Speaking of RIM … on Tuesday they are going to venture forth with another touch-screen Blackberry. The development and impeding launch of the new handset has seen a bare fraction of the hype and hullabaloo that preceded the Storm, and I think this might be a good thing. After the disappointment of the Storm – a fabulous piece of hardware that was fatally crippled by RIM’s aging and user-hostile generic OS – coming in with zero expectations and no preconceptions is a good thing. If the 9800 is just another Storm, well, no harm no foul. But if the whispers are right, and the mandarins up in Waterloo have finally opened their eyes and grokked onto the idea that the user experience is actually important, then we may just have a sleeper hit.
So – fingers crossed, and here’s hoping that sleeper hit is indeed where this is going. RIM is full of smart people with smart ideas who somehow end up turning out the same product over and over because the people at the very top of the company either can’t or won’t open their eyes and see what increasingly-sophisticated customers want in a mobile computer. The smart people need to start winning out over the top people, and soon, or the Blackberry platform is going to go from being “dated” to “irrelevant” in a very short time. And that – for everyone – would be a shame.