Five reasons why you should forget the BlackBerry

Summary:The BlackBerry manufacturer is going downhill, and investing in one for the back to school season would be unwise. Here are five reasons why.

Research in Motion, the BlackBerry manufacturer, wooed the hearts and minds of the younger generation with their business-style phones. But as of late, the Canadian company seems to be on a sinking ship.

From product delays to operating system pullbacks: the company is losing customers in favour of other, more popular handsets, like Android and the iPhone.

Despite many previous assertions -- it's time to face facts. The BlackBerry is on its last legs.

(Image via Flickr)

It's time to take a look at the BlackBerry brand and where it has come to, and why you should think twice about renewing your BlackBerry contract, or even starting one in the first place.

1. BlackBerry OS 7: Little new to offer, and not QNX-based

The next-generation BlackBerry will be QNX-based; a new operating system, based around that of the BlackBerrys lesser selling sibling, the PlayBook.

But current OS 7 phones were at one point promised to be QNX based, but this has yet been pushed to later versions. Essentially, what you will get if you buy a new OS 7 phone is vastly the same features and functionality as older phones -- with a few minor additions that hardly warrant a long-term phone contract.

2. BlackBerrys are trying to emulate touch-based competitors

One of the main reason users want a BlackBerry is for their keyboard. It's small and compact, but it beats the pants off competing devices -- particularly the Nokia E and N series.

The new BlackBerry Torch phones -- one is touch-only while the other has a keyboard, but don't get me started -- are trying to emulate the iPhone's success with its touch-screen technology.

But what Research in Motion and others have yet to realise, is that the iPhone touch-screen experience is all but incomparable. Touch-typing on the iPhone may suck compared to a physical mini-keyboard, but BlackBerry touch typing is even worse.

3. As Research in Motion crumbles, end-user applications will suffer

As with the previous and reasons still to mention, developers will soon wake up to the difficulties that the BlackBerry platform will face. Not only is a huge cultural shift under way from BlackBerry OS 5, 6 and 7 to the next generation QNX-based operating system -- this will be the all-consuming crunch time for BlackBerry developers.

But the more that Research in Motion struggles, and the 'Osbourning' sales issue that it has to overcome, developers will opt for better platforms to build upon. Ultimately this will lead to further detachment with end users.

4. BlackBerrys are not keeping up with the social times

BlackBerrys have never really been about social, per se. Sure, Research in Motion developed MySpace, Facebook and Twitter applications, along with numerous instant messengers and social applications -- but that's about it.

Unlike iOS, there is still no in-built video calling feature or Facetime equivalent for BlackBerry's. The hardware is good, but the devices are still too corporate-focused.

On the other hand, while BlackBerry's excel in the field of push email, this is hardly something to jump and scream about nowadays. Still lacking basic HTML email content and poor web browsing compared to its competitors, no wonder the younger lot are becoming increasingly despondent with the BlackBerry.

5. BlackBerry Messenger is dead: Facebook Chat is where it's at

BlackBerry Messenger has been one of the upshots to the device range; allowing free, encrypted conversations to and from BlackBerry users.

But now that Facebook Chat has finally made its way to all modern post-OS 5 devices, who needs BlackBerry Messenger when it has only a fraction of your total friends?

Once, the flagship feature for the Generation Y; BlackBerry Messenger has been made defunct by a leading competitor.

Related content:

Topics: Security, BlackBerry, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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