RIM has to fix what’s broken

Research In MotionWe all know that RIM is going to release the long awaited BlackBerry 10 in early 2013. Long awaited not simply because it’s been a long time since a new BlackBerry was released, but also long awaited because the pending platform has been delayed at least twice already.

CEO Thorsten Heins claims to be focusing on quality, not quantity when they release their make-or-break devices. We all know RIM has a lot riding on the release of 10, not the least of which is the entire future of the company.

What I find slightly comical, frustrating, and disingenuous, is RIMs’ new focus on ‘quality’. Hmmm, what about all the existing RIM customers? Does quality not count for us? Yes I’m embarrassed to say I’m still a BlackBerry user.

Back in the Stone Age, before there was Android or iOS there was RIM, and the quality was outstanding. There weren’t a lot of apps, but what there was worked well. As a long time BlackBerry user I noticed however that as updates were released and new functionality added, the quality started to decline. Sometimes with hardware (the trackball was pain to deal with) but more so with software.

The browser that came after RIM bought Torch Mobile, added tabs and a couple of other minor features. All which were helpful but not necessarily innovative. But along with the new browser came constant memory leaks followed by endless OS updates which never fixed the problem. Autodialing from a hyperlink was also suddenly missing. Gone was also the ability to dial directly from a phone number published on a page of text. Instead users had to select/copy/paste the phone text into their dialer field and then call. Hardly convenient.

BlackBerry App World relies on PayPal to make application purchases and yet there isn’t a PayPal app that works with OS v6. If PayPal didn’t have the gumption to release a compatible version, it would fall to RIM to ensure that they helped to get the necessary code in place to ensure a PayPal app compatible with OS versions 6 & 7. PayPal is a ‘core’ application required to handle the payments on BlackBerry App World and yet there isn’t even a version that works with a current BlackBerry OS, that is weak.

Other examples point to horribly buggy releases of both BlackBerry Messenger and Google Talk. One could argue that Google Talk problems were not RIM’s fault, but I disagree. Google Talk app is core application specifically downloaded from blackberry.com/googletalk. RIM is taking responsibility for the app, from a quality and distribution perspective. Both Google Talk and BBM suffered from significant bugs and extensive end-user frustration.

So before getting off my soapbox what do these guffaws have to do with RIM’s upcoming v10 release? Plenty. If after several years RIM hasn’t fixed what’s known to be broken, how can we believe that they will get it right with the next version? Why should customers shell out money in the hope that the quality has improved?

RIM if you want existing customers to upgrade in the future, you need to prove to today that you’ve fixed the problems of the present.

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