It’s no big secret that industry awards are often nothing more than a sham with awards earmarked here and there so that each company can walk away with another excuse for a bad press release. Some of the awards given out this past Tuesday at the Global Mobile Awards in Barcelona however, are making us scratch our heads more than usual. We don’t mean to single out any companies in particular, but when we saw that RIM’s SurePress got the nod for the Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough we were absolutely flabbergasted. Breakthrough in what way? And don’t give us that whole “precision typing and navigation enables a whole [sic] range of applications and features that have not been possible on a touchscreen mobile device” spin that some random PR intern cooked up.
We honestly struggled for a long time to think of a single application for the Storm that is better than any of the alternatives for other touchscreen handsets and we simply couldn’t do it. Now before some of you go off and start whining about how “BGR hates BlackBerry” you should know how untrue that is — there’s room enough in our hearts and on our belts for all phones. If you knew how many BlackBerry devices we’ve owned (and still own) collectively, you’d know how much we love the ‘Berry. The simple fact of the matter is the more time we spend with SurePress the more frustrated we get with it.
We would love for a company to come up with a touchscreen that issued the same sensation one feels when typing on a physical keypad, but until it happens with a capacitive keypad we plain and simply aren’t interested in it. Why? Because technology such as SurePress slows down even the most basic tasks. Typing a quick email on the Storm can be rather frustrating as half of the time typing any text requires that you momentarily pause while the screen “clicks” and resets to its natural position, thus allowing you to type the next character. It’s definitely something that some people can live with, but we bet you would be shocked at the number of times we hear from people who have a Storm along with other touchscreen devices like the Touch Diamond, Omnia or iPhone and say they can no longer stand the Storm because of its keypad.
If only RIM would have set its sights less on trying to outdo Apple (denying the fact that RIM wanted the Storm to be an “iPhone” killer is preposterous) with gimmicky technology. It could easily have selected a pre-existing capacitive touchscreen and created a heavily modified OS to better suit it. Had it chosen to do so, we think RIM would have hit one so hard it might have hit the lighting at Tigers Stadium. But instead RIM wasted time, money and credibility because it tried to do something that it just isn’t ready for or fully-capable of doing. It’s a damn shame too, because we were really rooting for RIM to have a unanimous hit on its hands.