Last week, RIM released updated versions of three of their BlackBerry models - the Bold, the Torch, and the Storm (now also called the Torch). These new models bring a degree of power that, until now, had been severely lacking in BlackBerrys, for which RIM has earned a lot of negative press. Over the past few months, we've heard of falling stocks, profit losses, talk of a new CEO, letters from former employees expressing their dismay, and the list goes on. It's been bad for RIM for a while, and rightly so. It's clear that RIM executives were too stubborn to change their approach to mobile technology and, therefore, fell severely behind in the marketplace. However, when the news first broke of these new devices, I almost forgot all about that. For once, I thought there might be a light at the end of the tunnel for RIM. Is this the turning point for the faltering company? Will these new devices redeem RIM?
It's possible that, as powerful as these new devices are, it may be too little too late for RIM. If they released the new Bold and Torch a year ago, we would be praising RIM for their advancing technology and use these devices to remind people why RIM is at the top of the smartphone mountain. As it stands, however, touchscreen technology has been popular in the mainstream cell phone market for years, literally. Phones have been shipping with powerful 1 GHz processors for over a year. Robust web browsers have become the norm. All the while, RIM has sat by and not taken advantage of any of that technology and instead tried to bribe users with 'a great physical keyboard'. Ooooh.
It's going to be an uphill battle for RIM. Now not only will they have to fight against other devices, but they have to fight against the thinking of consumers. Now instead of simply facing the task of marketing these devices, they also face the task of building up their reputation again and convincing people to forget about all the negative press that we've heard over the past year. Can they do it? Well, if there was a device or two to start with, it would be the new Bold and Torch. These BlackBerrys are packed to the rim with power. RIM has made some important acquisitions that has helped them to drastically improve the OS's UI and web browsing experience, they've finally given in to using touchscreen technology, and the use of 4G technology and Liquid Graphics is aggressive. It took a new kind of RIM to build these machines.
The old RIM laughed when Apple released an all touchscreen device. The old RIM refused to believe that consumers are okay with typing on a virtual keyboard, forcing the idea of tactile feedback onto a touchscreen and dooming the Storm. The old RIM was substance over style. In this market, it takes style AND substance, and these new BlackBerrys have that. The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is just as capable as its predecessor (it's more capable, actually), but RIM has added style to it. The release of the original Torch was a step in the right direction for RIM and with the Torch 9810, they've shown that the original Torch was not an accidental concept, but a fully-embraced strategy. Touchscreens, 1.2 GHz processors, greatly improved web browsers, 4G, and a newly refined OS - finally, RIM, it looks like you're starting to catch on to things. To diehard BlackBerry users, I know that a lot of frustration has been building up for quite some time, but you can finally breath again! RIM just might be okay.