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BlackBerry Torch Wont Keep RIM From Downward Spiral

Never mind the kudos and accolades, says one telecom industry observer the new BlackBerry Torch wont save Research In Motion (RIM).

Investors must have agreed because shares of the Canada-based smartphone maker closed 2.54 percent lower at $55.53.

RIM on Tuesday unveiled its latest handset, in its attempts to rival the Apple iPhone, but as Dan Frommer at Business Insider noted, the software fails to impress. And that is RIMs downfall. Sure, the Torchs physical design comes off sleek and sexy; its mobile operating system, however, feels clunky and primitive” for users trying to reach the Webkit browser through RIMs OS.

The Torch’s actual hardware is fine, and BlackBerry fans will appreciate its plastic keyboard,” Frommer wrote. But anyone who has a few minutes to use a Torch side-by-side an iPhone 4 or a new Android phone will realize that RIM’s software is still last-generation.”

That means buyers except for those who dont pay attention to software quality will choose BlackBerry only after eyeing rival devices such as the Droid, iPhone or HTCs models.

People who buy on price alone or because they like plastic keyboards may buy BlackBerry devices, but people who want to use the web, apps, games, multimedia, etc., will tend to buy iPhones or Android phones. RIM’s app and OS experiences just don’t compare yet,” Frommer said.

The reality doesnt bode well for BlackBerry in the enterprise, either, where RIM has dominated. According to research firm Canalys, Googles Android has grown markedly among business users and Apples iPhone is picking up speed among the road-warrior set as well.

All in all, the prospects for RIM as a standalone company continue to look grim. And as happened with Palm Inc., as that company spiraled downward, expect observers to start guessing whos the best company to buy RIM. First up, Microsoft Corp. As Frommer pointed out, the BlackBerry Torch proves RIM can make pretty hardware. And Microsoft is getting good reviews for its Windows Phone 7 software. Perhaps together the two companies could mount a formidable challenge to Apple and Android.


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