Out of all of the BlackBerry fans in the world – there are still quite a few, believe it or not – many of my friends, family and colleagues believed I would likely be the last to ever turn my back on RIM. It was hard for me to jump ship and get in bed with another platform, but after growing bored with BlackBerry after BlackBerry, I had to do it. Lately I've been quick to rant about their shortcomings or how they've turned this once CrackBerry addict into a proponent for the other team. But deep down inside there has always been a tiny light of hope and belief that the Canadian company can pull out of this slump and win the market over once again.
Leaks and rumors of BlackBerry devices really don't interest me much anymore, especially considering there are very few changes from generation to generation. I vowed to write them off until QNX finally makes it to handsets, but the announcement of the Bold 9900 surprisingly piqued my interests.
When I woke up to headlines announcing a new BlackBerry, I'm not going to lie...I kept on skimming. But as I saw more and more about it, I figured I might as well see what the hype was about. The 9900 comes with a 1.2GHz processor, 2.8-inch Liquid Graphics touchscreen display, 8GB of on-board memory, a 5MP camera with 720p HD video recording, and NFC capabilities. Finally, a BlackBerry that lives up to today's standards...for the most part.
I won't go into BlackBerry fanboy mode, which I have been known to do in the past. And I won't deny that on paper, this bad boy doesn't nearly stack up to its Android counterparts. But based on what I've learned about RIM in my many years of being a user and abuser, this device will pack a serious punch and I plan on getting one the very day it is available. Most of you are probably wondering why; others know exactly where I'm coming from. The fact is, there are several reasons that this particular device grabbed my attention.
First and foremost, the BlackBerry platform and devices are notorious for lag and overall slow performance. To this day, they've never been fitted with any substantial processors. The Torch, which is the most advanced BlackBerry yet, comes with a 624MHz processor. A joke in the eyes of potential buyers. I would hope that doubling the processor speed would at least cure most of the lag issues.
Jumping from Android phone to Android phone for the past two years and even taking a quick iPhone detour, I've sounded off on my battery life woes more than once. This is what I truly miss about BlackBerrys. RIM has always given battery life precedence over specification boosting and over-the-top features of the like. My assumption would be that RIM wouldn't want to backseat one of the few things they still have going for them. I figure the Bold 9900 will be on par with the rest of its long-lasting mates.
Another ailment I've been dealing with on Android is the frustration associated with touchscreen keyboards. RIM is world renowned for their excellent hardware (in their high-end devices), more specifically their attention to detail in their keyboards. I've used countless phones with physical keyboards, and I don't know exactly what it is, but none of them even remotely compare with a RIM-made keyboard. Not to mention the fact that the 9900 has a very similar keyboard to the 9000, which has arguably the best BlackBerry keyboard to date. Though I've finally found comfort in SwiftKey's latest beta, transitioning back to a BlackBerry with a 9000-eqsue keyboard will be a much welcomed change.
I think the most difficult part of using a 9900 will come with having to adjust from using a 4.3-inch to a 2.8-inch display. That's a significant decrease in size and one that I hope I can cope with. If you're anything like me, an excellent keyboard and great battery life will surely make up for the display. Not having a device the size of a cigar box in my pocket will be nice, too.
Surprisingly enough, the one thing I'm not at all worried about is application support. Even though I've been known to install over 100 third-party applications at a time on my Android phones, a break from the clutter will be nice. I download hundreds of applications, yet the only ones I ever use are social media apps, which BlackBerry has plenty of. Not to mention, when QNX does eventually come, the 9900 should theoretically get Android apps as well. All the better.
RIM has definitely been making some serious progress over the past few years. Though it isn't directly shown by any of their more recent devices, their upcoming lineup and the PlayBook should document their progress fairly well. More evidence of this progress comes from the multitude of acquisitions RIM has made. They have brought several powerhouses like Torch, QNX, TAT, and many others together. When combined, these several companies could create one serious super phone.
For the past couple years, BlackBerry fanatics have had very little to get excited over. Devices like the iPhone, numerous Android phones, and several other platforms and manufacturers have been flourishing and making all sorts of changes. BlackBerry has taken a back seat to the next generation of mobile handsets. However, regardless of RIM's slow-moving progress and waning US market share, some loyalists have managed to stick around, and rightfully so.
When RIM does make a comeback – I have few doubts that they will – it could be huge for the company. With that said, who else is interested in the 9900 or 9930? Who thinks it will be yet another flop from RIM?
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