Engadget’s Joanna Stern lost her beloved but ancient BlackBerry Curve, lamented the state of BlackBerry’s in general, and bought a Droid.
I had always known that RIM was behind the curve (always a great pun!), but I also always had hope that the company would catch up with modern smartphones of today.
Are they putting lipstick on the pig while working on something new? Both. Because that’s how it’s done. Meanwhile, Stern looked at the BlackBerry Torch.
The Torch does provide a slightly better browsing experience, and BlackBerry 6 has been polished a bit, but still the general experience is sluggish and the applications are nowhere near as robust as the ones for iOS or Android. And when you look at it from a purely hardware perspective, the Torch offers a smaller screen, lower resolution, and slower processor than much more powerful phones on the market, yet costs nearly as much.
How does RIM compare to Android and iOS smartphone devices?
RIM doesn’t have a competitive smartphone now, nor will it have one any time in the near future.
Yet, RIM just announced record sales, record revenue, record profits and the BlackBerry outsold the iPhone. Again. What is RIM doing wrong? I’m confused.
It’s confusing—RIM seems to be creating its own mobile class system of smartphone serfs and tablet nobles, if you will. Phones with an outdated OS have been given slight sprinkles of modern day functionality while the PlayBook receives fresh, multicore software with an innovative UI and apparently great performance.
Apple did much the same thing with Mac OS Classic in the years leading up to Mac OS X’s launch in 2001. How is RIM’s strategy different?
The strategy seems to be: keep the current smartphone platform in the market at the moment, build out QNX on the PlayBook for a Q1 2011 release, work to bring the OS down to dual-core smartphones once the power consumption is right, and then finally enter the high-end smartphone game for real—a timeframe that seems to stretch out at least a year if not more.
RIM didn’t have the luxury of Android and iOS and starting from scratch. They’re required to keep the BlackBerry machine moving while building another machine to take its place.
That strategy might makes sense on a few levels, but Apple, Google, Microsoft and Palm aren’t going to sit still while RIM gets to work, and I need a phone now.
It does make sense because that is how it’s done.
In the meantime, RIM enjoys record financial results as the whole smart phone market segment expands. The key issue is whether RIM’s new QNX-powered line of smart phones and tablets will arrive fast enough to be competitive in the future.
Should RIM announce in detail all the new features of the next BlackBerry line of phones (designed to compete feature-for-feature with Android and iPhone)? No. Why not?
That would bring about the Osborn Effect, which could be disastrous for RIM. Instead, the company has to do a tightrope dance (to mix appropriate metaphors) to keep the BlackBerry machine moving forward, while designing and building the next BlackBerry machine.
That is how it’s done.