No mapping software, mediocre camera, crazy monthly subscription, now no 3G? all for effeezy? Ha ah!

    The corporate world may want to keep Blackberry their toys for the image effect; after all its other people’s money. The average man on the street wanting the best value for money will avoid the Blackberry like a plague.

  7. archie,

    I completely agree with you there.

    When you’re shelling out your hard earned money for a practical and functional phone, and you are on a budget and the last thing you want is a phone that limits you to the basics (plus a push email).
    With the kind of money you spend on the new blackberry, you could buy a decent symbian multimedia phone plus a push email-like capability.

    I don’t think this new blackberry will be a success in Nigeria.

  8. How is it that in all of the discuss(article and comments) no mention was made of the Blackberry messenger…ignorant much? The acceptability of the BB has gone beyond the “efizy” even though it can’t be ignored. With the BBM, you can chat (communicate, send files, voicenotes) with other BB users (in the WORLD) and more recently with apps like “whatsapp” you can chat with Iphone users.

    I guess what am trying to say is the rate at which pple are snatching up the BBs, I daresay that the amount spent on voicecalls will be greatly encroached into by the monthly subscriptn with its attendant benefits.

    And I do concur with EyeBeeKay about the cluelessness of a lot of the so-called staff in the retail outlets who ought to provide intelligent responses to product-feature enquiries

  9. This is off topic but while I was at MTN Customer Care today, I overhead two reps telling a customer that came to configure WAP on his Blackberry, that WAP on BlackBerry wasn’t possible. How true is this?

  10. Chukwudi,

    Don’t mind those ignorant people. WAP (mobile web) is very much possible on Blackberrys. Why else would the manufacturer include a built-in browser?

    We have played with a BB and were able to browse on it with a Zain SIM inserted.

  11. My brother, Lord knows that if I knew WAP worked on BlackBerry, I would have disgraced them there and then by taking the guy’s phone right in front of them and configuring it.

    I’m just sick and tired of suffering fools gladly @ these telecom customer care centers.

  12. abyurla,

    The BB Messenger feature is suitable only to closed groups, a factor that panders well to the enterprise world. It requires that the other party has a Blackberry. Staff of the same organisation can communicate for free since they are equipped with BBs.

    BB Messenger may not benefit individuals so much, as they may not have enough friends and associates using Blackberrys. As said by others already, an individual would be better off with a Symbian smartphone that costs about 50% of the cost of a BlackBerry and use messaging platforms that gives him access to yahoo and Gmail (and data usage by those is minimal,to be sincere).

    While BB users may theoretically have access to “other BB users (in the WORLD)“, as you put it, in reality they only have access to only other BB users that they know.

    Again, BB Messenger is based on exclusivity – “our little club”. The enterprise market will drive BB uptake more than any other factor. As a rule, individuals looking for value for money, not an exclusive club membership, will look elsewhere.

  13. @deoladoctor. people trust blackberry for security reasons. that’s why it’s a bestseller in the enterprise market.


    Can you explain what you mean by security reasons? I don’t quite get your point.

  15. I recently bought Nokia E72 and requested to configure the blackberry service on the phone through Glo. I was told they only support the older models. I wonder why. I tried MTN as well, they don’t support any phone that is not Blackberry. I prefer the blackberry service because it’s a cheaper way of getting hooked to the internet and also enjoy the Push Email service. The Nokia E72 because I believe they are better handset than the BB offerings (Personal preference though) .In Europe, it’s easy can configure the Nokia E71/E72 to the Blackberry services. Is there a restriction to this process in Nigeria or the GSM operators couldn’t just be bothered

  16. adesco,

    Trust us: they just cannot be bothered. They are more interested in selling BlackBerry devices than providing the service. Being network operators, one would expect that they would concern themselves more with the service.

  17. @Adesco: WOW! I never knew smartphones other than the BlackBerry could be configured to use Blackberry services. Hmm. Interesting. If our telecom guys change their mind, this will MOST DEFINITELY make me get a smartphone 😉

  18. deoladoctor,

    BlackBerry offers advanced encryption for all data transmitted between BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry smartphones. We hear that RIM have achieved such certifications as NATO level quality of security on their devices.

    In other words, if you transmit lots of sensitive information, a BlackBerry and BES is a combination you want to look at.

  19. Hey! dudes,
    We may slam the BB all we can but i can tell you that those RIM egg heads are negotiating their way into more and more pockets in Nigeria already! Early in the year,the leading bank in Nigeria(Firstbank) Invested massively in the Blackberry Enterprise server plan. Mgt. pushed the devices willy nilly to all Snr mgt staff. Not knowing that the licence will not cover them, most lower grade staff rushed to the market and picked devices off the shelf, only to be told that they can’t join the Enterprise push mail.
    But believe me, seeing the trend, they will have to expand that plan very soon, to accomodate as many as will love to.
    Its all about the corporate image, folks. And RIM sure knows how to up the ante!!! Even in Nigeria.

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