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03 January 2009

Don't Create the Perfect Storm

I was just as excited about the new Blackberry Storm as the next guy. My wife currently uses the Blackberry Curve and it was nice to see Blackberry branching out - taking their brand of business communication to the next level with touch screens and a more "comfortable" and sleek user interface.

Unfortunately, the reviews I have read since the debut have been dismal at best (read this Gizmodo review for a fairly balanced look at the cool features and yet the areas where the phone falls short.)

I haven't even touched the phone yet, but here are a few of my assumption based on the stuff I've read and from talking with friends who have actually tried it out for the 30 day trial period:

  • RIM realized they had to keep up with the new touch screen trend powered by the iPhone, HTC Touch phones etc.
  • They tried to take their existing functionality and make it work on a touch screen.
  • RIM still won't play nice with a Microsoft Exchange Server.
  • RIM still assumes it has something that can compete with iPhone OS and WiMo (which may have been true in the past but is slowly getting away from them).
Again, just my assumptions. But after reading about the high number of people who have returned their Storm after trying it out - I must not be the only one.

Finding the Application
This whole scenario got me thinking about web strategy and the way we launch new stuff on our websites (either new elements or full on site redesigns).

When we mock things up and present ideas for this new stuff we often do so for reasons like:
  • Keeping up with others.
  • Keeping up with technology.
  • Adding functionality that we didn't previously have or couldn't afford.
  • And sometimes to be innovative - to ride the cutting edge of technology and lead by example.
Whatever our reason for adding new "stuff" to our websites, it would be to our advantage to use the Blackberry Storm as a case study. Unfortunately it seems like the Storm was designed to keep up with others and keep up with technology. They undoubtedly added some functionality. But what if they had been innovative and went above and beyond? What if they had built it to do everything the iPhone and WiMo phones could do and then some? My bet is people wouldn't be taking the phone back to the store...

Food for thought...