I was a corporate animal. I had the laptop, the latest mobile phone, the expense account and thousands of Air Miles as well as hundreds of thousands of hotel points. I had the freedom to travel virtually anywhere I thought there was business, and wherever I went I had the ability to communicate with the office, hold conference calls and access the internet wirelessly. I also had my Blackberry.
For those who don’t know what a Blackberry is and I can’t imagine too many people don’t, it’s a combined mobile phone and e-mail device which also allows you to browse the internet. I believe the new versions also have some fancy applications on them which handle spreadsheets and documents. When it first came out it virtually changed my working life. No longer did I need to find a BT office or an internet connection when I was travelling. I could pick up my e-mail and reply on the move, even doing some research on the internet to include in my replies if I needed to impress. I didn’t need to get up at midnight when I was working from home on US deals to check for important e-mails, I could actually do that in bed, without disturbing J too much.
Such was my reliance on this device that I definitely became a ‘Crackberry’ – someone who is hooked on their beloved device. It went with me everywhere, even on holiday. My kids thought it had been surgically attached to my right hand.
So, it was with horror that I read the other day that they are now producing and selling ‘Baby Blackberrys’. These are not smaller devices for the corporate vertically challenged or for the female executive who wants a mini device for her handbag. Oh no. The Baby Blackberry is for toddlers. It’s so that the baby of the family can sit at the dinner table at night and act just like dad, typing away and then throwing it in the corner in anger when the mobile signal disappears.
The serious side of this marketing ploy and the rationale behind the ‘toy’ is that it’s supposed to make infants familiar with letters, the alphabet and ultimately words and sentences. It can also do some elementary arithmetic – just like the real thing. Fortunately, it does not handle e-mail or have access to the internet, but I reckon that’s only a matter of time.
I can see it now. Daddy and infant exchanging e-mails about the rather ordinary dinner mother has served up that night. Infant sending dad, who is in New York on a business trip, an e-mail stating that ‘Uncle Bill’ has now stayed at the house for the last 3 nights. Or that mummy has been shopping constantly at that place called Tuppeny or Tiffany or something.