There was a point in time where I followed BlackBerry news almost religiously. I was a proud member of the CrackBerry Nation and followed every little tidbit of new and leaks from the Waterloo-based handset firm. I obsessed over BlackBerrys and had dreams about the concept devices that were perpetually delayed. (Those "concept" devices ended up being the BlackBerry Storm and the Bold 99XX, the former being one of the biggest letdowns in mobile phone history.)
I used to be the resident BlackBerry guy here at PhoneDog, but have since lost touch with the aging platform.
At one point, I slaved away behind my computer fixing BlackBerrys for long enough to be about as familiar with any problem that could occur as I am the back of my hands. And, despite knowing Research In Motion's time at the top was coming to a quick and abrupt end, I tried to keep morale high amongst my fellow BlackBerry enthusiasts. Even through the thick, I remained interested, always intrigued by what will come next from the firm. Up until late last year, there was a faint light of hope inside me, hoping the company could pull through the turbulence. New and improved hardware, an entirely new variety of BlackBerry software, version 10 which is based on QNX, and a new CEO should be enough to keep hopes high, right?
If Thorsten Heins were to have his way, each and every person who ever owned a BlackBerry would be drooling over their computers each and every night, waiting on 2013 and the new era of BlackBerry, the new era of Research In Motion. While I've had my doubts over the new CEO, the man is proving to be charismatic, well-rounded and level-headed.
By all means, I'm sure Research In Motion is capable of a turnaround. Currently, it is most definitely between a rock and a hard place. But I'm convinced it has just enough oomph for one more crack, on more shot to make things right and to make a comeback. With all the companies Research In Motion acquired over the last three years, something of worth has to come of it. Right? The Astonishing Tribe, QNX Software Systems, Documents To Go, Torch Mobile, Cellmania, etc. All of that can't be for nothing.
And, to be entirely honest, I hope it amounts to something. I hope RIM makes a full recovery and can bring a new level of competition to the smartphone market, because, between you and I, the competition is growing a bit stagnant and Apple has a knack for making things a bit stuffy.
Nonetheless, I have almost completely lost interest in RIM and any respective work they do between now and the official launch of BlackBerry 10. In fact, I'm not even sure I will care what the BlackBerry 10 devices entail. The only part of BlackBerry world that I found remotely interesting wasn't even RIM's own work, it was licensed work from Scalado, which has since been acquired by Nokia.
What finally made me realize that I've all but written RIM off was a piece that I skimmed across in my Google Reader account last night as I was about to doze off. CrackBerry's fearless leader Kevin Michaluk asked, "How's this for a BlackBerry 10 Slider?!" Embedded at the top of the article was a (Torch-like) vertical slider donning a picture of Kevin riding a unicorn you can see above. I chuckled a bit (and immediately had to look up the pictured From The Editor's Desk piece), then thought to myself, "There hasn't been a single BlackBerry 10 leak or concept phone that has interested me in the least." Nothing from the Canadian handset maker has caught my attention or made me think, "I have to have that," or, "I want that."
And while I'm sure RIM has a few tricks up it sleeve yet, I constantly feel as if RIM's efforts will be in vain. It's as if after all of this time and after so many setbacks and delays, all of this work is being done simply to catch up. Unless the company leapfrogs the competition – I'm not even sure how that would be possible at this point – like Jim Balsillie said it would, I can't imagine anyone caring or this last stitch effort turning out any differently for RIM than BlackBerry 6 or 7.
Deep down, I have a special place in my heart for Research In Motion. BlackBerry is where everything started for me, including my gig here at PhoneDog. But I can't help but think of how uneventful their recent history has been, how uninteresting the next five months will be for them or how BlackBerry 10 may not be the company's saving grace.
Here's to hoping BlackBerry 10 is present and fully-featured by CES 2013. But I have lost almost all interest either way. Tell me, folks. Do you still care for BlackBerry. Are you holding out for a BlackBerry 10 device? Do any of the leaked devices or concepts strike you as awe-inspiring or amazing? Or have you given up on Research In Motion entirely?
Image via CrackBerry