A week ago when I heard that Canada’s own Research In Motion was to announce a new Blackberry touch phone, I got very excited. In the past, I haven’t been too impressed with RIM’s phones since they were very limited compared to other smartphones. But although that was the case, I knew that these phones were not meant for someone like me who wanted a “superphone” as some may call it; these were more for those who wanted a smartphone to regularly check email, text, and have a very basic app store on their phone. This release was supposed to be different – it was supposed to aim at flagship phones like the iPhone 4 and the Nexus One – but quickly after the introduction I realized that even this one wasn’t up to par.
Before I begin explaining what I expected from the Torch and why I was disappointed, I want to make it clear that I in no way expected this new phone to match up to the iPhone or Nexus One; instead I was hoping for a strong competitor that focused on RIM’s current market of simpler phone. With the Torch, it feels like the Blackberry squad is trying to aim its scope on everyone – from teens to business owners – and just trying to do too much at one time.
So what did I expect? Something pretty straightforward and common in today’s smartphones in terms of software and hardware:
- Better UI: RIM actually succeeded here in my eyes. The new OS looks like a much-improved version of its predecessors and they did a great job of keeping that familiar look with a little shine added. They have some great accessibility features and overall I think they created a great operating system for their current market.
- Competitive hardware: This was where I was most disappointed – the hardware is just not as much quality as I hoped it would be. A low resolution screen (480×360) and the biggest surprise – a 624MHz processor. I didn’t believe my eyes when I saw these specifications – it just doesn’t seem like a phone to be incredibly proud of. Sure, the camera is up there with the Nexus One (still and motion), but even that’s kind of a standard nowadays for high-end phones.
Now although I praised the UI and overall operating system, I still feel like majority of it is just simply a catch-up game on RIM’s part. It’s a major improvement to older versions, but there weren’t any “wow” features. When I watch an Apple or Google keynote, the features excite me, but RIM just couldn’t impress me during their introduction. Universal search, improved notifications, etc. are already implemented on today’s phones; there was nothing new.
At one point in time, RIM was the most innovative mobile company in world; they basically invented emails coming to your phone! But it seems that since then they’ve just been giving users the bare minimum. I still feel that the Blackberry is the best phone for businesses, but the Torch was supposed to be escape from the office to the hands of the regular user who wants a simple, affordable, and competitive smartphone. Today it feels as though that same phone that triggered the excitement and – dare I say it – another badge of “iPhone Killer” is really just another Blackberry with a better touch screen. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t been able to use it hands-on, but from eye level I feel quite disappointed.
What do you think about the new Blackberry? Is it something that excites you or do you agree with my thoughts on it?