Q: Has BlackBerry version 10 been released yet, and can I download it for my BlackBerry Curve? Is it a smart move for us to stick with Blackberry as our phone, or should we be considering an Android phone or an iPhone?
A: Yes, BlackBerry 10 has been released. It came out January 30, 2013. It doesn't matter though, because you're not getting it, unless you decide to buy a new phone. BlackBerry 10 only runs on the new BlackBerry Q10 and Z10 phones. The change from BlackBerry OS 7 to BlackBerry 10 was so drastic that none of the previous devices can support it. Also, none of the apps you have on your current phone are going to work on a new BlackBerry 10 device if you decide to get one. So, no matter what phone you buy, even if you buy a BlackBerry phone, you'll have to buy new apps.
BlackBerry 10 looks pretty good. In fact, it looks a lot like webOS, the operating system that Palm created, HP bought, and LG recently bought from them. Palm was hurting really bad. They were losing money like crazy. Their competitors were chewing up their market share. Their operating system looked old and decrepit. So, they rebuilt their operating system from the ground up and relaunched it, they took a really long time to bring it to market, and they completely abandoned all of their old customers. Then, they sold their business to HP, and abandoned their old customers again when they upgraded to webOS 2.0. Then, HP abandoned their mobile business all together.
Maybe I'm jaded from getting burned first by Palm and then by HP, but I would say no, it's not a smart move to continue with BlackBerry. I expect that BlackBerry is going to take a path very similar to the one that Palm took. The Q10 and the Z10 are probably going to sell fairly poorly. BlackBerry will then probably attempt to put out another version of the Q10 and the Z10, but they will also sell fairly poorly. BlackBerry will attempt to get other manufacturers to use their operating system, but they won't be able to get anyone interested. Finally, they'll end up selling out to another company, filing bankruptcy and/or releasing BlackBerry 10 as open source. No matter how you slice it, I don't see good things in BlackBerry’s future.
As much as Microsoft and BlackBerry fanboys would love it to be a different way, the smartphone industry is a two dog race. (I didn't even mention the webOS fanboys. We've all completely given up hope.) It's all iPhone and Android these days. Android has even taken up such a huge market share because they have hundreds of different devices out there running Android, that even the iPhone is starting to drop back in terms of overall market share.
I just don't think there is room in the market for another operating system to be a real competitor. Windows Phone has it's flaws that we've talked about on our show numerous times, but they are trying their hardest to be different and aggressive. I felt that webOS was the perfect operating system, but neither of them have been able to get anywhere near a decent market share. They have never been able to get to the point where they would be even slightly competitive. I highly doubt that Blackberry is going to be able to make a dent where Microsoft and Palm weren't able to.
If you are looking for a new phone I would suggest the iPhone if you want something simple and functional with the most apps. If you want a phone that might take a little bit longer to learn, but will give you many more options for customization and hardware check out Android smartphones.
Either way, it's time to jump off the sinking ship. If they reemerge from the depths, you can always buy a ticket to get on board later.
ABOUT RAY HOLLISTER
Ray Hollister co-hosts the call-in help show Deemable Tech. Each week, he and his co-host, Tom Braun, answer questions submitted by users and provide helpful tips about computers, tablets, mobile phone, the Internet and technology in general. Need tech help? Call 1-888-972-9868 or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen to the show on their website, or subscribe to Deemable Tech's podcast by clicking here, searching for "Deemable Tech" in iTunes, or by entering the RSS feed, http://dmbl.co/pod, in your favorite podcast app.