While some may believe that Research In Motion is already setting things up to sell hardware or license software, I don’t have any reason to think that RIM isn’t giving BlackBerry 10 the attention, and dedication, it truly deserves. I do not believe that anyone at RIM is ready to bow out, and they want to give this thing one more real shot before they have to make any extreme decisions. Does that mean a sale of the hardware division, or a licensing of the BlackBerry OS is an impossibility? No, not at all. But I think RIM is going all-in, and hoping that they can make it work on their own terms, without having to look to another company for assistance.
A couple of days ago, the BlackBerry Z10 leaked for the umpteenth time, and we got a nice view of the device’s angles. While I was scanning the comment threads on a few of those articles, I couldn’t help but notice a growing trend, something that I had basically missed up until now: A lot of people are pointing out that the Z10 essentially looks exactly like the BlackBerry London, a device that we saw in November of 2011.
At first, I was confused as to why this would matter to anyone. When I look back at the BlackBerry London, I look at a piece of hardware that I really wouldn’t mind having. The mocked-up software on that device wasn’t anything to write home about, based on just aesthetics, but the hardware itself was a nice change of pace for the BlackBerry brand. Compare the London to the BlackBerry Torch with BlackBerry 7 on it, for example. Yes, it’s another all-touchscreen phone, but that’s about where the similarities end for the two devices.
But the London didn’t pan out, not in that body, anyway. Instead, we have the Z10.
And when I look at the BlackBerry Z10 and the London, I can see the distinct similarities between the two devices. Especially when I look at the white-and-black Z10. RIM took the design cues from the London and made it make more sense for their BlackBerry hardware folder. The Z10 looks like a new BlackBerry device, especially if we’re including the BlackBerry PlayBook. While the similarities between the Z10 and London are there, I wish RIM had gone more with the hard lines of the London, more than the curved ones in the Z10.
These folks got me thinking about hardware, and how much it means that these devices speak to consumers. First impressions matter. So, if the Z10 doesn’t necessarily cry out for attention with its hardware, then it’s going to be up to the software to be that deciding factor. Can BlackBerry 10 be that powerful? Yes, I think it can, as long as the marketing is profound, and retail sales representatives in wireless carrier locations around the world are ready to sell the product.
It will also come down to applications. Thankfully, RIM is not being coy about their need for apps, and has been reaching out to developers to create apps for their new platform. Over the last two weeks, RIM has been hosting their BlackBerry Port-A-Thon, which put the center stage light on developers and their apps. The first round saw a total of 15,000 new apps submitted to their catalogue. The second event brought in another 19,000 new apps. Obviously RIM knows that apps are important, and it’s good to see that they are trying to get developers to support their BlackBerry World.
Two weeks ago I wrote about how for RIM just having “a lot” of applications won’t be good enough, that it has to be about quality over quantity. That’s an obvious truth that, in all honesty, can be blurred in the middle a little bit. Having a large digital catalogue of apps is a great thing, because it means that developers are supporting your platform. However, we know that some people are going to prefer the big-name apps, the popular choices, versus third-party substitutes. I knew I was that type of consumer, but that point was reinforced earlier today when an application I use every day confirmed that they do not have any current plans to support BlackBerry 10.
I immediately tweeted that BlackBerry 10 couldn’t be my daily driver, and that saddened my heart. As I’ve said in the past, I’m very excited about RIM’s new mobile platform, and I am very interested in checking it out in person. However, when Rdio tweets that they aren’t going to support it, BlackBerry 10 suddenly becomes a platform that I can’t really consider for my primary device.
I realized in that moment that I understand where people are coming from when they turn down platforms like Windows Phone because it doesn’t have that one app they want, or especially need. I realize that no matter how great BlackBerry 10 is (and I know it’s going to be great), until Rdio gets supported I won’t be able to use it as much as I would like.
Right now, we are only three days away from the BlackBerry 10 launch event, and I’m still eagerly anticipating what RIM has to show off, and the details of their newest mobile OS. So I figured I should take this time to ask you, Dear Reader, what application, or applications, you absolutely need out of the gate to support BlackBerry 10 for you to even think about jumping aboard. Let me know!