Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘rim

BlackBerry’s Uphill Battle

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So, tomorrow’s the big day.

Research In Motion is formally introducing its BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Will the industry yawn and wonder what part of the mobile wilderness that RIM the BlackBerry has been wandering, or will it welcome the potential for new innovation with open arms?

We shall see, but there’s been no end of speculation and expectation appearing in the blogosphere.

For IT professionals, The Wall Street Journal’s Clint Boulton indicated CIOs should be prepared to ask (and get answered) a few key questions.

They center around pricing, upgradability of BlackBerry’s Enterprise Server, interoperability with iPhone and Android, and the like.

The broader question is what will drive demand? Will the market be receptive to the new phones and software behind BlackBerry 10, or are iPhones and Androids “good enough?”

Plenty of tech and mobile companies have had their time “in the wilderness,” and there’s nothing to focus innovation and R&D like dwindling market share.

I was a faithful BlackBerry subscriber for several years, before the lure of the more user-friendly environment of the iOS operating system drew me away from my last RIM device, the BlackBerry Bold.

Looking back, there were a few things I especially liked about RIM’s earlier offerings.

Most notably, the real-time, secure email capability. At a time when I was traveling extensively, there was nothing like being able to walk off the plane and crank up my Bold to find out what had happened in my world the prior 10 hours I was in the air.

I also liked the ability to synchronize with my work calendar — nothing like missing a meeting because you didn’t know it was even happening.

What I didn’t like? The inability to easily introduce new applications and content, most notably music and video (vis a vis iTunes), and yes, that all important road warrior time killer, games. I could only take so many bouts of “Bricks” or “Breakout” (It’s been so long, I forgot what the game was called!)

The application universe also always seemed so limited with RIM, so if they are going to “break out” of the wilderness, that app ecosystem is going to be key.

But only if the OS is up to the task.

CNET’s Roger Cheng explains we can expect two new devices at least, the Z10 and X10, a touchscreen and keyboard version, respectively, and that they’ll be available in February.

As far as apps are concerned, Cheng indicates BB 10 will launch with 70,000 apps.

Though that pales compared to the number of iOS and Android apps currently available, it’s a start, and the real key will be are they the RIGHT apps (the ones that help the mobile warrior stay productive, informed, entertained, and sane on the road, and yet have enough attraction to pull in other demographics).

Creating awareness through marketing will also be key to RIM’s renaissance. The “mindspace” for mobile has been increasingly dominated by the Apple and Google juggernauts over these past few years, and we can hardly turn our heads without seeing Samsung’s TV spots suggesting the iPhone is your our parent’s geriatric mobile device.

RIM hasn’t been part of the conversation for…well, years.

But I think RIM’s challenges are much bigger than awareness. The proof is going to be in the pudding, or in their case, in the user experience.

Design of a useful, attractive and compelling user experience may not have been MORE important in a new product launch in eons, because despite having the early advantage in the mobile smartphone space, now every new experience (including the BB 10 is) going to inevitably be compared to another, existing experience like iOS and Android.

Between that, the desire for a rich apps ecosystem, and getting the word out to a skeptical public — well, over the next few months, let’s just say we’re going to find out how much Motion their Research has as they try to convince loyal, “pry this mobile device out of my cold, dead hands” users out of their comfort zone and into the land of the unknown BlackBerry.

Written by turbotodd

January 29, 2013 at 9:01 pm

SmartPhone Needs A Bat Phone

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So how’s that iOS 5 install going for everybody?

Yeah, it’s definitely slow on the uptake.  I was joking with some friends on Facebook last night that perhaps Apple should buy some new IBM Blade servers to help speed those downloads along.

But hey, at least the download/install eventually worked, slow though it may have been.  That juxtaposed with our friends at Research In Motion, whose BlackBerries have been on the blink since Monday of this week.

RIM is reporting now that everything’s back in working order, but this outage was a black eye that the BlackBerry simply *didn’t* need at this particular moment in time, considering all the other smartphone option available in the market these days.

Once I turned in my BlackBerry Bold for an iPhone 4, I must say, I’ve missed the BlackBerry service, particularly because I’m guilty of being an email junkie.

But I haven’t missed it so much to want it back, and it’s features were certainly not keeping up with the iPhone Joneses.

The BlackBerry for me was mostly a one-trick pony, whereas the iPhone 4 (which I’ll be learning about again for weeks with the iOS 5 upgrade) has been more of a Swiss Army knife.

During my recent trip to Bangalore, I didn’t bother taking my iPad, as I wanted to travel light and figured I could use the iPhone for a number of different things.

And I did.  I used it to watch movies, play games, and read books on the flight.

Once in Bangalore, I used it to take some pictures and shoot some videos of me almost getting run over in the Bangalore traffic. I also used Skype on the iPhone to call back to the States via the hotel wireless network.

I used it to keep track of all the social media activities I needed to follow while I was out.  And I did all this without even bothering with the local phone service or a proprietary network (I did all this via wi-fi).

So, I’ll stick with my iPhone 4 for now, as it gets the job done.

Speaking of jobs, Nielsen is out with a study informing us that 40% of TV viewers use their tablets or smartphones while they’re watching the boob tube. Whoa, this could lead to a major advertiser’s dilemma.  Do you advertise on the boob tube or the tablet and/or smartphone?

I’m gonna go with both.

Written by turbotodd

October 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Turbo’s New Calling Plan

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I mentioned last week that I broke up with my BlackBerry.

I didn’t mention what was to be my new mobile love.

Because I had to do some speed dating to figure out what was the best way forward.

Many of you have guessed, both on this blog’s home base and out at Internet Evolution.  Some guessed rightly, some wrongly.  I sense a new reality show in the making.

My heart has healed to the point I figured I could tell the whole story without wincing too much.

You have to understand, making a mobile phone selection decision for someone like me is like a pro golfer deciding which line of clubs to use (except they don’t pay me to select their phone!), or a Hollywood starlet trying to decide whose dress to wear on Oscar night.

This is serious stuff.

But first, the breakup.

I’d been a huge fan of my BlackBerry Bold, and prior to that, the Pearl, and had been on the RIM platform for a good four years.

Of course, there was no iPhone or Android when I first went with the Pearl, and there was no other practical way to get on to IBM’s corporate email system with a mobile device, so it was an easy decision at the time.

But a lot’s happened these past four years, and RIM just didn’t seem to be keeping up.  And then, like many a relationships that go south, it was the little things: My browser would hang up, or be too slow.  The operating system would slow down and not let me get to my meeting information quickly.

Like I said, the little things, but they quickly added up.

After the BlackBerry got hung up one too many times after a long bike ride last week, I decided that was it. But not wanting to be without a mobile phone for too terribly long, I needed to make a decision about what to switch to, and quickly.

It was a relatively easy landscape to surf before I narrowed it down: Android v. iPhone.

I loved the idea of having an HTC Android on Sprint at 4G speeds, but I absolutely dreaded the idea of going back to Sprint, where I said would never return as a customer (and so far, I haven’t).

They treated me very badly as a so-called customer several years ago, and I’ve never remotely considered going back into their throes.

That left Droid on Verizon, and iPhone on AT&T.  Because honestly, that’s about the way the mobile decks are currently stacked, at least here in the U.S.

Sure, you can get an Android-based phone on AT&T, but it’s likely an outdated model running a back level version of the Android OS.

So which way did I go and why?

Ultimately, I chose the lesser of two evils: the new Apple iPhone.  And it wasn’t because I liked dealing with AT&T any more than any of the others.

In fact, ordering the iPhone via AT&T was AN ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE.  I can’t imagine a worse online customer experience.  But I suffered through it, and ultimately ordered the phone through them, even though I was told I’d have to wait 5-10 business days.

Then, AT&T forgot to put my condo unit number on the FedEx ticket, so FedEx couldn’t deliver it.  I could go on and on about what a bad experience I had GETTING the phone.  It’s still amazing to me in this day and age that I can have good money burning a hole in my pocket, and have such difficulty spending it with a vendor, including AT&T/Apple.  But I did.

But once the iPhone arrived via the nice FedEx man on Friday afternoon, heading directly into the Labor Day weekend, the experience I had setting up the new iPhone 4 is precisely WHY I ended up buying the iPhone.

I had the phone activated (without having to speak with a human, mind you), up and running, and with all my Gmail contacts imported — along with all my iPad Touch and iPad apps — loaded into the device in about 20 minutes.


I was making phone calls, sending emails, playing games, listening to music, watching videos, etc. in 20 minutes.  I remember it taking me that long just to get the BlackBerry software loaded, never mind the nightmares I had synching it to my computer.

So, once again, Apple wins on elegance and overall user customer experience (if NOT on customer pre-sales support).  And make no mistake, the iPhone 4 is a technological thing of beauty.

We shall soon see if it can hang with the Turbo on all his worldly travels, but I feel as though I made the correct decision so far.

Though I fear the looming limitations of Apple’s continued proprietary development milieu, and believe that Android is much better suited for the longer-term, open cloud viability that will help mature the mobile phone market, in the near term, for MY purposes and MY current needs, I’ve no doubt that the Apple iPhone was the right choice for me.

Now if I could just find somebody else who has one and try out the new FaceTime mobile videoconferencing feature!

For a summary of my iPhone 4 experience thus far, check out the video below:

Written by turbotodd

September 7, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Breaking Up With My Blackberry

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I’m leaving my BlackBerry.

It’s been a long and sordid affair that’s lasted a good four years.

It was fun while it lasted.  Me and BlackBerry, we traveled the world together.

My BlackBerry kept me in the loop, kept me on time for meetings, helped me catch the right airplanes at the right times.

My BlackBerry was completely faithful during our time together.  She was always there when I needed her.

But recently, I’ve noticed she’s become less attentive, less dependent, sometimes just outright scatterbrained.

She was no longer dependable.  Her operating system got hung up on a frequent basis, and she just wasn’t giving me the information I needed.  I felt at times like I’d reverted back to Windows 3.1.

So earlier this week, after a long and sweaty mountain bike ride along the Greenbelt here in Austin, she finally decided to call it quits.

The feeling, of course, was mutual.

Old loves are hard to leave behind, especially with a relationship that’s lasted for a good four years.

But it’s important to make a clean break, to look forward and not backwards.

I’m very much looking forward these days.

RIM will always have a place in my heart.

But it will no longer have a place on my belt or in my pocketbook.

Written by turbotodd

September 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm

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