The BlackBerry is a staple to many employees who spend time out of the office. You can use it as a phone, organizer, and keep up with your e-mail. But there may soon be a ban on BlackBerrys because of a battle over the patent.
City officials in Bryan and College Station use BlackBerrys to stay connected to what's happening in the office when they're not there. The wallet sized screen and keyboard serves as a phone, calendar, rolodex, and internet all rolled into one.
" The Blackberry allows you to have several devices that you may have had to carry separately before in one device. The big advantage is e-mail," said College Station Assistant IT Director, Ben Roper.
Roper and many others, have their eyes on the court system. That's because there's a legal battle brewing between BlackBerry's maker, RIM and NTP, the company who says it originally came up with the technology. If a judge rules RIM infringed on a patent, then BlackBerrys could be banned.
That's bad news for the nearly five million customers who use BlackBerry. But city, state, and federal government entities may not be affected. If a compromise can't be reached, both companies say they plan to provide exemptions to government users.
Gabe Gonzalez is the owner of Wireless Works. He says the loss of blackberries would mean a loss in sales for his business. They cost anywhere from $200 to $400 a piece.
" People are liking the convenience of them. We've been having really good sales. As far as Christmas time, we sold over 50 blackberries just in the month of December," said Gonzalez.
But Gonzalez and many others are hoping for a resolution between the two companies that will keep the BlackBerry in service.
If Blackberries are banned customers would likely get a 30 day grace period to find a new product. RIM also has some software that would help users make a transition.