For a while now, I have been a loyal BlackBerry user. Being the original “smart-phone”, the BlackBerry has gained an excellent reputation in the business field over the last eleven years. With mobile email, SMS and media messaging, and mobile Internet, the BlackBerry was the first device to be considered a “mobile communications device” as apposed to simply a phone. While the Curve provided to me by my office isn’t exactly the latest and greatest, I have always been content with the overall performance and power of the device.

But that’s the thing. I’ve been content. I haven’t been too impressed with any of the features, especially as I see the new features being made available on the iPhone and Android-based phones. Don’t get me wrong; I know my phone is outdated. But tonight I began to consider upgrading my phone. Having been a BlackBerry user for as long as I have been, it was only natural that I started looking at the new BlackBerry.

In April, I wrote an article about RIM’s informal announcement of the 6.0 version of the BlackBerry operating system. The promising features in this operating system were what truly attracted me to the BlackBerry Torch 9800.

As soon as I began reading up the new BlackBerry, I stumbled upon a PC World review of the device. I must say, I was truly blown away by the combination of both the traditional keyboard and a touchscreen display. Having said this, I love the keyboard on my BlackBerry simply because it makes it easy to input vast amounts of information at once. At the same time, using the BlackBerrys keyboard with only one hand is truly a difficult task . Thus, combining the best of both worlds on the same device makes it that much more versatile.

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Asides from the combination of two input methods, there was only one other “pro” of the new BlackBerry. This being, the new BlackBerry OS “adds much-needed features”. In my opinion, PC World couldn’t have summed it up better with this statement. Sure, the new OS has some great additions such as enhanced media capabilities and a new Webkit browser, but these are features that have become standards in smart-phones. Because of this, it’s safe to say that the new BlackBerry OS hasn’t brought any new innovations to the smart-phone market, and is ultimately bringing too little too late.

Even worse, PC World notes that the new Torch brings another traditional BlackBerry feature along with it: sluggishness. As any BlackBerry user will tell you, the platform has a great tendency to slow itself down while performing trivial tasks. I first noticed this issue within minutes of unboxing my BlackBerry and going through the initial setup process.

One “con” that is also noted is the fact that the BlackBerry Torch has a sub-standard display in comparison to that of other smart-phones. This is a point that I can definitely agree on, as the retina display on the iPhone beats the BlackBerry displays – and the displays of every other smart-phone – hands down.

So at the end of the day we have to asks ourselves: is the BlackBerry bringing innovative to the smart-phone market? And as a one-time proud BlackBerry owner, I am truly sad to say that the answer is no.


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