How the iPhone Should Have Made the Blackberry Storm Launch Easier

There have been a lot of reviews lately regarding the new Blackberry Storm. I summarized a few myself, but things haven’t improved much. While there are some bright spots, the overall tone of the reviews is that the Storm is a disappointment.

Still, as a Blackberry on the Verizon network I suspect it’ll do fine regardless. Instead of dwelling on the reviews, I want to disagree with comments I’ve read that say RIM should be cut some slack because it’s a 1.0 product, which makes it the same as the iPhone’s initial release. 

No, not at all. RIM had it easy.

From the moment it was announced, while Apple faithful may have believed, most outlets spent time mocking the iPhone. Greasy screen! Fingerprints! Car crashes because you can’t drive and text at the same time! Won’t be able to dial in bright sunlight! And on and on. Most of them were kind of silly, and a few were downright asinine. 

People’s memories can be short, so let’s go back in time and look at what Apple had to overcome with the iPhone. 

  • They had to drag people kicking and screaming into the modern age of using a GUI and pointing device (like on a computer) on a phone. 
  • They had to convince people that lacking all those buttons would actually be a better way, because each app would have it’s own interface; you wouldn’t see crap you couldn’t use when you couldn’t use it. 
  • They had to hammer the point home that in the modern age a phone app doesn’t have to be the equivalent of a text-based app from computers in the early 80s. Instead, they could be much more “desktop-like.”
  • They had to show that you could in fact do excellent web browsing on a phone via not only a quality browser, but through the use of gestures and software enhancements. (Hard to believe that only 1.5 years ago people thought WAP browsing was acceptable!)
  • And they had to prove that Apple could in fact build and sell a phone. (In doing so, they showed the reason current phones were crap was because carriers and phone makers had zero incentive or imagination to make them better.) 

Even with all that to overcome, upon release the iPhone’s first wave of reviews was much better than what we’re seeing for the Storm now. Yet look at what RIM did not have to overcome for the Storm: 

  • All of the above. 

That’s right. RIM had none of those obstacles, nor legions of doubters. People now know you can use a phone with a full touch screen, and get better apps, and browse the web, and be easier to use, etc. And no one questioned RIM’s ability to make and sell a phone.

Therefore, the Storm launch is not anywhere near the same as the iPhone launch. Apple paved the way, so RIM should have had an easier time of it. There was no risk, and they even had a great device available upon which to model theirs. Looks like they may not have done a good job.


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