Could the new Blackberry Torch Backfire for RIM?

by Nick on August 4, 2010

As an avid Blackberry user for the last six years, I have anxiously been awaiting a new touch screen Blackberry smartphone.  I was one of the first to buy the Blackberry Storm when it was released two years ago.  But I am the first to admit that its slow and awkward internet browsing capabilities and its lack of third party apps have caused me to test drive the iPhone and Android phones recently.

But two things stopped me from switching from my beloved Blackberry to another smartphone.  First, I hate change.  Always have, probably always will.  I did not cherish the thought of having to learn a new phone’s features or new operating system.  Even though the iPhone and Android’s operating systems are fairly intuitive and easy to use, I just do not want to have to change.  Secondly and more importantly, I did not want to change wireless carriers.  I have been using Verizon for the past 10 years.  Verizon has the best reception in my area and also pretty darn good service.  At least as respects the iPhone, I would have had to switch from Verizon to AT&T and AT&T has terrible phone reception in my area and friends with AT&T routinely lose calls in my small suburb outside of Louisville, KY.

So when I learned that RIM was releasing a new touch screen Blackberry with updated browsing capabilities, a more robust operating system, and a system that will allow third parties to more easily and more inexpensively produce apps, I was thrilled.  I was thrilled for about 15 seconds that is which is the length of time it took me to discover that the new Blackberry Torch will only be available through AT&T.  Really?  I have waited for the last year for a new touch screen Blackberry so I would not have to get the iPhone just to find out that if I want the new Blackberry Torch that I have to do the one thing I did not want to do – change carriers!

I wish RIM would have let me in on this little secret about a year ago.  If they had, I would have forged ahead, changed to AT&T, and got an iPhone instead.  I have used iPhones on several occassions and think that overall, they are much more advanced than Blackberries.  Even with the Torch’s new features, I think the iPhone beats it in about every respect.  The main reason I did not switch was because I did not want to change carriers.  But if RIM is going to make me switch to AT&T anyway, then I am getting an iPhone (although I am being won over by the Android phones).

So while RIM is trying to beat Apple at their own game (good luck with that), did they shoot themselves in the foot by going exclusively with AT&T for the Torch?  Surely there are others out there like me that did not switch smartphones because they would have to change carriers.  But now if they want the new touch screen Blackberry, they will have to do just that.  What do you think?

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