Archive for the ‘RIM (BlackBerry)’ Category

Quick Press: BlackBerry 10 Arrives Next Month

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Research In Motion has announced their knight is shinning armor. Lucky for them, it is coming to Canada next month and will roll out to all 4 major US carriers in March. While everyone is covering what BB10 will include, we will wait to get a hands on before giving our thumbs up or down to the new OS.

Currently, pricing on the BlackBerry Z10 is set at $199 with 2 year agreements. We’ll post more as we have solid performance information on the next generation of CrackBerries.

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BlackBerry App World Loses The App For BB10

January 21, 2013 Leave a comment


Everything is in a name, right? Well, the folks at Research In Motion, makers of the BlackBerry must think so. In preparation of the launch of their BB10 OS, they have decided to drop the “App” from their “App World” and rename their delivery portal, BlackBerry World.

There is a bit more reasoning behind this than just a name change. The new BlackBerry World will not only feature Berry Apps, but it will also contain music and videos. It would also be a good bet that popular magazines and e-books will make an appearance in the new BB World as well.

The only thing that is left to be seen about these new devices at this point is who will have them and how much will they cost the end user.


Why There Will Be Only Two

It’s a simple matter of mathematics. Actually, it’s a simple matter of not wanting to spend any more money that one already has. This is why, despite all the advertising in the universe, all the amazing hardware designs on the planet, even all the star-studded commercials on TV, there will be only two OS choices left for the smartphone user when it is all said and done.

Rewind to a few years ago. The iPhone was just coming to market. BlackBerry and Windows Mobile ruled the United States markets and Symbian ruled the world. Apps for smartphones were available for free, or limited cost and could be downloaded and installed from many different places. The best part, most of them were free. Remember though, back in the day, dumb-phones were still in the pockets of most cellular users and kids didn’t really have them at all. It was different time, and they were different markets.

Moving forward, Apple burst on to the scene with the first full “smartphone ecosystem” with the iPhone and iTunes Store. For the first time ever, you could buy software, music and entertainment in one place. Sure, in the past, carriers tried to have their stores for purchasing ringtones, games and other fun add-ons, but they couldn’t hold a candle to what Apple had assembled.

This leads to the current smartphone market and the positioning of the top operating systems in the world. The split is in the sales figures verses income between iOS and Android. For the sake of the argument, they are one and two. Falling quickly off the map is Symbian, now orphaned by Nokia. BlackBerry, which Research In Motion is praying to bring back, is also struggling to maintain any measureable market share. The final player in the game is Microsoft’s Windows Phone, which has failed to make any meaningful gains in popularity even with its second generation launching in 2012.

Many wonder why companies like RIM, Microsoft and Nokia continue to fire blanks into the market and can’t gain back any of that lost market share that they once had. It’s a relatively simple answer, Apps…

It’s not the number of them or that the most popular one of the week isn’t on this or that platform, but the amount of them that people have already purchased. It may be that person that has downloaded the Amazon App of the Day for the last year and a half that won’t  if consider going back to BlackBerry because they have all the Apps they need. It may be that iPhone user that purchased Apps for the last 4 years and continues to install them on each upgraded device they purchase. It’s a simple matter of not wanting to reinvest in the Apps that were already purchased for a different operating system.

If you figure the average user has purchased $20 in Apps per year and they are in to their contracts 2 years when they are due for a new device, it only makes sense to stay where they are, or go somewhere that offers the same Apps they use now. This leaves RIM, Microsoft and Nokia outside in the cold, looking in through a window.

Right now, being on the outside of the top two operating systems is not a good thing. More and more users are moving to smartphones, but fewer and fewer of them will consider anything outside iOS and Android because of their friends and family.

In the end, there will only be only two… Since Google and Android are solidifying themselves as a freebie OS for manufacturers to tweak, play and mangle into their own and Apple continues to sell out of every device they release, it only seems logical to conclude that the others really won’t stand a chance. No matter how much money is thrown at them, how many ads on TV are run or vendors are given units to demo, once the end user has purchased a significant amount of Apps for their system, they won’t want to change – and that day has already come and gone. In the end, there will be only two…

Editorial: What Can Save BlackBerry?

December 18, 2012 Leave a comment

With the release of BlackBerry OS10 finally within sight, there is only one question left to answer: did the world wait for it or did they already move on?

In the past year, BB subscribers have been leaving in mass to the more popular Android and Apple platforms. While device prices have fallen, Research In Motion continues to generate a decent amount of cash off their BlackBerry subscription services. Unfortunately, as they have found out, it isn’t enough cash to keep afloat for long.

So, what does RIM need to announce today? No, the cash report is almost meaningless, everyone expects a financial nightmare. The two key indicators are going to be how many people world wide are still using BlackBerry services and more importantly, how many are enterprise users?

Enterprise users are a guaranteed sale. One good BES sale is good for 1,000 devices. If they have a solid foothold in enough companies, RIM can keep swimming upstream for that final quarter before they release their savior. Of course, if RIM misses the target again, has a quality control issue or even just doesn’t have the cash to put into advertising, they may as well start finding someone to take on that patent portfolio and snap up what little user base there is left.

Does Your Phone’s OS Really Matter Anymore?

There is quite a bit of talk about which OS for which phones will survive the patent wars and the buyouts, but what does it really matter? Right now, there are 4 extremely good phone OS systems in the United States. Regardless of marketshare or how many users have them, there are four really good systems in place. Obviously, you have Android and iOS. The two titans of the mobile world at the moment. You also have Windows Phone and BlackBerry. Now the latter two don’t have much in the way of market penetration yet, or anymore as the case may be, but both of them do what most people use their phones to do: check email and check in on their friends. Android and iOS do it just as well. This leads to the ultimate question, does the OS that your phone runs really matter to you?

A big deal is being made over which OS is better for this or that, which one is the best for this and which one does that in an easier way. Heck, one company actually said, “Our OS will make you use your phone LESS!” While that marketing tactic made for funny commercials, it really didn’t translate well to reality. This is where we get back to that question: can your _________ make your life better? The answer in most cases, no, your phone won’t make your life better. It’s not going to matter if you are carrying an iPhone, Droid, Lumia or Bold, they all do basically the same things, and do them well.

The idea of Apps have destroyed smartphones as we know them. The original devices had so much baked in to them, that it didn’t matter what you loaded on to them, the basic features were still better for most things. Think about Android without GoSMS, Handcent or another SMS alternative. People would be complaining about the SMS program. Remember when Apple didn’t have MMS on the iPhone? That didn’t go over really well either. How about when Windows Mobile ruled the world and “Outlook Mobile” was the only email client available? It was horrendous to say the least. Of course, then there was the mistake that was the BlackBerry Trackball…

The bottom line for which OS your phone should have is simple: any of them. Sure, you may have more games on iOS than Windows Phone, but if you aren’t in to gaming, it’s not going to matter a bit to you. You might find more Office Doc editing programs for Android than Windows Phone, but that’s due to the fact that Office is included with those Microsoft devices. Heck you might even find you like BBMing more than SMSing, requiring your friends to all get those free BlackBerry’s at their next upgrade. Yes, we still miss BBMing…

Stop measuring your phone’s OS against the rest because there is no winner and there is no loser. As far as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a bajillion other social networks go, there’s an App or mobile site for that. As far as cameras go, well that’s more hardware than software, but yeah, they all have something like Instagram about now. Most of all, get the hardware that feels the best to you and that works where you need it to. From device to device, more important than the OS are features like the antenna strength, location and physical pull. If you don’t get a good signal with that HTC Titan, maybe the BlackBerry Bold is a better bet for you. Don’t worry about the software too much, there’s probably a way to get it to do what you want without too much trouble.

AT&T’s Stolen Phone Blocking Creates Headaches

AT&T’s new “no stolen phones on our network” policy is really creating havoc for end users everywhere. Not so much in the aspect of Ma Bell’s postpaid users, but in the form of those that purchase handsets via third parties and used devices off websites like Craigslist.

We’ve been bombarded with unhappy user comments and emails about how their device was blocked from Red Pocket Mobile, H2O Wireless and GoPhone service. We contacted Red Pocket, AT&T and H2O for comments about the new policies and were met with the following answers.

Red Pocket Mobile assured us that they have no control over what handsets AT&T approves for activation and couldn’t comment on how a handset can be placed back on the usable list. They simply stated that the user must contact the issuing carrier to have the device reinstated. H2O stated virtually the same comments, adding that purchasing new devices or using your own previous devices are the safest way to ensure that your phone is not stolen.

AT&T was even more direct with their answers. An AT&T representative stated that their network will no longer allow any phone that has had an insurance claim made against it, been reported to any carrier as stolen or any device that may cause detrimental harm to the AT&T network.

As far as the fix for getting your blocked handset working again, you will need to contact AT&T directly with the IMEI number for your phone. They will then tell you who reported the device and who to call to have the device cleared. It usually takes 12-24 hours for the device to clear the system.

If you are one of the affected, bear with them as they work the links out of the system and be cautious where you get your next handset.

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Quick Press: RIM Hit With Patent Fine

Mformation Technologies, a device management development company just dealt the BlackBerry maker, Research In Motion another blow to their fiscal line. The first verdict in the pile of lawsuits being filed against RIM came down with an award of about $8 per device that is linked to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server, or BES. This totals out to about $147 million dollars. In the times when RIM is struggling to stay afloat, lawsuits like this may be the crippling blow that requires RIM to liquidate their patent portfolio and settle these before there is nothing left.

The shinning beacon of hope out of this judgement is that Mformation may not go after RIM for future damages. The $150 million mark is pretty painful, but at least it’s the end for this chapter of suits. Now we just have to see if they survive the next volley of legal filings by Nokia.

Editorial: Is It Time To Merge If You Are Not Number One Or Two?

In the past few months, we’ve seen quite a few crazy things happen in the cellular industry. From Google snapping up the #1 OS market from Apple to the failed T-Mobile acqusition by AT&T. Hardware is evovling too quickly and software is barely able to keep up. With Google and Apple controlling the market share of the smartphone industry, is there room for others at the bottom? If so, how many? Most of all, who’s in the best shape to survive the long haul?

One thing we have learned is that being on top of the OS game is a death sentence. Back in the day, Palm ruled the universe. Palm was undone by Windows Mobile pretty quickly. Windows Mobile fell to BlackBerry and BlackBerry fell to the iPhone. Now, the iPhone is falling to Android, if only in a sheer number of hardware options. Basically, the challenge is no longer in getting to be number one, but rather to hold that spot. If Android and Apple continue to grow, it will mean less and less opporutnity for those at the bottom of the stack to take them over. We’ve seen it before, and we will see it again, but who actually has the pockets deep enough to go after the big two?

The lawsuit game is going to help the little guys much more than it will help Apple or Google. With every Nexus device Apple has banned, it will mean one more user that will swear off Apple products all together. This helps Microsoft and their Windows Phone 8 platform the most and probably will drive some former Curve users back to the physical keyboards of the BlackBerry Bold that they loved so much. For every Apple device that Google undercuts, it’s another fragmented section of Android to drive users insane with poor compatibility. Again, Microsoft and RIM begin to pray. Here’s an interesting thought though, what if Microsoft and RIM attack together. What if Redmond and Waterloo teamed up to create a Windows Phone 8 super-phone, like the Lumia 900 that Nokia is producing. You incorporate the BlackBerry infrastructure of compressed data, speedy communications features and rock solid hardware with Microsoft’s ground breaking simplicity of Windows Phone and you would have a solid winner.

Sure, you might tick off Nokia a bit, but Nokia is a world player and understands how to make a great phone. RIM is a world player and caters to a totally different client set. Imagine Nokia building personal entertainment devices running Windows Phone 8 and RIM creating the coporate information systems running Windows Phone 8. Imagine a BlackBerry Bold 10000 series that would offer that touchscreen feel of WP8 and the physical keyboard that helps answer those urgent emails even faster. Nokia hits the consumer side and RIM handles the corporate end. It’s a win-win for everyone. Most of all, Microsoft can scoop up the WebOS folks, the BlackBerry addicts and keep most of their current user base happy with a few small options that aren’t currently on the market. Just think of a RIM made, Palm Pre style device running that streamlined WP8 software.

Microsoft and RIM have too much to lose in this game. They need to make a move quickly, and Microsoft seems to be on the right track with bringing the code for their computer OS and phone OS together. We’ll have to wait and see the results, but for now it seems like a great plan. RIM on the other hand, is pretty well standing in line at the corporate bankruptcy offices just waiting for them to open. Job cuts, production delays and missed opportunities are all they have left. Microsoft should just acquire them for nothing more than their gigantic patent portfolio, but could you just see that Xbox phone from Nokia and the BlackBerry Apollo coming from RIM?

Let’s not even get started on the other part of if 2 should merge into one… The carriers. Is it time for Sprint, T-Mobile and some of the smaller regional carriers to come together to take on Verizon Wireless and AT&T? If they really want to survive, it just might become necessary.

RIM Loses $518 Million, Delays BB10 OS To 2013

In a non-surprising, but still shocking 1st quarter earnings report, Research In Motion announced a net loss of over half a billion dollars and some crippling delays in the launch of their new BB10 operating system. With the announcement of the stifling losses and software delays, RIM tried to paint a picture of their rebound, rather than their failings. Using their positive numbers like the 78 million BlackBerry users worldwide to balance the 5,000 job cuts that will be happening soon, the spin just wasn’t enough to keep many interested in the failing company. RIM’s stock closed down $0.05 today at $9.13 with after hours trading dropping the stock an additional 14.86% to $7.80 a share. Since RIM’s success with the Curve and Pearl in June of 2008, RIM stock has fallen from $144.56 a share, losing 93% of its value.

Despite the financial woes and potential job cuts, the most devastating news from today’s earnings announcement is the delay to the BB10 OS release. The QNX based OS has not been as easy to deploy as first thought and is suffering from setback after setback. What should have been ready to roll out in early 2012, is now being pushed back to early 2013.  This delay may cause even the most staunch “crackberry” fan to ditch those physical keyboards and run for the greener pastures of a more current software.

As far as RIM is concerned, many are asking what this means for the future. What can RIM do right now to keep their user base? How long can they survive on borrowed time with stock prices plummeting? Some think that things will turn around for the once proud Canadian company, while others think that RIM, their patents and user base are worth much more than the bulk of the company.

Source: RIM (PDF)

Will The BlackBerry PlayBook Survive?

Today is the beginning of a new day at Research In Motion, the company that has brought us a few Curves and Pearls in the past few years. Since then, things have slowly slipped away from the Canadian giant, leaving them scratching their heads and wondering what happened. It seemed that in just a blink of an eye, they went from the top of the smartphone game to everyone questioning if the company can survive or not. But that only brings us back to today, and the BlackBerry World Conference where the world of tomorrow happens today.

BBWC is usually the place where RIM outlines the new changes for the Bold and Curve lines. They talk about how great they are doing and how businesses everywhere are using their amazing systems to make life better. This year, that talk won’t work, and fortunately for RIM’s investors, that’s not what they were talking about at all. The topic of the day, BlackBerry OS 10 and how it will bring them back to the front.

Let’s start with what BBOS 10 is exactly. In the past, BlackBerry’s have run a proprietary OS that was locked up pretty tight. JAR files were the logical option for most developers as the phones would run the compact files very well in their limited memory. Unfortunately, as Apps have gotten more complex, and JAVA has started to go the way of the dinosaur, RIM’s App World hasn’t had the new blood needed to keep it fresh and happening. BBOS 10 is based of the same QNX coding that the BlackBerry PlayBook was launched last year with. Which leads us to an interesting point, will the PlayBook run OS 10 eventually?

It’s a pretty simple question to ask, and hopefully there is an answer in the clues at BBW. First, we look at the basic OS that the Alpha devices that are being given to the developers is running. It is exactly like the 2.0 update that the PlayBook was issued earlier this year. This means that if the Alpha device can run the original QNX OS, then there is no reason that the older PlayBooks can’t run the newer version of BBOS 10 when it is released. Second, the PlayBook is extremely powerful for a 7″ tablet model. They feature a dual-core 1Ghz processor and 1 GB of RAM. That’s still enough to make Android’s ICS look amazing, so running the slimmer QNX based OS 10 should be easy enough. Also, the screen resolution is identical to the 4.2″ developer device, meaning that there should me no App scaling problems or other issues.

Why do we ask this? It’s a pretty simple answer, right now, the PlayBook is an incredible steal – if they continue to support it and update it to the new BBOS 10. The Amazon pricing pins a new 16GB PlayBook at $188.00 or a good $10 under their own Kindle Fire. Keep in mind, with the right Apps, the PlayBook as it sits now is pretty powerful, but if the OS 10 update does come, it might be the most powerful change ever in a tablet. For those looking for a bit more power and storage, the 32GB model will only set you back $242.75 and the 64GB model goes for a lowly $292.99.

For now, we have to hedge our bets and say that BBOS 10 will come to the PlayBook and advise that if you want a good tablet for browsing the web, reading books and watching mobile media, the sub-$200 PlayBook is an amazing choice. If you are looking for longevity and growth for the future, consider the Kindle Fire or doubling the budget for an iPad or Android tablet.


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