Some will say: But there HAVE been Android and Windows Phone versions with BlackBerry style keyboards. Well, technically, there have been, but not really.
On the Windows side, there was the Dell (DELL) Venue Pro that came to market 2 years ago. It was not promoted by the carriers, so more than 99% of consumers didn't know it existed.
On the Android side, Motorola has offered a couple of devices on Verizon (VZ) and Sprint (S). However, they were so terribly bad. The battery life was the worst I have ever experienced on an Android device, and that says a lot. The screens had terrible resolution -- lower than a BlackBerry 9900 Bold series. Operating system? Android 2.3 or older -- no upgrade to 4.1, let alone 4.2. The processors were extremely slow. I mean, if you wanted to guarantee failure...
How difficult would it be for someone to make a Nexus-class Android BlackBerry competitor? It would run unvarnished Nexus software, have high-end hardware and be SIM-unlocked.Of all difficult things to accomplish in the smartphone world, copying a hardware keyboard can't possibly count in the top 10. These companies could either pay billions to acquire RIM, or they could get those 80 million subscribers by allocating $10 million of engineering into a competitive keyboard. 5. AT&T's software updates: This one is admittedly a narrower pet peeve, but it's worth mentioning because it's so stupid. AT&T (T - Get Report) is now forcing customers of some Samsung Android smartphones to use an arcane PC-based process if they want to upgrade their operating system. Basically, what you have to do is to download a program onto a PC which will ingest the new OS, then connect to the smartphone over USB, and then it will upgrade. These files are several hundreds of megabytes large. So you need a PC and download almost a gigabyte. You also need at least an hour or two, according to those few brave souls who have sacrificed a good part of a day to figure this out. Most people, however, will never find out about this upgrade nightmare, let alone have the patience to actually perform it. If it takes more than 20 seconds worth of clicks, forget it. If it takes a PC, a PhD in computer science and perhaps two hours or more, forget it even more. Conclusion: The industry is far from perfection, and rife with imperfections. I'm sure it contains many more stupid things. Feel free to nominate them. At the time of publication the author had positions in GOOG and AAPL Follow @antonwahlman This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.