Blackberry's parent company, Research In Motion, really needed to hit it out of the park this week with the announcement of its new touchscreen smartphone, Blackberry Torch. Although they ripped it out through the bases and got on first; sadly no home run.
There's nothing wrong with the Blackberry Torch. There's just nothing particularly right about it. The Torch is no iPhone or Android killer, that's for sure. It won't even kneecap one of 'em.
1. There are no features that will up everyone else's game. The specs on the Torch at best match the iPhone and Android. However, in some of the key areas it falls short. The screen is only 3.2 inches compared to the more common 4+ inch screens of the Android models and 3.5 inch screen of the irrationally beloved Apple iPhone 4. The processor is 624 MHz compared to a full gig on the iPhone and Android phones.
2. It's an AT&T exclusive. Let's face it, the iPhone 4 comes out with a design flaw in the antenna affecting reception - AND CUSTOMERS DON'T CARE. The iPhone is such a juggernaut at this stage of the game that it really has only one visible Achilles heel: AT&T. Customers love to hate AT&T and regardless of what goes wrong it usually takes the hit, not Apple. Sadly the Torch is also an AT&T exclusive. So, forget about the Torch winning over Verizon or Sprint customers that can't stomach jumping to AT&T or AT&T customers willing to dump their iPhone for another carrier.
3. Even with 6000 plus apps in its App store, that's just too thin compared to the 200,000 plus apps that Apple offers. Apple has critical mass.
The Torch, however, is no Palm Pre (the Edsel of smartphones). Keep in mind, RIM still outsells Apple ten to one in this country. The Torch will do well enough relying on an already built customer base. It needs to be winning over, however, all those cell phone users out there that haven't jumped to any smartphone thus far. There is no compelling reason to latch onto the Torch, instead of an Android or iPhone option instead.
I see the writing on the wall. This is how the smartphone wars are shaping up in this country. It's iPhone versus Android. After that, it's going to be Windows Phone 7, HP's webOS (the old Palm in Tim Burton designed packaging) and the Blackberry Torch fighting over their crumbs.
It's going to be ugly.