I still want BlackBerry to right its course

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| May 15, 2014

It's been a long time since I had my first smartphone, but if my powers of recollection aren't fading on me yet, I'm pretty sure that my first device was a BlackBerry. I don't think I owned it very long -- because I'm pretty sure I went over to an HTC-branded Windows Mobile device -- but it must have been long enough to make an impression. Or maybe the phone was just that good (back then, this could have very well been the case). Whatever the case, it would be the first of many handsets for me over the years, and I don't regret the majority of them. Sure, some of them were duds, but a lot of those devices back then were pretty great for what they were meant to do.

Since then, after a few stumbles over pretty large obstacles, BlackBerry's basically about ready to fall off the face of the map altogether. These days it's all about iOS and Android, and now Microsoft's mobile platform, Windows Phone, is eating up the marketshare and mindshare that was once so heavily populated by BlackBerry.

It's hard to believe that it's already been over three years since I first talked about rooting for the underdog, previously known as Research In Motion. At the same time, it's almost hard to imagine that it's been over three years and nothing has changed for the better for them. It's just . . . It's just been more of the same, with some bright spots here and there device wise, but nothing that's been enough to propel them back to the limelight.

That hasn't stopped them from trying, though.

Which is great, because I don't think anyone actually wants to see BlackBerry go anywhere. To draw a parallel to the video games industry, BlackBerry could easily be considered the Nintendo of mobiles. They're the "old guard," and the company that helped a lot of people out there find their love for smartphones in the first place. Like they did for me so many years ago.

The only way they can keep going forward is by releasing what they're meant to release: smartphones. The trouble is, they can't release smartphones in the same market as devices like HTC's One M8 or Samsung's Galaxy S5, price them equally, and then have them be remarkably lesser handsets. With a brand new, untested-in-the-real-world mobile operating system no less. They tried that and it didn't work out. So, it's time to change the game plan.

But that doesn't mean they need to make cheaper devices. Not if they want to launch them outside of niche markets. If BlackBerry honestly wants to compete with the big names in the mobile industry these days, or even companies like LG and Motorola which are just now finding their footing again, then they need to do it with devices that actually put up a fight.

And just having a display with an eye-catching resolution isn't good enough.

Recently, BlackBerry confirmed that within the SDK for BlackBerry 10.3, a simulation for a square display with a resolution of 1440x1440 and a pixel density around 453 DPI. Moreover, that this particular display will be used in an upcoming device. That's great! For all those people out there that look at the specs list and make the majority of their decision on a future phone based on that list, this could very well speak to a lot of folks.

But it's not the only thing to focus on. Not for BlackBerry. Rumors about the device behind that display suggest it could boast things like a 3450mAh battery, a "revolutionary keyboard" and 13-megapixel camera on the back with optical image stabilization. That's as far as details go, coming out of the Rumor Mill, though, so it's not enough to get excited about exactly.

Not yet, anyway. It could potentially be building up to something noteworthy, but obviously I'm putting a lot of pressure on the word potentially here. It could be nothing at all, when the reportedly codenamed "Windermere" finally makes an appearance. But, I can't help but have my fingers crossed anyway. I'm afraid I'm still rooting for the underdog, all these years later.