Upgrading to BlackBerry OS 5: A Breath of Fresh Air

This may sound strange, but I recently “upgraded” my BlackBerry Bold 9700 from OS 6 to OS 5, after almost a year with the supposedly “more advanced” OS 6 operating system. I decided to return to the phone’s “original” software after having experienced nothing less than mobile phone grief with the OS 6 variant.

When I originally “updated” to OS 6 earlier this year, I was excited to bring my phone into the modern age of mobile software. OS 6 was stylish, slick and was able to support some of the beta apps that I loved to try out. Back then, being able to use the latest and greatest software – even if that meant using software that was so new, it wasn’t even officially released yet – was immensely important to me. But now, you could say, I’ve grown older and wiser. And I’ve come to the conclusion that I couldn’t continue living with a phone that crashed every two hours, and required constant re-booting to get it up to speed again.

The primary problem I had with running OS 6 on my Bold 9700 was that it has a huge memory leak. This means that, over time, the phone loses memory on its own, to such an extent that it renders the phone unusable unless it is re-started. And then the cycle continues… The worst part? I wasn’t even using any “illegal” or pirated version of the software; my phone was using a legitimate version of OS 6, the latest version in fact, that was recommended to me by the BlackBerry Desktop Software when I synced my phone with my Mac.

This brings me to the point of this post: why would a company like Research in Motion, a company that is already struggling to keep up with the fast-pace ferocity in the mobile market with the likes of Apple and Android, release such crap software? I mean, sure, the Bold 9700 isn’t the latest BlackBerry. But it’s still your product, RIM. They should be looking after their customers, no matter what hardware they’re using, and provide proper software that ensures a user experience that binds the customer to the platform. Perhaps RIM has become so complacent, given that their BBM service is quite a selling point, especially in this BlackBerry-crazed country of ours. But that’s no reason to promise your users a “better and upgraded user experience” with a new operating system, and deliver software that has critical issues, which you’ve failed to resolve in over four updates (perhaps even more). As I’ve discussed with my friend and fellow blogger, Bryan, RIM is seriously annoying me. The service is slipping, and the scales are ever-tipping in favour of jumping-ship to the iPhone camp. Well, I’ve still got a few more months on this contract… Maybe they’ll salvage themselves with a killer OS 7 device that doesn’t have battery issues like the new Bold 9300.

On a brighter note, though: upon moving back to OS 5, my phone’s been performing brilliantly. I’ve made the user-experience adjustment fairly easily, and am enjoying using a phone that doesn’t freeze-up every two hours. Perhaps having the “latest and greatest” software isn’t such an important factor in my computing life after all…


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