One of the biggest problems facing the perception of BlackBerry and its sales seems to be quality control and user experience. There are just a few user experience issues with a BlackBerry today that are crippling to the user experience. Here are the top 3 we hear:
Loading apps causes the phone to stall and you must reboot.
Rebooting the smartphone takes forever (up to 4 minutes).
Updating OS can take an hour and is fragmented by carrier.
The media and many analysts continue to erroneously claim “BlackBerry is doomed”, but fail to point out RIM has made all the right acquisitions and those major frustrations won’t be around for much longer. Take the PlayBook as a good indicator of where the platform is going. You can install an app, multitask and use the device without any issues. Rebooting the device doesn’t take long at all, and updating the OS is a breeze. The three major headaches facing BlackBerry can and will be solved. This is the right direction to go in and it seems like the Microsoft and RIM announcement is a step in the wrong direction. The announcement seems like it was made from a high executive level without any real concern for the end user. The fact of the matter is that Bing is an awful search engine and it hurts the user experience rather than improve it.
Bing needs a lot of work when it comes to delivering relevant results. Just take a look at the site bing-vs-google.com for proof. Bing doesn’t have the very basic search comparison tool of “we’re showing results for ‘x’ because you typed ‘y’ which is relatively close to ‘x’”. At least RIM has made it possible to change the default search engine in the BlackBerry browser to Google, but how many consumers will know that?
The other part of the announcement at BBWC was that Bing Maps would be tightly integrated into the BlackBerry experience. It wasn’t clear by the demos we saw at BBWC if the homescreen options of being able to load contextual maps is a choice between Bing and BlackBerry Maps or others, but it’s clear Bing isn’t the best maps solution. Take a look at this Google vs Bing Maps comparison site. Bing Maps lacks a lot of the points of interest and is much less visually appealing. What RIM should have done, is leave it up to the user to decide what maps program they want because the vast majority of tech savvy users will go Google and some will go BlackBerry Maps for the app integration. This is a clear way to optimize user experience.
It’s all good to have options, which is a clear benefit of an open mobile platform, but when you make it a default and bury the ability to turn it off, you can almost guarantee yourself many unhappy users. The Microsoft and RIM partnership doesn’t bring anything new to the table from a consumer perspective and will only frustrate those who want to find a way to delete Bing products off their BlackBerry devices and won’t have any way to do it.