BlackBerry breathlessly announced the arrival of its new BBM 6 on its blog on Thursday, showcasing new features that allow users to BBM while playing Backgammon or other games it has to offer.
Am I supposed to be excited by this news?
As an owner of some variation of a BlackBerry for the past four years, I think I have a good read on both the strengths and weaknesses of the phone. And frankly, releasing a boring update to one of its few decent products isn't what the struggling Research in Motion needs to be focusing on.
RIM has been getting lapped by Apple's iPhone and Google Android phones, and this BBM update doesn't do anything to change that.
For those unfamiliar, BBM is BlackBerry's internal messaging system, allowing BlackBerry users to trade messages to one another free of charge. Similar to an instant message, it shows when the message has been delivered and also when it has been read.
This new update allows BBM users to be able to communicate over apps and allow them to see what apps their contacts have downloaded. This could be cool if BlackBerry actually had cool apps, or if it didn't take over 20 minutes for my BlackBerry to download the software.
The frustrating lack of options for a BlackBerry has seemingly had an impact on more than just me. Over the last month surveys galore have shown how most consumers want either an iPhone or Android.
One survey, released on Wednesday, even showed that 35 percent of U.S. consumers want the yet-to be released iPhone 5.
They don't even know anything about it yet, but they still want it.
On the flip side, a survey by ChangeWave showed that only four percent of those polled would buy a BlackBerry. Further, of those that already owned a BlackBerry, only 26 percent were very satisfied, compared to 70 percent of iPhone owners and 50 percent of Android users.
I don't blame consumers for wanting an iPhone or Android phone over the BlackBerry.
BlackBerry's browser is slow and clunky, its App World is severely lacking, and it hasn't done much to match the easiness of iPhone or Android touch screens.
Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry, continues to see market share drop, the company recently announced job cuts of 2,000, and yet I'm supposed to feel okay because my BBM improved by a smidgen?
The funny thing is that I actually continue to lose BBM contacts -- not because I'm losing friends, but because my contacts continue to migrate over to iPhones and Droids. In just the last week I've lost two contacts to iPhones and I'm sure that number will continue to grow.
Yesterday a friend excitedly showed me all the cool apps on his new iPhone and I had nothing to say in return. How could my poor BlackBerry compete with all of the innovative and unique apps the iPhone has?
It showcased for me in the clearest light possible that owning a BlackBerry might not be in my future much longer.
Never have I been closer to finally moving to an iPhone than I am right now, and it's in part because of announcements like the one today.
I want to see a new QNX-based phone released, not a small update that will appease virtually no one.
The recent leaked video of the BlackBerry Bold 9930 gave me some hope, but if RIM continues down its recent path, the phone will be delayed by months, and by then the iPhone 5 will be out on the market.
If RIM wants to keep loyal BlackBerry owners, like myself, it needs to offer a competitive product to compete with Apple and Google.
And right now the company is a long way from doing so.