Monday, September 26, 2011

Blackberry Bold 9900 Breathes New Life for RIM

As a smartphone user of many years, the Blackberry has been a staple on my belt since the early days. Research in Motion (RIM) has been one of those companies who over the years were considered the darlings of the Smartphone industry and the maker of the email junkie's most prized possession. Crackberry came from the term Crack addiction where it's hard to put the Blackberry down once it's in your hands. However the fall from grace for the Waterloo, Canada company wasn't something anyone expected. Over the past couple of years, smartphone makers like Apple, Samsung, HTC & LG have all but eaten RIM's lunch, and now have their sights on their dinner.

For the most part of the past two years, other smartphone makers have been innovating and creating smartphones that users love to use more than a the Blackberry. While Apple and others focused on the user interface, RIM was asleep at the wheel not doing much to change it's square boxy look or it's user interface. With the new Blackberry Bold 9900/9930, RIM finally brings something new with both a touch screen & keyboard. Having owned just about every Blackberry T-Mobile has ever offered, I'd have to say that the Bold 9900 is the best Blackberry ever to come from RIM. It is sleek, thin, light, and has a vidid screen that is eye-popping. They keyboard is the best ever as well. While I also carry an iPhone4 as my primary phone, the Blackberry has always been my texting & email phone. Browsing on a Blackberry although supposedly better on the Bold 9900, isn't that much better from previous models in my opinion. This is the first ever 4G Blackberry, but keeping 4G on requires lots of battery power and charging before the day is out regardless of how you are using the Blackberry.

The real test for me is if this finally does away with what I consider to be the most annoying thing about the Blackberry, the dreaded black clock that pops up out of nowhere and pretty much brings anything you are doing to a screeching halt. Much like the hourglass on a PC, this can appear & lock up the Blackberry for minutes at a time rendering your BB useless until it runs it's course. Sometimes it can be a few short seconds, other times it can go on for minutes. Adding insult to injury is if you get a call while this is on-screen, you're caller is out of luck in reaching you because pressing the answer button is all but useless. Every blackberry since OS 4.0 has had this problem, and I prayed that with OS7 RIM finally got this one right. They didn't. In contrast, my iPhone rarely has anything remotely similar to this flaw. I call this a crash because sometimes I get a message telling me a certain BB module had to be closed by the OS due to some kind of failure. Most of the time I'll be in the middle of typing a BBM, text message, or Facebook post when this dreaded clock appears to stop me in my tracks, as if to say "do you really want to write this?" Yes I do as a matter of fact I do!

Overall, the Blackberry Bold 9900 is a nice effort from RIM. But will it turn the tide and stem the bleeding of users who have sought refuge in Apple's iOS or Android? Probably not. Blackberry's marketshare has been sliding over the past two years and it continues to lose customers as well as market capitalization given it's stock price has dropped dramatically over the past two years. Blackberry hoped by introducing it's new Torch 9810, Torch 9830, & Bold 9900/9930 ahead of the new next Gen iPhone expected to be available in October. Personally this will probably the last Blackberry I ever buy, and am thinking of giving this one up altogether. For a $350 ($299 after $50 rebate), this phone shouldn't be still acting like something from 2008 which is when BB OS4 was introduced. With more memory, faster 1.2Ghz processor, and a new OS, this Smartphone should scream, not screech. Sorry RIM, but fool me once, shame on you. Fool me three times, shame on me.