Is Research In Motion just aiming for the bottom now?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| November 17, 2011

You’ll have to forgive me; I’m at a bit of a loss right now. You see, I was actually pretty excited for Research In Motion. In fact, I was thinking that this was the company to watch; that these would be the folks to pull the comeback of the century out of nowhere, impressing everyone. Both detractors and supports would be left with their mouth agape in shock and awe. That’s what it should have been. When we saw the first BBX-based device, showcasing new hardware along with new software, it should have been a shock and awe campaign. RIM should have been yelling, “Hey! Hey, you! Look at what I’ve got here! It’ll blow your mind!” But, no one got that after reading the rumored specifications list for the BlackBerry London. No one.

Let’s take a few steps back and go over those specs, shall we? You’re already looking up at that phone above, probably thinking it’s a pretty nice looking gadget. Many probably won’t even think it’s a BlackBerry device at all, save for that familiar branding at the bottom of the device. It is, indeed, a nice looking handset. But then when we look under the hood, the eyebrows have to start rising. A 1.5GHz TI OMAP dual-core processor? An 8MP camera around back, with a 2MP front-facing shooter up front?  1GB of RAM and 16GB of built-in storage? And it’s rumored to be thinner than an iPhone 4, and “about the same size as a Samsung Galaxy S II.”

Okay… So this phone is launching in December, right? No . . . January? Oh, you mean rumors suggest that it won’t be launched until the third quarter of 2012? There has to be some kind of joke here, right? Because, well, I can buy a phone with those specifications right now. Yes, there are some noteworthy differences, like the device’s thin factor and the fact that it’s the same size as the Galaxy S II, and I’ll give the London kudos for those two things. Unfortunately the phone is built on plenty more specifications than just those two things, so I’m left disappointed.

The story was later updated, and when I first saw that it was, I was thinking that someone had come forward and said the phone was fake; just a render of what RIM was considering at an early stage of the game. Basically, I was waiting to hear that this design was the initial idea from RIM, but that they were looking to upgrade everything before launch. That wasn’t the case, though, and it was updated to say the device in question was actually confirmed. Specs and all, apparently. So, here’s my question, as blunt as it can be: is Research In Motion seriously just aiming for the bottom?

I mean, it’s pretty obvious with the unveiling of the London that they aren’t in the same race as everyone else – even Apple anymore. And, unfortunately for RIM, they can’t afford to not be in the same race as everyone else, not like Google. Unless RIM starts selling out assets, like their BlackBerry Messenger, I can’t seriously look at BlackBerrys as real competition. While I can’t say for sure at this point, I can surely assume that by the third quarter of 2012, we’re already going to see some quad-core phones on the market, and the 1.5GHz dual-core processors will more than likely be the “standard” at that point. Or something close to that. And big, thin phones? Really? We already have those.

So what is RIM actually hoping to accomplish here? Are they honestly going to try and sell BBX to the mobile world with “standard” phones? I sure hope not, because that’s not going to go over well. People like the OS on the PlayBook, and people want it on a phone. But, they want it on a phone that has noteworthy hardware, not something we’re already accustomed to seeing. They should be building a Titan of a phone, something that will blow the competition out of the park with its physical prowess. That’s what we should be looking for.

RIM, make it happen.