Should RIM focus on the Bold series with BlackBerry 10 at launch?Evan Selleck - Contributing Editor
As we move closer and closer to the "end of 2012," we get closer and closer to the inexorable "BlackBerry Day." What's BlackBerry Day? No, it isn't a special event that the company is getting ready to announce, and now it isn't even a Canadian holiday, either. (Though, it probably should be.) BlackBerry Day is the day that I'm coining as the final unveiling of the official BlackBerry 10-equipped devices. This is a day that not only BlackBerry fans are looking forward to, but the entire industry.
There have been plenty of rumors about what's to come from Research In Motion, and even pictures to pique our interest. The BlackBerry London does indeed look like a phone that I would want to buy, but as it stands right now I agree wholeheartedly with Taylor, and believe that I would probably only really want to buy it if it came out right now. But, we all know that's not happening, unfortunately. Instead, we're still waiting for RIM to show off the London, and plenty of other rumored devices, and hopefully bring the BlackBerry name back to prominence within the mobile market.
In January, RIM was in the news quite a bit. At the early part of the month we heard from unnamed sources in a report that RIM had effectively canceled the BlackBerry Milan, as well as the BlackBerry Colt, effectively leaving only the London to push BlackBerry 10 later this year. That came to an end a few weeks later, though, when a roadmap suggested the London would be followed up by a Bold-branded device, along with a slider that could potentially launch in the first quarter of 2013.
Now, we have to realize that with the London we're dealing with a codename, more or less. Sure, it's perfectly possible that RIM uses the London name when it finally comes to market, but we also know that RIM loves their model numbers, and their well-known brands. I'm talking about the Bold, Curve and Torch series. There have been others in the past, but these three are the ones being launched as new devices. Like I said, it's possible that RIM launches the London as the BlackBerry London whenever it finally lands, but I wouldn't be surprised if they slap a brand name on there before too long.
I recently got to use a BlackBerry Curve 9370, the newest BlackBerry Curve to launch with BlackBerry 7 for Verizon, and I came away thinking only one thing: moving into 2012, and when RIM finally launches BlackBerry 10, they need to drop both the Curve and Torch titles and stick with only the Bold name. The reason being: using the Bold 9930 and the Curve 9370 is night and day, and it basically all comes down to the keyboard. Honestly, despite the Curve 9370's "mid-range" processor powering the device, it's still very responsive, and so I don't have any gripes there. But, that keyboard. You can't even really compare it to the Bold 9900 series, even if it is perfectly acceptable.
I know that the Curve and Torch brands exist to fill in the gaps that the Bold leaps ahead of, and that's perfectly fine. I'm not saying that RIM needs to get rid of them entirely, but they should right from the start when launching BlackBerry 10. Why? Because the devices that RIM needs to show off when they officially get unveiled need to blow everyone away. When they show off BlackBerry 10, hopefully at Mobile World Congress at the end of the month, we need to be excited for the hardware that the software will be running on. Maybe a few months, several months even, after the successful launch of BlackBerry 10, RIM can start filling in the spots with the Curve and Torch brands, but right out of the gate they need to focus entirely on the Bold series, and keep up that level of detail and excellence.
The London looks like it can do that without a problem, and I wouldn't be shocked to see RIM add the Bold name to the London device at some point near the launch, or before it. The Bold series, especially with the latest generation, is an indicator (in my opinion) as to why RIM and the BlackBerry name deserve without a doubt to still be in the smartphone race. Now let's just hope that RIM can back that up with BlackBerry 10.