Why the BlackBerry Means No More “Social Networking” Phones

We reported yesterday that the Sidekick line of phones is coming to an end, at least for now (read here). Microsoft also announced that it was ending production of its Kin smartphone (read here). What went wrong with these phones or more importantly, why is this posted in the BlackBerry section? These were “social networking” phones. The only problem is that every smartphone social networks now, and offers a lot more features than either the Sidekick or the Kin did, along with far more apps. Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) realizes that social networking is important, and that is why the company keeps releasing more social networking features in its BlackBerry line of smartphones.

The entire selling point of having a social networking phone was a bit of a stretch from the beginning (at least for the Kin, the Sidekick simply became outdated). What differentiated these phones was the software and not the hardware. However, software is easily copied and implemented. RIM’s is planning to implement social networking features that will rival the KIN in its next OS release. Yes, RIM is jumping headfirst into social network and BlackBerry OS 6 will be its springboard.

RIM has already started preparing, and will soon be offering Facebook chat features on its Facebook app. Since consumers already account for half of all BlackBerry users in North America, this comes as no real surprise. It is nice to see that RIM has realized that social networking is for smartphones, and not just for social networking phones. What this really boils down to is that the social networking phone is dead and the BlackBerry put the final nail in the coffin. There is no way that a phone that is made just for calling, texting and social networking can ever hope to compete against a smartphone like a BlackBerry if the BlackBerry can do the same things.

Do you social network? Silly question, I know. Do you have or have used a Kin or Sidekick? Let me know if you think that RIM will implement social networking in an intuitive way in BlackBerry OS 6.

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