Are the Next-Gen Blackberry Torch 9810/9860 & Bold 9900/9930 Looking for an Audience?
Research In Motion (RIM) has finally made its official announcement about their next-generation Blackberry 7 smartphones. It has been almost a year since their last update. This year, they are releasing three new handsets: Torch 9810, Torch 9850/9860 and Bold 9900/9930. Common to all three models are the 1.2 GHz MSM8255 Snapdragon SoC single-core CPU, the latest BBOS 7, 768MB of onboard RAM and a 5MP camera with 720p video.
The top-of-the-line 9810 features a slide-out form factor and a 3.2″ screen. The Torch 9850/9860 has a 3.7″ touchscreen-only interface while the Bold 9900/9930 has a QWERTY keyboard and a 2.8″ capacitive touchscreen.
I’m wondering what to make of these, though. Who are these for? Several years ago when Blackberry dominated the smartphone market, the answer would have been easy – corporate customers. Back then, the name that RIM made for itself was enough to make even casual consumers to want to own one simply because it’s a Blackberry. Now with the market being dominated by iPhones and Andriods, much has changed about the appeal (or lack thereof) of these devices. Recently, these changes led to about 2000 jobcuts as a cost-cutting measure. Ouch!
Sure, it’s still marketed for enterprise use but corporations are commonly conservative about device upgrades. I know a lot of executives who still use their two year-old models. It’s unclear whether the number of upgrades and new purchases within the business sector is enough to result in significantly affecting RIM’s current business position. In fact, a recent survey, albeit small, shows that 67% of current BlackBerry owners just want to get rid of their device and get an iPhone next. Hmmm, that picture ain’t pretty.
I couldn’t see how it can appeal to casual consumers, either. That segment wants the flashiest of things – you know, those who want their gadgets loaded with features they would never use or even understand – yeah, that segment. These Blackberries only have a single-core processor while everything is going dual-core (or even quad) now. Nevermind that it sucks the life out of your battery, they want it because it’s what’s new. Why? Just because. As some observers commented, these devices are out-dated even before they are released.
I can’t even see myself getting any of these. But maybe, just maybe, if I can be compelled to support this platform for mobile development, then why not. I’m not holding my breath, though.