If you’re a hardcore BlackBerry fan, doubtless you’ll be excited about Research in Motion’s (RIM) big plans for its all-new BBX operating system, due to make its debut in the summer of next year.
Except, it’s no longer called BBX. It’s now BB10, thanks to a legal tussle with a Mexican software-maker.
Of course, this shouldn’t make much difference to the end product, with the so-called BlackBerry Surfboard, the first handset to use the new operating system, slated for release in 2012.
But it’s telling that this has happened to RIM, a company that’s had a nightmare year.
You’d think that with BBX taking the place as RIM’s flagship operating system next year, something which will wind up on millions of phones and in the hands of endless users, the name would have been double and triple-checked to ensure this kind of thing wouldn’t happen.
Now BB10 takes RIM back to its old-school numeric naming strategy, bringing with it memories of powerful email smarts, but also ones of an OS lacking the design nous and usability of Google Android and Apple’s iOS.
Of course, the proof is in the use and the OS could yet turn out to be every bit as good as its rivals, albeit with a more corporate approach.
But this rounds off what has been undoubtedly RIM’s worst ever twelve months.
Its PlayBook tablet has been a disaster, with price cuts unable to significantly increase sales of a slate that lacks the most basic email functionality and doesn’t come close to Android competitors, let alone the iPad.
Add in delays to QNX-based phones, which trailed as next-gen devices before being pushed back and co-opted into the BBX platform, and you’re looking at a mobile maker that’s now desperately playing catch-up.
Whatever happens, users cannot be left waiting for BB10 much longer. This OS needs to be on devices and in the wild by the spring of next year.
By that point, Android Ice Cream Sandwich will be ubiquitous, Nokia’s next set of Windows Phones will be making their way to gadget emporia the world over and even the iPhone 5 could be out.
RIM once again risks being late to the party, with an OS that is garnering headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Here’s hoping it can pull BB10 off, because if it can’t, 2012 could be even worse than 2011.