New images have leaked showing what may be code-name London, or the first of the next-generation BlackBerry 10 superphones expected to ship from RIM at the end of 2012 and... they look like Android phones that look like iPhones. Kevin Michaluk from CrackBerry.com pitches them a phone-sized PlayBooks but after being teased with the far more original looking, Porsche Design-style concepts we saw a few weeks back, I can't help but be a little disappointed.
Sure, Apple didn't invent the black slab form factor, but in an era that was then dominated by front-facing QWERTY devices, including the Treo, Windows Mobile Standard, Nokia communicators, and, yes, BlackBerrys, Apple inarguably popularized them. They popularized them to such an extent that Google smartly, swiftly switched gears from making Android BlackBerry-like to iPhone-inspired. RIM dabbled in that form factor as well, with the near disastrous Storm line, and now the expanded Torch line.
But to lead with it into the new generation of BlackBerrys, and now, some 5 years later? (And yes, once again, I informed you thusly.)
A big part of me hopes not. I'm tired of iPhone clones. Sure, Samsung has proven that the closer you are to copying Apple without being Apple, the more money you make in the not-Apple market (just look at Motorola and HTC profits by way of comparison), but Apple didn't get to where they are -- sitting on one of the largest bankrolls in history -- by copying the BlackBerry or Treo back in 2007.
They looked at the market. They saw a problem with existing offerings. They tried to solve it with something new. RIM has had 5 years since then -- 5 years to study Apple, look for the iPhone's weaknesses, and figure out how to take then next great leap forward. To figure out how to do to Apple what Apple did to Palm and RIM.
They wasted a lot of that on the Storm and Torch and PlayBook. Hopefully they're not wasting one precious moment of it now.
I want BlackBerry back. I want them putting pressure on Google and Apple. I want more great phones to choose from. I don't want Jonathan Ive to be the lead designer-by-proxy of yet another me-too phone line.
Delight me RIM. Surprise me. You've got a new CEO. He has great contacts. I'm holding out hope for you.