An early leader in the smartphone industry, RIM’s Blackberry missed the boat on touchscreen user interface innovations of the iPhone and Android platform. Not to be left out of the mobile game, Blackberry has been struggling to rebrand to catch up to its competitors.
Once the darling of celebrities and devoted Frappucino-sipping “Crackberry” addicts, Blackberry has settled into an industry niche as the go-to company phone. Corporations use it to send highly sensitive information because of its excellent security features. It is the standard phone in most levels of federal government and is famously used by American President Barack Obama as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The latest announcement from RIM touts the security capabilities of a Blackberry new operating system, Blackberry 10. BlackBerry 10 has received FIPS 140-2 certification, meaning that it can be used by government agencies. Time will tell if Blackberry can also step up its game to become a more consumer-friendly device.
The security clearance passage hints that the new operation system may be ready soon but there is still no release date for Blackberry 10 or word on what hardware it will run on. Blackberry phones have notoriously bad cameras—all have less than 5 megapixels and Blackberry’s lack of third-party applications is a huge turn off for mobile photographers. (Of course a good photographer can capture a great image with any camera, no matter megapixel or software limitations. Blackberry's Flickr account has some great shots.) If RIM wants to make Blackberry a major mobile competitor on a consumer level, it is going to have to improve its hardware as well as its operating system.