The more people talk about Research In Motion’s progression into the future, the more it feels like the company continues to take one step forward and two steps backwards. We watch as the company launches their first tablet device, the BlackBerry PlayBook, which features some of the most fluid user interface elements we’ve seen on a tablet (so far), but it’s missing some pretty important applications. And more recently we watched as the company officially announced their latest version of BlackBerry OS, called BlackBerry 7. But, BB 7 won’t be made available to current generation devices, doesn’t feature any QNX elements under the hood (so no Android apps), and there’s no Flash support. One step forward, two steps back.
Or, perhaps in this most recent case, it’s not a step forward at all. While providing a major update to a popular mobile OS is always a good thing, RIM’s upgrade is leaving quite a few people in the dust. In fact, if you don’t find yourself a personal fan of the BlackBerry 9900 or 9930, but you want to get yourself the latest version of BlackBerry 7, you’re out of luck. And that’s it. End of story.
But on the other hand, if you already know you’re going to get the latest BlackBerry to be unveiled, you’re still not getting some elements that people find pretty important. (Though, you’re still getting those stock apps that the PlayBook is missing, so that’s a bonus.) The lack of Flash support in BB 7 seems to be the biggest issue for potential customers, and it’s swaying them in the wrong direction.
But, is Flash support that big of a deal? There’s no denying that many, including Adobe themselves, believe that Flash provides smartphone owners with the truest Internet experience available. HP is planning to support Flash on their devices, Nokia already does it, and so does Android. But both Microsoft and Apple have chosen to skip over it entirely, and neither of them seem to be all that disappointed in that particular decision.
But customers are important to RIM, because without them they have nothing. And it seems that RIM is scorning plenty of customers right out of the gate with BlackBerry 7, and the mobile OS isn’t even available yet. Will that change in some way by the time the OS is launched on the BlackBerry 9900? Not unless something changes, and they company will find a way to get BB 7 on previous devices, or they change their stance on Flash. I’ve heard quite a bit since the announcement of BB 7 and lack of Flash support that many BlackBerry fans are sticking with other platforms simply because the other platform supports Flash, and they need it.
People apparently want to want BlackBerry, but it sounds like RIM is making it increasingly hard for people to make the jump. What’s worse, though, is that seemingly previous BlackBerry owners are now on other platforms, and won’t come back to the BB universe without some major changes to the game plan. So is RIM listening? Or will the company continue down this path that seems to only make sense to them? Let me know what you think in the comments below.