RIM goes app-focused on the BlackBerry Torch, but misses the mark.

RIM goes app-focused on the BlackBerry Torch, but misses the mark.

With the release of a completely new form-factor for RIM, there was a lot of room to move in a new direction. RIM has done just that, focusing primarily on applications while still remaining true to the BlackBerry “feel”. However, the offerings are anything but spectacular.

While many were excited for the arrival of the new phone, I think it’s safe to say that we were all hoping for considerably more than what we’ve seen. As far as the phone itself, it’s a beautiful device that will likely work very well. After all, this is RIM. However, the “value added” features simply aren’t enough to sway customers toward the device.

The big changes:

  • App purchases billed to mobile invoice
  • HTML5 web apps in the App World
  • Simple app discovery through Universal Search
  • Try-before-buy approach

If this list reads like a bad case of too little, too late, it probably should. Android has had a try-before-buy program in place for quite some time, allowing you 24 hours with an application before a formal charge will happen. Mobile billing isn’t necessarily a new idea, and improved search is just…well…expected.

HTML5 applications, while lovely in a Webkit-based browser, aren’t fleshed out quite enough to be a main focus of a platform, though RIM seems to think otherwise. Simple application discovery won’t take away from the fact that what you’ll find is still too new to be very viable. However, credit does go to RIM for giving the apps access to the calendar and inbox, as well as location services.

In the end, perhaps RIM isn’t trying to play the Apple or Android tune, but the market is changing. While a number of users will be excited about the new BlackBerry Torch, many more will be left wanting.

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