Bold 9930

Can RIM survive in today's mobile market?

We ask questions like this on a regular basis as a part of the ongoing speculation of "What's better?" in the ever-changing mobile industry.  RIM has taken a beating as of late, but they're fighting back with the release of the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930, Torch 9810, and Torch 9850/9860.  Three different design choices on three different carriers for three different types of people.

I get tired of the speculating, so I'm putting it to the test myself.  Beginning today, I'm going to use the BlackBerry Bold 9930 as my personal device for 30 days. 

It's been a while, but the BlackBerry platform is nothing new to me; I'm a former die-hard BlackBerry fan, having used several devices between 2005 to 2009.  I loved the physical QWERTY keyboard, BlackBerry Messenger, and push email capabilities, but as the competing platforms progressed, I caved to the better web browsers, app stores, and cameras that come with iOS and Android.

It sounds easy, right?  30 simple days?  Wrong.  Ask anyone that knows me and they'll tell you that I switch devices more than I switch pants (I promise, they looked clean when I put them on this morning…).  I keep accounts open with all four of the nationwide wireless carriers, and since July, I've personally used the Samsung Infuse 4G, HTC Inspire 4G, Apple iPhone 4 (GSM), HTC DROID Incredible 2, HTC EVO 3D, Motorola DROID 3, and Apple iPhone 4 (CDMA). 

(Hi, my name is Aaron, and I have a problem.)

Keeping my rabid habit of switching in mind, I know that I'll need some motivation to keep a device for 30 days, so I'm throwing in a twist.  If I move the Bold 9930 off of my personal line for any reason before September 16th, I'll immediately give the device away on my Twitter or Facebook page.  A $509.99 value, yours for FREE (sleazy sales voice included)!

This isn't going to be easy.  I'll miss the web browsing and media experience on my iPhone.  I'll miss Google Maps and the Gmail experience on my Android devices.  I'll miss the large displays that iOS, Android, and Windows Phone provide.  But it's a challenge, and I'm not one to pass up on a challenge.

Are the latest BlackBerry 7 devices legitimate contenders to Android, iOS, and Windows Phone?  At $249.99 - $50 more than the iPhone 4 and many high-end 3G Android handsets - is the Bold 9930 worth buying?  Is BlackBerry Messenger still an interesting form of messaging in the age of iMessage and Facebook Messenger?  These are the kind of questions I intend to answer in my quest to determine whether BlackBerry is still relevant in today's mobile market.  Join me as I blog my journey with the BlackBerry Bold 9930 over the 30 day period in a column titled "BlackBerry Challenge."  Wish me luck!

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Products mentioned in this Article

eBay prices for the BlackBerry Bold 9930 Black

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95 Reactions to this post

"Aaron's switching back to BlackBerry for 30 days to see if they can compete. Are BlackBerry phones still relevant?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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Jesse Ling blackberry is still very relevant however their consumer base is shrinking into a bit of a niche market. and they have to compete with one of the most enduring fad technoligies ever(touchscreen)think about this;who purchases over 87% of all new technology AND ontop of that infulences it? kids/teens/young adults. blackberry is a secure,high functioning (mainly)business use device with entertainment and customizability as an afterthought,and thats what suits its users ideally. if you want a market of 10million apps youll hardly ever look at let alone use(half of which are just plain dumb and worthless)go ahead enjoy your kids toy.meanwhile ill be sitting here having exactly what i want exactly how i need to have it.
Derek Credit Blackberry has lost in the the technology race. They are in 5th place in a three dog race. RIM set by while iOS and Android redifined the market. Maybey they'll get it right afer the Google purchase. Oh wait, that would mean that they would switch to Android! So long RIM.
Ujjwal Srivastava big mistake....!!
Jason King Yes Blackberry is still relevant. When you talk to anyone in Big business or in the govt. when you sign on this is what they give you ... A Blackberry. There is no iPhone no android phone available. SO yes you have to carry two devices personal and work. Is this practical no but its the way it is . With the govt in london tapping into BBM and emails that whole privacy thing just went out the window so people might be looking to another device. Aaron will say for sure that the 9900 is a great device but he feels handicapped and who wants to be behind the times ... Everyone wants the latest and greatest and right now RIM is not fitting the bill . These new devices although they are very nice are late .. Very late. on top of that developers are not jumping on the opportunity to build apps and yes not everyone needs 1 million apps but some just like the option . Rim needs to focus on 2 devices maybe 3 that's it and make those devices the best they can better yet competitive. First and foremost The RIM build team needs to sit down with the top Android phone (maybe a Galaxy S2) and a iPhone. Play with them and brain storm. There is no way they can operate in a bubble and becomes successful. But for the general population RIM is Done for now.
Dumitrescu Stefan Eugen i love blackberry
Dumitrescu Stefan Eugen ohhhh yeahhhhh
Jordan Ali ive been hearing good things about the new blackberry but ill pass im still going to wait for apple if they come out with a good handset then ill be switching if not ill just wait for an htc phone like the holiday =D
Daniel Soto As a person switching from blackberry to android, back to blackberry I can say they r still relevant. The messaging, keyboard, and long battery life I really need, just wish it had mobile hotspot. Android has a lot of apps but I don't need a phone just to have fun.
Armando Sanchez Blackberry is going to surprise people in the next 6 months I would say. First qnx device set for next year, and as long as bb can hurtle pass turtle speed innovation, create good apps, and intergrate bb messanger into allowing other platforms to recieve their messeges, then they'll be all good.
Melinda Helms Heck, YES!
Brian K Andrews @ Danu: Thanks for the report Danu. The request was for ALL of those requirements to be met, (and for the ENTIRE DAY). 48% after standing in line for a few hours doesn't cut it. THEN.... after you meet THAT challenge, see how far into the SECOND day your android will take you. OH... THAT'S right, you're at 48% after a few hours... guess you can't use your GPS to find your way to your friends house later that same night, (for the I PAID TUITION party).
Danu Carrión Perales lol at the comments saying that blackberrys crash always! but its the reality IN OLD ONES try this one and see.. and for the person who asked for battery life in android after browsing, pandora and everything, ive been all morning till now in a line to pay my college enrollment and still have around 48 percent in my i9000 (galaxy s) in a almost year old battery with android 2.3.4, flash player, youtubing and pandora the whole time with facebook/internet browsing while still being 50 times faster than older blackberrys.. just thought you wanted to know lol! think again before bashing
Brian K Andrews Funny how there are a LOT of folk talking about rebooting issues. I've NEVER had an app crash... not ONCE. True, to ADD an app, a reboot is necessary. It does take 5 minutes out of the day. And? To the gent above that was talking about his phone having everything... My old BB Tour did all of that, 3 YEARS ago! ALL THIS SAID... I WOULD like to see BB get onboard with 4G radios installed. Other than that, unless you're a gamer, my BB "does that" and does it without having to be MODIFIED in ANY WAY, and it "does that" for two days straight without a charge...
Ricky Hernandez When the storm came out it seems they were adapting to what consumer now want. Smart phones is longer exclusive to people in the corporate level but anyone who wants a powerful device. All I know is if they don't adapt they would fade away.
Nathan Hutton I'll take crappy battery life over a crappy phone any day. The reason the BB battery life is so good... is because it crashes so dam much that it spends half it's time off anyway.
Micah Watkins Blackberry is still relevant in today's market especially for business users.
Brian Moloney Have one for work. IT gave me a HTC Evo to test (teasing me with the notion that we might switch to Android) for a month and I cried when I had to give it back. Have the new BlackBerry now a month and Satan's Hourglass is already making daily appearances, along with having to do regular 10 minute reboots, during which time the phone is out of commission. This is without even comparing how it functions as a smartphone versus the likes of Apple or Android. RIM, if you are listening, this is why you are failing and becoming increasingly irrelevant.
Ricky James Solorio nope not up to par
Chris LilXhris Blount No there obsolete , every other smartphone, does what a bb does, and better, there, behind. And now, its just, the name, that stands. Out Like, o look I have a bb. I can check, my email, while , there are now low end , and mid level smartphones, that do the same thing
Brian K Andrews Oh yeah.... almost forgot. To you android and iOS lovers out there... try surfing the web ALL DAY (Pandora), actually using the phone as a PHONE, responding to at least 20 emails, chat back and forth with your significant other ALL DAY, pull up your GPS to help you out to your destination (two different trips), THEN tell me how much BATTERY LIFE you have left. MY BB still has over HALF a battery after ALL of the above, and that's on a YEAR-and-a-half OLD BATTERY! Ya gotta admit, BB does have SOME APPEAL! Mostly to BUSINESS USERS, but none-the-less, BB still has a pretty BIG FOLLOWING.
Gurpreet Singh i prefer the gaming phoness and the blackberry app market is still small
Adrian Salazar Google should buy rim and put it out of its misery...
Ben Garcia If you don't have a blackberry,then you don't have a.....wait,nevermind
Raul Martinez Blackberry = stone age!
Flako Ramirez I love blackberrys specially their keyboards just well made phone but android IOS and windows phone 7 are taking over...but i would love to get one and try it out
Zach Cline Blackberry sucks so I'll have to say no.
Ryan DeClue Had a white Torch for awhile recently. Liked it so much I bought a pre paid sim to use it for a while... And I'm on contract with Sprint!
Ash Hus Bb r thing in past, android nd iOS r tha future!
Debra Stapleton I love my Blackberry
Brian K Andrews Many out here seem to just want to complain about BB and kick it around because of what it DOESN'T have that android does. Do you KICK your Granparents as well? Have you LISTENED to them lately? Point being:Ever since OS6, BB DOES have Flash support.
Aby Lokario Riveron I love the fact that rim has perfected the "keyboard" without ever needing a touch screen .. but is there OS / UI antique yes we are talking about a phone that revolutionized the market back in the millennium and has "slowly" evolved... but yeah is it relevant maybe in the business market... not the consumers market.
Jim Eakins BB users must have a lot of money, I don't so my phone does everything. It's my mp3 player, gps, and camera, and it does all of those well. As for the "either you've never had one or touched one" actually a lot of have owned one or two or have to have one for work. So we know that they are inferior to what we have now.
Chris Gonzales III Hells no I like mytouch's better
Andrew Koffel No totally out of the picture android is were it is
Erica Reid No and this is going to be the most boring phone experience ever. I can't believe I wasted a year on the 9700. No flash, no nothing.
Chad K Ramsey Fuck android n blackberry
Tommy La Rose Verizon shouldn't be getting It, at&t should! They had the original bold which looked exactly like this
Jennifer Urieta keep your droid in your other pocket
Tim Miyashiro If you don't think they're relevant you're an idiot who doesn't know anything about cell phones. They have the best hardware keyboard around, and the email is the best too, it also has BBM. Blackberrys are good if you're typing a lot or don't need OMGFUCKINGDUALCORECELLPHONE.
Jennifer Urieta blackberry is solid reliable phone, but....super boring
Cameron Ahmed Good luck, you'll need it XD
Mark Saint RIM need to add flash support to there mobiles ,most mobile have pust email blackberry need to get with the times
Tony Allen The only thing Blackberry devices are missing nowadays is the heavy app store, and better apps obviously. They've got a screaming fast web browser now. Solid UI/hardware. Everyone here that is talking trash about Blackberry has A: never owned one, or B: never touched one and played with one extensively.
Tyrai King Thomas Blackberry is a little too late...still no front face camera.... And please don't tell me it comes with brick breaker
Jim Eakins Only in third world countries
Ashley Tok As the question states. "Still relevant?" Yes totally are. I'm sure business people out there would back me up but are probably too busy for fb. But the keyboards are the best on any smart phone that has ever existed. Its way of organising is simple and not intruding like most other platforms. The push notifications are top notch especially for business or simply socializing. Heck. You probably can't organise a riot with an android/iphone LOL It might not be top of the line but it was snappy with the 9780, this thing is 3x faster. So speed is excellent, its very simple multitasking is unbeatable too. Sure it lacks the crazy amounts of apps the other platforms have but.. To simply put it. Blackberrys are more for socialites and businessmen.
Joseph Alan Richardson Blackberry OS 7 is nice! Apparently it has a awesome browser.
Phillip Frey I love the BlackBerry but I love all apps on the google phone better
Genaro Zuniga II blackberrys are the best phones compared to razrs or w490s
Ron Scott These are better for baby boomers.
Ron Scott This device was born outdated. Why does it still use the tiny color screen that looks like it belongs on a scientific calculator? Why does it cost more than phones that do more? How will you chat on BB messenger when nobody else has a blackberry? Good luck not wanting to throw it by day 15.
Bashir Ahmed Yusuf Sorry please but what is a Blackberry???
Quan Burkins No but most people love blackberries keyboard but I think if blackberry comes up with a touchscreen slider cellphone and with better OS it will come back in the game and have It's fame once again!
Eko Budi Prasetio Blackberry still got market here in Indonesia, and that's Pathetic
Hansel Starley They are still relevant and certainly doing better than WebOS and Windows Phone.
Oz Zaytsev Blackberry phones are pointless.
Danu Carrión Perales Lol there's just too many ignorant people here... maybe compared to high end android smartphones its not a real competitor but its really tempting its really fast its browser is a million times better than before and one of the best things is the camcorder, excelent video quality and audio, in conclusion it really is a good phone, not the best but really good
Nick Kalman Brand new devices looks very good. I'd give it a try.
Matthew J Callaway Yea it can compete
Derrico Brown They're still relevant to first time smartphone users and/or teens. Not so much the rest of the world though. Having last year's standard specs for a smartphone doesn't win the race
Wayne Choice it's so outdated!!
Tyler McConner I'm thinking of doing the same. trying to see if i can live without android.
Chris Lambert When it comes to messaging I do love my Blackberry Bold 9700, however, with Android out and thriving this phone just isn't enough. The Blackberry os is just lacking so much. It used to be everything was designed for the blackberry, but now when I go out somewhere all I see is, "we have a new iphone/android app try it out!" Blackberry is no longer relevant.
Chris J no why would I want a phone that has a dead os and looks like a Motorola Q. no thanks
Off LIne that y new ones never come out :(
Genaro Zuniga II blackberry email was it's strongest feature but its not relevant anymore
Off LIne NOPE a blackberry is a blackberry :) they never go out of style :) \
Patrick Deeney RIM is down and maybe out. Will apple pick them up?
Keaston Brooks Nothing wrong with bb. Just not a fun os for those that want entertainment. But to me that's why their are android tablets for. My nook color running cm7 keeps my nexus s useage down to just text and calls!
Louis Sean Fayez how can you get used to the blackberry OS if you switch from IOS even tho android OS just copy alot of things and features from Apple iOS?
Neil Hussey The only good thing they're useful for is organising riots in London!!
Arnulfo Barajas I would get a blackberry over android
Christopher Percy Why is this even a question?
George Kosta Petroff Android rules the smartphone universe! RIP Blackberry.
Steve Williams LOL this phone is going for 900 dollars unlocked on ebay what a joke! hahahahahha
Codi Carroll Their product doesn't seem to be relevant to what the mass consumer wants. They need to make a phone geared to what people want.
Joshua Mitchell nope bb os sucks.I have this friend who switched for bb to android n never talked about bb again
Robert Centennial Aaron just made me switch to technobuffalo. You know very well it's a outdated os on old hardware.
Michael Miller Yes, I believe they can. But not for me.
Steve Williams aww a phone with real buttons how cute...
Ashish Upadhye AAron, as i always say, BLACKBERRY always sux !
Steve Williams how can they when its the same phone year after year with no new features really
Maurice Hall Yes, no one has email/messaging down like RIM. Now of they could catch up on everything else they would be actual competition for Google and apple
Benny Lane Jr. What's a blackberry?
Jesus Castillo Nope they can't
Joshua Bender Horton No. Blackberry, you need to get off the plain borring UI
Michelle Snyder I dislike my BB!!!!!! Wish I had my Android phone back!
Fayez Noor depends on from which OS ur switching, u can get used to it if you switch from IOS but not it you switch from Android

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