You have probably heard by now that BBX is no more. It boils down to a lawsuit (as most things do), and now Research In Motion has to figure out a name. I should put that in the past tense, I imagine, since the clever minds up there have already chosen a name for their brand-spanking new mobile OS. You shouldn’t be surprised that there’s a number involved, I guess. The number itself seems perfectly random, though. And then there’s the Milan, the recently leaked device that hit the Internet today. It has me thinking that maybe, just maybe, the BlackBerry name has a (one last) fighting chance.
Truth be told, I’m not much of a fan anymore of devices that slide. I’ve never really been a fan of devices that are a portrait slider, because I think it’s a waste of effort and design. Hiding the physical keyboard in there is great, but only for a little while. Eventually some people out there may just leave the phone open or closed, and either use the physical keyboard all the time, or never. (I know people who have done this, so it may be weird . . . But they do it.) Of course, when it comes to a BlackBerry device the standard issue is to use that physical keyboard because it’s just so good, and I doubt that will change with the Milano or any other future device released by the folks in Waterloo.
So far we’ve only seen the BlackBerry London (it’s now rumored to be called the Surfboard, but, well, I’m sticking with London for now) and now the BlackBerry Milano. I’m sure that will change in due time, but for now this is all we have to go on. A full touchscreen device and a portrait slider. I will admit that I’m a little shocked one of the first devices we didn’t see is one of the “classic” BlackBerry form factors, but I imagine that RIM wants to show off what they’ve got for the aesthetics department. We know they can make a good looking candy bar phone with a full QWERTY keyboard, but not many people enjoyed the look of the original slider, the BlackBerry Torch, so it make sense that RIM would want to replace that design with something a bit more futuristic. And the Milano certainly fits the bill.
As I said above, I’m not much of a fan of a portrait slider, but when I saw the Milano, that dislike quickly turned into a saucer-eyed moment. I immediately wanted it. But then I remembered the specifications (while rumored) of the London, and I made myself take a step back and think about that decision. As it stands right now, we know that RIM is apparently not looking too far ahead, and they are planning on releasing these devices with specifications that we’re already seeing (and besting) right now. Though, it is said that BB10-powered phones will have displays with better pixel density than the iPhone 4’s Retina display, so that’s something.
But, is that enough? Is the Milano, with its unconfirmed specifications and nice design enough to warrant attention on BB10, and RIM in general, until these phones finally come around? And, more to the point, when they do finally come around, are people going to buy into them, even if the specifications aren’t where they need to be? I wish I had an answer to that, or even a guess. I honestly do think that the Milano looks great, and so does the London. They are both devices that I would love to show off to friends. But, when I show off a phone to a friend, specifications inexorably get brought up, and I don’t want to be disappointed by what RIM has created.
Should Research In Motion have named BB10 something else? Like, maybe, BlackBerry 8 or 9? Maybe, but RIM probably sees BBX/10 as a huge update for their smartphones, so picking a number close to their previous version wouldn’t cut it. Or, maybe they just thought BB 8 didn’t sound good. Either way, we know that BB10 is indeed coming, and now we have the hardware to associate it with. We can certainly keep our fingers crossed for RIM, now can’t we?
Yes we can.