The upgrade situation for smartphones has become something like an obstacle course for phone manufacturers. Way back when, before smartphones were the new feature phone (based on popularity, not features) an update to a device wasn’t one of the most important parts of owning the handset. Sure, they were cool and usually brought something new to your phone without you having to pay extra, but it wasn’t something people thought about when they were contemplating which phone to get next. Now that that’s changed, and we’re hip-deep in mobile operating systems, updates and to which devices those updates go to is just as important as texting, or apps. Everyone wants the latest and greatest, but for folks who currently own a BlackBerry device, it looks like the latest and greatest isn’t coming your way. But does that mean Research In Motion has completely forgotten BlackBerry 6?
RIM has done quite a bit to make sure that their latest versions of their mobile OS have taken deep departures from their previous versions, even if we’re looking at it just from a features perspective. Handedly, BlackBerry 6 was the biggest change from a previous version, but BlackBerry 7 is certainly no slouch in of itself. And that’s the rub, especially when it comes to every single current BlackBerry owner who doesn’t plan on getting their hands on the BlackBerry Bold 9900, which is coming this summer. BlackBerry 7 isn’t coming to already released devices, drawing a pretty big divide in RIM’s current and future smartphones.
It looks like Research In Motion is ready to leave another version of their mobile operating system in the dust, all in hopes that their latest and greatest version is the one to draw in new customers, more customers, and to actually keep them, even in the face of some remarkably popular competition. With BlackBerry 7, RIM is hoping for the catalyst that pushes them back into the limelight of the mobile market; or, if anything, to get them out of the shadow of some of the larger names in that segment.
The trouble with this strategy, is that BlackBerry 6 and the (newer) devices that it’s running on may not be the best on the market, or even able to compete in specifications versus other high-end devices available, there’s nothing out-right wrong with them. They’re powerful handsets for what they need to do, and in the BlackBerry world the Torch and later Bold series devices aren’t seen as ancients who need to be forgotten about. But it looks like RIM is ready to put them out to pasture, as they bring in their new stock.
It’s not like RIM is getting rid of an out-of-date operating system here. BlackBerry 6 is fun to use, and brings plenty of improvements to the BB OS versus the previous iteration. So why does it seem that Research In Motion is ready to toss it aside? Furthermore, why is the company not being more up-front about what future updates to BlackBerry 6 may, or may not look like? I know that RIM wants BlackBerry fans to buy the latest device, but some people may not be willing (or able) to do that. So why punish them, figuratively, for that?
Allowing BlackBerry 7 to progress, and to continue to evolve into what the company really wants it to be, doesn’t mean that BlackBerry 6 needs to be altogether hacked out of memory. It’s still a good mobile OS and it has plenty of fans. But those fans would also really love to get their hands on BlackBerry 7, or even just some of the features that may not be so inherently dependent upon the hardware of new handsets. Is that possible? Hopefully time will tell us, and hopefully the answer is yes.
If you’re an owner of a BlackBerry device currently running BlackBerry 6, are you disappointed that you won’t be getting BlackBerry 7? And if you don’t currently own a BB-branded handset, was BlackBerry 7 enough to sway you to finally pick one up? Let me know in the comments below.