Earlier this week, I took the plunge. Having grown impatient waiting for my carrier to release the official version of OS6 for my BlackBerry 9700, I decided to press my luck and install a leaked version of the new operating system. Anyone who’s updated their OS on their BlackBerry, leaked version or not, knows that the task can be a little daunting and one that seemingly requires a background in computer science. I’ve taken this step a few times on my BlackBerry devices over the years and each time the experience is akin to reformatting a PC’s hard drive and starting completely over from scratch.
This is one of many characteristics of Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry platform that makes it too geeky — and not the right kind of geeky. Updating an operating system on a mobile device in this day and age shouldn’t be so cumbersome and potentially nerve-wracking. Whereas updating an OS on an iPhone or Android device is almost automated, the process for BlackBerry is way too intense for most users. If RIM wants to keep its faithful users excited about its devices and the ongoing development around its platform, it should focus on making these upgrades more readily accessible and user friendly. So far so good with my leaked version of BlackBerry 6 on my 9700. After going through the installation process, I searched out and re-installed the dozen or so apps that I consider must haves (all of which are compatible with the new OS and working well). It would be quite a stretch to say the leap from BlackBerry 5 to BlackBerry 6 is going keep most users from considering a switch to the more modern alternatives out there if they already are, but it can’t hurt RIM’s chances. An evolutionary, or even incremental upgrade, is better than no upgrade at all.