It's no secret that RIM has been on an unfavorable path for some time now. They have sat on their heels, riding the wave of the same operating system with minor UI changes here and there for years now. BlackBerry 6is no exception. While the OS is more fun and (since the latest Torch update) less laggy, it is still the same basic OS us 'Berry heads have grown used to with a slight UI overhaul. Back when BlackBerry 6 first met consumer hands I gave my opinion on what it meant for the company and what RIM would have to do to avoid plummeting to the bottom of the mobile market share.
Since then, RIM has announced the BlackBerry PlayBook, introduced a completely new operating system for their tablet, and told us that we will eventually see their QNX software on BlackBerry devices as well. This has sparked some life in a long-time BlackBerry fan. For about six months now, I have been annoyed and disappointed with almost every BlackBerry rumor up until two weeks ago at DevCon. The PlayBook announcement and QNX software at the two things that RIM needed to get themselves back on track. What they do from this point definitely determines whether RIM will make like Palm and nose-dive or if they will turn things around and re-stake their claim as the mobile king, here in the US.
One of the major points I made about BlackBerry 6 is that it wasn't a complete reconstruction of the BlackBerry operating system, but merely a face-lift. If RIM wants BlackBerry to survive they are going to have to do something about this. They have begun constructing a bridge between the OS we know and the QNX software that us techies want to get our hands on so badly. The fate of mobile operating systems these days lies in the hands of just a few things. First and foremost, application support, without high-quality applications and hard-working, brilliant developers, a new mobile platform could potentially be doomed from the start. A close second, is ease of use, then along comes functionality and customization. RIM and QNX definitely have their work cut out for them now that Android has essentially taken over, iOS is steady and not going anywhere, and Windows Phone 7 is about to hit the market. Palm's webOS has gone by the wayside, but with HP backing them and a second generation of devices looming ahead, we may see another rush from them.
They've fought through threatened service bans in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and India; battled the loss of displeased customers; and suffered through a flop of various touchscreen devices. With misfortunes like those behind them, RIM has the opportunity to learn and grow from the mistakes that have been made and turn this into something good for them. I know I'm not alone when I say, "We're rooting for you RIM." The BlackBerry community is still strong and has a massive amount of followers, just sitting, waiting on RIM to make a move in the right direction. You've got our attention, RIM. Now let's see what you're made of.