Over the past year, I've been a little harsh on BlackBerry, and for various reasons. So hard at times, that some of you actually believe I'm an iPhone fanboy (far from it) who drank a little too much BlackBerry hatorade. It's quite the contrary. Actually, I love them – I always have. They've just failed to impress me for a long time. That is, until the PlayBook was first announced. I fell in love all over again. Though I'm not entirely sold on the Bridge process and I'm still a little mad at RIM taking that route over just simply making tablet with fully-functioning native applications. Its coming though, and I'm waiting...patiently.
Probably the biggest drive for my RIM-appointed anger is all of the devices that have been rumored for years now and have never seen the light of day, namely the Dakota. Rumors of a touchscreen/QWERTY combination BlackBerry have traveled the interwebs for a long time. Long before I became a die-hard fan. These rumors would surge for months on end, then all of the sudden they die off for a year or so. Of course, we finally got the Torch (one of my favorite phones to date), but that wasn't what many of us had been expecting or hoping for.
For people that still understand the BlackBerry, this could be the dawn of a new era. A long-time rumored device that might actually make it to consumer hands. Not to mention that RIM felt compelled to grace us with some updated specifications like a better camera, adequate processors (so long, spinning clock o' death), and RAM and ROM worth mentioning. Add the NFC support and 3G mobile hotspot to the tally and I'm officially a happy BlackBerry customer again. No, the OS isn't the latest and greatest, and the application store doesn't have hundreds of thousands of applications, but I'm content with BlackBerry 6...for now.
What makes me the happiest about finally seeing the Dakota is RIM bringing back possibly the best form factor that they have ever produced, save for that pesky trackball. The BlackBerry Bold 9000 was the original luxury device, and even though it carries some laughable specifications in today's eyes, many are still carrying that baby proudly. Those are the ones that will be forming a line for this device on launch day, along with yours truly.
While these three may not be as enticing as the latest dual-core touting Android devices, it's a sign of hope for us BlackBerry users that have been hoping, praying, and wishing that RIM would wake up and give us some specifications worth listing. Given that they've recently acquired TAT, QNX, Torch, and several other respectable organizations, I think RIM may be able to pull through this slump they've undoubtedly been in (specifically, here in the US). Over the past two years, their US market share has been slipping and their devices growing less and less popular among the smartphone crowds. Beefing up their devices is long overdue but graciously welcomed.
I've made the trek across all of the major mobile platforms over the past few years. Starting with Windows Mobile, moving to BlackBerry, then Android, webOS, iOS, and Windows Phone 7. No matter where I venture to or what platform I attempt to move to, I always find myself either crawling back to my BlackBerry, begging for forgiveness, or carrying a combination of devices. That said, I will be adding at least one of these devices to my wish-list, if not both the Torch 2 and Dakota. I have a special love for my 9650, but let's be honest, the 3.2MP camera along with the 528MHz processor make it so 2009. Will any of you plan on buying one of these seemingly modernized BlackBerrys? What are they missing that you wish RIM had added?