RIM showed off Blackberry 10 yesterday to a press hungry for the day the company becomes relevant again. The platform won’t release to the public until 2013, though the software is nearly completion as RIM prepares for carrier testing. There was a lot to like about Blackberry 10 from CEO Thorsten Heins’ keynote, from the demo of Peek, to the BlackBerry Hub and the updated BBM messenger service, but I can’t help but feel underwhelmed with RIMs offering, that it simply won’t and can’t compete in a market that left it behind years ago.
I wake up today much more excited by Windows Phone 8, and the promise and simplicity it brings to the table. The handsets are fresh, colorful, and offer a different feel than the boring black or white slabs we’ve grown accustomed to, while its clear RIM doesn’t want to rock the boat too much with Blackberry. Sure, the BlackBerry Dev Alpha devices won’t be released to the general public, but the latest model released yesterday is likely modeled after the first touch-only Blackberry 10 device, and points to more of the same.
I’m simply not excited by BlackBerry 10, and I bet many customers aren’t either. To be fair, there are customers who prefer RIMs services such as BBM, but the number of loyal customers has dropped significantly in recent years, and while Blackberry 10 might succeed in hanging onto the base, it likely won’t get new customers in the door, nor will it likely draw customers back into RIM’s camp.
Blackberry 10 needed an operating system and platform that would erase years of negative consumer sentiment toward the company, something that would excite people. What they delivered, however, was something on par with what’s out there today in rivals Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, and without a true “wow” factor, RIM will likely find themselves on the outside looking in once more in 2013.