Friday, August 5th, 2011
Tony Cripps, Principal Analyst

On the face of it the two new Bold devices and three new full touchscreen Torch models look competitive. The latest BlackBerry 7 OS and much-improved BlackBerry Browser certainly seem to offer a compelling device-side user experience, one very much comparable to the oft-maligned PlayBook tablet. However, the real proof of the pudding is whether that software-driven experience captures the imagination of third parties who might wish to write and deploy applications or content to those devices.

RIM can make a good case for having created the most complete web browsing experience on a portable device so far on the PlayBook, a capability that may well now be shared by its new BlackBerry 7 OS devices. However, neither developers nor consumers are yet at the point where this capability substitutes fully for downloadable applications.

Given that smart devices are increasingly sold to consumers as much on a promise of what those devices can deliver in terms of applications and services as they are on their design, RIM needs to be lobbying big consumer brands hard to embrace and promote BlackBerry 7 OS as much as it can. Success in this endeavour could prove crucial in deciding the fate of RIM's latest devices and maybe its longer term future.


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RIM's new BlackBerry smartphones could well be the most important devices in the Canadian smart device vendor's history, following a recent slowdown in device shipments, staff cuts and doubts over the company's strategy and leadership.



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