(A few quick thoughts on the latest Wired Cover Story and something that got me thinking a few days ago about my latest toy, the BlackBerry Curve 8900)
I bought a new phone a couple of months ago. A BlackBerry 8900. Not at all top-of-the-line, but a very capable phone which satisfied all my requirements (more on those later), plus I got a SUPER deal.
Like everything we buy or even think of buying, the first thing I did before getting the phone was to google the model in question. Among the other things, one thing that was mentioned again and again was how bad the default browser is. And after buying the phone I found it out myself – the browser sucks. Big time. But that didn’t stop me from getting the phone. Because the same reviews which take RIM apart over the browser, also offer a solution to the consumers reading them. The Opera Mini. Or the Bolt.
Now a few days later, just before the launch of the Torch 9800, the internet was abuzz about the new browser being used in the new phone. Apparently RIM went all out to create a decent browser, and going by the largely positive reviews, they succeeded too.
But why waste a large number of man-hours on something as trivial as a browser?
Okay. Not trivial. A browser is a very important component of the phone. What I mean here is why waste your budget on something that is being done very well by others. All RIM should’ve done is get Opera to make a browser specially for the new phone. In other words, they could’ve just outsourced the browser.
To be honest, a crappy browser is the least of RIM’s problems. In my opinion, they really need to get their app strategy in order. And their brand positioning. And other things.
But let me not digress. The BlackBerry app store is nothing compared to the iPhone and Android stores. The choice is limited and the few apps that are there are (usually) costlier and worse than their iPhone and Android siblings. I’m the kind of user who’s satisfied with having a core set of “productive” apps (no iFart for me, please). And even I think the range of apps is utterly limited.
And why am I concentrating so hard on apps? Because that’s how we increasingly traverse the Internet. Even Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff think so. Read.
If RIM has any wish to NOT go down the path Palm and other before it have walked on, getting their app strategy right is absolutely imperative.
(More thoughts on the BlackBerry later.)