Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The BlackBerry Torch wants to please everyone

I took a look at the specs and pictures of the new BlackBerry Torch, just announced in an Apple-like event (not really, but good try anyway).

The first impression? The BlackBerry Torch wants to please everyone:
  • Are you an old BlackBerry user? Here's your keyboard and four buttons.
  • Are you a more recent BlackBerry user, used to the wheel? Here's your wheel.
  • Are you an iPhone/Android user or someone that wants a touch screen? Here's your touchscreen.
Four input devices are a lot... The number suggests feature creep or need to please everyone, which is rarely a recipe for success.

Granted, this is a device which many consider the last chance for RIM to catch up to Apple and Google. Therefore, they needed to please the vast majority of users out there.

However, I have the feeling they might have missed the mark.

Maybe because of the low resolution screen (480×360 LCD, really, is it still 2005?) and low  performance 624MHz CPU (hey, this was supposed the device where you catch up... not the one where you show how far behind you are...), but I can't see the mass market going for the Torch. I can't see people that wanted to buy an iPhone or Android change their mind and choose BlackBerry instead. They won't.

I see BlackBerry users thinking twice before leaving RIM. I see old BlackBerry enterprise users that have bought an iPhone or an Android considering to jump back, because they seriously miss the keyboard and the Torch is a decent compromise. Not consumers though, just enterprise users... Even for them, however, when you have something "cool", it is hard to go back to something "uncool". You need a lot of self-esteem to do it. And few have it (sorry, world of low-esteem people :-))

Bottom line: if the goal of RIM was to stop hemorrhaging users to other platforms and maintain a growing market in the emerging world (where owning a BlackBerry means being a "Manager", therefore someone who makes money, therefore cool), I believe they have a winner. If they were looking at expanding and catching up with the rest of the pack (which is what their investors wanted), I do not believe they made it.

Sadly. I do not think the BlackBerry Torch will please everyone.