There were a lot of positives to take from RIM’s annoucement of the new BlackBerry 9800 Torch and BlackBerry OS6 yesterday. The device sports an up-to-date design combining a touchscreen with the tactile input of a slide-out keyboard, something I still miss on my Nexus One. The new OS addresses the key issue that made me switch to the Nexus One in the first place – the lack of a good mobile browsing experience. According to hands-on reviews, the new browser puts the BlackBerry mobile internet experience at, or at least close to, the level of iPhone and Android devices.
So do I plan to switch back to a BlackBerry?
No. Neither the device nor the OS offer compelling enough reasons.
Is this a bad thing? No it isn’t. RIM isn’t, and shouldn’t, be catering to my needs. I am not the big enterprise customer that needs the security and control functionality that RIM offers with its BlackBerry platform.
BlackBerry has foregone some of the features that make the iPhone and Android devices so popular among consumers, and they should. Many of these features create security issues and are not compatible with the goals of enterprise IT groups. Furthermore, RIM is not going to beat Android or Apple at the mass consumer market. They are wise to recognize this and focus on their strength – serving the enterprise.
The enterprise market is a large and profitable market. Sure, Apple and Android are trying to get a piece of it, but so long as RIM continues to provide the best security and control features, corporate IT groups will continue to embrace the platform, meaning that corporations will continue to buy BlackBerry devices for their employees.
The media at large may claim that RIM is not adding features fast enough to win the consumer market, but they may be missing the big picture. It’s possible that RIM doesn’t want to win the consumer market and is not interested in going after consumers like me. RIM is adding new features, but in a way that doesn’t jeopardize the overall security and functionality of the BlackBerry platform.
On the other hand, if RIM does want to win the consumer market, they had better rethink their strategy. Creating a platform that serves both consumer and enterprise markets well is difficult, if not impossible. RIM needs to pick their path, and they should pick the path that they know best – the enterprise.