BlackBerry’s reign is coming to an end

Blackberry-stormThis guest article was submitted by Calob Horton.

The BlackBerry. It’s the best selling smartphone device in the US. Just this quarter, RIM took a third of the United States’ total smartphone market share.

But even with the monumental sales, RIM and its proprietary BlackBerry OS are slowly falling in popularity among the world’s smartphone users.

RIM has always marketed its mobile devices to the heavy business user. The BlackBerry is still preferred in the office world, but it’s changing quickly. With Android and iOS offering better email integration across all the major communications players, businesses are finding tighter and easier integration with the aforementioned platforms versus what they were forced to use with RIM's offering.

That said, email isn’t even the biggest downfall of the BlackBerry.

Both iOS and Android have much more popular app stores than BlackBerry's App World and a vast amount of developers to boot. The majority of Android Market is made up of free apps, while iOS' App Store is gargantuan in size. The App World has a meager 2,000 apps, which pales in comparison to either of the two other app stores. And while there are free apps for the BlackBerry, most start at $2.99. That’s the cheapest paid app price on the App World. RIM has some serious renovation to do in their app store if it wants to stay in line with the competition.

Media consumption is another big feature of iOS and Android. Both have good multimedia playback support and provide many options for getting that media onto the devices. BlackBerry fails miserably in this category. There’s multimedia playback and retrieving, sure, but the devices aren’t made for that type of a user. There are only two widescreen BlackBerrys in RIM’s entire lineup. The rest have the small square TFT screens that makes viewing videos borderline impossible.

BlackBerry hardware is another area that RIM needs to take a second look at. Although the keyboards are highly praised, the internals made to run RIM’s OS are sluggish and cheap. If the BlackBerry line would have a 1GHz Snapdragon inside, the whole OS would feel so much nicer and more comparable to the smooth UIs of Android and iOS. But since there aren’t such devices, BlackBerry users must deal with sluggish performance and constant lock-ups.

On August 3rd, RIM introduced its new BlackBerry 6 operating system. Mike Lizaridis, co-CEO of RIM, used the new BlackBerry Torch to show it off. To hardcore BlackBerry users, both are underwhelming and bring very little improvements to the operating system, except for a few social networking features. The point: These still look like Blackberry products. The Torch is underpowered, too, which results in frequent freezes and poor performance.

RIM was a great company that produced great hardware. But in an ever-changing smartphone world where companies like Apple and Google are constantly innovating, RIM is lagging behind. Sure, they're targeted towards business users, but so are the other guys. And they let you play games and consume multimedia too.

This guest article was submitted by Calob Horton.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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