BlackBerry is in the process of reinventing itself. In fact, they’ve completely dropped the name “Research In Motion” or “RIM,” and go strictly by “BlackBerry” now.
They’re doing all of this in conjunction with the launch of BlackBerry 10, their new OS. From what I’ve seen and read, it seems like a pretty cool platform. Prior to BB10, the only reason people that I know were sticking with their BlackBerries was BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).
BBM is/was pretty sweet, it’s the rest of the platform that fell asleep at the wheel. Basically, BlackBerry quit innovating. They grew complacent as the top smartphone maker in the world (by a mile), and didn’t really continue to advance their platform as they should have. They had zero competition, and probably didn’t see the need to waste resources to significantly update their offerings. This, of course, is conjecture on my part, but that’s sure how it seems from the outside.
Then iOS and Android arrived on the scene and very quickly berried BlackBerry (get it?). What did BlackBerry do? They answered with the BlackBerry Storm. It was a really cool idea that wasn’t fully realized. The Storm was actually a more capable phone than the current iPhone, and SurePress was at least innovative (in fact, I really liked it).
The problem with the Storm was that it wasn’t done. The thing was buggy as hell, froze often, and took a day and a half to reboot (well, the 2 or 3 minutes it actually took seemed like a day and a half). I had the original Storm, and I can tell you, it was maddening. Bits and pieces of it were so very cool, but then it would crash. Or, I wouldn’t be able to load a basic website. Or it would crash. Or the speaker would blow out (twice). You get the idea. I actually had an app installed that would automatically reboot the thing every night at 2:00 AM to keep it working semi-reliably.
The point is, the phone just wasn’t up to snuff, even after I hacked it six ways from Sunday to put custom firmware on it, the thing refused to work the way it should have consistently.
Moving forward, the new BlackBerry PlayBook is actually a pretty nice little tablet, and it’s the closest thing I’ve gotten to BB10 (they’re based on the same OS source). It works better than my Storm ever did, but still has some issues. For example, Android Player (to get access to Android apps) was a pretty killer idea, but it seems to lack real support from BlackBerry, and is pretty quirky.
Does BB10 fix these issues? I sure hope so, because if it doesn’t, BlackBerry is going to tank–hard. The initial reviews of BB10 are pretty darn good (overall), so check one out for yourself when you get a chance.
The moral of this story, do not buy a BlackBerry unless it’s a new Z10 or the upcoming QWERTY device. No point in going backward. If you already have a BlackBerry, wait for BB10 to come to your rescue. The old BB OS just can’t hold its own versus the other platforms anymore.