In a video released by AT&T, we get a look at the BlackBerry Bold 9700. The video goes on to describe a little about the device hardware, as well as basic BlackBerry functionality that we are all very aware of. But what about the most important part of a device: the software?
As RIM continues to release devices, there is relatively little that differentiates them. This year in particular, it is all about changing the form factor and feature set to play with pricing and different target markets. While the Storm 2 is probably the biggest evolution for BlackBerry this year, it’s still only going to be as good of a device as the developers dictate it to be.
So what does AT&T want you to know about the new 9700? Well apparently software isn’t important to them.
After having explained what you can do with your BlackBerry, including emailing a picture to a friend, and calling someone from your contacts, things that you would have to be the most inexperienced of users to not know, the video takes us through software available for the device.
What applications do they mention? Well first it’s Facebook and Myspace. They appear directly on the homepage alongside the AT&T Mall, where you can get a very limited amount of software, in what is a poorly run platform with few developers gaining access. What else can you do on your BlackBerry? Pac-Man by Namco. The game that hasn’t changed since we played it on a featureless phone 5 years ago. Not exactly cutting edge technology.
With your BlackBerry you can do mobile banking, check the weather, use a program called Make Your Tones, but as the presenter is listing off software, you can’t help but hear him implicitly saying “but this is all boring.”
According to AT&T, it doesn’t matter that you can get App World on your device which unlocks the talents of thousands of developers and creative minds at your fingertips. According to AT&T, it’s unimportant that companies such as SmrtGuard have made robust software to protect your device. It’s pretty boring that your BlackBerry can leverage email to send any type of media file to your friends and social networks. It’s borderline sleep inducing that your BlackBerry can use Location Based Services to bring you a directory of the best cuisine and entertainment in your location.
The discussion always goes back to the fact that the carrier hasn’t come to the realization that they’re simply infrastructure. They aren’t software vendors, nor should they even be device retailers. There are too many conflicts of interest and in the end it’s the consumer that loses. AT&T would sell far more devices if they explained to their customers the value in software and what their device can actually do. Instead, they just want you to play Pac-Man.